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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 8 The Land in the Book of Psalms (Julius Steinberg)


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Julius Steinberg

Chapter 8 The Land in the Book of Psalms

The contribution deals with the topic from a Psalter-as-book-perspective. It arrives at three conclusions: 1. Several psalms reflect on the topic of the land as it is presented in Gen-Kings, including “Deuteronomistic theology” and “Zion theology.” 2. There is a movement from the Land to Zion to the entire earth. 3. The land promise is individualized and metaphorized in several ways.

Numerous psalms1 speak of the land. They do so from various points of view and with different emphases. Of particular interest is the question to what extent the Psalter as a whole, that is, its five-part composition, refers to the topic. This focus can shed further light on the overall importance of the statements about the land in the Psalter, and also to which topics these statements are. In the following, individual psalms as well as the Psalter as book will be examined.

When the psalms speak about the land, they do not develop this concept anew, but refer to already existent theological themes. To be named in particular is the covenant of the patriarchs as well as the Sinai covenant and the subsequent account of history as presented in the great work of Genesis to 2 Kings. These connections are known already and do not need to be reopened at this place.2 However, less clear is the relation between the topic of the land and the...

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