Who in the Old Testament said, “I am a stranger in a strange land”?

Question: Who in the Old Testament said, “I am a stranger in a strange land”?

Show answer


The phrase “I am a stranger in a strange land” originates from the Old Testament of the Bible, specifically from the Book of Exodus 2:22. It is spoken by Moses, a central figure in the Judaic, Christian, and Islamic traditions, who is renowned for leading the Israelites out of Egyptian slavery. This particular phrase is uttered by Moses following a significant period of transition and change in his life, marking his sense of alienation and displacement.

Moses finds himself in the land of Midian after fleeing Egypt to escape punishment for killing an Egyptian slave master, who was beating a Hebrew. In Midian, Moses comes to the rescue of the seven daughters of Jethro (also known as Reuel), a priest of Midian, who were being harassed by shepherds at a well. Grateful for his intervention, Jethro welcomes Moses into his home and gives him his daughter Zipporah in marriage. It is upon the birth of his first son, Gershom, that Moses makes this poignant declaration, saying, “I have become a foreigner in a foreign land.” The name “Gershom” itself reflects this sentiment, as it is derived from the Hebrew words “ger,” meaning “stranger,” and “sham,” meaning “there,” thus “Gershom” can be interpreted as “I was a stranger there.”

This statement encapsulates Moses’s feelings of exile and his journey from a prince of Egypt to a fugitive in Midian. Despite his royal upbringing, Moses finds himself in unfamiliar territory, both geographically and culturally. This sentiment of being a “stranger in a strange land” resonates throughout Moses’s life, as he navigates his identity between Egyptian and Hebrew cultures and later leads his people through the wilderness towards the Promised Land. The phrase has since transcended its biblical origins to become a common expression used to describe an experience of feeling out of place or alien in unfamiliar surroundings.

You may also like:

Leave a Comment