The semantic relationship between יְרֻשָֺּׁה and נַחֲלָה in Jeremiah 32 and Ruth 4

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Peer-Reviewed Research
  • SDG 2
  • SDG 1
  • Abstract:

    In almost every case except late usage the word group יְרֻשָֺּׁה and its derivatives refer to taking possession of the object named. The word group נַחֲלָה and its derivatives refer to the inheritance of household property. In late usage יְרֻשָֺּׁה and נַחֲלָה share the semantic field of inheritance and have been considered to be synonymous. This interpretation is critically re-evaluated. The word group נַחֲלָה has the meaning of permanent possession of the inheritance of the family's wealth and יְרֻשָֺּׁה the possession of property involving acquisition without stipulating the mode of acquisition. The continued possession of the land, יְרֻשָֺּׁה, was dependent upon the covenant relationship with Yahweh and although the possession of the land could be lost the land was allotted as a permanent possession, נַחֲלָה, to the household clans and tribes of Israel and restoration made on the grounds of the rights of inheritance. Land was the centre of the social system of Israel and it was the abuse of the rights associated with land that reflected a breakdown in the covenant relationship with Yahweh. A comparison is made of Jeremiah 32 and Ruth 4 in terms of the relation of יְרֻשָֺּׁה and נַחֲלָה to kinsman-redemption which was central to Israel's social system.