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The Israelites (; ) were a confederation of
Iron Age The Iron Age is the final epoch of the three-age division of the prehistory Prehistory, also known as pre-literary history, is the period of human history Human history, or world history, is the narrative of Human, humanity's pa ...
Semitic-speaking tribes of the
ancient Near East The ancient Near East was the home of early civilization A civilization (or civilisation) is any complex society that is characterized by urban development, social stratification, a form of government, and symbol A symbol is a mark ...
, who inhabited a part of
Canaan A 1692 map of Canaan, by Philip Lea Canaan (; Northwest Semitic Northwest Semitic, known as Syro-Palestinian in dialect geography, is a division of the Semitic languages comprising the indigenous languages of the Levant. It would have ...

Canaan
during the tribal and monarchic periods.


Overview

In the
Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (; Hebrew: , or ), is the Biblical canon, canonical collection of Hebrew language, Hebrew scriptures, including the Torah, the Nevi'im, and the Ketuvim. These texts are almost exclusively in Biblical Hebrew, with a f ...

Hebrew Bible
, the term ''Israelites'' is used interchangeably with the term ''
Twelve Tribes of Israel The Twelve Tribes of Israel ( he, שבטי ישראל, translit=Shivtei Yisrael, lit=Tribes of Israel) are, according to Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic religious texts, the descendants of the biblical Patriarchs (Bible), patriarch Jacob, also kno ...
''. Although related, the terms
Hebrews The terms ''Hebrews'' (Hebrew Hebrew (, , or ) is a Northwest Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic language of the Afroasiatic languages, Afroasiatic language family. Historically, it is regarded as the language of the Israelites, Jude ...

Hebrews
, Israelites, and
Jews Jews ( he, יְהוּדִים ISO 259-2 , Israeli pronunciation ) or Jewish people are an ethnoreligious group and nation originating from the Israelites Israelite origins and kingdom: "The first act in the long drama of Jewish history is ...

Jews
are not interchangeable in all instances. "Israelites" (''Yisraelim'') refers to the people whom the Hebrew Bible describes specifically as the direct descendants of any of the sons of the patriarch
Jacob Jacob (; ; ar, يَعْقُوب, Yaʿqūb; gr, Ἰακώβ, Iakṓb), later given the name Israel Israel (; he, יִשְׂרָאֵל, translit=Yīsrāʾēl; ar, إِسْرَائِيل, translit=ʾIsrāʾīl), officially the State ...
(later called Israel), and his descendants as a people are also collectively called "Israel", including converts to their faith in worship of the
national god National gods are a class of guardian divinities or deities A deity or god is a supernatural The supernatural encompasses supposed phenomena that are not subject to the laws of nature.https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/supernatura ...
of Israel,
Yahweh Yahweh was the national god of ancient Kingdom of Israel (Samaria), Israel and Kingdom of Judah, Judah. His origins reach at least to the early Iron Age, and likely to the Late Bronze Age. In the oldest biblical literature, he is a Weather ...
. "Hebrews" (''ʿIvrim''), on the contrary, is used to denote the Israelites' immediate forebears who dwelt in the
land of Canaan Land is the solid surface of Earth Earth is the third planet from the Sun and the only astronomical object known to harbour and support life. 29.2% of Earth's surface is land consisting of continents and islands. The remaining 70.8% is ...
, the Israelites themselves, and the Israelites' ancient and modern descendants (including Jews and
Samaritans Samaritans (; ; he, שומרונים, translit=Shomronim; ar, السامريون, translit=as-Sāmiriyyūn) or Samaritan people are members of an originating from the of historical . They are native to the and adhere to , an , and in t ...

Samaritans
). "Jews" (''Yehudim'') is used to denote the descendants of the Israelites who coalesced when the
Tribe of Judah According to the Hebrew Bible, the tribe of Judah (, ''Shevet Yehudah'') was one of the twelve Tribes of Israel. Biblical account The Tribe of Judah, its conquests, and the centrality of its capital in Jerusalem for the worship of the god Yah ...

Tribe of Judah
absorbed the remnants of the northern Israelite tribes. During the period of the divided monarchy, "Israelites" was only used to refer to the inhabitants of the
northern Kingdom of Israel According to the Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (; Hebrew: , or ), is the Biblical canon, canonical collection of Hebrew language, Hebrew scriptures, including the Torah. These texts are almost exclusively in Biblical Hebrew, wit ...
, and it is only extended to cover the people of the southern
Kingdom of Judah The Kingdom of Judah ( he, יְהוּדָה, ''Yəhūdā''; akk, 𒅀𒌑𒁕𒀀𒀀 ''Ya'uda'' 'ia-ú-da-a-a'' arc, 𐤁‬𐤉‬𐤕‬𐤃𐤅‬𐤃 ''Bēyt David, Dāwīḏ'') was an Israelites, Israelite kingdom of the Southern Levan ...
in post-exilic usage. Efforts to confirm the Israelites' biblical origins through archaeology, once widespread, have been largely abandoned as unproductive, with many scholars viewing the stories as inspiring
national myth A national myth is an inspiring narrative A narrative, story or tale is any account of a series of related events or experiences, whether nonfictional ( memoir, biography, news report, documentary, Travel literature, travelogue, etc.) or fict ...
narratives with little historical value. Based on the archaeological evidence, according to the modern archaeological account, the Israelites and their culture did not overtake the region by force, but instead branched out of the indigenous Canaanite peoples that long inhabited the
Southern Levant The Southern Levant is a geographical region In geography, regions are areas that are broadly divided by physical characteristics (physical geography), human impact characteristics (human geography), and the interaction of humanity and the environ ...

