In the list of curses that could befall the Jewish nation, Deuteronomy 28:43 reads:

The stranger who is among you will arise above you, higher and higher, while you will descend lower and lower.

I have generally heard that "ger" could be referring to converts or non-Jews that accept the Laws of Noach. Can "ger" refer to foreigners that aren't either of the above?

Who is the "ger" in this verse?

  • See the Nachal Kedumim there
    – Shmuel
    Commented Aug 29, 2023 at 20:38
  • @Shmuel the Nachal Kedumim is not the poshut pshat there.
    – Dov
    Commented Aug 29, 2023 at 20:39
  • The OP wasn't asking for the pshat I suppose. It was a nice interpretation though.
    – Shmuel
    Commented Aug 29, 2023 at 20:46
  • See also the Haamek Davar
    – Shmuel
    Commented Aug 29, 2023 at 20:46

1 Answer 1


The Ralbag Biur Hamilos explains it as meaning:

הגר אשר בקרבך. הוא גר תושב ואחשוב שאילו הקללות היו בזמן בית שני שהכותיים היו לפעמים מתגברים על ישראל ומשפילים אותם

The stranger in your midst - this is a reference to a Ger Toshav, and I will think what curses there were during the time of the Second Temple where the Kusim (Samaritans) would sometimes overcome Israel and humiliate them.

A non-literal approach is taken by the Chida in his Nachal Kedumim where he writes:

הגר אשר בקרבך יעלה עליך מעלה מעלה ואתה תרד מטה מטה. פירוש אם היצר הרע שהוא גר בקרבך כמ"ש ויבא הלך לאיש העשיר יעלה עליך שישלוט בך ויתגבר עליך ותשמע לו תרד מטה מטה גימטריא גיהנ"ם

The strangers in your midst shall rise above you higher and higher, while you sink lower and lower - this can be explained that if the evil inclination lives in your midst like that which is written "One day, a traveler came to the rich man" (Shmuel II 12:4) - he will rise above you and dominate you and overcome you and you will obey him. "While you sink lower and lower" is the same numerical value as Gehenom (Hell).

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