Promised Land

The Promised Land Series covers the books in the Bible from Exodus to Judges. These books describe events from the birth of Moses to the end of the era of the judges of Israel.

In Genesis, God promised Abraham that his descendants would inherit the land of Canaan, so Canaan became known as The Promised Land. Modern Israel and Palestine encompass the majority of Canaan.

Abraham’s grandson was Jacob, whose name was changed to “Israel” by God. His descendants became known as the Hebrews or Israelites. During the later life of Jacob, the Hebrews moved to Egypt during a famine. The book of Exodus opens about four centuries later with the Hebrews still in Egypt, having become slaves of the Pharaoh.

The book of Exodus is primarily about Moses leading the Hebrews out of Egypt and into the wilderness, their covenant with God, and the construction of the Tabernacle.

Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy tell of the Hebrews wandering in the wilderness, the laws given to the Hebrews by God, and their adventures on the way to the Promised Land. These books end with the Israelites poised to enter the Promised Land, and the death of Moses.


A Dangerous Choice

The Israelites lived in Egypt for four centuries. It is easy to think of them as being faithful to God during that entire time period, but the dialogue at the burning bush refutes that idea.

Abraham’s family worshiped other gods before he left Ur. Rachel stole her father’s gods, and Jacob/Israel had his family bury their gods. When the family of Israel moved to Egypt, the notion of having many gods was probably as comfortable as the notion of having only one God.

When the Israelites first moved to Egypt, they had favor with the Egyptian pharaoh who placed them in the land of Goshen, a plain east of the Nile delta. This was an excellent idea, because Goshen was excellent for shepherds but useless for the Egyptian farmers who depended on the floods of the Nile to water their crops.

The Bible doesn’t give precise details, but it does say the Israelites had many descendants. You can easily imagine that the Israelites outgrew the land of Goshen and wanted to expand their territory. You can also imagine that, as the Israelites became less isolated, they became more accustomed to the many Egyptian gods.

First Israelite Elder
Primary Scriptures:
Exodus 4:29-31
Story Summary:
Moses and Aaron meet the Israelite elders
c. 1526 BC Birth of Moses c. 1446 BC The plagues and exodus