Southern Levant
,
Syria Syria ( ar, سُورِيَا or ar, سُورِيَة, ''Sūriyā''), officially the Syrian Arab Republic ( ar, ٱلْجُمْهُورِيَّةُ ٱلْعَرَبِيَّةُ ٱلسُّورِيَّةُ, al-Jumhūrīyah al-ʻArabīyah as-S ...
,
ancient Israel The Kingdom of Israel and the Kingdom of Judah were two related Israelite The Israelites (; he, בני ישראל ''Bnei Yisra'el'') were a confederation of Iron Age ancient Semitic-speaking peoples, Semitic-speaking tribes of the anci ...
, and the Transjordan region through a gradual evolution of a distinct monolatristic—later cementing as
monotheistic Monotheism is the belief A belief is an attitude Attitude may refer to: Philosophy and psychology * Attitude (psychology) In psychology Psychology is the science of mind and behavior. Psychology includes the study of consciousn ...
—religion centered on
Yahweh Yahweh was the national god of ancient Kingdom of Israel (Samaria), Israel and Kingdom of Judah, Judah. His origins reach at least to the early Iron Age, and likely to the Late Bronze Age. In the oldest biblical literature, he is a Weather ...
. The outgrowth of Yahweh-centric monolatrism from Canaanite
polytheism Polytheism is the worship of or belief in multiple deity, deities, which are usually assembled into a pantheon (religion), pantheon of God (male deity), gods and goddesses, along with their own religious sects and rituals. Polytheism is a type o ...
started with
Yahwism Yahwism is the name given by modern scholars to the religion of History of ancient Israel and Judah, ancient Israel. Yahwism was Polytheism, polytheistic, with a plethora of Deity, gods and Goddess, goddesses. Heading the pantheon was Yahweh, wi ...
, the belief in the existence of the many gods and goddesses of the Canaanite pantheon but with the consistent worship of only Yahweh. Along with a number of cultic practices, this gave rise to a separate Israelite
ethnic group An ethnic group or ethnicity is a grouping of people A people is any plurality of person A person (plural people or persons) is a being that has certain capacities or attributes such as reason, morality, consciousness or self-consciousn ...
identity. The final transition of their Yahweh-based religion to monotheism and rejection of the existence of the other Canaanite gods set the Israelites apart from their fellow Canaanite brethren. The Israelites, however, continued to retain various cultural commonalities with other Canaanites, including use of one of the Canaanite dialects,
Hebrew Hebrew (, , or ) is a Northwest Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic language of the Afroasiatic languages, Afroasiatic language family. Historically, it is regarded as the language of the Israelites, Judeans and their ancestors. It is the o ...
, which is today the only living descendant of that language group. According to the religious narrative of the
Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (; Hebrew: , or ), is the Biblical canon, canonical collection of Hebrew language, Hebrew scriptures, including the Torah, the Nevi'im, and the Ketuvim. These texts are almost exclusively in Biblical Hebrew, with a f ...

Hebrew Bible
, the Israelites' origin is traced back to the biblical
patriarchs The highest-ranking bishop A bishop is an ordained, consecrated, or appointed member of the Clergy#Christianity, Christian clergy who is generally entrusted with a position of authority and oversight. Within the Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Or ...
and matriarchs
Abraham Abraham, ''Ibrāhīm''; el, Ἀβραάμ, translit=Abraám, name=, group= (originally Abram) is the common patriarch of the , including , , and . In Judaism, he is the founding father of the , the special relationship between the and ; in C ...

Abraham
and his wife
Sarah Sarah (; ar, سَارَة ) born Sarai ( ''Sāray'') is a biblical matriarch and prophetess In religion Religion is a social system, social-cultural system of designated religious behaviour, behaviors and practices, morality, morals, ...

Sarah
, through their son
Isaac Isaac, ''Isaák''; ar, إسحٰق/إسحاق, ; am, ይስሐቅ is one of the three patriarchs The highest-ranking bishop A bishop is an ordained, consecrated, or appointed member of the Clergy#Christianity, Christian clergy who is gener ...

Isaac
and his wife
Rebecca Rebecca, ; SyriacSyriac may refer to: *Syriac language, a dialect of Middle Aramaic * Syriac alphabet ** Syriac (Unicode block) ** Syriac Supplement * Neo-Aramaic languages also known as Syriac in most native vernaculars * Syriac Christianity, ...

Rebecca
, and their son
Jacob Jacob (; ; ar, يَعْقُوب, Yaʿqūb; gr, Ἰακώβ, Iakṓb), later given the name Israel Israel (; he, יִשְׂרָאֵל, translit=Yīsrāʾēl; ar, إِسْرَائِيل, translit=ʾIsrāʾīl), officially the State ...

Jacob
(who was later called
Israel Israel (; he, יִשְׂרָאֵל, translit=Yīsrāʾēl; ar, إِسْرَائِيل, translit=ʾIsrāʾīl), officially the State of Israel ( he, מְדִינַת יִשְׂרָאֵל, label=none, translit=Medīnat Yīsrāʾēl; ), is a ...
, whence they derive their name) with his wives
Leah Leah ''La'ya;'' from () is an important figure in the Judeo-Christian tradition, the unloved wife of the Biblical patriarch Jacob Jacob (; ; ar, يَعْقُوب, Yaʿqūb; gr, Ἰακώβ, Iakṓb), later given the name Israel ...
and
Rachel Rachel () was a Biblical The Bible (from Koine Greek τὰ βιβλία, ''tà biblía'', "the books") is a collection of religious texts or scriptures sacred to Christians, Jews, Samaritans, Rastafari and others. It appears in the form ...

Rachel
and the handmaids
Zilpa In the Book of Genesis The Book of Genesis,, "''Bərēšīṯ''", "In hebeginning" the first book of the Hebrew Bible and the Christian Old Testament, is an account of the Genesis creation narrative, creation of the world, the early history o ...
and
Bilhah Bilhah ( "unworried", ''Bilha'', ''Bilhâ'') is a woman mentioned in the .For the etymology, see describes her as 's , who was given to to be her handmaid on Rachel's marriage to . When Rachel failed to have children, Rachel gave Bilhah to Jaco ...

Bilhah
. Modern Jews and Samaritans can trace their ancestry to the Israelites. (855 KB), Hum Mutat 24:248–260, 2004.The Samaritan Update
Retrieved 1 January 2017.
Modern Jews are named after and also descended from the southern Israelite
Kingdom of Judah The Kingdom of Judah ( he, יְהוּדָה, ''Yəhūdā''; akk, 𒅀𒌑𒁕𒀀𒀀 ''Ya'uda'' 'ia-ú-da-a-a'' arc, 𐤁‬𐤉‬𐤕‬𐤃𐤅‬𐤃 ''Bēyt David, Dāwīḏ'') was an Israelites, Israelite kingdom of the Southern Levan ...
, particularly the tribes of
Judah Judah may refer to: Historical ethnic, political and geographic terms The name was passed on, successively, from the biblical figure of Judah, to the Israelite tribe; its territorial allotment and the Israelite kingdom emerging from it, with the ...

