Matthew 5:5 and the Old Testament Land Promises: An Inheritance of the Earth or the Land of Israel?

Nelson S. Hsieh | May 12, 2017

While many biblical-theological scholars claim that Matthew 5:5 is a straightforward expansion of the OT land promises to now encompass the whole earth, the original text of Matthew 5:5 (κληρονομήσουσιν τὴν γῆν) makes no clear indication that it is referring to the “earth” rather than to the “land” of Israel. It is possible to interpret Matthew 5:5 as referring to an inheritance of the land of Israel, but un- fortunately, such an interpretive possibility has been obscured by English translations and ruled out by supersessionist theological assumptions regarding Israel’s future. Based on careful word study and sensitivity to the Jewish-focused literary- historical context of Matthew’s Gospel, this article will argue that Matthew 5:5 reaffirms a future Jewish inheritance of the land of Israel, an inheritance that does not exclude Gentiles but complements and fits within the worldwide inheritance for all of God’s people.

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