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The Earth and the Land

Studies about the Value of the Land of Israel in the Old Testament and Afterwards


Edited By Hendrik J. Koorevaar and Mart-Jan Paul

In the Bible, the land of Israel is more than a piece of ground. It is a theological symbol, because it was an essential part of Israel’s practice of its relationship with God. The land is connected to a lifestyle and to the carrying out of religious acts, like the sacrifices and the celebrations. Aspects of this are the use of the land and the enactment of ecological and humanitarian obligations. In this volume, we concentrate on the religious viewpoints, especially how the promised land can be seen from the Old and New Testament perspective. Before practical conclusions are drawn, it is important to have a good overview of the subject in the entire Bible. The chosen approach is historic-canonical and implies that we use the order of Bible books from the Hebrew canon. Two additional chapters show the Jewish and Islamic viewpoints.

This book has received the Franz Delitzsch Award 2018.

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Chapter 4 The Land in the Book of Deuteronomy (Mart-Jan Paul)


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Mart-Jan Paul

Chapter 4 The Land in the Book of Deuteronomy

The speeches and legislation in the book of Deuteronomy focus on the dwelling of Israel in the promised land. God gives the land to his people, but the blessing- and curseconditions clarify that the dwelling in the promised land is conditional. At the end of the book, it even happens that a remainder of the people can return back after an exile outside the promised land.

1. Introduction

In this article the position of the land of Canaan comes up, like it is spoken of in the book of Deuteronomy. After some attention to the dating and the intent of the book, we will focus our attention to the special character of the land as God’s gift to his people. This land also makes it possible that Israel serves its God in more aspects of life than this was the case in the desert time (e.g. due to the practice of agriculture). Out of the several references to the land we will especially concentrate on the chapters 27–30, because the land is mentioned often here. The formulations about blessing and curse have a lot to do with the ownership of the land and life in the promised land. From these formulations it is evident that the announced punishments aren’t God’s last word, but that gracious recovery is possible in the promised land. Because the book of Deuteronomy...

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