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Discovery Magazine 6/1/2001


The Land Everybody Wanted

Throughout the world’s history, land has been something that people from every nation have tried to acquire. Bloody wars have been fought to determine who controls certain pieces of land. But there is one piece of land that quite possibly has been more sought after than any other land in the history of the world—the land of Palestine.

The land of Palestine has gone by different names in the past. When Moses brought the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt, they traveled to the Promised Land, which they called the land of Canaan. The people who lived in Canaan were called Canaanites. They were an evil group of idol worshippers who were the descendants of Noah’s grandson, Canaan (Genesis 9:18).

Later, Canaan was taken over by a group of people known as the Philistines. You probably remember that famous Philistine giant named Goliath, whom David conquered (with the help of God) using a stone and sling. Another famous Philistine was Delilah, Samson’s wicked wife who cut off all of his hair. The name of the territory changed from Canaan to Palestine because the Philistines conquered the area.

By the time Jesus was born in the land of Palestine, the Canaanites and Philistines had disappeared and God’s chosen people, the Israelites, had settled in the land. With all the fighting over this area, you might think that it was a huge place. But the truth is, the land where Jesus lived was not very big at all. It was only about 150 miles long and about 50 miles wide. It is truly amazing to think that Jesus left Palestine only once. When He was a small baby, His family traveled to Egypt in order to run away from wicked King Herod, who was trying to kill Jesus. Yet, even though He spent almost His entire life in a tiny land much smaller than the state of Alabama, He changed the entire course of human history. Jesus’ life shows us that we don’t always have to travel thousands of miles to do God’s will.

The little area of Palestine is a place filled with beautiful streams, dry wildernesses, tall mountains, and green valleys. Understanding its geography and history helps us more fully understand the life of our Lord.



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