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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 5 The Conquest and Borders of the Land in the Books of Joshua and Judges (Siegbert Riecker)


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Siegbert Riecker

Chapter 5 The Conquest and Borders of the Land in the Books of Joshua and Judges

The theological message of Joshua and Judges concerning the land can be comprehended by investigating formulas as “in the midst”, notions of “rest”, as well as the tension between completeness and incompleteness of the conquest. The individual border descriptions reveal three views of the land that are not to be mixed up: the promised land, Canaan, and the conquered land, only the last being flexible in extent.

The book of Joshua is the definitive book of the land in the Bible and land is the definitive theme of the book of Joshua.1 At the same time the agreement between the books of Joshua and Judges has been tested seriously in the area of conquest and border descriptions. A superficial reading of Joshua gives the impression of a total conquest of “all” of the land. This could be opposed to the impression that not much had been done so far in the book of Judges.2 However, a close reading of the texts reveals that “there is no total occupation shown to be achieved under Joshua himself”.3 But how can that be a message of faith?

1. The Gift of the Land – Donation and Seizure

1.1 Yhwh and Others in the Midst of His Land

Some of the 167 occurrences of the word אֶרֶץ “land”4 in the books...

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