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The Hebrews The People • The Hebrews – Abraham was father of the Hebrew people – Monotheists • The Israelites – Moses received the Ten Commandments, creating a covenant between God and his “Chosen People” – God gave them “The Promised Land” (Israel) and they were the Israelites • The Jews – The land close to Jerusalem came to be called Judah The Land • In ancient times, Israel had many names – Canaan – Kingdom of Israel – Israel – Judah – Judea – Palestine Map Activity • This activity will help you understand the locations and movements of the Hebrew people • Map – As I discuss the overview of the land and people you will label the map and take notes The Lands continued • Mesopotamia – Ur • Hebrews were not an ethnic group until they left. • Egypt – Hebrew “nation” forms • Palestine/Israel/Canaan/Shechem – Hebrew god promised this land to them. – Desirable; geography determined the course of Hebrew history. – Land bridge between Mesopotamia and Egypt Hebrews • First monotheistic religion • Abraham was the father of all Hebrew People • Different from other civilizations we have and will discuss – – – – – – Mesopotamia Egypt Greece Rome India China Abraham’s Geneaology HAGAR ABRAHAM Ishmael 12 Arabian Tribes SARAH Isaac Jacob 12 Tribes of Israel Esau The Age of the Patriarchs 1950 BCE – 1500 BCE • No record in history until 1224-1211 BCE – New Kingdom, Egypt – Listed as a conquered people “now living in Canaan” • All Hebrew history is from Genesis • Pre-Egyptian Hebrews: Age of the Patriarchs – impossible to date • Best guess of historians:1950 – 1500 BCE. – Written about a thousand years after it happened – Not recorded in other histories. • Around the same time as the Egyptian Middle Kingdom Age of the Patriarchs: Important Figures YAHWEH • Representation of God’s name. 4 consonants – no vowels in Hebrew: YHVH, JHVH, or YHWH in English. Abraham • Selected with his descendants by Yahweh to be his people. • Visited by Yahweh & told to move his family. – Migration - 1950 BCE – Mesopotamia was collapsing into chaos by this time – Akkadians had fallen. • Yahweh says Shechem (Palestine) will be given to the Abraham & his descendents. – Why the Hebrews? Special purpose that only they can fulfill for Elohim (God). – Covenant based on obedience to God The Original Hebrews • Nomadic tribe • Society organized around kinship – Relationship with god is also a kinship relationship: • Anybody who isn't a descendant of Abraham cannot be in the covenant with God. • Hebrew tribes move to Egypt for a better life. – Probably one of the foreign groups who overwhelmed Egypt at the end of the Middle Kingdom. • Before this they were wandering – they did not occupy modern day Israel until later. More on the Age of Patriarchs Religion of the early Hebrews • NOT the Yahweh cult (Judaism) – introduced by Moses not Abraham • Religious practices described in Genesis indicate a belief in animistic forces/polytheism – Highly controversial. • End of the Age of Patriarchs: several tribes claim a common ancestor and a common identity. • Name of tribes unknown – "Hebrew". • Maybe from the Egyptian word, "apiru," or "foreigner." • “Habiru” = landless foreigner Egypt & the Wanderings: 1500-1250 BCE • Almost no accounts of the Hebrews in Egypt • Several Egyptian records of foreign groups during the New Kingdom – expelling strong groups. – The Hebrews never appear – even with the drama of Exodus • Hebrew records only of events leading to the migration – Centuries of missing history • Migration out of Egypt ~1250 BCE: New Kingdom – the most important event in Hebrew history. – Gave the Hebrews an identity, a nation, a founder, and a name (“Children of Israel” – first in Exodus) Moses and the Yahweh Cult • Hebrews should have disappeared from history • Moses – made the Hebrews important, united them into a distinct people, gave them a religion and a theology • Historical questions about Moses & Exodus – One person or many (Hebrew, Egyptian, Midianite?) Egyptian name? Spent a lot of time with the Midianites ; did he learn the Yahweh cult from them? – Who participated in the migration? • Focus is on the Hebrews; Exodus claims that a "diverse group of peoples" left Egypt with Moses. Who were they? • Crossing the Red Sea controversy. – One Migration or several? What kind of