The verb nāchal (H5157) means “to receive, to take property as a permanent possession, usually as the result of succession.” Appearing some sixty times in the OT, its first occurrence is in Exo_23:30, where God promises to drive the Canaanites from the land of promise, enabling His people to “be increased, and inherit the land.” Interestingly, two verses before, God promised to send “hornets” to aid in this task. This divine judgment could refer to literal hornets, but could possibly be figurative language for the Egyptians, as they raided Canaan regularly and the word for hornet (sir‘āh, or zirāh, H6880) is similar to the one for Egyptians (misrayim, H4714). We also find nāchal several times in Joshua (Jos_1:6; Jos_11:23; Jos_13:6-7; Jos_13:33; Jos_19:9;).
A wonderful occurrence of nāchal is in Psa_119:111 : “Thy testimonies have I taken as an heritage for ever,” or more literally, “I have inherited Thy testimonies.” While we might get really happy when someone does leave us something valuable in their will, that is merely temporal. God’s Word is the greatest inheritance we possess. Do we truly grasp that truth? Nothing, absolutely nothing, equals the value of the Word of God.
It is extremely significant that the Septuagint often translates nāchal as the Greek klēronomia (G2817), or a similar form. The NT repeatedly speaks of the inheritance we have as believers. There is no better place to see this emphasis, in fact, than in Ephesians 1. As the Urim and Thummim were used in the OT to discover God’s will (e.g., Num_27:21; 1Ch_24:5-6) and to divide land (1Ch_6:54-81), the same idea is found in Classical Greek, as lots were drawn to discover the will of the gods. The root klēros (G2819), in fact, referred to “the fragment of stone or piece of wood which was used as a lot (December 22). Paul, therefore, tells us in Eph_1:11, “In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will.” In other words, the lot of inheritance has fallen to us, not by chance, but by the sovereign will of God. He goes on to say that the “earnest” (literally, “first installment,” arrabōn, G728) of our inheritance is the Holy Spirit, who has sealed (sphragizō,G4972) us in Christ (Eph_1:14). He then reveals the “riches of the glory of [Christ’s] inheritance in the saints” (Eph_1:18). Oh, what a heritage we have!
Scriptures for Study: Read Ephesians 1 today and rejoice in your riches!