Division of the Land of
Canaan large map

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Division of Palestine to tribes to Israel

Why is it called the PROMISED LAND?

Why is the area the children of Israel were eventually led to, after being freed from bondage, referred to as the Promised Land? God mentioned this land when he told Moses, through a burning bush, what he would accomplish through him (Exodus 3:7-8).

While the children of Israel were still in Egypt God referred to a land promised them.

25. And it shall be when you have come to the land which the LORD will give you, according as He has promised that you shall keep this service (the Passover). (Exodus 12:25)

Several times Moses referenced promises that involved the Israelites.

3 Listen to them (God's laws, commandments and judgments) . . . and you will become a mighty nation and live in that rich and fertile land, just as the Lord, the God of our ancestors, has promised. (Deuteronomy 6:3)

3. And you shall engrave upon them all the words of this law when you have passed over so that you may go in to the land . . . as the LORD God of your fathers has promised you. (Deuteronomy 27:3, see also Deuteronomy 9:23, 26-28)

The book of Genesis tells us the idea of a land of promise originated with God making a covenant with the patriarch Abraham.

I will give to you and to your descendants this land in which you are now a foreigner. The whole land of Canaan will belong to your descendants forever (Genesis 17:8)

God personally promised Abraham that he and his descendants would be given the land of Canaan. Because of Abraham's faith and obedience he and his children would be given a place to live not just as a gift, but as an inheritance! The New Testament reaffirms this promise made by the Eternal (see Hebrews 11:8-9).

Why is Israel's inheritance also called the land of milk and honey?

God told the Israelites that he would not only release them from the bondage and slavery of the Egyptians, but that he would also lead them to a place "flowing with milk and honey' (Exodus 3:17). Canaan was a land of milk because of the excellent grazing it offered animals, especially to those who gave milk. It was a land of honey because the fertility and the abundance of plants it had brought bees. In fact, the land Israel inherited was so fertile that it produced GIANT food!

23. And they (the spies sent by Moses to scout the land they were to possess) came to the valley of Eshcol and cut from there a branch with one cluster of grapes. And they carried it between two men upon a staff, and some of the pomegranates and of the figs. (Numbers 13:23)

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