In Israel’s theological understanding the idea that YHWH is a God, who makes promises, is a rather central element. Among the numerous promises of YHWH there is none as influential to Israel’s self-understanding as the promise of the occupation of the land of Canaan. The theme of the Promised Land is prominent from the beginning to the end of the Old Testament theological thought. The development of the theology of the Promised Land in the Old Testament – from promise to inheritance and from losing to regaining it – raises the relevant question: In what sense was the promise of the Land fulfilled in the Old Testament? Or to put it another way: In what sense did the ancient Israelites inherit the Promised Land? The purpose of this paper is to study the topic of the promise of the Land from a historical, source-critical point of view, in order to understand the development and changing theological perspectives in this central theological theme of the Old Testament.
In What Sense Did the Ancient Israelites Inherit the Promised Land?