The Law forbade the Israelites from marrying Canaanites, unless they turned to Yahweh and worshipped Him as the One True God.
God always encouraged Israel to accept foreigners. After all, the Israelites themselves were refugees in Egypt for generations, and “many other people” left Egypt with them.
There are many verses that deal with how Israel was supposed to treat the foreigners among them. Here are just a few from the Law given by Moses:
When you reap the harvest of your land, do not reap to the very edges of your field or gather the gleanings of your harvest. Do not go over your vineyard a second time or pick up the grapes that have fallen. Leave them for the poor and the foreigner.
He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the foreigner residing among you, giving them food and clothing. And you are to love those who are foreigners, for you yourselves were foreigners in Egypt.
The Bible is replete with stories of refuges, both those who came to Israel and those who left. Abraham and Sarah as well and Jacob and his twelve sons all fled to Egypt to avoid famine in Canaan. Moses fled to Midian after he killed an Egyptian. Joseph, Mary, and Jesus fled to Egypt to avoid Herod slaughter of the baby boys in Bethlehem. Naomi fled to Moab because of famine, and when she returned to Israel brought Ruth, a Moabite. David also lived in Moab for a time. All of Israel was sent either to Babylon or Assyria. There are many more.
In The Walls of Arad, Miriam welcomes Arisha into her home as she did any other young woman who needed help. She didn’t see her as a Canaanite, as a refugee, as a victim. She saw her as a person who just needed a little help, as we all do now and again.
And perhaps that is the best way to look at it.
This pendant plays a prominent role in the novel. Snatch one for yourself (or for a loved one) by joining my street team. These are the people who help me publicize The Walls of Arad, which comes out June 15. You’ll also receive a paperback copy (or eBook if you prefer), a packet of the tea Arisha loves, a novella available only to my supporters, and some bookmarks. You will be invited to join a secret Facebook group to keep up with news of me and my future books. I have three more coming out in the next year, and you’ll be the first to know about them!