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The Land promised to Abraham's Descendants

by Robert Randle  
3/06/2010 / Bible Studies

Genesis 10: 6
The sons of Ham were Cush, Mizraim, Put, and Canaan.

Genesis 10: 15-18
Canaan begot Sidon, Heth, the Jebusite, Amorite, Girgashite, Hivite, Arkite, Sinite, Arvite, Zemarite, Hamathite. Afterwards the families of the Canaanites were dispersed.

Genesis 10: 19
The border of the Canaanite was from Sidon [A city of Phoenicia about 20 miles north of Tyre on the eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea or modern Saida, situated in the narrow plain between Lebanon and the sea] as you go towards Gerar [A very ancient city south of Gaza or the "south country" of later Palestine], as far as Gaza [one of the 5 chief cities of the Philistines SW of Palestine on the frontier toward Egypt]; then as you go toward Sodom [the plain of Jordan north of the Dead Sea], Gomorrah, Admah, and Zeboiim, as far as Lasha [somewhere SE of Palestine near the eastern shore of the Dead Sea].

Genesis 15: 18-21
On the same day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying, "To your descendants I have given this land, from the river of Egypt [Nile??] to the great river, the River Euphrates- the Kenites, Kenezzites, Kadmonites, Hittites, Perizzites, Rephaim, Amorites, Canaanites, Girgashites, and the Jebusites.

Genesis 17: 8
Also I give to you and your descendants after you the land in which you are a stranger, all the land of Canaan, as an everlasting possession, and I will be their God (Cp. verse 7).

Exodus 23: 31
And I will set your boundaries from the Red Sea to the sea [Chinnereth/Galilee or the Mediterranean??], Philistia, and from the desert (??) to the River [probably Euphrates; but could it be the Nile or the Jordan??].

Numbers 13: 29
The Amalekites dwell in the land of the South; the Hittites, Jebusites, and the Amorites dwell in the mountains; and the Canaanites dwell by the sea [Chinnereth/Galilee??] and along the banks of the Jordan.

NOTE: In Genesis 10: 15-18 the Canaanite families are mentioned somewhat differently as above because it seems that the Jebusites and Amorites are presented as a separate branch apart from their ancestral clan of the Canaanites as well as where they lived.

Numbers 14: 25a
Now the Amalekites and the Canaanites dwell in the valley (??).

Numbers 34: 1-12
Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, "Command the children of Israel, and say to them: 'When you come into the land of Canaan, this is the land that shall fall to you as an inheritance- the land of Canaan to its boundaries. Your (1) Southern border shall extend eastward to the end of the Salt Sea; your border shall turn from the southern side of the Ascent of Akrabbim [a pass between the Dead Sea and Zin], continue to Zin [a portion of desert tract between the Dead Sea and the "Arabah"], and be on the south of Kadesh Barnea [40 miles south of Beersheba, 65 miles southwest of the Dead Sea, immediately below the southern border of Palestine]; then it shall go on to Hazar Addar [4 or 5 miles away], and continue to Azmon [3 miles away]; the border shall turn from Azmon [a place named on the southern boundary of Palestine] to the Brook of Egypt [Wadi el-Arish], and it shall end at the Sea [Mediterranean- 50 miles south of Gaza]. As for the (2) Western border, you shall have the Great Sea [Mediterranean] for a border; this shall be your (2) Western border. And this shall be your (3) Northern border; from the Great Sea [Mediterranean] you shall mark out your border line to Mount Hor [the eastern side of the valley of the "Arabah" in the land of Edom {southern Jordan}, and on its eastern side the mysterious city of Petra or it could also be the Mount Hor in Lebanon or the northern peak about 10 miles north of the Phoenician city Byblos]; from Mount Hor you shall mark out your border to the entrance of Hamath [the principal city of upper Syria about 50 miles north of Damascus]; then the direction of the border shall be toward Zedad [about 30 miles northeast of Hamath]; the border shall proceed to Ziphron [about 10 miles farther east], and it shall end at Hazar Enan [70 miles northeast of Damascus]. This shall be your (3) "Northern border." You shall mark your (4) Eastern border from Hazar Enan ("village of fountains"), to Shepham ["fruitful";unknown location on eastern boundary of Palestine]; the border shall go down from Shepham to Riblah on the east side of Ain [a landmark on the eastern boundary of Palestine and probably the main source of the 'Orontes' or Ain el-'Azy]; the border shall go down and reach to the eastern side of the Sea of Chinnereth [Sea of Galilee]; the border shall go down along the Jordan, and it shall end at the Salt Sea [Dead Sea]. This shall be your land with its surrounding boundaries.