Judah
,
Benjamin Benjamin () was the last-born of Jacob's thirteen children (12 sons and one daughter), and the second and last son of Rachel in Jewish, Christian and Islamic tradition. He was the progenitor of the Israelites, Israelite Tribe of Benjamin. In the ...

Benjamin
,
Simeon Simeon is a given name, from the Hebrew (Biblical The Bible (from Koine Greek τὰ βιβλία, ''tà biblía'', "the books") is a collection of religious texts or scriptures sacred to Christians, Jews, Samaritans, Rastafari and others ...

Simeon
and partially
Levi Levi (; ) was, according to the Book of Genesis The Book of Genesis,, "''Bərēšīṯ''", "In hebeginning" the first book of the Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (; Hebrew: , or ), is the Biblical canon, canonical collection o ...

Levi
. Many Israelites took refuge in the Kingdom of Judah following the collapse of the Kingdom of Israel. Finally, in
Judaism Judaism is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic, monotheism, monotheistic, and ethnic religion comprising the collective religious, cultural, and legal tradition and civilization of the Jewish people. It has its roots as an organized religion ...
, the term "Israelite" is, broadly speaking, used to refer to a
lay Lay may refer to: Places *Lay Range, a subrange of mountains in British Columbia, Canada *Lay, Loire, a French commune *Lay (river), France *Lay, Iran, a village *Lay, Kansas, United States, an unincorporated community People * Lay (surname) * L ...
member of the Jewish
ethnoreligious group An ethnoreligious group (or an ethno-religious group), or simply an ethnoreligion, is a grouping of people who are unified by a common Religion, religious and ethnic group, ethnic background. Furthermore, the term ethno-religious group, along wi ...
, as opposed to the priestly orders of
Kohanim Kohen ( he, כֹּהֵן'','' "priest", pl. , ' "priests") is the Hebrew word for "priest A priest is a religious leader authorized to perform the Sacred rite, sacred rituals of a religion, especially as a mediatory agent between humans ...

Kohanim
and
Levites A Levite (or Levi) (, ) is a Jewish Jews ( he, יְהוּדִים ISO 259-2 , Israeli pronunciation ) or Jewish people are an ethnoreligious group and nation originating from the Israelites Israelite origins and kingdom: "The first act in ...
. In texts of
Jewish law ''Halakha'' (; he, הֲלָכָה, ), also transliterated Transliteration is a type of conversion of a text from one script to another that involves swapping letters (thus '' trans-'' + '' liter-'') in predictable ways, such as Greek → ...
such as the
Mishnah The Mishnah or the Mishna (; he, מִשְׁנָה, "study by repetition", from the verb ''shanah'' , or "to study and review", also "secondary") is the first major written collection of the Jewish oral tradition Oral tradition, or oral lore, i ...
and
Gemara The Gemara (also transliteration, transliterated Gemarah, or in Ashkenazi pronunciation Gemore; from Aramaic , from the Aramaic language, Hebrew verb ''gamar'', to finish or complete) is the component of the Talmud comprising rabbinical analys ...
, the term יהודי (''Yehudi''), meaning Jew, is rarely used, and instead the
ethnonym An ethnonym (from the el, ἔθνος 'nation' and 'name') is a name A name is a term used for identification by an external observer. They can identify a class or category of things, or a single thing, either uniquely, or within a given ...
ישראלי (''Yisraeli''), or Israelite, is widely used to refer to Jews. Samaritans are not and never call themselves "Jews" יהודים (''Yehudim''), but commonly refer to themselves and to Jews collectively as Israelites, and they describe themselves as Israelite Samaritans.


Etymology

The Israelites were the descendants of the
biblical patriarch The patriarchs ( he, אבות ''Avot'' or ''Abot'', singular he, אב ''Ab (Semitic), Ab'') of the Bible, when narrowly defined, are Abraham, his son Isaac, and Isaac's son Jacob, also named Israel, the ancestor of the Israelites. These thr ...
Jacob Jacob (; ; ar, يَعْقُوب, Yaʿqūb; gr, Ἰακώβ, Iakṓb), later given the name Israel Israel (; he, יִשְׂרָאֵל, translit=Yīsrāʾēl; ar, إِسْرَائِيل, translit=ʾIsrāʾīl), officially the State ...

Jacob
in ancient times. The term is translated from the
Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approximately 10.7 million as of ...
Ἰσραηλῖται, which was used to translate the
Biblical Hebrew Biblical Hebrew ( ''Ivrit Miqra'it'' or ''Leshon ha-Miqra''), also called Classical Hebrew, is an archaic form of Hebrew Hebrew (, , or ) is a Northwest Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic language of the Afroasiatic languages, Afroas ...
''b'nei yisrael'' ("sons of Israel" or "children of Israel"). The name ''
Israel Israel (; he, יִשְׂרָאֵל, translit=Yīsrāʾēl; ar, إِسْرَائِيل, translit=ʾIsrāʾīl), officially the State of Israel ( he, מְדִינַת יִשְׂרָאֵל, label=none, translit=Medīnat Yīsrāʾēl; ), is a ...

Israel
'' first appears in the
Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (; Hebrew: , or ), is the Biblical canon, canonical collection of Hebrew language, Hebrew scriptures, including the Torah, the Nevi'im, and the Ketuvim. These texts are almost exclusively in Biblical Hebrew, with a f ...

Hebrew Bible
in . Derived from ''yisra,'' "to prevail over" or "to struggle with", and '' El'', it is given to Jacob by the
angel with whom he has wrestled
angel with whom he has wrestled
because he has "striven with God and with men, and... prevailed".Scherman, Rabbi Nosson (editor), ''The Chumash'', The Artscroll Series, Mesorah Publications, LTD, 2006, pp. 176–77Kaplan, Aryeh, "Jewish Meditation", Schocken Books, New York, 1985, p. 125 However, modern scholarship interprets ''El'' as the subject, "El rules/struggles", from ''sarar'' (שָׂרַר) 'to rule' (cognate with ''sar'' (שַׂר) 'ruler',
AkkadianAkkadian or Accadian may refer to: * The Akkadian language Akkadian ( ''akkadû'', ''ak-ka-du-u2''; logogram: ''URIKI'')John Huehnergard & Christopher Woods, "Akkadian and Eblaite", ''The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the World's Ancient Languages' ...

