In the Book of Numbers, Chapter 34, the borders of Israel's inheritance, the land of Canaan, are described. I'm a bit confused about these descriptions.

For instance, in verse 8 the northern border goes from the big sea to Mount Hor (which I thought should rather be the southern border); other mentioned places are hard to look up.

Thus how is this land survey to be interpreted?


Please be aware that the boundaries described in Numbers 34 are the boundaries of Canaan, not the boundaries of Israel. Mount Hor is near the border of Edom in the south (Numbers 20:22-23). According to the New International Version Study Bible, nothing is known for certain about the location of Mount Hor other than its proximity to the border of Edom. Edom refused permission for the Israelites to pass through their land and it was on Mount Hor that Aaron died. The Israelites had not yet taken possession of the land. Numbers 33:39 and Deuteronomy 10:6 say he died and was buried at Moserah, in the vicinity of Kadesh. See this map: https://bibleatlas.org/moseroth.htm

It is difficult to pin down many of the places named in Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy and Joshua because they no longer exist or have been renamed. Here are a few locations I found:

Ammon, Moab and Edom are now in the region of Jordan.

Canaan is now part of Northern Israel and Southern Lebanon.

I found a related article that may of interest to you. Part of it says this:

The boundaries of the Promised Land were from the River of Egypt (the Nile) in the south to the Euphrates (Exodus 23:31) in the north. By the time Israel was ready to take the land, hundreds of years after Abraham, it was inhabited by pagan nations: Canaanites, Amorites, Hittites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites (Exodus 33:2). When it was time for the Israelites to inherit the Promised Land, God raised up Moses to bring His people out of slavery in Egypt and used Joshua to lead a military conquest of Canaan.

According to Joshua 1:4 the land of Israel would include territory extending “from the desert (in the south) to Lebanon (in the north), and from the great river, the Euphrates (in the north east)—all the Hittite country—to the Mediterranean Sea in the west.” This territory would include the land from the southern tip of Israel along the Red Sea to the Euphrates River on the east, the border of Syria on the north (land of the Hittites), and the Mediterranean Sea (Great Sea) to the west. Source: https://www.gotquestions.org/Israel-territory.html

This site may be useful for finding maps of places mentioned in the Bible: https://bibleatlas.org/

  • I was confused that this was just about Canaan. Many thanks for the bibleatlas too, much apreciated that you pointed out the verses about the promised land. – user13112959 Apr 1 '20 at 22:44

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