Biblical Geography and History

By Charles Foster Kent | Go to book overview

XII
THE NOMADIC AND EGYPTIAN PERIOD OF HEBREW HISTORY

The Entrance of the Forefathers of the Hebrews Into Canaan. The biblical traditions regarding the beginnings of Hebrew history differ widely in regard to details, but regarding the great movements they are in perfect agreement. They all unite in declaring that the forefathers of the race were nomads and entered Palestine from the east. The fourteenth chapter of Genesis contains later echoes of a tradition which connects Abraham, the forefather of the race, with the far-away glorious age of Hammurabi (Amraphel) who lived about 1900 B.C. Interpreted into historic terms, this narrative implies that the Hebrews traced back their ancestry to the great movement of nomads toward Palestine which took place about the beginning of the second millennium B.C. It was about this time that the earlier non-Semitic population in Palestine was supplanted by the Semitic races, known to later generations as the Canaanites. In tracing their ancestry to these early immigrants, the Hebrews were entirely justified, for the mixed race, which ultimately occupied central Palestine and was known as the Israelites, in time completely absorbed the old Amorite and Canaanite population. The Jacob traditions point to a later movement of nomadic peoples toward Palestine. In the light of the contemporary history of Canaan it is exceedingly probable that this is to be identified with the incoming wave of the Habiri, among whom were undoubtedly to be found many of the early ancestors of the Hebrews. These successive waves of nomadic invasion were the inevitable result of the physical conditions

-106-

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