Promised Land

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The Promised Land refers to the land promised to the descendents of Abraham by God as recorded in the Bible in the Book of Genesis. This further became the promise to Jacob and his sons.

The Bible calls the region Canaan when referring to the pre-Israelite period,(Hebrew: כּנען‎) and afterwards Israel (Yisrael). The name "Land of the Hebrews" (Hebrew: ארץ העברים‎, Eretz Ha-Ivrim) is also found. The wide area appears to be the habitat of the ancient ethnic Hebrews, though perhaps shared with other ethnic groups. The land of Canaan is part of the land given to the descendants of Abraham, which extends from the Nile to the Euphrates River (Genesis 15:18).

Already in Genesis 12:6 and 7 we can read: "And Abram passed through the land unto the place of Sichem, unto the plain of Moreh. And the Canaanite was then in the land. And the LORD appeared unto Abram, and said, Unto thy seed will I give this land".

The land of Israel is central to Judaism (and the central tenet of Zionism). A substantial portion of Jewish law is tied to the land of Israel, and can only be performed there. Some rabbis have declared that it is a mitzvah (commandment) to take possession of Israel and to live in it (relying on Num. 33:53). The Talmud indicates that the land itself is so holy that merely walking in it can gain you a place in the World to Come. Prayers for a return to Israel and Jerusalem are included in daily prayers as well as many holiday observances and special events. [1]

This land is said to include an area called Aram Naharaim, which includes Haran in modern Turkey, from where Abraham the ancestor of the Israelites departed.


Greater Israel map.

From the Nile to the Euphrates River (Genesis 15:18).

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