One of the oldest civilizations is the Hebrew, which is even recorded in the Bible , one of the oldest books in the world. This town went from being a few hundred to a few thousand in a relatively short time. It has been proven that this civilization already existed in the third millennium BC. Ancient Hebrews social structure
Next, we will talk in more detail about the Hebrew civilization and its characteristics, in addition to the contributions they have left to humanity.
Location of the Hebrew Civilization
The Hebrew civilization long settled in Palestine, a region known today as Israel, but in ancient times called Canaan . This territory is located in the southern part of Asia Minor, specifically southern Syria. To the north it had Phenicia and to the south it was the Sinai desert, to the east is the Arabian desert and to the west, the Mediterranean Sea.
The territory of Palestine has a territorial extension of 25,000 km2 and is crossed in the middle by the Jordan River from north to south. This huge river has its origin in Mount Hermon and flows into the Dead Sea, in which no living being is recorded. This is the area where the Hebrews settled.
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Political organization of the Hebrew Civilization
The political organization of the Hebrews is described as follows:
- Patriarchs : these represented the elders or rather rulers of this culture, who were chosen for their wisdom and great experience. The first of them was Abraham, who was born in a city in Mesopotamia called Ur. Later, he left his land with his family and went to another city.
- Judges : these were considered the wisest and most expert men who led the people. They were named after the Hebrews stopped being nomads and settled in Palestine. After dividing into 12 tribes, they had to fight against other nations to take the land they came to occupy.
- Kings : Over time the Hebrews established kings who ruled them together as a nation. They came to have enemies like the Philistines and some other neighboring nations. David, Saul, and Solomon were some of the best known. Ancient Hebrews social structure
Social organization of the Hebrews Ancient Hebrews social structure
Although they did not initially make up a state as such, they were led by judges and leaders whom they respected as their bosses . Moses was one of the best known, who was also a prophet. This one had all the authority at the beginning.
The 12 tribes made up the Hebrew people, or Israel as it was also known. After the rule of Solomon there was a separation in the Hebrew tribes and they were divided into two groups:
Two tribes that made up the kingdom of Judah, with Jerusalem as its capital and ten tribes that made up the kingdom of Israel, with Samaria as its capital.
Economy of the Hebrews
The economy of the Hebrews was changing over time. Being nomads , they were dedicated to herding, but after they settled in Canaan, they became good farmers , which gave them more economic prosperity as a nation, with which they could afford slaves and serfdom.
As for agriculture and livestock, the Hebrews stood out for growing grapes, wheat, olive, barley and figs. And in the beginning they stood out for herding sheep, donkeys, goats and oxen. On the other hand, the Hebrews celebrated the sabbatical year every seven years, in which the fields were allowed to rest and not harvested so that the poor could do so and benefit from what the land produced. In addition, the jubilee year was also a Hebrew custom, which was performed every fifty years and the fields were left at rest, but at the same time the fields were returned to their original owner and the slaves were freed. Ancient Hebrews social structure
Later, the Hebrews learned the art of trading with neighboring nations, especially during the reign of Solomon . By sea they communicated with the peoples located around the Red Sea and in the eastern Mediterranean. Their crops were exchanged with the Phoenicians for wood and other products. From regions of Africa they traded precious stones, gold and wood. From Arabia they brought incense and spices. Eventually, they established trade relations with the Phoenician city of Tire.
Religion of the Hebrews Ancient Hebrews social structure
The Hebrews were characterized by being monotheists , worshipers of a single God called Yahweh or Jehovah, a name that means “He who makes it become . ” With their God they made pacts or alliances that implied benefits and protection, but that demanded certain conduct on their part. For example, the first was with the patriarch Abraham. With this first pact the people promised to show fidelity and obedience to their god. The pact was sealed with the circumcision of every male who wanted to be part of the people. The second covenant was made between Jehovah and Moses while the people were camping at the foot of Mount Sinai, where a lamb was used as a seal.
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Another characteristic of the Hebrew religion was that they faithfully believed in the arrival of a chosen one, called the Messiah and had the role of becoming king of this people . Eventually this chosen one or Messiah became Jesus. Another characteristic is that Jehovah is considered to have rights over this people because he is the creator of all things, who also establishes laws, limitations and prohibitions. Ancient Hebrews social structure
Finally, Jehovah dictated the Ten Commandments through Moses and gave them to the people . In these commandments it is forbidden to kill, lie, worship other gods, fornicate, swear falsely, dishonor parents, idolize, stop observing the Sabbath, covet goods from others, steal.
Contributions of the Hebrews
The main contributions of the Hebrews have been religious, which are still used today. Among them:
- Monotheism : the Hebrews were characterized by worshiping a single god, called Jehovah, who was the one who created all things. Israel’s first leader, Moses, was charged with steadfastly promoting exclusive worship of Jehovah for a long time.
- The Bible : it is a sacred book that is composed of 66 books and letters. It is divided into the Old Testament and the New Testament, and is considered the most complete book in all of history for its variety of content and also the veracity of its words.
- The Decalogue : this is made up of the ten commandments or the Mosaic Law, so called because it was delivered to Moses himself on Mount Sinai. Ancient Hebrews social structure