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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 9 The Land in the Four Wisdom Books: Job, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs (W. Creighton Marlowe)


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W. Creighton Marlowe

Chapter 9 The Land in the Four Wisdom Books: Job, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs

OT Wisdom presents seven different kinds of “land”: (1) a governed territory, (2) an unspecified district, (3) the realm of death, (4) the realm of life, (5) personal property, (6) arable ground, and (7) an implied category is desert or desolate ground which can be made to have green growth.

1. Introduction

Throughout history land has been a matter for which to live and die. It has remained one of the, if not the, most secure and stable forms of investment. In the movie Superman the villain Lex Luther, when asked by his shapely assistant Ms. Tessmaker why he is obsessed with real estate, quoted his father: “Stocks may rise and fall … but people will always need land, and they will pay through the nose to get it.”1 Location remains the most significant aspect of determining the value of a piece of land. The location of Israel as a strategic land bridge in the ancient Near East greatly contributed to its importance for obvious military purposes, but also for the opportunity to influence those who traveled through and sojourned in Palestine on their way to an adjacent country. This applies to Israel’s exporting of ideas, particularly its wisdom, including inherited pre-Israelite wisdom (Job). The role of the Land in relation to wisdom and the OT Wisdom Books needs fresh investigation...

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