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associated. Many of the historical narratives which
they contain were evidently not written until centuries
after the events which they record had transpired ; and
there predominates in them all either the prophetical
or priestly purpose, which, as has been shown, is by
no means identical with the historical (sect. 5). Con-
sequently, it is clear that these books must be carefully
analyzed before the historical data which they contain
can be intelligently used. In certain general outlines
the narratives agree, and are corroborated by the infor-
mation which comes from the extra-biblical sources.
These general conclusions give the student an intelli-
gent conception of the essential facts and forces which
characterize the early period when the Hebrew nation
was in the making.

26. Wherever the cradle of the race may have been,
the united testimony of language, history, and racial
characteristics points to northern Arabia as the centre
from which the Semitic peoples went forth to the con-
quest of their respective possessions. The roving ten-
dencies of nomads impelled some at a prehistoric period
to gravitate toward the fertile lands adjacent to the
Nile; these, fusing with African races, produced the
ancient Egyptians. Other bands of emigrants from
the home of the race took possession of the productive
fields of southern Arabia, and in time streamed across
the Red Sea to Africa. This branch, including the
nomads who continued to range up and down the great
Arabian desert, are known as the Southern Semites. It
includes the Arabs, Sabeans, and Ethiopians. Other
nomadic tribes, seizing at a very early date the rich
territory which lies to the east of the desert and is wa*



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I Fertile Land



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ii



THE ANCIENT SEMITIC WORLD.



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EARLY SEMITIC IMMIGRATIONS 86

tered by the Euphrates and Tigris, founded the powaiv
ful empire of ancient Babylonia, which in succeeding
centuries came in turn under the sway of the Assyrians
and Chaldeans. When the land between the great
rivers became crowded, repeated waves of immigration
surged westward around the northern borders of the
Arabian desert to the attractive agricultural land lying
along the eastern shores of the Mediterranean. The
first immigrants into Palestine occupied the coast and
inland plains, and became the ancestors of the Canaan-
ites and Phoenicians, who constituted the second group
of the Northern Semites (sect. 21). The Semites who
settled between the upper waters of the Tigris and Eu-
phrates, and subsequently spread toward the west until
they became masters of the intervening territory even
to the Lebanons (sect. 23), are known in history as the
Arameans, and may be designated as the Aramean
group.

These movements continued during many centuries.
The great centres of Semitic civilization were con-
stantly receiving infusions of new blood from the
desert. On the other hand, as the valley of the Tigris
and Euphrates became more crowded, bands of emi-
grants were constantly moving westward in quest of
homes in the less densely settled territory of Palestine.
As the larger groups of the Semitic peoples gradually
crystallized into nations, distinct dialects arose; yet
the points of linguistic likeness which were retained
sufficed to facilitate this interchange of populations.
Consequently, there are good external reasons for
accepting as historical the Hebrew traditions which
represent the ancestors of the Hebrews — and of their
kinsmen the Ammonites, Moabites, and Edomites — *s



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36 A HISTORY OF THE HEBREW PEOPLE

coming originally from the valley of the Euphrates.
When they entered Palestine they found the more
desirable lands already occupied, and therefore were
obliged to content themselves with what remained. In
time, some of these later immigrants found permanent
homes on the southeastern borders of Palestine ; the
others continued to pasture their flocks among the bar-
ren uplands of central and southern Canaan. Being
nomads, there was little to hold them in one settled
place of abode. At length, impelled by the same needs
and instincts which since the beginning of history have
led nomadic Semitic tribes to invade the attractive terri-
tory along the Nile, they migrated southward and occu-
pied the pasture lands of Goshen located immediately
east of the Nile delta. Although they remained in their
new home for generations, they clung to their language,
customs, and religion with all the tenacity of desert
nomads; they seem also to have kept in touch with
their kinsmen who remained in the wilderness to the
east. As time went on, under the influence of their
more favorable environment, their numbers increased,
until the Pharaohs of Egypt began to regard them as a
menace to the stability of their throne. Forced labor
was consequently imposed upon them. To freedom-
loving nomads such bondage was peculiarly irksome.
But the power of the Egyptians was great, and the
shepherds were unorganized. To flee, which was their
first impulse, was impossible. At last, when their spirit
was all but completely broken, a leader and deliverer
arose in their midst.

