THE HISTORY OF ISRAEL IN THE PRE-EXILIC PERIOD
THE history of pre-exilic Israel is clearly divided into two periods, separated by the establishment of the monarchy. It is with the monarchy, its state, its administration, and its schools, its foreign relations and internal conflicts that Old Testament historiography is established.1 With the monarchy, the Israelite state begins to appear in international politics and in its documents; the Assyrian Annals and the lists of officers who gave their name to the year (limmū), by mentioning its important events, allow necessary cross-checks with a relatively firm chronological framework.
The period prior to the monarchy is much more difficult to study, for biblical historiography was extremely selective in recording the data given by tribal traditions and local documents. The historiographers selected the data and gave their own interpretations according to their own syntheses. Modern historians consider these syntheses differently and disagree about most problems. The documents brought to light archaeologically help only indirectly and possible crosschecks are not always clear.2 It is impossible to deny a historical basis to the traditions gathered together by the Yahwistic and Elohistic synthesis in the Pentateuch, or to the cycles preserved by the books of Judges, of Samuel, and of Kings; the recognized authority of these texts and the history of the people could not then be explained. These data,____________________