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A History of the Kingdom of Israel

Authors:  Lipinski†E.

Year: 2018
ISBN: 978-90-429-3655-3
Pages: XII-200 p.
Price: 89 EURO

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The framework of this history of the Kingdom of Israel is based on information provided by epigraphic sources. They show that the religion and the ethnic identity of Israel connect traditions of semi-nomadic tribes of the Cisjordanian highland with conceptions and practices of pastoralists living in Transjordan, Midian, Negeb, and Sinai. They are known as Shasu in Egyptian texts, which provide the earliest written sources. The book is divided in six chapters. The first one deals with the proto-history of Israel in the second millennium B.C., starting with the mention of the Joseph-El and Simeon tribes in the Egyptian Execration texts of the 19th-18th centuries B.C. Jacob-El, Reuben, and Israel appear somewhat later, as well as the Shasu of the Yahwe-El area in Northern Sinai. The figure of Moses is related to this region and dates presumably from the second half of the 12th century B.C., when the period of the Judges starts. Graeco-Aegean Philistines settled in Canaan in the late 12th century were a serious menace to the confederation of Israelite tribes whose elders decided ca. 980 B.C. to adopt a royal government system. The first king was Saul, followed by his son Ishbaal. The unsettled period of Davidís and Solomonís reigns (ca. 960-927 B.C.) still belongs to the transition period from tribal confederacy to monarchy, continued by wars between Israel and Judah and by internal troubles. This is examined in chapter II. Chapter III deals with the dynasty of Omri, which ruled from ca. 882 to 749 B.C., a period documented also by Moabite, Neo-Assyrian, and Aramaic inscriptions which show that Jehu belonged to an Omride side-branch and that Jehoram and Ahaziah were killed by Aramaeans at the battle of Ramoth Gilead (841 B.C.), not by Jehu or his men. The rule of the Omrides was followed by a restless period and by Assyrian invasions ending with the annexation of the country to the Assyrian Empire and deportations of some of its elite, as presented in chapter IV. Since monotheism goes to the hearth of Israelite self-understanding, chapter V examines the religion of Israel, characterized by the cult of El, whose identity was specified by the full name Yahwe-El. A certain continuity of the Israelite political entity appears in the Persian period with Samarian governors, often members of the Sanballat lineage, as proposed in chapter VI.

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