A Handbook of Bible Law - Foreign relations

Copyright 1991 by Charles A. Weisman. 2nd Edition: Aug., 1992; 3rd Edition: Dec., 1994

Foreign relations

Comments: Interaction between different nations is not only inevitable but often necessary and desirable. The Bible reveals that a considerable amount of internation trade and commerce occurred between Israel and other nations. The prophets did not condemn trade with foreign nations as such, but only the greed, selfishness, oppression, and dishonesty so often manifested in connection with it.

Agreements, contracts and treaties between nations are as ancient as nations themselves. Such actions come unde the principles of International Law, which has come dow to us today. Thus, a contract for timber (1 Kings 5) be- tween Solomon, King of Israel, and Hyram, King of Tyre would be by its terms as legally binding today as it was then.

While fair and peaceable interrelations between nations were the norm, God had prohibited any interaction, trade, aid or treaties to be conducted with ungodly nations. Foreigners (strangers) who were not heathens were allowed to visit or pass through the nation, being treated as a citizen.

The official practice of receiving and entertaining foreign dignitaries was a common practice, as in the case o Solomon receiving the Queen of Sheba on her visit to th nation of Israel (1 Kings 10).

The biblical guidelines concerning foreign relations were well expressed by Presidents Washington and Jefferson who said we should have peace, commerce, and honesty with nations, are to avoid entangling alliances with all natio and should not allow any foreign influence in our land.

11A - Foreign Enemies

  1. We are to pray for deliverance from our enemies. 1 Sam. 12:10-11; Psa. 17:6-9; Psa. 35:15-17; Psa. 59:1; Psa.64:1.
  2. Overcome enemies by kindness. 1 Sam. 26:21; 25:21-22; Rom. 12:20-21.
  3. Christ's enemies are to be destroyed. Luke 19:27.

    11B - Aid and Help

    1. We are not to help ungodly and anti-Christ nations or show friendship towards them. 2 Chron. 19:2.
    2. We can lend to other nations but are not to borrow from them. Deut. 15:6; Deut 28:12.
    3. It is vain to rely on other nations for help while ignoring the aid of God. Isa. 31:11; Jer. 3:23.

    11C - Alliances and Treaties

    1. Alliances and covenants (treaties) with pagan or ungodly nations are forbidden. Exod. 23:32; Exod. 34:12-16; Deut. 7:2-4; Judges 2:2-3; Ezra 9:12; Psa. 106:34-36.
    2. Covenants with pagan or ungodly nations leads to idolatry and adoption of pagan ways. Exod. 34:12-16; Deut. 7:2-4.
    3. Do not to follow the ways of other nations. Deut. 12:29-30.
    4. A treaty of peace, agreeing to do no harm to another friendly nation, can be enacted. Gen. 21:22-32; Gen. 26:28-31.
    5. Alliances made with wicked nations will not be fruitful. 2 Chron. 20:35-37.

    11D - General Foreign Policy

    1. We should make an effort, and do what is reasonably possible, to avoid strife and contention (and possible war) with other nations. Gen. 26:15-22.
    2. International trade, and importing and exporting of goods, can be conducted. Gen. 41:57; Gen. 42:34; 1 Kings 10:15; 2 Chron. 1:16-17; Ezek. 17:4; Ezek. 27:12,14.
    3. Iniquity in trading is condemned. Ezek. 28:18.
    4. Ambassadors can be sent to foreign nations to convey messages to it and to speak on behave of the government. Deut. 2:26; Num. 20:14; Num. 21:21-22.
    5. You shall not allow foreigners that are pagans to emigrate into or dwell in your nation; for they shall be as pricks in your eyes and as thorns in your sides, and they shall trouble you in your land. Exod. 23:33; Num. 33:5; Josh. 23:12-13.
    6. Do not render evil to a nation at peace with you. Psa. 7:4.
    7. When in a foreign nation, you may buy and sell with it but meddle not in its affairs. Deut. 2:5-6, 19, 28.

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