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Ancient Eras of Ancient Jewish History

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Period of the Judges
Merneptah Stele

Merneptah Stele

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The period of the Judges begins (c. 1399 B.C.) after the the 40 years in the wilderness described in Exodus. Moses dies before reaching Canaan. Once the 12 tribes of the Hebrews reach the promised land, they find they are in frequent conflict with the neighboring regions. They need leaders to guide them in battle. Their leaders, called judges, also handle more traditional judicial matters as well as warfare. Joshua comes first.

There is archaeological evidence of Israel at this time. It comes from the Merneptah Stele, which is currently dated to 1209 B.C. and says the people called Israel were wiped out by the conquering pharaoh (according to Biblical Archaeology Review) Although the Merneptah Stele is called the first extrabiblical reference to Israel, Egyptologists and Biblical scholars Manfred Görg, Peter van der Veen and Christoffer Theis suggest there may be one from two centuries earlier on a statue pedestal at the Egyptian Museum of Berlin.

For an English translation of the Merneptah Stele, see: "The Poetical Stela of Merneptah (Israel Stela) Cairo Museum 34025 (Verso)," Ancient Egyptian Literature Volume II: The New Kingdom by Miriam Lichtheim, University of California Press: 1976.

Ancient Eras (Almost Entirely B.C.)

Page 1: Patriarchal Era
Page 2: Period of the Judges
Page 3: United Monarchy
Page 4: Divided Kingdom
Page 5: Exile and Diaspora
Page 6: Hellenistic Period
Page 7: Roman Occupation

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