Akkadian
''šarru'' 'ruler, king'), which is likely cognate with the similar root ''sara'' (שׂרה) "fought, strove, contended". The name ''Israel'' first appears in non-biblical sources c. 1209 BCE, in an inscription of the Egyptian pharaoh
Merneptah Merneptah or Merenptah (reigned July or August 1213 BC – May 2, 1203 BC) was the fourth pharaoh of the Nineteenth Dynasty of Ancient Egypt Ancient Egypt was a civilization of Ancient history, ancient North Africa, concentrated along th ...
. The inscription is very brief and says simply: "Israel is laid waste and his seed is not". The inscription refers to a people, not to an individual or a
nation state A nation state is a political unit where the state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (news ...
. Three
Egyptologists This is a partial list of Egyptologists. An Egyptologist is any archaeologist, historian, linguistics, linguist, or art historian who specializes in Egyptology, the scientific study of Ancient Egypt and its antiquities. Demotists are Egyptologists ...
have suggested that the name ''Israel'' appears in a topographical relief that either dates to the period of the
Nineteenth Dynasty The Nineteenth Dynasty of Egypt (notated Dynasty XIX), also known as the Ramessid dynasty, is classified as the second Dynasty of the Ancient Egyptian New Kingdom of Egypt, New Kingdom period, lasting from 1292 BC to 1189 BC. The 19th Dynasty and t ...
(perhaps during the reign of
Ramses II Ramesses II ( egy, wikt:rꜥ-ms-sw, rꜥ-ms-sw meaning "Ra is the one who bore him", ''Rīʿa-məsī-sū'', ; ) was the third pharaoh of the Nineteenth Dynasty of Egypt. He is often regarded as the greatest, most celebrated, and most powerful ...

Ramses II
) or even earlier during the Eighteenth Dynasty. This reading remains controversial.


Related terms


Judahite, Judaean, Jew

The Greek term ''
Ioudaios ''Ioudaios'' ( grc, Ἰουδαῖος; pl. ''Ioudaioi''). is an Ancient Greek ethnonym An ethnonym (from the el, ἔθνος 'nation' and 'name') is a name A name is a term used for identification by an external observer. They can i ...
'' (
Jew Jews ( he, יְהוּדִים ISO 259-2ISO The International Organization for Standardization (ISO; ) is an international standard are technical standards developed by international organizations (intergovernmental organizations), suc ...
) was an
exonym An endonym (from Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approximately 10.7 milli ...
originally referring to members of the
Tribe of Judah According to the Hebrew Bible, the tribe of Judah (, ''Shevet Yehudah'') was one of the twelve Tribes of Israel. Biblical account The Tribe of Judah, its conquests, and the centrality of its capital in Jerusalem for the worship of the god Yah ...

Tribe of Judah
, and by extension the inhabitants of the Kingdom of Judah and the
Judea Judea or Judaea ( or ; from he, יהודה, Standard Standard may refer to: Flags * Colours, standards and guidons * Standard (flag), a type of flag used for personal identification Norm, convention or requirement * Standard (metrolog ...

Judea
n region, and was later adopted as a self-designation by people in the
Jewish diaspora The Jewish diaspora ( he, תְּפוּצָה, təfūṣā) or exile (Hebrew: ; Yiddish Yiddish (, or , ''yidish'' or ''idish'', , ; , ''Yidish-Taytsh'', ) is a High German languages, High German–derived language historically spoken by As ...
who identified themselves as loyal to the God of Israel and the Temple in Jerusalem.


Samaritan

The
Samaritans Samaritans (; ; he, שומרונים, translit=Shomronim; ar, السامريون, translit=as-Sāmiriyyūn) or Samaritan people are members of an originating from the of historical . They are native to the and adhere to , an , and in t ...

Samaritans
, who claim descent from the tribes of
Ephraim Ephraim (; he, אֶפְרָיִם/, ''ʾEfrayim'') was, according to the Book of Genesis, the second son of Joseph (Genesis), Joseph and Asenath. Asenath was an Ancient Egypt, Egyptian woman whom Pharaoh gave to Joseph as wife, and the daughter ...

Ephraim
and
Manasseh Manasses or Manasseh (;churchofjesuschrist ...
(plus
Levi Levi (; ) was, according to the Book of Genesis The Book of Genesis,, "''Bərēšīṯ''", "In hebeginning" the first book of the Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (; Hebrew: , or ), is the Biblical canon, canonical collection o ...

Levi
through
Aaron Aaron ''′aharon'', ar, هارون, Hārūn, Ancient Greek, Greek (Septuagint): wikt:Ἀαρών, Ἀαρών; often called Aaron the priest () and once Aaron the Levite () (Exodus 4:14)., group="note" ( or ; ''’Ahărōn'', Arabic: هار ...

Aaron
for
kohen Kohen ( he, כֹּהֵן' Cohen, "priest", pl. Cohanim, ' "priests") is the Hebrew word for "priest A priest is a religious leader authorized to perform the Sacred rite, sacred rituals of a religion, especially as a mediatory agent be ...
s), are named after the Israelite Kingdom of Israel, but many Jewish authorities contest their claimed lineage, deeming them to have been conquered foreigners who were
settled A settler is a person who has migrated to an area and established a permanent residence there, often to colonize Colonization, or colonisation refers to large-scale population movements where the migrants maintain strong links with their or ...
in the
Land of Israel The Land of Israel () is the traditional Jewish name for an area of indefinite geographical extension in the Southern Levant The Southern Levant is a geographical region In geography, regions are areas that are broadly divided by physical ...

Land of Israel
by the
Assyrians Assyrian may refer to: * Assyria, a major Mesopotamian kingdom and empire * Assyrian people, an ethnic group indigenous to the Middle East * Assyrian Church (disambiguation) * Assyrian language (disambiguation) * SS Assyrian, SS ''Assyrian'', seve ...

Assyrians
, as was the typical Assyrian policy to obliterate national identities. The terms "Jews" and "Samaritans" largely replaced the title "Children of Israel" as the commonly used ethnonym for each respective community.


Biblical narrative

The Israelite story begins with some of the
culture hero A culture hero is a mythological Myth is a folklore genre Folklore is the expressive body of culture shared by a particular group of people; it encompasses the traditions common to that culture, subculture or group. These include oral trad ...
es of the Jewish people, the patriarchs. The
Torah The Torah (; he, תּוֹרָה, "Instruction", "Teaching" or "Law") includes the first five books of the Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (; Hebrew: , or ), is the Biblical canon, canonical collection of Hebrew language, Heb ...

