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The Earth and the Land

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

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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 10 The Land in a Time of Exile: Promises and Duties (Geert W. Lorein)

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Geert W. Lorein

Chapter 10 The Land in a Time of Exile: Promises and Duties

Exile on God’s initiative goes together with His promise of return (still valid!); which goes together with the order of engagement in the new community (while safeguarding identity); which goes together with the awareness that this community will be judged (leading to the eschatological kingdom). These reflections are useful for our situation too.

1. Introduction

When are we obliged to think intensely about what is happening around us and about our own foundations and actions? When does our theology develop most? Of course in times of change, of distress. And this was the case when the Babylonians took over Judah, the Southern Kingdom. Many people had gone into exile; not all of them – the land was not empty –, but besides the people that had died by the war and its consequences, the elite had left the country1. If we look around us, that would have meant that we all had gone – do we not all belong to the elite? And in the village or town where you live, the ten percent that keep the community going would have left. Then you have to start again, in a new country, where you might start a new career, but that country is not yours, you are just ← 249 | 250 → a guest, and the country that you have left is not in the hands of your kinsmen...

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