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Thursday, August 9 2012
Israel In History and Prophecy: Jews
The Children Of Judah
A definition of "Judaism," from the 2012 online Encyclopædia Britannica:
"Judaism, the religion of the Jews. It is the complex phenomenon of a total way of life for the Jewish people, comprising theology, law, and innumerable cultural traditions."
In order to correctly understand how and when "the religion of the Jews" originated, it's vital to first understand how "Jews" themselves originated, particularly their growth from the children of a man to a kingdom of a nation - that then created a state religion for itself (the religion will be explained in the next study in this series).
"35:23 The sons of Leah; Reuben, Jacob's firstborn, and Simeon, and Levi, and Judah, and Issachar, and Zebulun:
The first "Jews" were the children of Judah (see the Fact Finder question below), who, like the other children, of the other children of Jacob/Israel, grew into a multitude that became a "tribe" of Israel e.g. from Levi came the Levites, from Dan came the Danites, from Judah came the "Jews." When the Israelites entered Egypt, the only "Jews" that existed were a few children of Judah:
"46:12 And the sons of Judah; Er, and Onan, and Shelah, and Pharez, and Zarah: but Er and Onan died in the land of Canaan. And the sons of Pharez were Hezron and Hamul." (Genesis 46:12 KJV)
By the time of the Exodus, four centuries later, Judah / the "Jews" had grown into one of the tribes of Israel. Like the other tribes, the children of Judah had increased into a multitude e.g. Judah's military-age males alone numbered 74,600 men (keeping in mind that Judah was just one of the tribes of Israel e.g. Moses was of the tribe of Levi, not of the tribe of Judah).
"1:26 Of the children of Judah, by their generations, after their families, by the house of their fathers, according to the number of the names, from twenty years old and upward, all that were able to go forth to war; 1:27 Those that were numbered of them, even of the tribe of Judah, were threescore and fourteen thousand and six hundred." (Numbers 1:26-27 KJV)
The Tribe Of Judah
When the Israelites entered the Promised Land (see Israel In History and Prophecy: The Sinai Journey), Judah / the Jews were allotted their own tribal territory, in the southern area that bordered on Jerusalem. Another tribe, Benjamin, received their territory in the area north of Jerusalem, that also bordered on Jerusalem (keep that closeness of the tribal territories of Judah and Benjamin, and their geographic connection to Jerusalem, in mind as we read further). Notice also however that Jerusalem was not taken by the Jews at that time of Joshua, or long afterward - that would come in the time of King David, of Judah.
"15:1 This then was the lot of the tribe of the children of Judah by their families; even to the border of Edom the wilderness of Zin southward was the uttermost part of the south coast.
After the time of Joshua (see Israel In History and Prophecy: Joshua), the Israelites remained as a confederation of tribes through the entire era of the Judges (see Israel In History and Prophecy: The Judges), approximately two centuries. In the time of Samuel (see Israel In History and Prophecy: Samuel), Israel became a monarchy. Israel's first king was Saul, a Benjamite, but when Saul proved himself to be an unwise and unstable leader, he was replaced by David of Judah - after a civil war between the tribes of Israel (see Israel In History and Prophecy: Saul and David and Israel In History and Prophecy: The Civil War). It was after the civil war that David captured Jerusalem and made it, not only an Israelite city, but an Israelite capital city (see Israel In History and Prophecy: Jerusalem). David was a Jew, Jerusalem was in the territory of Judah, but for that relatively brief time, Jerusalem was the capital of all of Israel.
"5:1 Then came all the tribes of Israel to David unto Hebron, and spake, saying, Behold, we are thy bone and thy flesh. 5:2 Also in time past, when Saul was king over us, thou wast he that leddest out and broughtest in Israel: and the LORD said to thee, Thou shalt feed my people Israel, and thou shalt be a captain over Israel.
The Kingdom Of Judah
All of the tribes of Israel remained as a united kingdom though the rest of David's reign, all of David's son Solomon's reign, and just the beginning of Solomon's son Rehoboam's reign. The LORD then divided the kingdom because of Solomon's corruption (see Israel In History and Prophecy: Solomon).
"12:12 So Jeroboam and all the people came to Rehoboam the third day, as the king had appointed, saying, Come to me again the third day. 12:13 And the king answered the people roughly, and forsook the old men's counsel that they gave him; 12:14 And spake to them after the counsel of the young men, saying, My father made your yoke heavy, and I will add to your yoke: my father also chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scorpions. 12:15 Wherefore the king hearkened not unto the people; for the cause was from the LORD, that he might perform his saying, which the LORD spake by Ahijah the Shilonite unto Jeroboam the son of Nebat.
Notice carefully that the northern ten tribes that became "Israel" did not include Benjamin (see the tribal map above to understand why geography contributed to Benjamin's remaining with Judah) i.e. "the house of Judah, with the tribe of Benjamin." Benjamin thereafter became a part of the kingdom of Judah, with the common abbreviation "Jew" to describe the kingdom.