Torah
traces the Israelites to the patriarch Jacob, grandson of Abraham, who was renamed Israel after a mysterious incident in which he wrestles all night with God or an angel. Jacob's twelve sons (in order of birth),
Reuben Reuben or Reuven is a Hebrew Bible, Biblical male first name from Hebrew רְאוּבֵן (Reu'ven), meaning "behold, a son": * Reuben (son of Jacob). The Portuguese version takes the form Rúben or Rubens (Brazilian Portuguese), in Spanish Rub ...
,
Simeon Simeon is a given name, from the Hebrew (Biblical The Bible (from Koine Greek Koine Greek (, , Greek approximately ;. , , , lit. "Common Greek"), also known as Alexandrian dialect, common Attic, Hellenistic or Biblical Greek, was the ...
,
Levi Levi (; ) was, according to the Book of Genesis The Book of Genesis,, "''Bərēšīṯ''", "In hebeginning" the first book of the Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (; Hebrew: , or ), is the Biblical canon, canonical collection o ...

Levi
,
Judah Judah may refer to: Historical ethnic, political and geographic terms The name was passed on, successively, from the biblical figure of Judah, to the Israelite tribe; its territorial allotment and the Israelite kingdom emerging from it, with the ...
, Dan,
Naphtali According to the Book of Genesis The Book of Genesis,, "''Bərēšīṯ''", "In hebeginning" the first book of the Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (; Hebrew: , or ), is the Biblical canon, canonical collection of Hebrew languag ...
, Gad,
Asher Asher ( he, אָשֵׁר ''’Āšēr''), in the Book of Genesis The Book of Genesis,, "''Bərēšīṯ''", "In hebeginning" the first book of the Hebrew Bible and the Christian Old Testament, is an account of the Genesis creation narrati ...

Asher
,
Issachar Issachar () was, according to the Book of Genesis The Book of Genesis,, "''Bərēšīṯ''", "In hebeginning" the first book of the Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (; Hebrew: , or ), is the Biblical canon, canonical collection ...
,
Zebulun Zebulun (; also ''Zebulon'', ''Zabulon'', or ''Zaboules'') was, according to the Books of Book of Genesis, Genesis and Book of Numbers, Numbers,Genesis 46:14 the sixth and last son of Jacob and Leah, and the founder of the Israelites, Israelite Tr ...
,
Joseph Joseph is a common masculine given name, derived from the Hebrew Yosef (יוֹסֵף). The form "Joseph" is used mostly in English, French and partially German-speaking (alongside "Josef") countries. This spelling is also found as a variant in th ...
and
Benjamin Benjamin () was the last-born of Jacob's thirteen children (12 sons and one daughter), and the second and last son of Rachel in Jewish, Christian and Islamic tradition. He was the progenitor of the Israelites, Israelite Tribe of Benjamin. In the ...

Benjamin
, become the ancestors of twelve tribes, with the exception of Joseph, whose two sons
Manasseh Manasses or Manasseh (;churchofjesuschrist ...
and
Ephraim Ephraim (; he, אֶפְרָיִם/, ''ʾEfrayim'') was, according to the Book of Genesis, the second son of Joseph (Genesis), Joseph and Asenath. Asenath was an Ancient Egypt, Egyptian woman whom Pharaoh gave to Joseph as wife, and the daughter ...
, become tribal
eponym An eponym is a person, place, or thing after whom or which someone or something is, or is believed to be, named. The adjectives derived from eponym include ''eponymous'' and ''eponymic''. Word usage The term ''eponym'' functions in multiple ...
s ().''The Jews in the time of Jesus: an introduction'' p. 18
Stephen M. Wylen, Paulist Press, 1996, 215 pages, pp. 18–20
The mothers of Jacob's sons are: *
Leah Leah ''La'ya;'' from () is an important figure in the Judeo-Christian tradition, the unloved wife of the Biblical patriarch Jacob Jacob (; ; ar, يَعْقُوب, Yaʿqūb; gr, Ἰακώβ, Iakṓb), later given the name Israel ...
: Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Zebulun *
Rachel Rachel () was a Biblical The Bible (from Koine Greek τὰ βιβλία, ''tà biblía'', "the books") is a collection of religious texts or scriptures sacred to Christians, Jews, Samaritans, Rastafari and others. It appears in the form ...

Rachel
: Joseph (Ephraim and Manasseh), Benjamin *
Bilhah Bilhah ( "unworried", ''Bilha'', ''Bilhâ'') is a woman mentioned in the .For the etymology, see describes her as 's , who was given to to be her handmaid on Rachel's marriage to . When Rachel failed to have children, Rachel gave Bilhah to Jaco ...

Bilhah
(Rachel's maid): Dan, Naphtali *
Zilpah In the Book of Genesis The Book of Genesis,, "''Bərēšīṯ''", "In hebeginning" the first book of the Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (; Hebrew: , or ), is the Biblical canon, canonical collection of Hebrew language, Hebrew s ...
(Leah's maid): Gad, Asher () Jacob and his sons are forced by famine to go down into
Egypt Egypt ( ar, مِصر, Miṣr), officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, is a transcontinental country This is a list of countries located on more than one continent A continent is one of several large landmasses. Generally identi ...

Egypt
, although Joseph was already there, as he had been sold into slavery while young. When they arrive they and their families are 70 in number, but within four generations they have increased to 600,000 men of fighting age, and the Pharaoh of Egypt, alarmed, first enslaves them and then orders the death of all male Hebrew children. A woman from the tribe of Levi hides her child, places him in a woven basket, and sends him down the
Nile The Nile, , Bohairic , lg, Kiira , Nobiin Nobiin, or Mahas, is a Northern Nubian languages, Nubian language of the Nilo-Saharan languages, Nilo-Saharan language family. "Nobiin" is the genitive case, genitive form of ''Nòòbíí'' ("Nub ...

Nile
river. He is named Mosheh, or
Moses Moses he, מֹשֶׁה, ''Mōše''; also known as Moshe Rabbenu ( he, מֹשֶׁה רַבֵּנוּ "Moshe our Teacher"); syr, ܡܘܫܐ, ''Mūše''; ar, موسى '; el, Mωϋσῆς, ' () is considered the most important prophet in Judais ...