resistance was faced? What was the battle at the Sea of Reeds like? – 2 Accounts in Exodus: 1. Yahweh parts the sea; the Egyptians get stuck in the mud. 2. Yahweh parts the sea; the Egyptians drown. Which is right? Traditional Exodus Route Introduction to Yahweh and Yahweh cult • Mount Sinai (Arabian Peninsula). • Midianites – Nomadic, tribal group who lived there – Worshipped a nature god in Mt. Sinai – Moses is introduced to Yahweh; After Moses returns from Mt. Sinai a Midinite says he knew Yahweh was the most powerful god all along. The Monarchy 1050 – 920 BCE • After 200 yrs. In Canaan Hebrews unite & form a single state under a King. – Bible stories say this was seen as an act of disobedience against Yahweh – Would lead to great suffering. • Still faced constant threat of invasion and oppression • Judaism was not yet a stable religion. King Saul • King – following Egyptian and Mesopotamian model. – Still tribal people; slow transition to monarchy. • Saul – Chosen by popularity among the people. • Tall, good looking – Ineffectual leader – Mostly a military leader (not like other kings) • No accounts of acting like a king – other than military – Not rich – Only king for 2 years due to disobedience to Yahweh. • Yahweh picks a new king. • Saul’s kingdom in pink David • Starts as young, handsome, popular teenager in Saul’s court. – Chosen by Yahweh before Saul is even King. – Saul tried to kill him several times. • Character changes as king (from hero in Saul’s court to villain) • The Good: Big accomplishments. (40 years as king). – – – – – Defeats the Philistines Hebrew kingdom into a Hebrew empire. Unites the tribes of Israel under an absolute monarchy. Non-military affairs: building, legislation, judiciaries, etc. Built up Jerusalem to look more like the capitals of other kings: rich, large, beautiful • The Bad – Hebrews found themselves under heavy taxes and forced labor. – Killed a man to marry his wife. Solomon • Last king, • best of all the kings of Israel? • The Good – He built up the capital in Jerusalem (temple of Jerusalem) – imported products: gold, copper, and cedar, - unavailable in Israel. • The Bad – Taxed his people heavily. – Gave twenty towns to foreign powers for imported goods – Paid Phoenicia in slave labor: every three months, 30,000 Hebrews performed slave labor for the King • Portrayed as a good king in the bible – from accounts of Hebrews living under they did not agree. – They became very unhappy. • When he died (around 926 to 922 BCE) the 10 northern tribes revolted. – 10 of 12 tribes Established their own kingdom. – Empire of David and Solomon was gone • Two kingdoms emerged & lost all the territory within 100 years. The 2 Kingdoms 920 -597 BCE • North – Israel – Israelites capital in Samaria • South - Judah. – Judeans capital in Jerusalem. • Separate states for 200+ years • Many bad kings • Empire continues to diminish as lands claim independence. – Within 100 years Israel and Judah are tiny states - no bigger than Connecticut. – Controlled by Mesopotamian kingdoms and Egypt – Important for military and commercial use. The Conquest of Israel • 722 BCE: Assyrians conquered Israel. – forced migration: 10 tribes; upper class/powerful • Disappear permanently; 10 lost tribes of Israel • scattered in small populations all over the Middle East. • Drop their Hebrew names, identity, and religion to fit in. – Sent Assyrians to move into the conquered territory. • Some later adopt Yahweh religion • Babylonians later did the same thing when they conquered Judah – but all to one location. – Jews set up a separate community retained their religion and identity. The Conquest of Judah • 701 BCE: Assyrians • 625 BCE: Babylonians • Judah tries to extend territory as area is in chaos – loses. – Judah attacked by Egypt • 605 BCE: Babylonians defeated the Egyptians • 601 BCE: Babylonians defeated BY the Egyptians – The king of Judah defected to the Egyptians. • 597 BCE: Babylonian king, Nebuchadnezzar, sent troops to punish Judah – King gave Jerusalem to Nebuchadnezzar • Nebuchadnezzar deported 10,000 Jews to his capital in Babylon – Ordinary people were allowed to stay in Judah. • New King of Judah defects from the Babylonians. – 586 BCE: Jerusalem re-conquered by Nebuchadnezzar – New smaller deportation. • The Hebrew kingdom was ended. Exile in Babylon 597 – 538 BCE • During