Land of Israel and Jewish heritage – 31

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Land of Israel and Jewish heritage

A series from the book written by Naveed Anjum

Jewish Life in the Land of Canaan, cont’d

The Promised Land, cont’d

The Period of the Judges: 1250-1025 BCE

Following their escape from slavery under the leadership of Moses and wandering forty years in the desert, the Israelites returned to the region of Canaan. Under the command of Joshua, they conquered and divided it along with the region of Gilead amongst the twelve tribes.

Fig 1.5. Twelve Tribes of Israel.

Fig 1.5. Twelve Tribes of Israel.

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For a couple of centuries, a series of rulers known as Judges led the allied twelve tribes. During that period, the Israelites conquered most of the land, became farmers and craftsmen (artisans), and introduced a somewhat economic and social consolidation. Periods of relative peace alternated with times of war, during which the people rallied behind their ruling Judges who were chosen for their political and military skills in addition to their leadership qualities.

However, the Israelites discovered an inherent weakness within this tribal organization. It was especially evident in face of the threat posed by the Philistines. These were seagoing people from Asia Minor who had settled on the Mediterranean coast. The Israelites’ tribal weakness revealed a need for a ruler who could unite the tribes into a cohesive and federated nation. They created such a position and made it permanent, with succession carried on by inheritance.

(To be continued…)


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