Moses
, by the Egyptians who find him. Being a Hebrew baby, they award a Hebrew woman the task of raising him, the mother of Moses volunteers, and the child and his mother are reunited. At the age of forty Moses kills an Egyptian, after he sees him beating a Hebrew to death, and escapes as a fugitive into the Sinai desert, where he is taken in by the
Midianites grc-gre, Μαδιάμ, Madiam he, מִדְיָן, Mīḏyān , image_skyline = File:%D9%85%D8%AF%D9%8A%D9%86.jpg , caption = Above: Shuaib Caves in Al-Bada'a, region In geography, regions are areas that are broadly divided by physical char ...
and marries
Zipporah Zipporah or Tzipora (; he, צִפּוֹרָה, ''Tsìpporah'', "bird"), ''Sepphōra''; ar, صفورة, ''Ṣaffūrah'' is mentioned in the Book of Exodus The Book of Exodus is the second book of the Torah and of the Old Testament. Starting ...

Zipporah
, the daughter of the Midianite priest
Jethro; french: Jéthro; nl, Jetro, Jeter; russian: Иофор ''Iofor (Yofor, Jofor)''; ar, شعيب Shuaib, ''Shu‘ayb, Sho‘ayb, Shu'aib''; tr, Şuayb , footnotes = Jethro is a male given name meaning "overflow". It is derived from the Hebrew wo ...
. When he is eighty years old, Moses is tending a herd of sheep in solitude on
Mount Sinai Mount Sinai ( he , הר סיני ''Har Sinai''; Aramaic Aramaic (Classical Syriac The Syriac language (; syc, ܠܫܢܐ ܣܘܪܝܝܐ / '), also known as Syriac Aramaic (''Syrian Aramaic'', ''Syro-Aramaic'') and Classical Syriac (in its ...

Mount Sinai
when he sees a desert shrub that is burning but is not consumed. The
God of IsraelGod of Israel may refer to: * God in Judaism, God as understood in Jewish theological discussion. * Yahweh, the national god of the ancient kingdoms of Israel and Judah. * Tetragrammaton, the four Hebrew letters YHWH as the name of God, and various ...
calls to Moses from the fire and reveals his name, Yahweh, and tells Moses that he is being sent to Pharaoh to bring the people of Israel out of Egypt. Yahweh tells Moses that if Pharaoh refuses to let the Hebrews go to say to Pharaoh "Thus says Yahweh: Israel is my son, my first-born and I have said to you: Let my son go, that he may serve me, and you have refused to let him go. Behold, I will slay your son, your first-born". Moses returns to Egypt and tells Pharaoh that he must let the Hebrew slaves go free. Pharaoh refuses and Yahweh strikes the Egyptians with a series of horrific plagues, wonders, and catastrophes, after which Pharaoh relents and banishes the Hebrews from Egypt. Moses toward the
Red Sea The Red Sea ( ar, البحر الأحمر, translit=al-Baḥr al-ʾAḥmar; or ; Coptic Coptic may refer to: Afro-Asia * Copts, an ethnoreligious group mainly in the area of modern Egypt but also in Sudan and Libya * Coptic language, a North ...

Red Sea
, but Pharaoh changes his mind and arises to massacre the fleeing Hebrews. Pharaoh finds them by the sea shore and attempts to drive them into the ocean with his chariots and drown them. Yahweh causes the Red Sea to part and the Hebrews pass through on dry land into the Sinai. After the Israelites escape from the midst of the sea, Yahweh causes the ocean to close back in on the pursuing Egyptian army, drowning them. In the
desert A desert is a barren area of landscape where little precipitation occurs and, consequently, living conditions are hostile for plant and animal life. The lack of vegetation exposes the unprotected surface of the ground to the processes of ...

desert
Yahweh feeds them with
manna Manna ( he, מָן ''mān'', ; ar, اَلْمَنُّ; sometimes or archaically spelled mana) is, according to the Bible The Bible (from Koine Greek Koine Greek (, , Greek approximately ;. , , , lit. "Common Greek"), also known as ...

manna
that accumulates on the ground with the morning dew. They are led by a , which ignites at night and becomes a pillar of fire to illuminate the way, southward through the desert until they come to Mount Sinai. The twelve tribes of Israel encamp around the mountain, and on the third day Mount Sinai begins to smolder, then catches fire, and Yahweh speaks the
Ten Commandments The Ten Commandments ( he, עֲשֶׂרֶת הַדִּבְּרוֹת, ''Aseret ha'Dibrot''), also known as the Decalogue, are a set of biblical The Bible (from Koine Greek Koine Greek (, , Greek approximately ;. , , , lit. " ...

Ten Commandments
from the midst of the fire to all the Israelites, from the top of the mountain. Moses ascends
Mount Sinai Mount Sinai ( he , הר סיני ''Har Sinai''; Aramaic Aramaic (Classical Syriac The Syriac language (; syc, ܠܫܢܐ ܣܘܪܝܝܐ / '), also known as Syriac Aramaic (''Syrian Aramaic'', ''Syro-Aramaic'') and Classical Syriac (in its ...
and fasts for forty days while he writes down the Torah as Yahweh dictates, beginning with Bereshith and the creation of the universe and earth. He is shown the design of the
Mishkan , Israel According to the Hebrew Bible, the tabernacle ( he, מִשְׁכַּן, ''mishkān'', meaning "residence" or "dwelling place"), also known as the Tent of the Congregation (אֹ֣הֶל מוֹעֵד֩ ''’ōhel mō‘êḏ'', also Tent of ...
and the
Ark of the Covenant The Ark of the Covenant (Hebrew Hebrew (, , or ) is a Northwest Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic language of the Afroasiatic languages, Afroasiatic language family. Historically, it is regarded as the language of the Israelites, Judea ...

Ark of the Covenant
, which
Bezalel In Exodus 31:1-6 and chapters 36 to 39, Bezalel, Bezaleel, or Betzalel ( he, בְּצַלְאֵל, ''Bəṣalʼēl''), was the chief artisan of the Tabernacle and was in charge of building the Ark of the Covenant, assisted by Aholiab. The sect ...

Bezalel
is given the task of building. Moses descends from the mountain forty days later with the
Sefer Torah . Torah scroll at old Glockengasse Synagogue The Synagogue in Glockengasse was a synagogue in Cologne built to the plans of the architect of the Cologne Cathedral, Ernst Friedrich Zwirner. It was built on the previous Monastery of St. Clarissa ...
he wrote, and with two rectangular
lapis lazuli Lapis lazuli (; ), or lapis for short, is a deep-blue metamorphic rock , a type of metamorphic rock Metamorphic rocks arise from the transformation of existing rock (geology), rock to new types of rock, in a process called metamorphism up ...

lapis lazuli
tablets, into which Yahweh had carved the Ten Commandments. In his absence,
Aaron Aaron ''′aharon'', ar, هارون, Hārūn, Ancient Greek, Greek (Septuagint): wikt:Ἀαρών, Ἀαρών; often called Aaron the priest () and once Aaron the Levite () (Exodus 4:14)., group="note" ( or ; ''’Ahărōn'', Arabic: هار ...

