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punishment for their hatred of strangers.

The punishments did not come upon the sinners without prior signs in the violence of

thunder, for they justly suffered because of their

wicked acts; for they practiced a more bitter hatred

of strangers. Others had refused to receive strangers

when they came to them, but these made slaves of guests who were

their benefactors. And not only so, but punishment of some sort

will come upon the former for their hostile reception of the aliens; but the latter, after receiving them with

festal celebrations, afflicted with terrible sufferings those who had already shared the same rights. They were stricken also with loss of sight-- just as were those at the door of the

righteous man-- when, surrounded by yawning darkness, each tried to find the way through his

man door.

If such is the fate of people who hate and oppress strangers, then it may be inferred that welcoming strangers is a posi- tive virtue.

Other wisdom literature had cautioned avoidance of strangers, but this writer implies that they are rather to be welcomed with hospitality. Most likely, this response to strangers is due to the Alexandrian setting of the writer. In Alexandria, of course, Jews were strangers rather than natives. Diaspora Jews would have known the heart of a stranger (Exod. 23:9).

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