To Inherit or to Receive? נחל in the Book of Joshua Should be Read within the Context of Mosaic Covenant

Tuck Seon Chung


The verb נחל has been translated interchangeably as “inherit” or “receive” in English translations. However, this paper suggests נחל, particularly in the Book of Joshua, should be interpreted as “receive” under the context of the Mosaic Covenant instead of “inherit” under the background of the Abrahamic Covenant. This is because the expression of נחל is closely associated with the Mosaic Covenant and the term is to convey the message that the Israelites are to keep their covenantal obligation as to continue to inhabit in the land. Surveys on the usage of נחל will be conducted to justify that this alternate interpretation of נחל as “receive” is plausible. This semantic understanding under the context of the Mosaic Covenant allows for a reanalysis of its meaning and its theological implications towards the expectation and obligation of the Israelite. Eventually, every generation of Israel should have acknowledged the language used was actually under such covenantal context and that the possession of the land was conditional which was founded on a mutual responsibility established by God. 


inheritance,;Mosaic Covenant; possession; receive; semantic

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