Aaron
has constructed an image of Yahweh, depicting him as a young
golden calf According to the Bible The Bible (from Koine Greek Koine Greek (, , Greek approximately ;. , , , lit. "Common Greek"), also known as Alexandrian dialect, common Attic, Hellenistic or Biblical Greek, was the koiné language, common sup ...
, and has presented it to the Israelites, declaring "Behold O Israel, this is your god who brought you out of the land of Egypt". Moses smashes the two tablets and grinds the golden calf into dust, then throws the dust into a stream of water flowing out of Mount Sinai, and forces the Israelites to drink from it. Moses ascends Mount Sinai for a second time and Yahweh passes before him and says: 'Yahweh, Yahweh, a god of compassion, and showing favor, slow to anger, and great in kindness and in truth, who shows kindness to the thousandth generation, forgiving wrongdoing and injustice and wickedness, but will by no means clear the guilty, causing the consequences of the parent's wrongdoing to befall their children, and their children's children, to the third and fourth generation' Moses then fasts for another forty days while Yahweh carves the Ten Commandments into the second set of stone tablets. After the tablets are completed, light emanates from the face of Moses for the rest of his life, causing him to wear a veil so he does not frighten people. Moses descends Mount Sinai and the Israelites agree to be the Jews as a chosen people, chosen people of Yahweh and follow all the 613 commandments, laws of the Torah. Moses prophesies if they forsake the Torah, Yahweh will Babylonian exile, exile them for the total number of years they did not observe the shmita. Bezael constructs the Ark of the Covenant and the Mishkan, where the presence of Yahweh dwells on earth in the Holy of Holies, above the Ark of the Covenant, which houses the Ten Commandments. Moses sends spies to scout out the Land of Canaan, and the Israelites are commanded to go up and conquer the land, but they refuse, due to their fear of warfare and violence. In response, Yahweh condemns the entire generation, including Moses, who is condemned for Meribah, striking the rock at Meribah, to exile and death in the Sinai desert. Before Moses dies he gives a speech to the Israelites where he paraphrases Deuteronomy, a summary of the mizwa, mizwoth given to them by Yahweh, and recites a prophetic song called the Ha'azinu. Moses prophesies that if the Israelites disobey the Torah, Yahweh will cause a global Bar Kochba Revolt#Immediate consequences and exile, exile in addition to the minor one prophesied earlier at Mount Sinai, but at the end of days Yahweh will Gathering of Israel, gather them back to Israel from among the nations when they turn back to the Torah with zeal. The events of the Israelite exodus and their sojourn in the Sinai are memorialized in the Jewish and Samaritan festivals of Passover and Sukkoth, and the giving of the Torah in the Jewish celebration of Shavuoth. Forty years after the Exodus, following the death of the generation of Moses, a new generation, led by Joshua, enters Canaan and takes possession of the land in accordance with the promise made to Abraham by Yahweh. The land is allocated to the tribes by Land lottery, lottery. Eventually, the Israelites ask for a king, and Yahweh gives them Saul. David, the youngest (divinely favored) son of Jesse of Bethlehem would succeed Saul. Under David, the Israelites establish the Kingdom of Israel (united monarchy), united monarchy, and under David's son Solomon they construct the Holy Temple in Jerusalem, using the 400-year-old materials of the Mishkan, where Yahweh continues to tabernacle himself among them. On the death of Solomon and reign of his son, Rehoboam, the kingdom is divided in two. The kings of the northern Kingdom of Israel are uniformly bad, permitting the worship of other gods and failing to enforce the worship of Yahweh alone, and so Yahweh eventually allows them to be conquered and dispersed among the peoples of the earth; and strangers rule over their remnant in the northern land. In Judah some kings are good and enforce the worship of Yahweh alone, but many are bad and permit other gods, even in the Holy Temple itself, and at length Yahweh allows Judah to fall to her enemies, the people taken into captivity in Babylon, the land left empty and desolate, and the Holy Temple itself destroyed. Yet despite these events, Yahweh does not forget his people but sends Cyrus the Great, Cyrus, king of Persia to deliver them from bondage. The Israelites are allowed to return to Judah and Benjamin, the Holy Temple is rebuilt, the priestly orders restored, and the service of sacrifice resumed. Through the offices of the sage Ezra, Israel is constituted as a holy nation, bound by the Torah and holding itself apart from all other peoples.


Historical Israelites


Origins

Several theories exist proposing the origins of the Israelites in raiding groups, infiltrating nomads or emerging from indigenous Canaanites driven from the wealthier urban areas by poverty to seek their fortunes in the highland. Various, ethnically distinct groups of itinerant nomads such as the Habiru and Shasu recorded in Egyptian texts as active in Edom and Canaan could have been related to the later Israelites, which does not exclude the possibility that the majority may have had their origins in Canaan proper. The name Yahweh, the god of the later Israelites, may indicate connections with the region of Mount Seir in Edom.K. van der Toor
''Family Religion in Babylonia, Ugarit and Israel: Continuity and Changes in the Forms of Religious Life''
BRILL 1996 pp. 181, 282.
The prevailing academic opinion today is that the Israelites were a mixture of peoples predominantly indigenous to Canaan, although an Egyptian matrix of peoples may also have played a role in their ethnogenesis (giving birth to the saga of The Exodus), with an ethnic composition similar to that in Ammon, Edom and Moab,Norman Gottwald
''Tribes of Yahweh: A Sociology of the Religion of Liberated Israel, 1250–1050 BCE''
A&C Black, 1999 p. 433, cf. 455–56
and including Habiru and Shasu.Stefan Paas
''Creation and Judgement: Creation Texts in Some Eighth Century Prophets''
Brill, 2003 pp. 110–21, 144.
The defining feature which marked them off from the surrounding societies was a staunch egalitarian organisation focused on the worship of Yahweh, rather than mere kinship. Israelites also had a distinct ethnic identity, including tribal identities, from early on. The origin of the god Yahweh are currently uncertain, since the early Israelites seemed to worship the Caanaanite god El as their national deity, only to later replace it with Yahweh. It has been speculated by some scholars that the cult of Yahweh may have been brought into Israel by a group of Caananite slaves fleeing from Egypt, who later merged with the Israelites.