27. On the plains of Midian, where he had spent the
days of his opening manhood, Moses had drunk in at
the fountain source the spirit of freedom and the purer



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THE EXODUS 87

concepts of Jehovah, the God of his race. There also
the Almighty spoke to him, kindling his soul with a
new light. Returning with these ideas, he was able to
awaken his people to action. In the name of Jehovah,
their God and Deliverer, he rallied them. Grievous
plagues afflicted the Egyptians, rendering them for
the time incapable of checking the shepherds in their
sudden flight; with flocks and families, therefore, they
set out under the leadership of Moses for Sinai, the
abode of their God, and for their former home in south-
ern Canaan. But circumstances led them to turn toward
the south, where, beside the arm of the Red Sea, they
were overtaken by the Egyptian army sent in pursuit.
Their cause seemed hopeless, since they could do little
to defend themselves against their well-armed foes. In
this crisis a strong east wind arose, which blew all
night, driving back the shallow waters so that it was
possible for them to pass over (Ex. xiv. 21) and thus
escape, while the Egyptians following them perished.
In this natural phenomenon — so remarkable, so oppor-
tune — the Hebrews ever recognized the delivering
hand of their God. It strengthened their wavering
faith as nothing else could have done, and by vindi
eating the assurances of Moses firmly established his
authority.

Proceeding eastward from the Red Sea, the march of
the Israelites was checked by a powerful desert tribe,
the Amalekites. These foes, however, were defeated
in battle ; and at length the great leader conducted the
fugitives safely to the mount of God, which in the
Northern Israelitish narrative is called Horeb ; in the
Judean and priestly records it is known by the more
familiar name of Sinai. Here a covenant was estab-



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88 A HISTORY OF THE HEBREW PEOPLE

lished, binding the different clans together, and in turn
reuniting them by the closest bonds to their God, Jeho-
vah. Thence they passed on to Kadesh, a desert station
on the southern limits of Judah. The more fertile
fields of southern Palestine attracted them, but their
courage failed when they learned the strength of the
inhabitants; consequently, they were obliged to con-
tent themselves with the scanty support furnished by
the wilderness. At Kadesh their sanctuary was located,
and a rude tribunal was established under the direction
of Moses. Reverting to the habits of their earlier days,
they ranged with their flocks up and down the Arabian
desert, sharing with their kinsmen, the Midianites and
Kenites, the fortunes of a Bedouin people. The chro-
nological data respecting this early period are exceed-
ingly indefinite, and present variations which it is
difficult to reconcile. According to the biblical ac-
counts, they remained in the desert for a generation
(forty years). It was a time of rich religious educa-
tion, for in these barren wastes the shepherds from the
Nile delta appear to have completely rejected any reli-
gious concepts which they may have received in Egypt
and to have returned to the purer faith of the desert.
While their religious beliefs were deepening and crys-
tallizing, a feeling of unity was growing among the
tribes, which prepared them for combined action and
constituted the germ of a nation. A sturdy race,
hardy and brave, was being developed in this most
valuable though severe training-school in which the
Israelites, in accordance with the divine purpose, had
been placed.

28. At last an opportunity arose to gain possession
of the much-coveted agricultural land which lay on the



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CONQUEST OF THE EAST-JORDAN LAND 39

borders of the desert. It came, not from the south,
but from that territory east of the Jordan which was
least defended by natural barriers, and where the tran-
sition from barren sand to fruitful pasture and agricul-
tural land was most gradual and natural. The occasion
was a protracted wax between the Amorites and the
kinsmen of the Hebrews, the Moabites and the Am-
,, monites. The former, under their king Sihon, had at
some earlier period robbed the Ammonites of their
western territory and driven the Moabites to the south
of the Arnon. On the scene of their conquests they
had built up a strong kingdom, with its capital at
Heshbon opposite Jericho. Against this formidable
power the Hebrews took the field. They were pri-
marily seeking a home for themselves, but in so
doing they were espousing the common interests of
the Moabites and Ammonites, whose independence
was threatened by the alien kingdom. If not ma-
terially assisted by their kinsmen, it is reasonable to
believe that they had their sympathy in this under-
taking, although the biblical account records only
the envy and opposition of the Moabites. The Israel-
ites were successful, and thereby gained a temporary
home on the edge of Canaan and in the midst of peo-
ples related to them by blood. The effect of their
conquest was far-reaching, for the new land which
became their own was adapted to agriculture as well as
grazing. At this time began that all-important tran-
sition from the nomadic to the agricultural stage, which
was destined to alter the very character and faith of
" the people from beyond the river."

