Land of Israel

From Academic Kids

Template:Israelis The Land of Israel (Hebrew: ארץ ישראל Eretz Yisrael) is the land that made up the ancient Jewish Kingdoms of Israel and Judah. The term has been used by Jews and Christians throughout history.

During the British mandate of Palestine, the name Eretz Yisrael (abbreviated אי Aleph-Yod), was part of the official name of the territory, when written in Hebrew. Consequently, in its modern usage, the term usually denotes only those parts of the land which came under the British mandate, i.e. the land currently controlled by Israel, the West Bank, and the Gaza Strip, and sometimes also Transjordan (now the Kingdom of Jordan).


Biblical passages

The actual borders defined in God's covenant with the Israelites from Abraham on through Joshua is actually much larger than the current borders of the State of Israel. Several verses from the Torah, a verse from the Book of Joshua, and a sequence from the Book of Ezekiel define the borders of the Promised Land.

Verses include:

  • Genesis 15:18-21
    • From this desert and Lebanon to the great river, the Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites to the great sea westward shall be your boundary (Genesis 15:18-21).
  • Exodus 23:20-33
    • Behold, I am sending an angel before you to guard you on the way and to bring you to the place that I have prepared. Beware of him and obey him; do not rebel against him, for he will not forgive your transgression, for My Name is within him. For if you hearken to his voice and do all that I say, I will hate your enemies and oppress your adversaries. For My angel will go before you, and bring you to the Amorites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Canaanites, the Hivvites, and the Jebusites, and I will destroy them. You shall not prostrate yourself before their gods, and you shall not worship them, and you shall not follow their practices, but you shall tear them down and you shall utterly shatter their monuments. And you shall worship the Lord, your God, and He will bless your food and your drink, and I will remove illness from your midst. There will be no bereaved or barren woman in your land; I will fill the number of your days. I will send My fear before you, and I will confuse all the people among whom you shall come, and I will make all your enemies turn their backs to you. And I will send the tzir'ah before you, and it will drive out the Hivvites, the Canaanites, and the Hittites from before you. I will not drive them away from before you in one year, lest the land become desolate and the beasts of the field outnumber you. I will drive them out from before you little by little, until you have increased and can occupy the land. And I will make your boundary from the Red Sea to the sea of the Philistines, and from the desert to the river, for I will deliver the inhabitants of the land into your hands, and you shall drive them out from before you. You shall not form a covenant for them or for their gods. They shall not dwell in your land, lest they cause you to sin against Me, that you will worship their gods, which will be a snare for you.(Exodus 23:20-33)
  • Numbers 34:1-12
    • The Lord spoke to Moses, saying: Command the children of Israel and say to them, When you arrive in the land of Canaan, this is the land which shall fall to you as an inheritance, the land of Canaan according to its borders. Your southernmost corner shall be from the desert of Zin along Edom, and the southern border shall be from the edge of the Sea of Salt [the Dead Sea] to the east. The border then turns south of Maaleh Akrabim [elevation of Akrabim], passing toward Zin, and its ends shall be to the south of Kadesh barnea. Then it shall extend to Hazar addar and continue toward Azmon. The border then turns from Azmon to the stream of Egypt, and its ends shall be to the sea. The western border: it shall be for you the Great [Mediterranean] Sea and the border this shall be your western border. This shall be your northern border: From the Great [Mediterranean] Sea turn yourselves toward Mount Hor. From Mount Hor turn to the entrance of Hamath, and the ends of the border shall be toward Zedad. The border shall then extend to Ziphron, and its ends shall be Hazar enan; this shall be your northern border. You shall then turn yourselves toward the eastern border, from Hazar enan to Shepham. The border descends from Shepham toward Riblah, to the east of Ain. Then the border descends and hits the eastern shore of Lake Kinnereth. The border then continues down along the Jordan, and its ends is the Sea of Salt [the Dead Sea]; this shall be your Land according to its borders around.

(Numbers 34:1-12).

  • Deuteronomy 1:7, 11:24
    • Turn and journey, and come to the mountain of the Amorites and to all its neighboring places, in the plain, on the mountain, and in the lowland, and in the south and by the seashore, the land of the Canaanites, and the Lebanon, until the great river, the Euphrates River (Deuteronomy 1:7).
    • Every place upon which the soles of your feet will tread, will be yours: from the desert and the Lebanon, from the river, the Euphrates River, and until the western sea, will be your boundary (Deuteronomy 11:24).
  • Joshua 1:4
    • From this desert and Lebanon to the great river, the Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites to the great sea westward shall be your boundary (Joshua 1:4).
  • Ezekiel 47:13-20
    • So said the Lord God: This is the border whereby you shall divide the land for inheritance to the twelve tribes of Israel, Joseph [taking two] portions. And you shall inherit it, one as another, being that I lifted up My hand to give it to your forefathers, and this land shall be to you an inheritance. And this is the border of the land: to the northern side, from the Great Sea the way to Hethlon to the road [leading] to Zedad. Hamath, Berothah, Sibraim, which is between the border of Damascus and the border of Hamath; Hazer-hatticon, which is by the border of Hauran. And the border shall be from the sea to Hazer-enon, the border of Damascus, and in the north northward is the border of Hamath; this is the northern side. And the eastern side is between Hauran and Damascus, between Gilead and the Land of Israel is the Jordan; from the border by the eastern sea shall you measure; this is the eastern side. And the southern side is from Tamar until the water of Meriboth Kadesh to the stream [that falls] into the Great Sea; this is the southern side. And the western side is the Great Sea from the border until opposite the road [leading] to Hamath; this is the western side. (Ezekiel 47:13-20)


The size of the Promised Land of the Tanakh (or Hebrew Bible referred to also as the "Old Testament" by Christians) encompasses a region that extends from the "Great River of Egypt" to the Euphrates. Area known to be included are the modern states of Israel, Lebanon, most of modern-day Syria, and Yesha. Also in this region would be the Sinai Peninsula, which is widely believed to encompass the route of the Hebrew Exodus from Egypt.

However, it should be noted that the most exact definitions of the borders, the ones in Numbers and Ezekiel, describe a much smaller area, with the river Jordan as its eastern border and the Nile in the West. It encompasses most of modern Israel -- excluding however most of the Negev desert in the south -- the territories, a small part of modern Egypt, southern Lebanon, and the southwestern tip of Syria.

Another point of debate for some religious scholars is the consistent reference to the inclusion of "the Land of the Hittites" within the borders. Some view the Hittites as one of the tribes that had settled in Canaan and was conquered by Joshua, while others refer to a greater empire that encompassed most of Central Turkey.

See also

External links

sr:Ерец Израел


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