The name "Israel"

The name Israel first appears c. 1209 BCE, at the end of the Late Bronze Age and the very beginning of the period archaeologists and historians call Iron Age, Iron Age I, on the Merneptah Stele raised by the Egyptian Pharaoh Merneptah. The inscription is very brief: As distinct from the cities named (Ashkelon, Gezer, Yenoam) which are written with a toponym, toponymic marker, Israel is written hieroglyphically with a demonymic determinative indicating that the reference is to a human group, variously located in central Palestine or the highlands of Samaria.


Pre-state (Iron Age I) and monarchies (Iron Age II)

Over the next two hundred years (the period of Iron Age I) the number of Israelite highland settlement, highland villages increased from 25 to over 300 and the settled population doubled to 40,000. According to the Hebrew Bible, the various tribes of Israel united in the 10th century BCE and formed the Kingdom of Israel (united monarchy), Kingdom of Israel and Judah, under the leadership of Saul, who was later overthrown by David; after the death of David, his son Solomon ascended to the throne and reigned until his death, after which the Kingdom split into the Kingdom of Israel and the
Kingdom of Judah The Kingdom of Judah ( he, יְהוּדָה, ''Yəhūdā''; akk, 𒅀𒌑𒁕𒀀𒀀 ''Ya'uda'' 'ia-ú-da-a-a'' arc, 𐤁‬𐤉‬𐤕‬𐤃𐤅‬𐤃 ''Bēyt David, Dāwīḏ'') was an Israelites, Israelite kingdom of the Southern Levan ...
. The historicity of the formation of the Israelite state is heavily debated among archaeologists and biblical scholars: biblical maximalists and centrists (Kenneth Kitchen, William G. Dever, Amihai Mazar, Baruch Halpern and others) believe that the biblical account can be considered as more or less accurate, biblical minimalists (Israel Finkelstein, Ze'ev Herzog, Thomas L. Thompson and others) believe that the Kingdoms of Israel and Judah developed as separated states and there was never a United Monarchy. The debate has not yet been resolved, although recent archaeological discoveries by Israeli archaeologists Eilat Mazar and Yosef Garfinkel seem to support the existence of a united monarchy. From 850 BCE onwards a series of inscriptions are evidence of a kingdom which its neighbours refer to as the "Davidic line, House of David."


From the downfall of the two kingdoms to Bar Kochba

In the pre-exilic First Temple Period the political power of Judea was concentrated within the tribe of Judah, Israel was dominated by the tribe of Ephraim and the House of Joseph, while the Galilee was associated with the tribe of Naphtali, the most eminent tribe of northern Israel. After the destruction of the kingdom of Israel and kingdom of Judah in 720 and 586 BCE respectively, the concepts of Jew and Samaritan gradually replaced Judahite and Israelite. At the time of the Kingdom of Israel, the Galilee was populated by northern tribes of Israel, but following the Babylonian exile the region became Jewish. Four centuries after the Jews returned from the Babylonian captivity, the Hasmonean kingdom was established, consisting of three regions,
Judea Judea or Judaea ( or ; from he, יהודה, Standard Standard may refer to: Flags * Colours, standards and guidons * Standard (flag), a type of flag used for personal identification Norm, convention or requirement * Standard (metrolog ...

Judea
, Samaria, and the Galilee. During the Second Temple period relations between the Jews and Samaritans remained tense. In 120 BCE the Hasmonean king John Hyrcanus, Yohanan Hyrcanos I destroyed the Samaritan temple on Mount Gerizim, due to the resentment between the two groups over a disagreement of whether Mount Moriah in Jerusalem or Mount Gerizim in Shechem was the actual site of the Aqedah, and the chosen place for the Mishkan, Holy Temple, a source of contention that had been growing since the two houses of the former Kingdom of Israel (united monarchy), united monarchy first split asunder in 930 BCE and which had finally exploded into warfare. 190 years after the destruction of the Samaritan Temple and the surrounding area of Shechem, the Roman general and future emperor Vespasian launched a military campaign to crush the First Jewish–Roman War, Jewish revolt of 66 CE, which resulted in the Siege of Jerusalem (70 AD), destruction of the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem in 70 CE by his son Titus, and the subsequent Jewish diaspora, exile of Jews from Judea and the Galilee in 135 CE following the Bar Kochba revolt.Josephus, ''Antiquities of the Jews'' s:The Antiquities of the Jews/Book XVIII#Chapter 7, XVIII.7.2. Josephus, ''War of the Jews'' II.8.11, II.13.7, II.14.4, II.14.5


Genetics

In 2000, M. Hammer, et al. conducted a study on 1371 men and definitively established that part of the paternal Genetic studies on Jews, gene pool of Jewish communities in Europe, North Africa and Middle East came from a common Middle East ancestral population. Another study (Nebel et al. 2001) noted; "In comparison with data available from other relevant populations in the region, Jews were found to be more closely related to groups in the north of the Fertile Crescent (Kurds, Turks, and Armenians) than to their Arab neighbors." The authors found that "Palestinian Arabs and Bedouin differed from the other Middle Eastern populations studied, mainly in specific high-frequency Eu 10 haplotypes not found in the non-Arab groups." and suggested that some of this difference might be due to migration and admixture from the Arabian peninsula during the last two millennia. A 2004 study (by Shen et al.) comparing Samaritans to several Jewish populations (including Ashkenazi Jews, Iraqi Jews, Libyan Jews, Moroccan Jews, and Yemenite Jews, as well as Israeli Druze and Palestinians) found that "the principal components analysis suggested a common ancestry of Samaritan and Jewish patrilineages. Most of the former may be traced back to a common ancestor in what is today identified as the paternally inherited Israelite high priesthood (Cohanim) with a common ancestor projected to the time of the Assyrian conquest of the kingdom of Israel."


See also

* Biblical archaeology * Groups claiming affiliation with Israelites * Lachish relief * Masoretic Text * Samaritan Pentateuch * Tribal allotments of Israel * Who is a Jew? * Yom HaAliyah


References


Bibliography

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * {{Authority control Israelites, Ancient Jewish history Ethnonyms Land of Israel Samaritan culture and history Semitic-speaking peoples