Citizenship — the rights and privileges of a citizen in distinction from a foreigner (Luke 15:15; 19:14; Acts 21:39). Under the Mosaic law non-Israelites, with the exception of the Moabites and the Ammonites and others mentioned in Deut. 23:1–3, were admitted to the general privileges of citizenship among the Jews (Ex. 12:19; Lev. 24:22; Num. 15:15; 35:15; Deut. 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 favour 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). All Roman citizens had the right of appeal to Caesar (25:11).