Israel’s Divine Land Rights

by WD Kemner November 2023




Israel has always had to fight for land. This has been their heritage.  Why is this? To understand this, one needs to understand who is Israel.


Are they descendants of Abraham or a particular group of descendants? This article is intended to answer those two questions in relation to historical facts; not to discuss the religious and political rhetoric that is taking place.


A knowledge of the history does give a better understanding of some of the causes behind the rhetoric.



WHO ARE DESCENDANTS of Abram \ Abraham?



To begin with, one needs to understand who are descendants of Abraham.


People can be placed into three distinct groups as to how they are descended from Abraham.  It is this fact that has led to the tensions in the Middle East for centuries.  The members of these groups tend to be concerned with the beliefs and ideas behind the religious or political faction with which they are associated.  Therefore, much of the fighting taking place today is over religious rhetoric and not land or God.


The rest of the planet’s population generally lacks any knowledge of the historical facts or understanding of the rhetoric to know what is transpiring.



Descendants can be placed into One of these Three Groups:



Group 1:  Descendants of Abram and Hagar (handmaid to first wife Sarai) – This is the son Ishmael.


Group 2:  Descendants of Abraham (name changed from Abram) and Abraham’s wife Sarah (name changed from Sarai). This is the son Isaac.


Group 3:  Descendants of Isaac and wife Rebekah – Twin boys: Esau and Jacob








This is where the history begins.





Abram is told by God to leave Haran (where his family was) and go to a land that God would show him.  Genesis 12:1


Abram age 75 leaves his father’s house in Haran at the directive of God to go to Canaan.


Taking with him his clan consisting of:


Wife Sarai (who was also Abram’s half-sister Genesis 20:12)

Nephew Lot (Brother’s son Genesis 12:5)

All their “substance and souls” from Haran.  Abram already had property and people that were associated with him. Where he went, they went.



PROMISE from God – to ABRAM


Genesis 12:2 – “And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing:”


Genesis 12:3 – “And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.”






Abram traveled to the place of Sichem on the plain of Moreh. – Genesis 12:6



PROMISE from God – to ABRAM



Genesis 12:7 – “And the LORD appeared unto Abram, and said, Unto thy seed will I give this land: and there builded he an altar unto the LORD, who appeared unto him.”



Note: First land promise and Abram had “No Seed” (Descendants) at the time.






Abram had been in Egypt (Genesis 12:14-20).

He leaves Egypt and goes south and stops between Bethel and Hai (Genesis 13:3).

This is where Abram and his nephew Lot part ways and go separate ways.

Abram stays in Canaan.  Genesis 3:12.

Lot and his descendants are NOT part of the promises.


PROMISE from God – to ABRAM



Genesis 13:14 – “And the LORD said unto Abram, after that Lot was separated from him, Lift up now thine eyes, and look from the place where thou art northward, and southward, and eastward, and westward:”


Genesis 13:15 – “For all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed for ever.”


Genesis 13:16 – “And I will make thy seed as the dust of the earth: so that if a man can number the dust of the earth, then shall thy seed also be numbered.”


Genesis 13:17 – “Arise, walk through the land in the length of it and in the breadth of it; for I will give it unto thee.”



Note:  Abram is now in Canaan.  All that he could see in any direction is promised to him and his seed FOREVER. He still has no “seed” (children or descendants).






Abram questions God regarding being childless and receives a covenant promise (Genesis 15).



PROMISE from God – to ABRAM


Genesis 15:5 – “And he brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be.”


Genesis 15:6 – “And he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness.”


The future captivity in Egypt (lasting 400 years) is told to Abram and he is told that his (Abram) seed would return back to Canaan with great substance.


Genesis 15:13 – “And he said unto Abram, Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years;”


Genesis 15:14 – “And also that nation, whom they shall serve, will I judge: and afterward shall they come out with great substance.”


Genesis 15:15 – “And thou shalt go to thy fathers in peace; thou shalt be buried in a good old age.”


Genesis 15:16 – “But in the fourth generation they shall come hither again: for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full.”



The Covenant from God – land of promise


Genesis 15:18 – “In the same day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying, Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates:”


Genesis 15:19 – “…The Kenites, and the Kenizzites, and the Kadmonites,…”

Genesis 15:20 – “…And the Hittites, and the Perizzites, and the Rephaims,…”

Genesis 15:21 – “…And the Amorites, and the Canaanites, and the Girgashites, and the Jebusites….”



Map of the land that was given to Abrahan

Map Source: Created by Clarence Larkin 1919 – now Public Domain


This map above depicts the land that was granted to Israel by God.  They might not be in possession of this today but there has never been a promise made by God that has been unfulfilled.


