Proselyte

is used in the LXX. for "stranger" (1 Chr. 22:2), i.e., a comer
to Israel; a sojourner in the land (Ex. 12:48; 20:10; 22:21),
and in the New Testament for a convert to Judaism. There were
such converts from early times (Isa. 56:3; Neh. 10:28; Esther
8:17). The law of Moses made specific regulations regarding the
admission into the Jewish church of such as were not born
Israelites (Ex. 20:10; 23:12; 12:19, 48; Deut. 5:14; 16:11, 14,
etc.). The Kenites, the Gibeonites, the Cherethites, and the
Pelethites were thus admitted to the privileges of Israelites.
Thus also we hear of individual proselytes who rose to positions
of prominence in Israel, as of Doeg the Edomite, Uriah the
Hittite, Araunah the Jebusite, Zelek the Ammonite, Ithmah and
Ebedmelech the Ethiopians.

In the time of Solomon there were one hundred and fifty-three
thousand six hundred strangers in the land of Israel (1 Chr.
22:2; 2 Chr. 2:17, 18). And the prophets speak of the time as
coming when the strangers shall share in all the privileges of
Israel (Ezek. 47:22; Isa. 2:2; 11:10; 56:3-6; Micah 4:1).
Accordingly, in New Testament times, we read of proselytes in
the synagogues, (Acts 10:2, 7; 13:42, 43, 50; 17:4; 18:7; Luke
7:5). The "religious proselytes" here spoken of were proselytes
of righteousness, as distinguished from proselytes of the gate.

The distinction between "proselytes of the gate" (Ex. 20:10)
and "proselytes of righteousness" originated only with the
rabbis. According to them, the "proselytes of the gate" (half
proselytes) were not required to be circumcised nor to comply
with the Mosaic ceremonial law. They were bound only to conform
to the so-called seven precepts of Noah, viz., to abstain from
idolatry, blasphemy, bloodshed, uncleaness, the eating of blood,
theft, and to yield obedience to the authorities. Besides these
laws, however, they were required to abstain from work on the
Sabbath, and to refrain from the use of leavened bread during
the time of the Passover.

The "proselytes of righteousness", religious or devout
proselytes (Acts 13:43), were bound to all the doctrines and
precepts of the Jewish economy, and were members of the
synagogue in full communion.

The name "proselyte" occurs in the New Testament only in Matt.
23:15; Acts 2:10; 6:5; 13:43. The name by which they are
commonly designated is that of "devout men," or men "fearing
God" or "worshipping God."