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Wednesday, August 5, 2015
8. Hebrews - Judaism
The Hebrews also known as Israelites and later as Jews were a people of the Palestinian region. The first reference to the Hebrews rushes around 1,200 BC, during the reign of Pharaoh Merneptah. At that time, some people known as "Israelites" have inhabited the region of Palestine. But according to the Hebrew traditions, its origins were linked to the patriarchs Abraham, Isaac and Jacob that would have started the lineage of the Hebrews and remembered as being responsible for the first reported pacts with God in the book of Genesis.
But the contents of the book of Genesis is difficult dating and its composition is assigned to different groups and times and being written later. There are several anachronisms in this book, for example, reference to the Philistines that helps date the Biblical account, since only the Philistines arrived in the region from 1,200 BC and the mention of Aramaeans who just reached the region in the tenth century BC and references some cities like Ur and Dan leading to the conclusion that probably much of Genesis was developed around 700 BC.
Another main event of the Hebrew people and the origin of Judaism is that the episode of the Exodus refers to a biblical episode to which the Jews enslaved in Egypt, have managed to escape the foreign land, returning to their homeland, Canaan, under the leadership of Moses leading 40 years. It is during the beginning of this journey that according to biblical accounts would have been the covenant between the Hebrews and their God on Mount Sinai by Moses receiving the Ten Commandments with the board. But there are no archaeological sources to corroborate the existence of Moses and of any human settlement at the exodus and the biblical account mentions only cities that existed long afterwards. The final event that ends with the conquest of Canaan where the Hebrews no longer a nomadic people to become a people with a land. This region would become the uniting element of this people, as would have been given by God and according to reports the Hebrew Bible would have gained through force.
The subsequent occupation of Canaan period was dominated by the government of individuals who were known as Judges in most military leaders, whose deeds are remembered in heroic fashion by the Hebrews. But it is difficult to write a continuous history of this period, since it features many chronological problems. The first judge would have been Otnael and the last would be a prophet Samuel that Saul would have enshrined as the first king and the beginning of the Hebrew monarchy.
It is in this period around 1,000 BC the Hebrew occupation of its territory is severely shaken by the invasions of the Philistines people and begins to be a need to unite around a stronger political figure as a monarch and King Saul is consecrated and spends much of his government chasing the Philistines and dies launching on his sword after a failed campaign against the Philistines. His fourth son, Ishbaal, takes his place for a few years before being murdered.
The successor of the Hebrew monarchy is David and after Solomon his son. It were during these two reigns that the Hebrews had their days of glory and a kingdom. But this period is small and after the death of Solomon in about 935 BC, his kingdom was divided into two states, Israel and Judah, the latter, the Jews inherited the name. According to scholars there was a great Hebrew kingdom and these leaders were enlarged at a later period and the reality is probably his achievements were much more modest. You must also keep in mind that no source of that time refers to either of the two kings and the kingdom of Israel.
After splitting into two states, Israel and Judah, there was a Omrida Dynasty, strongly recognized by archaeological documents as a powerful dynasty. Recognized as a cruel monarch by the biblical authors, was Ahab the son of Omri, however one of the greatest Hebrew kings put his dynasty were forgotten , while the period of Solomon was glorified on the biblical literature. In fact, most of the major archeological evidence of Israel's history is associated with this king and his successors, not Solomon.
The kingdom of Israel lasted until 721 BC with the Assyrian conquest of the kingdom of Judah is also conquered by the Babylonians in 598 BC, it became the Hebrew slaves, this period being known as the Babylonian Captivity.
The Babylonian captivity ended in 539 BC when Cyrus the Persian emperor conquered Babylon and freed the Jews who returned to Palestine and rebuilt the temple in Jerusalem that had been destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar. In 332 BC the Persians were defeated by Alexander the Great and the Macedonians and Greeks came to dominate Palestine, followed by Roman rule, from 63 BC After the containment of the Jewish revolt began in the mid-60 AD and the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD, the Jews dispersed throughout the world and the state of Israel was created in Palestine again only in 1948 by the UN.