The Jews are probably one of the world’s oldest civilizations, dating back to the ancient times. Their history is marked by a lot of significant events and is highlighted by their culture and religion. However, Judaism as a religion was mentioned as early as the Hellenistic period of the Greeks (31 BC) and is dated in historical records such as the tablet inscripted by an Ancient Egyptian King named Merneptah, known as the Merneptah Steele which contained the first documented use of the word “Israel”. It was dated as early as 1200 BC while recorded religious literature stated Israelites’ Babylonian captivity and the destruction of Jerusalem’s temple. The most important piece of info it contains however, is the inscription which is translated as “Israel is laid waste”, which implied that the food (grain) supplies of Israel had run out, making them a military threat. The ancient history of the Jews can be divided into several time periods, covering Israel before the foundations of Judaism, the fledgling nation during the rise of Judaism and the formation and rise of rabbinic Judaism.
The civilization mainly started in the coast of the Mediterranean sea and the Fertile Crescent which stretches from parts of Persia (Iran), Assyria (Syria), Mesopotamia (Iraq), Israel, Jordan and parts of Egypt. If ancient Jewish writings were to be believed, the modern Jewish people descended from ancient Israelites that stayed in Canaan between the Mediterranean and Jordan river. Religious texts say that the Israelis descended from Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. They were then led to Egypt due to the famine that gripped the land. After a few hundred years, they were enslaved by the Egyptians and after which, Moses led the Jews out of Egypt, which was stated in the Exodus. After which, they returned to Canaan, 1400 years before the birth of Christ. There, the foundations of Judaism were established due to Moses receiving the Ten Commandments in Mount Sinai. In 1000 BC, a monarchy was established. There, names of the various Israeli kings like David, Solomon and Saul popped up. However, after Solomon’s death, the nation was split into two kingdoms, namely the northern Kingdom of Israel and the southern Kingdom of Judah. However, the fraction caused them to be conquered by the Assyrians 8 years before the birth of Christ. Read more