The Foundation of Western Ethics
Jews outside the wailing wall in Jeusalem.
The modern country of Israel has been the homeland of the Jews since the British made a partition from the country of Palestine to form the modern country of Israel. It was declared soveriengn in 1948. This country traces its Biblical roots to this land. Besides being known as Israel it is also known as Zion. Israel is the only Jewish country surrounded by many Arab nations. Constant hostility and political aggression from other countries keeps Israel on guard. Israel has a strong military ready to defend it from bellicose neighbors. Military service is both mandatory for men and women and has been a constant friend and ally to the United States of America.
A Map of Modern Israel
Notice the proximity of Egypt and Iraq, former Ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia, respectively.
Additional Resources on Israel
Israeli female soldier
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The top of Masada, where the Jews took a stand against the Romans.
The Patriarchs of The Old Testament
The identity of Israel has been greatly formed through the meta-narratives present in Biblical literature. How the Bible was formulated through this group of nomadic pastoralists is still under debate.The Bible is the great gift of the Israelites to western civilization. Its impact is undeniable and goes usually unnoticed. However, The Bible and the stories written in it are the foundation of western law and morality. It is interesting to note that the ideas of equality and social justice, so alien, to much of the ancient world gets its genesis with the Israelites. The great patriarchs of The Bible help model the morality and spiritual understanding of God's relationship with man. This is far from a perfect one. The patriarchs display both greatness of thought and action and at times shows the shortcomings of humanity through deceit, disbelief, greed, and power. Biblical literature does not flinch in presenting its grotesqueness. It does this to illuminate the notion that humanity is flawed and without the divine it is no more than a sanguine animal. The patriarchs show the complexity and struggle to listen and follow God.
Abraham: The Father of Judaism
Abraham en route to Canaan.
Abraham is the first patriarch to accept the God Yaweh as the only true God. In essence he is considered on of the the first monotheists in history. According to the Bible he is considered to be "The Father of The Jewish People" because he left his homeland in Mesopotamia to follow God. In being faithful to God, Abraham, would become "father of nations." It is interesting to note that three major religions of the world, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam their history back to Abraham. Abraham is a model of faith.
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Moses: The Liberator of The Israelites and The Ten Commandments
Moses holding The Ten Commandments.
In the Biblical book of Exodus, Moses, was responsible for the freeing the Israelites or Jewish people under the opression of the pharaoh. Prior, the patriarch Joseph, won favor with the past pharaoh of Egypt from saving the Egyptian kingdom from famine and starvation. In the Biblical account numerous Jews moved to Egypt because it had pleniful storages of food in the Near East. During Moses' life the pharaoh had forgotten the contributions of The Israelite people and enslaved them due to fear that they would become too numerous. God spoke to Moses through a burning bush and told Moses to rescue his people. After various plagues sent by God through Moses, the pharaoh finally consented, when the plague of slaying the Egyptian first-born decimated part of The Egyptian poplulation.
On Mount Sinai, Moses was given The Ten Commandments. This set of laws was unique in that it dealt with ethical conduct as opposed to legal compensation. These laws grounded ethics in humankind's relationship to God and to community, even extending out of The Hebrew nation. Thus, these laws had a universal application for all peoples.
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King David: Israel's Most Famous King
David confronting Goliath.
David was the second and greatest king of Israel. He rose to fame after he killed the giant Goliath, champion of the Phillistines. He then succeeded to unite Israel and defeat many of its enemies. Besides being a king and a warrior, he was also a shepherd, musician and a poet.
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King Solomon: Israel's Wisest King
Solomon preceding over the plight of the two mothers.
King Solomon was the son of David. He was known as the wisest of The Israelite kings. According to The Bible his wisdom was a gift from God. He was reputed to be a great builder and had immense knowledge over trees, building materials, fauna, and philosophy. He was responsible for building The Great Temple and establishing treaties and alliances with different foreign kings and queens.
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Other Books of The Bible
The Old Testament
Click below to research other books of The Bible.
Psalms Understanding The Psalms
Ecclesiastes Understanding Ecclesiastes
Proverbs Understanding Proverbs
Job Understanding Job
Ezekiel Understanding Ezekiel
Isaiah Understanding Isaiah