A Brief History of the Jewish People

A Brief History of the
Jewish People
Patriarchs and Matriarchs
Abraham - (1900 B.C.E.)
Joseph and the Settlement in Israel
Moses (1290 B.C.E.)
Life in the Promised Land (about 1250
Abraham - (1900 B.C.E.)
• Jews known as Hebrews
• Abram first to follow the One God (the God of
gods, the totally spiritual God, the God that is a
faithful concerned friend, a God beyond Limits)
• As a sign of this new personal relationship
between God and Abram, God gave Abram a
new name: Abraham
• This relationship - based on love - is call a
Covenant (I will be your God and you will be my
• Son of Abraham and
• Abraham so loved God
that he was willing to
sacrifice his only (long
awaited) son - but our
God does not want
Human Sacrifice
• Son of Isaac and Rebekah
• Jacob renews the covenant with God,
Jacob’s name becomes Israel
• Jacob becomes the father of twelve sons
Joseph and the Settlement in
• Joseph, son of Jacob (Israel) and Rachel - is
sold into slavery and ends up in Israel
• Joseph ends up saving the Egyptians and as
a result his family is invited to live in Egypt
• Many years after Joseph’s death, the
Israelites are forced into slavery
• Patriarchs - Abraham, Isaac, Jacob,
Joseph - fathers/leaders of a family,
fathers of faith
• Matriarchs - Sarah, Rebekah, Rachel mothers of faith
Moses (1290 B.C.E.)
• called to free the Israelites from slavery
• God reveals the name of God to Moses
Yahweh - I am; To be
• The ten plagues reveals Gods power over
the lives of people
• The tenth plague - the death of the
firstborn in Egypt; the Passover meal and
God protecting the Israelites; the Passover
Moses (continued)
• God frees the Israelites - and gives them the
ten commandments
• After receiving the 10 commandments, the
Israelites roamed the desert for forty difficult
Life in the Promised Land (about
1250 B.C.E.)
• After Moses’ death the Israelites were led into
the promised land (Canaan) by Joshua
• They encountered much opposition as they tried
to settle in a land that was already occupied
(wars, tempted by foreign religions)
• Judges (great warriors), were appointed to fight
and defeat Israel’s enemies
• The people (wanting to be like other nations),
want a strong, visible leader - a king!
The Kingdom of Israel (1000
• Saul - Warrior King (1020 B.C.E.)
• David - Uniting the People
• Solomon - Son of David
Saul - Warrior King (1020 B.C.E.)
• Saul, the first King, was a brave man in
battle but he was a weak man personally.
• He was jealous of David, one of the
leaders in his army - this jealousy and his
stubbornness led to his disaster
David - Uniting the People
• As king, David was able to unite the twelve
tribes of Israel (1000 B.C.E.)
• He was able to defeat the enemies of
Israel, making Jerusalem both the political
and spiritual capital of the united Israel
• He was a great leader
• While he was not always faithful to the
covenant, he struggled to do what was
right and showed great sorrow for his sins
Solomon - Son of David
• Solomon was the third King of Israel
• Under his leadership Israel experienced a
period of great building, increased trade,
and prosperity. The temple was built at
this time.
• But this prosperity came at a price - heavy
taxes and idolatry. The spiritual well-being
of the people was not protected.
• After his death the Kingdom was divided.
The Kingdom Divided
• Disagreements between the type of
leadership and the type of laws need for
the United Kingdom, led to the division of
the Kingdom. Israel (ten northern tribes)
in the north, and Judah in the south.
• This was a period of weak kings and
religious disgrace.
• The voice of God could be heard through
the prophets - calling the people back to
the covenant.
The Kingdom Divided
• The northern kingdom of Israel was defeated
by the Assyrian Empire ( 721 B.C.E.)
• The southern kingdom of Judah was overrun
by the Babylonians (587 B.C.E.) - the temple
was destroyed (586 B.C.E.)
• Thousands were led into captivity (slavery) in
Babylon. Those not captured dispersed
themselves along the Mediterranean Sea where they tried to remain faithful to the
covenant. (The Diaspora)
Renewal of the Covenant and
Return to Judah
• While in Babylon some tried to renew their
relationship with God, they tried to live much
more closely to God - they were called the
• In 538 B.C.E. the Persian king Cyrus overran the
Babylonians which led to the release of the
• They went back to Judah, worked on rebuilding
the temple (finished in 515 B.C.E.)
• Because they were from Judah, they came to be
called Jews a form of the word Judaism.
Alexander the Great
• 331 BCE Alexander the Great, the king of
Macedonia (Greece) conquers the region
The Comeback
• 164 B.C.E. -100 C.E. The Maccabees
(Judean rebels) recapture Jerusalem and
reconsecrate the Temple (164 BCE)
• birth of several new religious movements
in Judaism, including the Pharisees and
the way of Jesus of Nazareth
• birth of Rabbinic Judaism
The Temple is Destroyed Again
• 70 C.E. The Romans lay siege to
Jerusalem (in Judea) and destroy the
• Judaism and Christianity begin to part
• Rabbinic Judaism takes hold
The Talmud
• c. 220-600 The Babylonian Talmud and
the Jerusalem Talmud are compiled
• Jews from Eastern Europe begin to
emigrate to North America
1939-1945 The Holocaust
• Israel is declared a Jewish state