The Military History of Ancient Israel

The Military History of Ancient Israel

The Military History of Ancient Israel

The Military History of Ancient Israel

Synopsis

"Exactly how did the Israelites cross the dessert? How did Moses cross the Red Sea? How did Joshua take Jericho, and how did the sun appear to stand still at the Ayjllon Valley? No one has ever analyzed the Bible as a military history. Gabriel provides the first attempt at a continuous historical narrative of the military history of ancient Israel. He begins with a military analysis of Exodus, an unprecedented and hugely significant contribution to Exodus Studies. This book includes collaborative findings from archaeology, demography, ethnography, and other relevant disciplines. As a seasoned infantry officer and military historian, Gabriel brings a soldier's eye to the infantry combat described in the Bible. Seeking to make military sense of the Biblical narrative as preserved in Hebrew, he renders comprehensible some of the "mysterious" explanations for famous events." Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Excerpt

Foreword

Once more Professor Richard Gabriel takes us to the ancient Near East to what is to western civilization its most holy center, Palestine, birthplace of Judaism and Christianity. Thus naturally we associate biblical Palestine with the message of peace, the essential core of the Bible's teaching. Both the Old and New Testaments envisage eternal peace at the end of the days as the ultimate goal of divine providence when all people "will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation shall not lift up sword against Nation, neither shall they learn war anymore" (Isaiah 2:4). How and when did these ideas crystallize in ancient Israel? There need not have been a logical and immediate outcome of adopting the belief in one god. The Bible explicitly mentions the Almighty as "the Lord of Hosts" (Adonai Zebaoth). The ancient Israelites, like all believers until now, were convinced of the Lord's role in war. He was the divine spiritus movens that bestowed both victory and defeat on their earthly hosts. They put their trust in God to lead his people to triumph over those pagan nations that were against Israel.

The prayer for ad hoc victory in war was, however, soon paralleled by the overwhelming quest for divinely imposed peace in the conduct of human affairs. The prophets prophesied peace, shalom, no less than thirty times in the Bible as it has come down to us. Israel's fondest hope was the time when each and every man will enjoy peace "sitting under his vine and under his fig tree" (Micah 4:4). Military efforts will become unnecessary and redundant. Zechariah proclaims that God himself will "cut off the chariot from Ephraim and the horse from Jerusalem" because "he shall command peace unto the nations … from sea even to sea and from river even to the end of the earth" (Zechariah 9:10).

The explanation for this development in the eschatological outlook of the . . .

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