Friday, November 24, 2017

A Biblical Case Against Open Borders

Alan Maricle aka Rhology (author 
of the blog RHOBLOGYhas written an excellent critique of open borders here.


Ezra and Nehemiah Were Against Open Borders
The whole of Ezra and Nehemiah provide a very difficult narrative for OBP to resolve and maintain their position with biblical consistency. Let's take a look at some specifics.

In Ezra 4, the Hebrews reject the proposition that foreigners help them to rebuild the temple, saying they have "nothing in common with us" in it. The foreigners respond with strong opposition. The opposition continues until Persian King Darius commands the work be continued, at which point the Hebrews' enemies conclude that further struggle would be counter-productive to their own interests. Finally, in Ezra 9-10, the separation between Hebrews and foreigners is stressed to such an extent that 10:11 carries the command: "Now therefore, make confession to the LORD God of your fathers and do His will; and separate yourselves from the peoples of the land and from the foreign wives."

Note in Nehemiah 2 that the main opposition to rebuilding Jerusalem's walls comes from an Ammonite, a Horonite, and an Arab. In 4:2, it is hard to imagine Sanballat refraining from employing an ethnic slur against the builders. Nehemiah responds with a prayer that Sanballat and Tobiah be forcefully emigrated, which is interesting.

In 4:7-8, "Sanballat, Tobiah, the Arabs, the Ammonites and the Ashdodites...conspired together to come and fight against Jerusalem and to cause a disturbance in it." A disturbance in it. How is this some sort of obvious armed invasion? This is more like infiltration, with a time-delayed plot to break out in violence once successfully inserted with sufficient numbers into the objective. This is no formal declaration of war, no gentlemanly slap across the face with a glove or dropped gauntlet.

Verse 9, Nehemiah is not sure whence the danger comes, so they set a guard day and night against the troublemakers. Verse 11, critically, the enemies plan thus - "They will not know or see until we come among them, kill them and put a stop to the work." They don't attack immediately upon crossing the border (ie, the wall). They wait until all their plans are in place, then they attack.

What if Nehemiah had been unaware of these men's plot? Thankfully, he was aware. What was his response? He closed the borders with a show of force. Once the wall was at full height, there was no need for an armed show of force, as the walls were enough deterrent for armed attack.

Verse 22 - At that time I also said to the people, “Let each man with his servant spend the night within Jerusalem so that they may be a guard for us by night and a laborer by day.” Nehemiah controls access to the city, keeping the nationals in and keeping the foreigners out. Was he being fearful and not trusting in the Lord? Or was he being prudent and wise, carefully preparing against the plans of his enemies?

In 7:5, Nehemiah decides to create a registry of all nationals returned from exile, thus obviously setting apart any foreigner. In 13:3, they go even further and exclude all foreigners from Israel! 13:16, we see merchants from Tyre in close proximity to the inhabitants of Jerusalem once again tempting them to sin by ignoring the Sabbath for the sake of profit. Nehemiah refuses the Tyreans entry into the city on the Sabbath. In 13:25, an echo of Ezra 9-10, Nehemiah curses those who intermarried with foreigners.

It is difficult to imagine how Nehemiah might greet an active, vocal OBP with anything other than a flurry of blows about the head and a pulling out of handfuls of beard. Perhaps our OBP friends will claim that Nehemiah's actions and attitudes were ungodly? How would Ezra or Nehemiah answer the question "Where is the Biblical prescription for closed borders?"

Read the article in its entirety here.

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