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Chapter 13: Jewish History

Chapter 13: Jewish History

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Creation

The world was created 5773 years ago [at the time of this publication]. G‑d created the world in six days and on the seventh day He rested. Adam was created on Friday, the sixth day of creation. From Adam to Noah there were ten generations. From Noah to Abraham, ten generations.

Creation

Day 1 — heavens and earth, light and dark.

Day 2 — sky and water.

Day 3 — land and seas, vegetation, trees.

Day 4 — sun, moon, stars.

Day 5 — living creatures.

Day 6 — man.

Adam

10 generations

Noah

10 generations

Abraham

Isaac

Jacob

12 Tribes

11 sons Levi

Kehot

Amram

Moshe

The history of the Jewish people began with Abraham. In his times, all the people in the world were idol worshippers. They used to bow down to the sun, moon and stars. It was Abraham who, even at an early age, proclaimed that there is only one G‑d in the world and that He alone is the Creator, and all forms of worship and prayer must be to Him. Abraham persuaded thousands of people to believe in one G‑d. G‑d spoke to Abraham and made a covenant with him, that his children would be the “chosen people” and they were destined to inherit the Land of Israel.

G‑d tested Abraham ten times to see if Abraham believed fully in G‑d. The tenth test is the most famous. G‑d commanded Abraham to offer his beloved son Isaac as a sacrifice. Abraham listened to G‑d’s command without delay and travelled to Mount Moriah and built an altar. Just before Abraham was about to sacrifice Isaac, an angel from heaven stopped him. Abraham offered a ram instead. This episode is called the Akeida which means “tied up” because Isaac was bound on the altar. We read this episode on Rosh Hashanah. The Shofar is a reminder of the ram’s horn in the story.

G‑d gave Abraham a very special Mitzvah, the Mitzvah of circumcision — Brit Milah. Abraham circumcised himself when he was 99 years old. Abraham’s wife was called Sarah. She was well known for her piety. It was Sarah who was the first Jewess to light candles before Shabbat.

Abraham — Moses

Isaac, the son and heir of Abraham and Sarah, followed in the path of his parents and thus brought up his son Jacob [later named by G‑d Israel] who in turn taught the family tradition to his twelve sons. Later, Jacob and his family, 70 people in all, went to live in Egypt. It was G‑d’s will that the Jewish people should in its infancy be prepared through suffering and bondage to become a spiritually and morally strong people.

Moses

Moses was 80 years old when G‑d commanded him to take the Jews out of Egypt. The Exodus was in the year 2448. 49 days after the Exodus, the Jews received the Torah on Mount Sinai and became the Jewish Nation. The Israelites journeyed through the wilderness for 40 years, after which they entered the Land of Israel with Joshua.

Joshua — King David

Joshua divided the lands between the 12 tribes. After Joshua, a number of prophets and judges ruled over Israel, with such leaders as Deborah, Gideon, Samson and Eli until the prophet Samuel anointed King Saul as the first king of Israel. After King Saul came King David, perhaps the most famous of all kings. King David slew Goliath in combat, beat the Plishtim [a nation at war with Israel] and returned the Holy Ark to Jerusalem. He also composed the book of TehillimPsalms.

The First Temple

King David’s son, King Solomon, built the first Temple in Jerusalem in the year 2935. The Temple was a beautiful building which housed the Holy Ark. Inside the Ark were the tablets of stone upon which the Ten Commandments were written. The first Temple stood for 410 years.

Moshe — led Jews out of Egypt in 2448 and received the Torah on Mount Sinai.

Joshua — entered the Land of Israel in 2488. Joshua died in 2516 at age 110.

Deborah— 2650-2676

Gideon — 2716

Samson — 2830

Eli — 2830

Saul — Samuel anoints Saul in 2880.

David — 2854-2924. Died on Shavuot. Lived 70 years.

Solomon — commences building of Temple in 2928

The Division of the Kingdom

After King Solomon’s death, the Kingdom was split into two, the Northern Kingdom of Israel and the Kingdom of Judah. Initially, the King of Judah was Solomon’s son Rechavam, and the Northern Kingdom was ruled by Jereboam. Thereafter, each kingdom had its own king until the destruction of the first Temple by the Babylonians on the 9th Av, 3338.

