Does the promise still hold? Israel and the land

A response to Gary Anderson

Gary Anderson does well to remind us of Paul’s word that God’s promise of the land to Abraham and his descendants has never been revoked. That promise, however, includes the promise to bless the world and to bless it precisely in showing a new way to possess land.

As Walter Brueggemann points out in The Land: Place as Gift, Promise, and Challenge in Biblical Faith, Abraham does not receive the land in the way that land was usually acquired then—and has been too often since: by violent conquest. And as Norman C. Habel shows in The Land Is Mine: Six Biblical Land Ideologies, Abraham occupied the land as a peaceful immigrant, amicably coexisting with previous inhabitants. Even during and after the violent conquest the Hebrew tribes coexisted with prior inhabitants such as the Gibeonites, once even coming to their defense (the battle under Joshua when the sun “stood still”).


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