Israel : An Unimportant Ancient Nation that Became One of Today’s Powerful Countries

anciwnt gates of israelIt was only in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries when archaeological discoveries unearthed the great civilizations of the Ancient Near East (ANE). This was the geographical region that formed part of the movement for agriculture development.

The ANE map shows that at present, it includes the modern day nations of Israel, Egypt, Iraq, Iran,Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, and some of Turkey.

History of Human Civilization Different from History of Human Existence

The history of human civilization is not at all related to the history of human existence, as the history of ancient civilizations involves the relationship between humans and nature. The interactions between the two had jointly promoted the progress of economy, society, and historical development of production.

However, acts of conquest were prevalent during the early stages of ancient civilization. Such acts could spell the disappearance of a particular ethnic group during the stage of antiquity.

What usually happened was that the people of a conquered nation replaced their defeated god with the god of victorious conquerors. As a result, religious adoption, cultural absorptions and intermarriages took place.

Ancient Israel was the only nation that broke away from the adaptations taken on by neighboring nations. Rather than adopt the beliefs of their conqueror, the Israelites as a nation believed in the radical new idea that there is only One God Who is above and beyond the powers of nature.
This particular religious belief shaped the culture of the Israelites, which enabled them to survive and transcend through the years from antiquity up to the present day.

Overview of How Israel Managed to Preserve Its Culture and Traditions while Part of the ANE

ruins of ancient jerusalemScholars contend that based on their studies, the Israelites were just a small insignificant group. Yet the people managed to establish a kingdom in ancient Canaan, sometime around the year 1000 Before the Common Era (BCE) .
Research showed the Israelites may have been successful in conquering some of their smaller neighbors but eventually in 922 BCE, tribal conflicts led to the nation’s division. Two kingdoms were subsequently established, one in the Northern region and another in the Southern region.
Ten of the twelve Israelite tribes comprised the Northern Kingdom, which was earlier called Israel. The remaining two Israelite had formed the Southern Kingdom called Judah.
The Northern Kingdom was later conquered and destroyed by the Assyrians in 722 BCE but the Southern Kingdom somehow managed to survive the Assyrian conquest.
In 586 BCE, the Babylonians conquered Judah and the conquerors sent into exile the better educated and wealthier people of Judah.
Although Judah lost its national political base, the ancient Israelites had thrived and survived by holding on to the religious belief that there is one divine God who wields power over and beyond all the forces of nature.
The ancient Israelites of Judah had this complicated view that their transcendent god had connection and control over even the most catastrophic and tragic events. Instead of taking such occurrences as failures or defeat of their God, they believe that everything that transpires is a necessary part of God’s larger plan and purpose for Judah, known today as Israel.