wh chapter 2 section 5 notes

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  • 1. Section 5 Notes

2. Early in their history, the Israelites, or Hebrews, came to believe that God was taking a hand in their lives. As a result, they recorded events and laws in the Torah, their most sacred text. According to the Torah, a man named Abraham lived near Ur in Mesopotamia. About 2000BC, he and his family migrated into a region called Canaan. Abraham is considered the founder of the Israelite nation. 3. The Book of Genesis tells that a famine forced many Israelites to migrate to Egypt In Egypt, the Israelites were enslaved until Moses led their exodus out of Egypt After Moses died, they entered Canaan, the land they believed God had promised them 4. By 1000BC, the Israelites had set up a kingdom called Israel. David, a strong and shrewd king, united the feuding Israelite tribes into a single nation. Davids son Solomon turned Jerusalem into an impressive capital, with a splendid temple dedicated to God. Solomon won fame for his wisdom and understanding. He also tried to increase Israels influence by negotiating with powerful empires in Egypt and Mesopotamia. 5. Israel paid a heavy price for Solomons ambitions. His building projects required such high taxes and so much forced labor that revolts erupted soon after his death about 922BC. The kingdom then split into Israel in the north and Judah in the south. Nebuchadnezzar destroyed Solomons great temple and forced many Israelites into exile in Babylon. During this period, called the Babylonian Captivity, the Israelites became known as the Jews. 6. To the Israelites, history and faith were interconnected. Each event reflected Gods plan for them. In time, their beliefs evolved into the religion we know today as Judaism. The beliefs of the Israelites differed in basic ways from those of nearby peoples. The Israelites were monotheistic, believing in one true God. At the time, most other people were polytheistic. 7. The ancient Israelites prayed to God to save them from their enemies. Many other ancient people had also turned to particular gods as special protectors. But they thought of such gods as tied to certain places or people. The Israelites believed in an all-knowing, all- powerful God who was present everywhere. 8. The Israelites believed that God had made a covenant with Abraham Moses later renewed this covenant. In return for faithful obedience, he said God would lead the Israelites out of bondage and into the promised land of Canaan. Thus, the Israelites and, later, the Jews saw themselves as Gods chosen people. 9. From early times, the concept of law was central to the Israelites. The Torah set out many laws. Some dealt with everyday matters such as cleanliness and food preparation. Israelite society was patriarchal---fathers and husbands held great legal and moral authority The father or oldest male relative was head of the household and arranged marriages for his daughters 10. Women had few legal rights At the heart of Judaism are the Ten Commandments---set of laws that Jews believe God gave them through Moses At the heart of Judaism are the Ten Commandments---set of laws that Jews believe God gave Moses The first four Commandments stress religious duties toward God The other six set out rules of conduct toward other people 11. Spiritual leaders emerged to interpret Gods will Prophets (such as Isaiah and Jeremiah) warned that failure to obey Gods law would lead their people to disaster The prophets also preached a strong code of ethics---moral standards of behavior They urged both personal morality and social justice, calling on the rich and powerful to protect the weak and poor