Origin: Israel, c. 1500 BCE

  • Origin: Israel, c. 1500 BCE

    Posted by mwolverine on February 2, 2024 at 2:57 am

    The earliest known reference to Israel is in Egyptian records (the Berlin Pedestal), dated to the 14th century BCE. By then Israel was sufficiently established to merit mention by the Egyptians.

    By the late 13th century, Israel is again mentioned, this time in the Egyptian Merneptah Stele. It records the Egyptian defeat of Israel (reference to “his seed is not” is not about genocide but the destruction of grain – indicating that this was a sedentary rather than nomadic population).

    The Israelite Confederation may only have risen in the 12th century BCE, during the Late Bronze Age Collapse. It was an amalgamation of existing Canaanite tribes (e.g. Asher), long settled sea peoples (e.g. Dan/una) and regional migratory tribes (e.g. Shasu).

    While the Biblical Book of Judges tells the story of a slow evolution and consolidation (from Judges to a King), the stories of Joshua may be better known – if less accurate. The archaeological record shows pork bones gradually disappearing from hearths across a century as the new religion spread. That’s quite different from a “conquest” with a new population replacing the old.

    The battles attributed to Joshua spanned several centuries (it’s like attributing victories in the Revolutionary War, Civil War and WW II to Gen. Patton). But there may be a clue in the stories as well, indicating that the Israelite “conquest” may have been smaller or uncontested battles (rather than older ones). It starts with Jericho, but it was abandoned during the LBAC. Perhaps the walls had already tumbled down before “Joshua” arrived and took the city? Likewise the story of the battle of Ai has the defenders lured out, ambushed, and then the defenseless city is taken. Perhaps the city was already mostly defenseless to begin with?

    In any event, by the 11th century a King may have been anointed, splitting up into 2 Kingdoms in the 10th century BCE. From that period on, more evidence has survived.

    mwolverine replied 2 weeks, 2 days ago 1 Member · 5 Replies
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