The Founders and Rulers of United Israel: From the Death of Moses to the Division of the Hebrew Kingdom

The Founders and Rulers of United Israel: From the Death of Moses to the Division of the Hebrew Kingdom

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The Founders and Rulers of United Israel: From the Death of Moses to the Division of the Hebrew Kingdom

The Founders and Rulers of United Israel: From the Death of Moses to the Division of the Hebrew Kingdom

Read FREE!

Excerpt

Israel's history is divided into four distinct periods. The first, which ends with the crossing of the Jordan, represents the childhood of the race. It was then that the memory of the nation was weak; but its imagination was strong, as the character of the earliest traditions testifies. The second, which extended to the division of the kingdom at the death of Solomon, was Israel's adolescent period. The third, to the fall of Jerusalem in 586 B.C., brought to the nation grave social, political and religious problems, which rapidly developed the ethical and spiritual consciousness of the race. During the fourth period, from the beginning of the exile to the first Christian century, Judaism, in the trying school of affliction, attained its full maturity and crystallized into a closely knit racial and religious unit.

The second period of Hebrew history, with which this volume deals, was Israel's heroic age, when physical strength, courage and patriotism were the prominent virtues, and the deeper spiritual and ethical qualities were only partially developed. It was during this period that the Hebrews most resembled their neighbors in character and faith. Their dominant ambitions were to acquire territory and to extend their authority; and these ambitions were fully realized. Within two short centuries, the tribes from the wilderness became a strong nation, and then grew into a powerful empire.

Written records now for the first time began to take the place of popular tradition. As a result, the miraculous element, so prominent in the early tradition, almost completely disappears. The greater part of the material in Samuel and Kings is evidently taken from two early, independent histories. The one told of the call of Saul by Samuel, and of the reign of Israel's first king; the other, which begins with the latter part of the sixteenth chapter of I Samuel, tells of the rise of David and of the glories and sins of the Judean shepherd who made Israel one of the powerful nations of southwestern Asia. These quotations from the Saul and David histories are remarkably picturesque and full of detail . . .

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