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Dictionary of Bible Themes – 4208 land, as a divine responsibility
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4208 land, as a divine responsibility

4208 land, as a divine responsibility

Israel’s land is a gift from God, though ultimately it remains under divine ownership. Life in the land is therefore characterised by both privilege and responsibility.

The land is a gift from God

Dt 26:5-9

It is Israel’s inheritance Dt 26:1 See also Ex 32:13; Dt 4:21,38; Dt 15:4; Dt 19:10

Eleven full tribes share the inheritance Nu 26:52-55

Inherited land east of Jordan allotted by Moses Nu 32:33 See also Jos 12:6; Jos 13:8,15,24,29

Inherited land west of Jordan allotted by Joshua and others Nu 34:17-29 See also Jos 14:1,13; Jos 15:1,20; Jos 16:4; Jos 18:11; Jos 19:1,10,17,24,32,40,51

Levi receives no inheritance of land Nu 26:62; Dt 18:1; Jos 13:14,33

Israelite households to hold their inheritance in perpetuity Nu 36:7-9 See also 1Ki 21:3; Eze 46:18

The land remains under divine ownership

Lev 25:23

Responsibility to God for the land

See also Mt 21:33-46

The tithe Lev 27:30 The tithe of the land’s produce given to the Lord, is a kind of rent, a way of acknowledging his ownership.

Harvest festivals Ex 23:16 See also Lev 23:15-21,33-43

Sabbath rest Lev 25:1-7

The Year of Jubilee Lev 25:8-13

Responsibility to fellow Israelites in the land

Individual property rights to be respected Dt 19:14 See also Dt 27:17; Pr 15:25; Pr 22:28; Pr 23:10; Hos 5:10

Violation of these rights severely condemned Isa 5:8 See also 1Ki 21:17-19; Job 20:19; Eze 45:8-9; Mic 2:2,9

Responsibility to the poor in the land

The fallow (sabbath) year Ex 23:10-11 See also Lev 25:6-7; Dt 15:1-3 Debts probably include the labour of a debtor’s dependants, working to pay off his debt.

The Year of Jubilee Lev 25:8-13

Harvesting conventions Lev 19:9-10 See also Lev 23:22; Dt 24:19-22; Ru 2:2-3

The land reflects God’s blessing and curse

Blessing Dt 28:1-6,11-12 See also Lev 25:18-19; Dt 11:13-15; Ps 65:9-13; Ps 67:5-6

Curse Dt 28:15,18,21 See also Lev 18:24-28; Lev 20:22-24; Lev 26:42-45; 1Ki 17:1

See also

5704inheritance, material
7354feasts and festivals
7429Sabbath, in OT
7482Year of Jubilee

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