Research the names listed in verses 19-21 if you are interested in more information.  Many people have published maps that show the areas where these people resided.





The first Descendants now come into the story.


Birth and promises regarding GROUP #1 as listed at beginning of this document.



Abram (age 86) and Sarai take things into their own hands and decide to help God with the promise of a child. Sarai gives her handmaid (Hagar) to Abram for a wife so Abram can have a child. The child is born and named: Ishmael - Genesis 16



PROMISE from God - to Hagar regarding her son Ishmael



Genesis 16:10 – “And the angel of the LORD said unto her, I will multiply thy seed exceedingly, that it shall not be numbered for multitude.”


Genesis 16:12 – “And he will be a wild man; his hand will be against every man, and every man's hand against him; and he shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren.”



Note the following parts of the promise regarding her descendants, they will:


·         Multiply to the point of not being able to be numbered.

·         Always be against EVERY man and EVERY man against them.

·         Live in the presence of ALL their brethren.






Abram is age 99 and God further outlines more details of the Covenant between God and Abram and the seed of Abraham.


He changes Abram’s name to Abraham and Sarai to Sarah. Genesis 17:5,15






Genesis 17:4 – “As for me, behold, my covenant is with thee, and thou shalt be a father of many nations.”


Genesis 17:6 – “And I will make thee exceeding fruitful, and I will make nations of thee, and kings shall come out of thee.”


Genesis 17:7 – “And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee.”


Genesis 17:8 – “And I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land wherein thou art a stranger, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.”






Genesis 17-21 tells the story of Sarah and the birth of her child.






Genesis 17:19 – “And God said, Sarah thy wife shall bear thee a son indeed; and thou shalt call his name Isaac: and I will establish my covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his seed after him.”


Genesis 17:21 – “But my covenant will I establish with Isaac, which Sarah shall bear unto thee at this set time in the next year.”


Genesis 21:12 – “And God said unto Abraham, Let it not be grievous in thy sight because of the lad, and because of thy bondwoman; in all that Sarah hath said unto thee, hearken unto her voice; for in Isaac shall thy seed be called.”



God promises a child to Sarah and sets this coming child (Isaac) of Sarah to be the inheritor of the promises and to be called Abraham’s seed.


This child is the starting point for Group #2 from beginning of document.






ISHMAEL and his Descendants are Group #1 from beginning of this document.


Genesis 17:20 – “And as for Ishmael, I have heard thee: Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly; twelve princes shall he beget, and I will make him a great nation.”


Genesis 21:13 – “And also of the son of the bondwoman will I make a nation, because he is thy seed.”


God excludes Group #1 from these promises to Abraham.


And then…


Group #1 is given a separate promise.


In addition to the promises made to the mother Hagar in Chapter 16, God now tells the father Abraham that Ishmael will be blessed as well.  He will have his own blessing, will be fruitful and multiply.  Ishmael’s seed WILL be a great nation. He will be father to twelve princes.



Note: Further discussions in scripture of “Abraham’s seed” in regards to receiving the inheritance (according to Genesis 21:12) will be through the descendants of ISAAC.


Genesis 21:14-21 establishes that Hagar and Ishmael then were separated from Abraham and went in the wilderness of Beersheba and dwelt in wilderness of Paran with Ishmael taking a wife out of land of Egypt.


Genesis 25:12-18 lists the generations of Ishmael including the twelve princes as God had stated in chapter 17.  He lived to age 137.  His people dwelt from Havilah to Shur, that is before Egypt as one travels towards Assyria].





Test of Faith for Abraham to sacrifice the Promised Heir can be read in Genesis 22.






Genesis 22:18 – “And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice.”


With this event the promises move to the next generation with Abraham’s son Isaac.









Sarah dies and is buried Genesis 23:1-2.  Abraham takes another wife named Keturah and has more children Genesis 25.  The promise is already established through Isaac.  Abraham dies Genesis 25:8 after having given everything to Issac. Genesis 25:5



PROMISES from God - to ISAAC



Genesis 26:3 – “Sojourn in this land, and I will be with thee, and will bless thee; for unto thee, and unto thy seed, I will give all these countries, and I will perform the oath which I sware unto Abraham thy father;”


Genesis 26:4 – “And I will make thy seed to multiply as the stars of heaven, and will give unto thy seed all these countries; and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed;”


Genesis 26:5 – “Because that Abraham obeyed my voice, and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws.”









The next step in the story can be read in Genesis 25 and 27.


