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Under the Mosaic law non-Israelites, with the exception of the Moabites and the Ammonites and others mentioned in Deuteronomy 23:1-3, were admitted to the general privileges of citizenship among the Jews (Exodus 12:19; Leviticus 24:22; Numbers 15:15; 35:15; Deuteronomy 10:18; 14:29; 16:10, 14).
The right of citizenship under the Roman government was granted by the emperor to individuals, and sometimes to provinces, as a favor or as a recompense for services rendered to the state, or for a sum of money (Acts 22:28). This “freedom” secured privileges equal to those enjoyed by natives of Rome. Among the most notable of these was the provision that a man could not be bound or imprisoned without a formal trial (Acts 22:25-26), or scourged (16:37).