The Kings of Israel and Judah

King Solomon

Judah Israel

Rechavam Jereboam ben Nevat
2964-2981 2964-2985

Aviyah Nadav
2981-2983 2985-2986

Asa Baasha
2983-3024 2986-3009

Yehoshafat Elah
3024-3047 3009-3010

Yehoram Zimri
3047-3055 3010

Ahaziah
3055-3056

Athaliah Omri
3056-3061 3010-3021

Yoash Ahab
3061-3101 3021-3041

Amaziah Ahaziah
3101-3129 3041-3043

Uzziah Yehoram
3129-3167 3043-3056

Yotham Yehu
3167-3183 3056-3083

Achaz Yehoachaz
3183-3199 3083-3098

Hezekiah Yehoash
3199-3228 3098-3114

Menasheh Jereboam II
3228-3283 3114-3153

Amon Zechariah
3283-3285 3153-3154

Yoshiah Menachem
3285-3316 3154-3164

Yehoahaz Pekahiah
3316 3164-3166

Yehoakim Pekah ben Remaliah
3316-3327 3166-3187

Yehoachin Hoshea ben Elah
3327 3187-3205

Zedekiah
3327-3338

3338 Destruction of First Temple

Exile and the Second Temple

After the destruction of the first Temple, the Jews were exiled to Babylon for 70 years. Towards the end of this period, the great miracle of Purim occurred [14th Adar 3405] when the Jews in the vast Persian Empire were miraculously saved from the wicked Haman.

At the end of the 70 years exile, G‑d took pity upon His people and returned them to the Land of Israel under the leadership of Ezra the Scribe. The second Temple was rebuilt and the people re-settled on their land.

A wave of religious persecution by Antiochus, King of Syria, led to the brave Hasmonean revolt which defeated the Syrian armies and freed the Land of Israel from foreign domination. A great miracle occurred in the Temple — a small jar of oil enough only to last for one day, lasted for eight — the miracle of Chanukah. [25th Kislev 3622].

Finally, the land fell under Roman domination and on the 9th Av in the year 3828, the Roman army, under the leadership of Vespasian and his son Titus, destroyed the Temple. Nothing but the Kotel Maaravi — the Western Wall, remained.

Exile — Present Day

After the destruction of the second Temple, the Jews were dispersed all around the world. Initially, Jewish communities sprang up in Babylon and then in Spain and North Africa but after great persecution, the Jews were expelled from one country to another with a gradual eastward movement; Spain — France — Germany — Poland — Russia. Jews would live wherever they were tolerated, although even in the dark hours of the exile some magnificent Jewish communities were built.

Modern History

In the late 19th century, most of the world’s Jewish population lived in Eastern Europe. However, there was a great deal of anti-semitism [Jew hatred] and many Jews sought a land of their own. The obvious choice was Eretz Yisrael, but in those days it was in Turkish hands. Nevertheless, many Jews emigrated to Eretz Yisrael and a small Yishuv— settlement, was established.

During the First World War, the British took control of Palestine [then the name for Israel] and in 1917, the British Government issued a statement called the Balfour Declaration viewing with favor the establishment of a Jewish National Home in Palestine.

The Holocaust

Perhaps the greatest tragedy of Jewish History was the Holocaust. This was the systematic murder of six million Jews by Hitler during the Second World War. Hitler and his men brutally murdered millions, either by shooting, hanging or gassing in a gas chamber. The horrors of the Holocaust are well known to all.

Israel

It was only in 1948, after the tragedy of the Holocaust during World War Two, that a Jewish State was finally declared. Since its independence, Israel has had to fight four wars against its Arab neighbors:

1948 — the War of Independence,

1956 — Sinai Campaign,

1967 — Six Day War, and

1973 — Yom Kippur War

In recent years thousands of Jews have returned to Israel. Jews the world over are now awaiting the coming of Moshiach who will bring all Jews back to Eretz Yisrael.

Rabbi Nissan D. Dubov is director of Chabad Lubavitch in Wimbledon, UK.
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Albert Benhamou Israel February 19, 2017

Joshua's tribe Joshua was from the tribe of Ephraim Reply

Randi and Jonathan Cleveland, Ohio February 16, 2017

We are wondering what tribe Joshua was from. I guess Levi. Is that right? Reply

Albert Benhamou Radlett, England December 7, 2013

Biblical chronology Shavuat Tov
It is interesting to note that Hashem intervened 3 times after the Dispersion (1996), 26 years apart each time, to redress His creation. First, 26 years after the Dispersion, Hashem said to Abram "lech lecha" (2022). Then 26 years later, Hashem announced the coming birth of his son/heir, Isaac born 1 Tishri 2048. Then the Akedah occurred 26 years later (2074), as the last "trial" of Abraham's faith.
About the chronology from Seder Olam and Rabbinical Tradition, there are difficult dates to reconcile, that conflict with historical records. For example, it assumes a "Persian rule" to have lasted 34 years only, meaning that several Persian kings were one king, but this contradicts Daniel 11:2.
My studies evolve around reconciling the correct Biblical/Jewish chronology with what is now known of history and world events. Because, in fact, there never was any discrepancy... But it takes to read correctly the texts, such as I Kings 6:1 which does not refer to the Exodus... Reply