the exile 2 groups: the Jew in Babylon and the Jews who remain in Judah. • We know almost nothing of the Jews in Judah after 586. – Famine, infinite despair. – Some people were better off: land of rich redistributed to the poor. (Rich in Babylon) • Rivalries between the two groups of Jews. – Wealthy and professional Jews in Babylon regarded themselves as the true Jewish people. • Jewish communities in Babylon – Some adopted the Babylonian religion, but most remained united in worship of Yahweh. • Period of great despair – Felt Yahweh had turned away from them. – Blamed Exile on their own impurity. • Theology of salvation appears. – Israelites would be gathered together, society and religion purified, unified kingdom reestablished – The Torah was probably written in its finalized form in this period. (Central holy text of the Jews). After the Exile 538-332 BCE • Cyrus of Persia conquered the Middle East – wanted to conquer the world for religious reasons. – Conquest was strategic before Cyrus • Middle of the 7th century BCE: prophet, Zarathustra (aka: Zoroaster), appeared among Persians – preached a new religion, Zoroastrianism • Zoroastrianism: Gods took sides. – Cyrus said Yahweh was on the Good side – Cyrus ordered the temple rebuilt. – Ordered that the Jews in Babylon return to Jerusalem. • not unique to Jews • Not all Jews chose to return. • Judah became a Theological State – Jews were sent home only to worship! • Society Changed – – – – – – solely concerned with religious matters foreign religions not tolerated Non-Jews were persecuted only Yahweh was worshipped. Persians and Greeks respected this Romans eventually try to introduce new Gods and greatly offend the Jews. • Jews included Persian elements in their religion – Most elements were popular not official beliefs – Some persist in Christianity. • Persian Beliefs: – dualistic universe (good vs. evil) • Hebrew belief: the universe was dominated only by Yahweh. History was the result of Yahweh and Human will – not good and evil. – dualistic afterlife. (heaven and hell) • Hebrews belief: soul after death went to a house of dust called "Sheol," for a brief time then faded from existence. • Focus on present life. • In popular religion (which becomes Christianity), the Hebrews adopted this view of the afterlife. • explains suffering in this life: Exile & justice at one's death Greeks and Jews 332-63 BCE • Alexander the Great defeats Persia – Judah became part of Macedonia, a Greek state. • After his death empire divided among three generals. – Hebrew state caught in the middle of power struggles – Between 319 and 302 BCE, Jerusalem changed hands seven times. • Jews bitterly resented the Greeks. – More foreign than any group they had ever seen. – The gods of the Greeks seemed wildly offensive. – Jewish society was very opposed to exposure of the body • Greeks wrestled nude and dressed very lightly • Jews also lived in Mesopotamia, Egypt, & other parts of the Middle East – Jews outside of Judah still thrived. – Hellenistic (Greek) world, Jews formed unified and solid communities • Torah was translated into Greek in Ptolemaic Egypt because it was the law code of the Jews. – Anti-Egyptian elements softened or removed. – This translation made Judaism into a “World Religion”: Made the Hebrew scriptures available to Mediterranean world & early Christians. The Diaspora (dispersion, scattering) • Jewish state ends in 70 C.E – Romans began to drive Jews from the home • Really began before the Romans – Forced Migrations under Assyrians & Babylonians • In 63 BCE, Judea became a protectorate of Rome. – Judea was allowed a king – Roman Governor's was to regulate trade and maximize tax revenue. • Romans were a nightmare for the Jews. – They heavily taxed the Jews, called their emperors Gods, etc. • 70 CE: the Judeans revolted – 73 CE, last of the revolutionaries stuck in fort called Masada • Romans had waged war for two years • 1000 men, women, and children inside were beginning to starve. • Jewish revolutionaries killed themselves – The Romans then destroyed Jerusalem, annexed Judea as a Roman province • Systematically drove the Jews from Palestine – After 73 CE, Hebrew history would only be the history of the Diaspora as the Jews and their world view spread over Africa, Asia, and Europe. – The Roman Israel was the land Jesus was born into.