Lesson 1- The Israelites
- A group of people in Southwest Asia known as the Israelites
practiced Judaism. Judaism was an example of monotheism.
The Israelites recorded their beliefs in sacred writings that
came to be known as the Hebrew Bible.
• According to Jewish belief, the Israelites descended from
Abraham. The Hebrew Bible describes how Abraham led his
family and others to settle in Canaan. Later, a famine drove
the Israelites out of Canaan and into Egypt.
• According to the Hebrew Bible, the Israelite prophet Moses
led the Israelites to escape Egypt, where they had been
enslaved. During this journey, known as the Exodus, Moses
received from God a set of laws called the Torah.
• When the Israelites returned to Canaan from Egypt, they
found other groups living there. The Israelites engaged in a
series of battles in an attempt to reclaim their homeland.
• The Phoenicians were skilled sailors and traders whose trade
network and settlements stretched across the Mediterranean
region. As a result, Phoenician ideas, such as their alphabet,
spread throughout the region.
• After many conflicts, the Israelites won control of the dry,
hilly area in central Canaan.
Judaism played an important part in the development of two major religions: Christianity and Islam. The Jewish, Christian and Muslim beliefs have two major things in common:
1-All believe in one God.
2. All believe that evil and suffering will be replaced with goodness
Lesson 2 The Israelite Kingdom
• By 1100 b.c., the Israelites controlled most of Canaan. The
Philistines remained. Many Israelites called for a king to
unite the Twelve Tribes of Israel against the Philistines.
• Saul became the first king, and then David succeeded him.
Known for his bravery in battle, David united the Twelve
Tribes and defeated the Philistines. Today, David is regarded
as the greatest of the Israelite kings.
• David’s son, Solomon, followed him as king around 970 b.c.
Despite Solomon’s accomplishments, the Israelites
eventually turned against him. His death around 922 b.c.
sent the kingdom into a period of conflict.The Israelites
• After Solomon’s death, the Israelites split into two
kingdoms: Israel and Judah. Outside empires soon
threatened these two kingdoms.
•The Assyrians captured Israel, while the Chaldeans under
King Nebuchadnezzar captured Judah. The Chaldeans forced
many of Judah’s people to live in exile in Babylon. This time period was known as the Babylonian exile.
Lesson 3- The Development of Judaism
•While some Jews accepted their exile in Babylon, others
hoped to return home to Judah. The Kingdom of Judah borders the Dead Sea.
When the Persians defeated the Chaldeans, the Persian king allowed the Jews to return
home around 538 b.c. Persian officals ruled the country. They did not allow the Jews to govern themselves.
• The three parts of the Hebrew Bible—the Torah, the Prophets,
and the Writings—explain the laws and rules of the Israelites.
The Hebrew Bible also records important elements of Jewish
culture, such as art, literature, and proverbs.
• The laws of the Torah influenced the roles and duties of
family life for the early Jews.
• The Torah also affected the foods that early Jews ate and
the clothes that they wore.
Lesson 4-The Jews in the Mediterranean World
• In 331 b.c., Alexander the Great of Greece defeated the
Persians. Under Alexander’s rule, many Jews remained in
Judah, while others settled in other parts of the Greek
empire. These groups living outside the Jewish homeland
became known as the Diaspora-(Greek word meaning "scattered")
•After Alexander’s death, his empire was divided into
separate kingdoms. The kingdom that covered much of
Southwest Asia was ruled by the Seleucids. Seleucid kings
ruled Judah by 200 b.c.
• The Seleucid king Antiochus IV required the Jews to worship
Greek gods and goddesses. As a result, a Jewish priest
named Judas Maccabeus led a revolt against the Seleucids
in 167 b.c. and eventually regained control of the Temple in
• In 63 b.c., Roman forces captured Judah. Over time, different groups emerged among the Jews. These groups held differing beliefs and different views about how to respond to Roman rule.
• The Zealots led a revolt in a.d. 66. The Romans eventually recaptured Jerusalem and also defeated a second rebellion in a.d. 132. The Romans then instituted stricter controls. They renamed Judaea and called it Palestine.
• Under Roman rule, rabbis helped the Jews survive and preserve their religion and culture.