29. Results point to corresponding causes. If all
the Pentateuchal books had been lost, it would still



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40 A HISTORY OF THE HEBREW PEOPLE

be necessary to postulate a personality like that of
Moses to explain the character of the Israelites as they
figure in later history. The Song of Deborah, which
is by all recognized as one of the very oldest pieces of
literature in the Old Testament, graphically portrays
the disorganized condition of the Hebrews. Gradually
they had been subdued by the Canaanites. All seemed
hopeless, unless something could be found to bind them
together and inspire them to fight for freedom. The
sense of kinship was no bond, since already their blood
had been mingled with that of the native inhabitants.
A common faith in Jehovah was the sufficient and
only uniting and impelling force. Jehovah's prophet-
ess, Deborah, sent out the call to arms. In the name
of the God of Sinai it was issued. The tribes rallied
to the aid of Jehovah, and his curse rested upon those
who failed to respond. From Jehovah came the vic-
tory which in Hebrew is always called " deliverance."
Almost every verse of that stirring old national song
proclaims that the tribes who together styled them-
selves Israel (" El fights," or " does battle ") were the
people of Jehovah, and regarded him as their present
Leader, Deliverer, and Counsellor. The faith of a na-
tion is not the growth of a moment nor even of a gen-
eration ; nor do mere circumstances beget a spiritual
religion. Ordinarily a knowledge of the character and
purpose of the Divine is imparted to men through
human personality. In this way the other great reli-
gions of the world have arisen, and the Hebrew religion
constituted no exception to the rule.

30. Moses is commonly called "the great law-giver
of Israel." This seems to have been the least of his
functions. Primarily, he was a prophet. Hosea, re-



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THE BELIGION OF THE DESERT 41

cognizing this fact, declares, " By a prophet Jehovah
brought Israel out of Egypt." It is difficult to deter-
mine just what religious ideas Moses inherited from his
race. The Old Testament traditions point to a pre-
Mosaic conception of Jehovah. Moses could hardly
have rallied his kinsmen in Goshen in the name of a
God hitherto unknown to them. Union with the
tribes of the desert appears to have been easy and nat-
ural; but this would have been utterly impossible
under the conditions of society existing at that time
unless there was among them a close agreement in
religion. Ordinarily, the religion of the Israelites is
contrasted with the grossly immoral Canaanitish cult
with which they were later thrown into contact ; but
since the Hebrews came from the desert, the genesis of
their faith was entirely different. As our knowledge
of the religion of the primitive Arabs increases, strik-
ing points of similarity with that of the ancient Israel-
ites are constantly disclosed. It is deeply significant
that the same terms were employed in each for " wor-
ship," "sanctuary," "feast," "jubilee," "offering,"
"sacrifice," and "seer." In antiquity among the
Semites of the desert the gross sex-dualism seems
to have been unknown. The arid wastes encouraged
simplicity and austerity in religion as well as life;
their migratory habits delivered them from the temp-
tation of believing in a multitude of local deities. The
god or gods must accompany the tribes if they are to
be of any assistance. Sometimes he is conceived of as
dwelling on some commanding peak, and coming from
thence to succor his suppliants; but ordinarily place
is regarded as unimportant to the god as to his wan-
dering worshippers. The tribe was a close corpora-



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42 A HISTORY OF THE HEBREW PEOPLE

tion constituting a perfect social unit. The interest of
each individual was synonymous with that of the tribe.
If it was strong, each member prospered in security;
if its interests demanded the life of one of its number,
that life was unhesitatingly given. The whole tribe in
turn was pledged to defend its members.

