Leadership over Israel
Matthew 5:7 Blessed are those having mercy, because they shall be mercied.
Mercy for our brother was something which Yahweh asked of us in the Old Testament as well as the New. And mercy not only on them who may do us wrong, but also on those who are of humble means. Examples of this are found in Proverbs 14:20-22, 31, Proverbs 21:20-21, and Hosea 6:6. An example is found in the Exodus, when Moses encountered two Israelite men quarreling. Exodus Chapter 2:
“11 And it came to pass in those days, when Moses was grown, that he went out unto his brethren, and looked on their burdens: and he spied an Egyptian smiting an Hebrew, one of his brethren. 12 And he looked this way and that way, and when he saw that there was no man, he slew the Egyptian, and hid him in the sand. 13 And when he went out the second day, behold, two men of the Hebrews strove together: and he said to him that did the wrong, Wherefore smitest thou thy fellow? 14 And he said, Who made thee a prince and a judge over us? intendest thou to kill me, as thou killedst the Egyptian? And Moses feared, and said, Surely this thing is known.”
There was no care for the Egyptian, and he was even an Adamite. Yet Moses was astonished when he found two men of Israel quarreling, knowing that it was wrong for them to be doing so. Because Moses understood this difference, caring for Israel and not for the alien, he was appointed leader over all the children of Israel, to bring them out of the captivity in Egypt.
While it can surely be demonstrated, that in Palestine and throughout the οἰκουμένη (the Greco-Roman world), one’s neighbor was most often, and was expected to be, of one’s own tribe, that this is the true meaning of πλησίον in the New Testament is evident in other ways, besides the use of γείτων or περίοικος where it was appropriate.
First, at Acts 7:27, an account of Exod. 2:11-14, one Israelite is referred to as τὸν πλησίον (A.V. “neighbor”) in relation to another Israelite, but certainly not in reference to the dead Egyptian - yet Moses, as evidenced in the Exodus account, could not have known that these men lived in proximity to one another, as we understand the term “neighbor” today. He only could have known that the men had a tribal relationship. Now some may think this conjectural, but it surely is the circumstance.