Isaac and wife Rebekah have twin boys: Esau and Jacob. They grow up and Esau sells his birthright to Jacob. Isaac gives his blessing to Jacob and not Esau



A parent’s “Blessing” upon the next generation was significant.



Isaac’s Blessings upon son Jacob


Genesis 27:28 – “Therefore God give thee of the dew of heaven, and the fatness of the earth, and plenty of corn and wine:”


Genesis 27:29 – “Let people serve thee, and nations bow down to thee: be lord over thy brethren, and let thy mother's sons bow down to thee: cursed be every one that curseth thee, and blessed be he that blesseth thee.”


Genesis 27:37 – “And Isaac answered and said unto Esau, Behold, I have made him thy lord, and all his brethren have I given to him for servants; and with corn and wine have I sustained him: and what shall I do now unto thee, my son?”


Genesis 28:3 – “And God Almighty bless thee, and make thee fruitful, and multiply thee, that thou mayest be a multitude of people;”


Genesis 28:4 – “And give thee the blessing of Abraham, to thee, and to thy seed with thee; that thou mayest inherit the land wherein thou art a stranger, which God gave unto Abraham.”






Genesis 28:13 – “And, behold, the LORD stood above it, and said, I am the LORD God of Abraham thy father, and the God of Isaac: the land whereon thou liest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed;”


Genesis 28:14 – “And thy seed shall be as the dust of the earth, and thou shalt spread abroad to the west, and to the east, and to the north, and to the south: and in thee and in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed.”


Genesis 28:15 – “And, behold, I am with thee, and will keep thee in all places whither thou goest, and will bring thee again into this land; for I will not leave thee, until I have done that which I have spoken to thee of.”






Read the complete story in Genesis 29 – 35.  The story relates the events around the marriage of Jacob to his wives Leah and Rachel and the birth of Twelve sons.


As with his grandfather, Jacob is given a name change that is very important.  His name becomes: ISRAEL


Genesis 32:28 – “And he said, Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed.”






Genesis 35:10 – “And God said unto him, Thy name is Jacob: thy name shall not be called any more Jacob, but Israel shall be thy name: and he called his name Israel.”


Genesis 35:11 – “And God said unto him, I am God Almighty: be fruitful and multiply; a nation and a company of nations shall be of thee, and kings shall come out of thy loins;”


Genesis 35:12 – “And the land which I gave Abraham and Isaac, to thee I will give it, and to thy seed after thee will I give the land.”








Esau married several women – Genesis 26:34; 28:9


Genesis 36 sets out the lineage of Esau and his generations.


Scripture also tells us his name was also: Edom - Genesis 25:30; 36:8, 19, 43


Mount Seir – home to Esau /Edom Genesis 33:16; 36:8









The events in the life of Jacob and his sons can be read in Genesis 37-50.


Due to a famine in the land, Jacob and sons would end up in Egypt.


Four hundred years go by, their descendants have multiplied and now are called Israelites.  The descendants are each a member of one of the tribes. Tribes all consist of members related to one of the twelve sons of Jacob.


They are now slaves to Egyptians. This is as God had told Abraham it would happen. Genesis 15:13


The Books of Exodus and Joshua detail their escape from captivity under the leadership of Moses and then Joshua.


Before his death, God shows Moses the Land that the tribes will get per God’s promises to Abraham – Isaac and Jacob – Deuteronomy 34:1-4


The book of Joshua outlines the Israelites taking possession of that very same land.


It was then divided among the tribes as an inheritance.  Beginning in Joshua 13:7 and detailed in further chapters.



1767 map showing the land divided among the 12 tribes

1767 map by Emanuel Bowen showing land divided into the Twelve Tribes of Israel.





This document has just reviewed the history of the land that was given to the descendants of Jacob by God.  The Israelites in their short history were instructed to destroy many nations and peoples who lived in a state of wickedness and defilement of God’s laws.  The Israelites did not do as instructed and instead inter-mixed with these cultures and beliefs.  Many of the issues of the current day are now a result of this. 


Other issues stem from the belief of many groups of people that this land is due them because they are DESCENDANTS of ABRAHAM.  As we have seen in scripture, the “land” does not belong to “Descendants of Abraham” but instead it belongs to the “Descendants of Jacob / Israel”.  The conquest and control of this land that was given to the tribes has never fully occurred.  The early history can be seen in the books of the Old Testament.  The land has always been fought over but will all eventually belong to Israel when Christ makes His return.



(Disclaimer: All quoted scripture King James Version. This document is not intended to list the complete travels of Abram / Abraham.  See the Bible for that information.)