This feeling of absolute tribal unity and dependence
inevitably aroused a longing for the aid of some super-
natural being, — a deity who would give especial heed
to the interests of the community. This one god, then,
became the sole object of the worship of a tribe. His
interests were their interests, and theirs his. Since he
was not originally a member of the clan, he was made
one in the same manner as aliens from another tribe ;
namely, by the covenant. Between man and man this
meant at first an interchange of each other's blood,
attended by suitable rites. In time animal blood, wine,
or food was substituted. Since the god was not pres-
ent in person, the rite was necessarily modified, but the
content was the same. . By the covenant he became a
part of the tribe. From time to time this covenant
was renewed. In a sense, each offering to the divinity
was a symbol of union and communion. This type of
tribal organization gave a strong impetus to the wor-
ship of one god, and doubtless explains what has been
.often styled the Semitic tendency to monotheism.
/When a powerful tribe absorbed aliens or other tribes,
the god of the first tribe was necessarily accepted as the
god of all; and thus a tribal deity was exalted to
the position of a national god. Probably this was the
origin of the monolatry which existed among the Edom-
ites, Moabites, and Ammonites who had passed over
from the desert to a settled abode at some period



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WORK OF ISRAEL'S GREAT LEADER 43

precedent to the appearance of the Hebrews in Canaan.
The relations of each of these nations to its god were
most intimate. The Moabites for instance, as the
Moabite stone demonstrates, called themselves "the
people of Chemosh," their god. In the name of Che-
mosh they made war. When he was angiy with his
people, he sent defeat and captivity; when victory
came, it was from Chemosh, and to him were dedicated
the fruits of success. He was worshipped with sacri-
fice and offerings in much the same way as the He-
brews worshipped Jehovah.

These familiar facts suggest the nature of the reli-
gions concepts and customs which were the heritage of
Moses from the Semitic past. Like the prophets who
succeeded him, he built upon the revelation already
vouchsafed. The sad condition of his brethren in
Goshen awakened his patriotism as well as his sympa-
thy. The crisis demanded a prophet who could stir
men. Appealing to their religious memories and in-
stincts, which had been rendered dormant in the lotus-
land of Egypt, and to their love of freedom which is
such a passion with nomads, he was able to arouse
them. As they turned their faces toward their old
homes, they were little more than a disorganized body
of fugitives ; but a Power higher than Moses was
working with him. The remarkable circumstances
of the exodus made an indelible impression upon the
Israelites. Jehovah, their God, had revealed himself as
a God able and ready to succor his people. These acts
of deliverance, which clearly indicated the attitude of
Jehovah to his people, furnished a fitting introduction
to the covenant at Sinai. There, at the mount which
was then, and even down to the days of Elijah continued



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44 A HISTORY OF TEE HEBREW PEOPLE

to be, regarded as the especial abode of Jehovah, the
bond was established which made Israel Jehovah's pe-
culiar people ; and Jehovah, who perhaps before had
been but the God of a tribe, became Israel's Leader,
Counsellor, Defender, and Deliverer. Naturally and
rightly, Moses was received by the people as Jehovah's
representative. His words were Jehovah's message to
them. As he led them in their wilderness wandering,
they felt themselves under the direct guidance of their
God; he attended to the simple ritual of the desert sanc-
tuary at Eadesh ; to him, as the representative of Jeho-
vah, were referred the more difficult cases of dispute
which arose ; his decisions had all the weight of Jeho-
vah's authority. In this way he laid down by practical il-
lustration the principles of that civil and religious law
which bears his name. As these cases multiplied, he
was led to constitute a rude patriarchal tribunal com-
posed of the elders of the tribes (Ex. xviii). In this
simple organization is found the germ of the Hebrew
judicial and executive system.