NOTE: The "Arabah" is a deep-sunken valley or trench in the land of Palestine from the slopes of Mount Hermon to the Elantic Gulf (Gulf of Akabah) of the Red Sea. Through the northern portion this extraordinary fissure the Jordan rushes through the lakes of Huleh and Gennesaret to the deep chasm of the Dead Sea. This portion, 150 miles in length is known to the Arabs by the name el-Ghor.

Ezekiel 47: 13, 15-19
Thus says the LORD God: "These are the borders by which you shall divide the land as an inheritance among the twelve tribes of Israel. Joseph shall have two portions [Ephraim and Manasseh??]. This shall be the border of the land on (3) the North: from the Great Sea [Mediterranean], by the road to Hethlon [the pass at the northern end of Lebanon], as one goes to Zedad, Hamath, Berothah ["toward the wells"; possibly modern 'Beirut'], Sibraim (which is between the border of Damascus and the border of Hamath), to Hazor Hatticon (which is on the border of Hauran [Greek province of Auranitias or modern 'Hauran' east of the Sea of Galilee]). Thus the boundary shall be from the Sea [of Galilee??] to Hazar Enan, the border of Damascus; and as for the north, northward; it is the border of Hamath. This is the (3) North side. On the (4) East side you shall mark out the border from between Hauran and Damascus, and between Gilead and the land of Israel, along the Jordan, and along the eastern side of the sea [Sea of Chinnereth or Sea of Galilee]. This is the (4) East side. The (1) South side toward the South [Negev], shall be from Tamar to the waters of Meribah by Kadesh-Barnea, along the brook of the Great Sea [Salt Sea or Dead Sea]. This is the (1) South side toward the South. The (2) West side shall be the Great Sea [Mediterranean], from the southern boundary until one comes to a point opposite Hamath. This is the (2) West side.

Numbers 32: 1a, 2, 5
Now the children of Reuben and Gad had a very great multitude of livestock; and when they saw the land of Jazer [a town on the East of Jordan which was in possession by the Amorites] and the land of Gilead [a mountainous region bounded on the West by the Jordan, on the North by Bashan, on the East by the Arabian plateau, and on the South by Moab and Ammon]. The children of Gad and Reuben came and spoke to Moses, the Elezar the priest, and to the leaders of the congregation, saying, "If we have found favor in your sight, let this land be given to your servants as a possession. Do not take us over the Jordan."

Numbers 18: 20
Then the LORD said to Aaron: "You shall have no inheritance in their land, nor shall you have any portion among them; I am your portion and your inheritance among the children of Israel."

Joshua 13: 33
But to the tribe of Levi Moses had given no inheritance, the LORD God of Israel was their inheritance, as He had said to them.

Numbers 35: 1-2, 7
And the LORD said to Moses in the plains of Moab by the Jordan across from Jericho, saying: "Command the children of Israel that they give the Levites cities to dwell in from the inheritance of their possession, and you shall also give the Levites common-land around the cities. "So all the cities you will give to the Levites shall be forty-eight; these you shall give with their common-land.

Joshua 21: 1-3, 41-42
Then the heads of the fathers' houses of the Levites came near to Eleazar the priest, to Joshua the son of Nun, and to the heads of the fathers' houses of the tribes of the children of Israel. And they spoke to them at Shiloh in the land of Canaan, saying, "The LORD commanded through Moses to give us cities to dwell in, with their common-lands for our livestock." So the children of Israel gave to the Levites from their inheritance, at the commandment of the LORD, these cities and their common-lands. All the cities of the Levites within the possession of the children of Israel were forty-eight cities with their common-lands. Every one of these cities had its common-lands surrounding it; thus were all these cities.

COMMENTARY: There has been so much bloodshed being spilled in the Middle East over "the land" and Jewish Statehood in Palestine, especially in the capitol of Jerusalem; as well as the settlement issue and building projects displacing the many Palestinians who have lived in the region for Millennia. Anciently, it seems that the Palestinians occupied the land of Philistia to the West of Israel and not necessarily in modern upper northern Judea. Jerusalem or the land of mountain-dwelling Jebusites was included in God's promise giving Abraham the land and borders belonging to the Canaanites. In reading the Biblical narratives comparing say, Genesis 10: 19 & Exodus 23: 31 or Numbers 34: 1-12 & Ezekiel 47: 13, 15-19, it would seem that the territory that was promised to Abraham's descendants (the Israelites in this case) was not static. The land inheritance among the Levites (descendants of Aaron, Moses' brother) is the most interesting part of the whole matter (Cp. Numbers 18: 20 & Joshua 13: 33 vs. Numbers 35: 1-2, 7 & Joshua 21: 1-3, 41-42).

Robert Randle
776 Commerce St. #B-11
Tacoma, WA 98402
March 4, 2010

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