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The Promised Land ( , translit.: ha-Aretz ha-Muvtachat) is a term used to describe the land promised by God, according to the Hebrew Bible, to the Israelites. The promise is firstly made to Abraham ( ) and then renewed to his son Isaac, and to Isaac's son Jacob ( ), Abraham's grandson. The promised land was given to their descendants and was described in terms of the territory from the River of Egypt to the Euphrates river.

Divine promise

The promise that is the basis of the term is contained in several verses of Genesis of the Hebrew Bible. In it is said:
The LORD had said to Abram, "Leave your country, your people and your father's household and go to the land I will show you."

and in :
The LORD appeared to Abram and said, "To your offspring [or seed] I will give this land."

Commentators note that it is to Abram's descendants that the land will (in the future tense) be given, not to Abram directly nor there and then. However, in it is said:

He also said to him, "I am the LORD, who brought you out of Ur of the Chaldeans to give you this land to take possession of it."

And in the boundary of the promised land is defined in terms of the territory of various ancient peoples, as follows:

The verse is said to describe what are known as "borders of the Land" (Gevulot Ha-aretz). In Jewish tradition, these borders define the maximum extent of the land promised to the descendants of Abraham through his son Isaac and grandson Jacob.

The promise was confirmed to Jacob at , though the borders are still vague and is in terms of "the land on which you are lying".

More precise geographical borders are given in which describes borders as marked by the Red Sea, the "Sea of the Philistines" i.e the Mediterraneanmarker, and the "River," (the Euphrates) the traditional furthest extent of the Kingdom of Israel under David.

Descendants of Abraham

Traditional Jewish interpretation, and that of most Christian commentators, define Abraham's descendants only as Abraham's seed through his son Isaac and his grandson Jacob.
      Johann Friedrich Karl Keil is less clear, as he states that the covenant is through Isaac, but notes that Ishmael's descendants have held much of that land through time.

Mainstream Jewish tradition regards the promise made to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob as having been given to all Jews, including converts and in turn their descendants.

Reference in the Qur'an

There is a reference to the Promised Land in the Qur'an:


  1. Kol Torah, vol. 13, no. 9, Torah Academy of Bergen County, Nov 8, 2003
  2. See 6th and 7th portion commentaries by Rashi
  3. Stuart, Douglas K., Exodus, B&H Publishing Group, 2006, p. 549
  4. Tyndale Bible Dictionary, Walter A. Elwell, Philip Wesley Comfort, Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., 2001, p. 984
  5. See 6th and 7th portion commentaries by Rashi
  6. Edersheim Bible History - Bk. 1, Ch. 10
  7. Edersheim Bible History - Bk. 1, Ch. 13
  8. Albert Barnes Notes on the Bible - Genesis 15
  9. Genesis - Chapter 15 - Verse 13 - The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible on
  10. Parshah In-Depth - Lech-Lecha
  12. Reformed Answers: Ishmael and Esau
  13. The Promises to Isaac and Ishmael
  14. God Calls Abram Abraham
  15. Nigeriaworld Feature Article - The Abrahamic Covenant: Its scope and significance - A commentary on Dr. Malcolm Fabiyi’s essay
The Qur'an, chapter 17 (Al-Isra), verse 104: And WE (I, God) said to the Children of Israel after him (Moses): "Dwell In the (Promise) land, then, when the final and the final warning comes to pass, WE (I, God) shall bring You altogether as mixed crowd (gathered out of various nations)."

See also

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