81. Thus Moses was the man who under divine
direction " hewed Israel from the rock." Subsequent
prophets and circumstances chiselled the rough bowl-
der into symmetrical form, but the glory of the creative
act is rightly attributed to the first great Hebrew
prophet. As a leader, he not only created a nation,
but guided them through infinite vicissitudes to a land
where they might have a settled abode and develop
into a stable power; in so doing, he left upon his race
the imprint of his own mighty personality. As a
judge, he set in motion forces which ultimately led to
the incorporation of the principles of right in objective
laws. As a priest, he first gave definite form to the



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INFLUENCE OF MOSES 46

worship of Jehovah. As a prophet, he gathered to-
gether all that was best in the faith of his age and
race, and, fusing them, gave to his people a living re-
ligion. Under his enlightened guidance Israel became
truly and forever the people of Jehovah. Through
him the Divine revealed himself to Israel as their
Deliverer, Leader, and Counsellor, — not afar off, but
present; a God powerful and willing to succor his
people, and therefore one to be trusted and loved as
well as feared. As the acorn contains the sturdy oak
in embryo, so the revelation through Moses was the
germ which developed into the message of Israel to
humanity.



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part n

THE SETTLEMENT IN CANAAN,

AND THE PREPARATION FOR

THE UNITED KINGDOM



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HISTOEICAIi SOUBCES FOB THIS PERIOD

82. The chief source of information respecting the
first period of Hebrew history is the Book of Judges.
An examination of this old writing soon discloses the
fact that it was not cast in its present form primarily
for the purpose of recording history, but rather to
teach and illustrate spiritual truth. This explains
why the early Hebrews, recognizing its dominant
religious aim, classified it under the head of propheti-
cal literature (cf. sect. 9). The lesson which its
prophetical author was endeavoring to impress by the
illustrations which he drew from the lore of his nation
is presented in the constantly occurring formula, " And
the children of Israel did that which was evil in the
sight of Jehovah ; . . . and the anger of Jehovah was
kindled against Israel, and he sold them into the

hands of , and they served years ; . . . and

the children of Israel cried unto Jehovah, and he
raised up unto them a savior, . . . and the land had

rest -i years." The exploits of each of the greater

judges are introduced in this manner. These formulas,
therefore, are the framework into which the earlier
narratives that constitute the body of the book are
fitted. Naturally the portions of chief importance to
the student of Hebrew history are the ancient records

49



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60 A HISTORY OF THE HEBREW PEOPLE

thus preserved. Moreover, their value is greatly en-
hanced because the prophetic writers have not recast,
but instead, in most cases, have transcribed them ver-
batim from the earlier sources, adding only such intro-
ductory matter as seemed to be necessary for their
purpose. Although these extracts are broken and
incomplete, and sometimes fit awkwardly into their
stereotyped setting, they give true glimpses into the
conditions which existed in that early period. Lit-
erary style and contents testify to their antiquity, and
suggest that they were committed to writing not long
after the events, which they record, occurred. Con-
sequently, although not nearly so full of details, they
are a far richer field from which to glean historic facts
than the Book of Joshua, which abounds in the Ian-
guage and ideas of a later age. In the latter book,
for example, conquests and conditions which were not
completely realized until the reigns of David and Solo-
mon are compressed into a space of about seven years.
So great is the foreshortening that in a sense the Book
of Joshua, in its present form, may properly be re-
garded as an epitome of the history of the united He-
brew kingdom. Just how far in individual oases it
presents the testimony of authentic tradition, or the
concepts of a later age respecting this early period, is
one of the most difficult questions which confront the
historian. It is one which can be answered only after
a careful study of its language and ideas, in connec-
tion with the early portions of Judges and in the light
of subsequent conditions.

33. The Book of Judges consists of (1) an introduc-
tion, i. 1-ii. 5 ; (2) the history of the Judges, ii. 6-xvi.
81 ; and (3) an appendix, xvii.-xxi. The opening words



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THE EARLIEST RECORDS 51

of the introduction, " And it came to pass after the
death of Joshua," were evidently added by some later
editor of the book for the purpose of connecting it as a
sequel to the Book of Joshua, after which it is placed.
This is somewhat misleading, since the first chapter of
Judges treats of the same events and periods as the
Book of Joshua. Chapter ii. also recounts events
which occurred while Joshua was living, and tells of
his death and burial. The material preserved in the
introduction (Judges i. l b -ii. 5) was evidently taken
from ancient tribal records, and sheds an almost con-
temporary light upon the settlement in Canaan. More
than half the section is devoted to recounting the
failures of the Hebrews to dispossess the Canaanites,


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