"12:21 And when Rehoboam was come to Jerusalem, he assembled all the house of Judah, with the tribe of Benjamin, an hundred and fourscore thousand chosen men, which were warriors, to fight against the house of Israel, to bring the kingdom again to Rehoboam the son of Solomon.
The Levites, as the priesthood, had been distributed throughout all of the tribal territories of Israel, but when the northern kingdom of Israel became grossly idolatrous, the Levites in Israel moved south to Judah (see No Levites In The Lost Ten Tribes?) - where they, like Benjamin became "Jews" by the political definition (like Benjamin, they became "Jews" by the religious definition later - as we will cover in the next study in this series).
"11:5 And Rehoboam dwelt in Jerusalem, and built cities for defence in Judah. 11:6 He built even Bethlehem, and Etam, and Tekoa, 11:7 And Bethzur, and Shoco, and Adullam, 11:8 And Gath, and Mareshah, and Ziph, 11:9 And Adoraim, and Lachish, and Azekah, 11:10 And Zorah, and Aijalon, and Hebron, which are in Judah and in Benjamin fenced cities. 11:11 And he fortified the strong holds, and put captains in them, and store of victual, and of oil and wine. 11:12 And in every several city he put shields and spears, and made them exceeding strong, having Judah and Benjamin on his side.
From that time on, the people of Judah, Benjamin and Levi who composed the kingdom of Judah, together became known as "Jews," either because, in the case of Judah, they were actually of the tribe of Judah, or, in the case of the Benjamites and Levites, because they were of the kingdom of Judah (on the other hand, the "lost ten tribes" of Israel were never called Jews). We will explain in the next lesson in this series how "the religion of the Jews" thereafter became what is known as "Judaism" today.
The apostle Paul, centuries later, is a prime example of what has been explained in this lesson. Paul called himself, sometimes a Jew, sometimes a Benjamite, depending on whether he was talking about his tribe, or his nation.
"21:39 But Paul said, I am a man which am a Jew of Tarsus, a city in Cilicia, a citizen of no mean city: and, I beseech thee, suffer me to speak unto the people." (Acts 21:39 KJV)
Fact Finder: Who was the mother of the first children of Judah? Was it a Canaanite woman? Why?
This Day In History, August 9
480 BC: The Persian army defeated Leonidas and his Spartan army at the Battle of Thermopylae in Persia (Persia is known today as Iran; see Israel In History and Prophecy: Babylon and Persia).
48 BC: The Battle of Pharsalus. Julius Caesar defeated Gnaius Pompey (see A History Of Jerusalem: Pompey And The Caesars).
378: The Battle of Adrianople in Turkey. The defeat of a Roman army commanded by the Emperor Valens (who was killed on the battlefield) at the hands of the Germanic Visigoths led by Fritigern and augmented by Ostrogothic and other forces. It was a major victory of "barbarian" horsemen over Roman infantry and marked the beginning of Germanic inroads into Roman territory (Germany later became known as The Holy Roman Empire).
1173: The construction of the campanile of the cathedral of Pisa (now known as "the Leaning Tower of Pisa") began.
1483: Pope Sixtus IV held the first Church of Rome mass in the Vatican's Sistine Chapel - that was named after that pope, Sixtus.
1549: England declared war on France.
1584: The construction of Spain's El Escorial was completed after 21 years, by Philip II (a Hapsburg).
1653: Maarten Harpertszoon Tromp was killed following the battle of Terheijde with the English fleet off the Dutch coast. He was the Dutch commander at the defeat of a superior Spanish fleet at the Battle of the Downs in 1639.
1830: Louis-Philippe formally accepted the crown of France after the abdication of Charles X on August 2.
1842: The Webster-Ashburton Treaty established the present-day border between Canada and the U.S. Just 30 years before, U.S. President James Madison declared war on Britain, starting the War of 1812 (fought 1812-1814) with the primary stated goal of annexing ("take by conquest; as of territory") Canada to the U.S. It was the last invasion of Canada by any aggressor nation.
1902: Edward VII of England was crowned after death of his mother Queen Victoria.
1942: After the passing of a "Quit India" campaign by the All-India Congress, Mahatma Gandhi and 50 others were arrested in Bombay.
1945: The Nagasaki atomic bombing. Over 75,000 men, women and children were indiscriminately incinerated to death, while many more were horribly burned and/or poisoned by the radiation. It was the second U.S. use of an atomic "weapon of mass destruction," a plutonium device (the first U.S. atomic bomb, used at Hiroshima a few days earlier, was a uranium device).
1969: Actress Sharon Tate (wife of film director Roman Polanski), coffee heiress Abigail Folger and three others were found murdered in their home in Beverly Hills, California. The Charles Manson cult/gang was later convicted for the murders.
1974: Gerald Ford was sworn in as president of the U.S. He replaced Richard Nixon who resigned in disgrace to avoid criminal prosecution and imprisonment for the Watergate burglary and obstruction of justice cover-up (Ford later pardoned Nixon so that Nixon wouldn't become a felon as had numerous members of the Nixon regime, including Vice President Spiro Agnew for tax evasion and Attorney General John Mitchell for obstruction of justice).
1993: The Liberal Democratic Party of Japan lost a 38-year hold on national leadership.