land

land

A term occurring in the Hebrew Bible nearly 1,750 times (NRSV) and usually referring to a specific geographical region (e.g., “the land of Araral,” 2Kgs 19:37) or the territory of a specific people (e.g., “land of the Kenites,” Gen 15:19). In many instances, however, the land referred to is the land promised to and occupied by Israel (Gen 12:1; Josh 13:1-7). Yahweh, sole owner of the whole earth (Lev 25:23; Ps 24:1), had given the land of Canaan to Israel as a fulfillment of his promise to Abraham and his descendants (Exod 6:1-4; Deut 6:10; Deut 6:18). Deuteronomy in particular emphasizes the land as gift (Deut 8:7-9; Deut 9:4-6), but also warns that Israel may forfeit the land if the nation fails to live in obedience. The historical narratives (Joshua, Judges, 1 and 2 Samuel, 1 and 2 King) and many prophetic texts treat the story of Israel as an interplay between faithfulness to God and security in the land. In the NT, the concept of the land appears less frequently, but one of Jesus’s Beatitudes calls the meek blessed, “for they shall inherit the earth/land” (Matt 5:5). A certain spiritualization of OT land motifs in the NT is evident in the Letter to the Hebrews (Heb 11:8-16; Heb 11:38-40).

2Kgs 19:37

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Gen 15:19

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Gen 12:1

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Josh 13:1-7

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Lev 25:23

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Ps 24:1

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Exod 6:1-4

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Deut 6:10

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Deut 6:18

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Deut 8:7-9

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Deut 9:4-6

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Matt 5:5

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Heb 11:8-16

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Heb 11:38-40

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