Israel Block 6

Israel c. 2000 to 500 BCE
By: Becca Adelstein

Nomadic caravan groups became a sedentary, agriculturalist society.
Civilizations- hierarchy of social classes, scribes/written language, government, urban centers, military, laws, G*d worship?

Social (Three distinct periods in early history created three different social periods.)
Period One- Nomads
Nomadic caravan groups became a sedentary, agriculturalist society. At first, nomads camped near water sources during the dry season. For the rest of the year they drove herds of cattle, sheep and donkeys to a sequence of grazing areas. Animals supplied them with milk, cheese, meat and cloth.
Patriarchal family units- male heirs very important (first sons got double the inheritance of other sons.) If man does not have a son, he can: adopt one or take his wife's slave as a mistress and try to have a son with her. If a man dies without an heir, his brother is expected to marry his wife and provide a son to carry on their family's name.
Period Two- A Kingdom
Gender Roles- women were minimally respected for vital services to the family (sons.) Cannot inherit land or incite a divorce, and if they are caught cheating they can be put to death. With the urbanization of Israel women found more jobs outside of the house (some led small bands of fighters into battle, some became "Wise Women" and wrote poems and histories, etc.)
Urbanization created social stratification. Ex- creation of a Monarchy. Also, temple priests became one of the wealthiest classes in Israel.
Period Three- Diaspora
Scattering of Israelites to Babylon, Arabia and world. Stayed connected through synagogues- centers of religion, education and social gatherings.

Culture & Religion
The Israelites' History and Culture according to Archaeologists
The Israelites' History and Culture according to the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament)
Generations of pastoralist peoples reject idols, band together and migrate. (c. 1800)
Abraham and his descendants reject idols, migrate from Mesopotamia through Syrian desert to land of Israel.
Nomads and settled peoples fought a lot.
Stories of Cain and Abel, the wicked cities of Sodom and Gomorrah.
Believe that Joseph had ties to royal family in Egypt.
Leadership handed down from Abraham to sons Isaac and Jacob to many sons and Joseph. Joseph sold as slave to egyptians, became Pharaoh's prophet, assisted Israelites when drought hit.
Little evidence to back up slavery theory, however the dates possibly match up to when the Egyptians were constructing largest architectural structures.
Egyptians begin to despise Israelites, enslave them for many years until Moses leads them out of Egypt. Moses led Israelites around Sinai for 40 years, made the covenant with G*d (10 Commandments.)
Canaan fighting within itself- Israelites came and wedged themselves into land. Gained support from refugees fleeing the fighting.
Joshua led Israelites into Canaan where they took over cities with an Israeli army.
Covenant With G*d The last building block of monotheism- made a pact with the "One True G*d" (Yahwey) to obey his laws if he would protect them.
TorahScroll.jpgTorah/Hebrew Bible
Fun videos to watch about the Israelites leaving Egypt and the start of the Jewish holidays Passover and Hanukkah:

Humans and Environment
Lived in Desert (Sinai). Were a mostly agricultural and pastoral society. As nomads they had very little effect on the environment (moving around so much).
Grew wheat and other grains, as well as olives and grapes for oil and wine.
Domesticated animals included donkeys, cattle, sheep and camels.


Located in a great spot for land and sea trade.
Linked Anatolia, Egypt, Arabia and Mesopotamia as well as traded with the Sheba.
Got wealth from military victories and created a lavish court.
Employed slaves for large building projects. (Ironic, but shows wealth and power of the monarchy.)

Politics (Three distinct periods in early history created three different political periods.)
Period One- Nomadic
Banded together under the idea of a single deity (monotheism) and in the land of Israel, had mythical leaders (Abraham, Isaac, etc.) but not definite monarch or political structure.
Period Two- Monarchy
Conflicts with Philistines forced Israel to elect first King: Saul (1020 - 1000 BCE) who beat back the Philistines. (Biblical story of David and Goliath.)
King David (1000 - 960 BCE) unified monarchy by making the capital Jerusalem. (Urban center of trade/commerce) Also made it the religious capital of Israel by bringing the Ark (holy place of rest for the Torah/Old Testament) to Jerusalem. Took census to collect taxes and raise standing army.
King Solomon (960 - 920 BCE) expanded trade into and out of Israel. (Ex- began trading with Phoenicians)
Period Three- Fall of Early Israel
After Solomon's death, Israel split into two parts: Israel in the north and Judah in the south.
721 BCE- Assyrians destroy northern Israel.
587 BCE- Nebuchadnezzar captures Jerusalem, destroys Judah.

Bulliet, Richard. Earth and Its People, AP Edition, (Boston: Wadsworth, 2011) pg. 96-102