2000-1300 BCE

From Abraham to Moses

Our story begins. Join us as we explore the formative years of the Jewish People from 2,000 to 1,300 years Before the Common Era.   From Abraham to Moses.

Noah's Ark by Rembrandt
The Art Institute of Chicago

Abraham Enters the Land of Israel 
2000-1800 BCE

Genesis 12:1
The L-rd said to Abram, "Go forth from your native land and from your father’s house to the land that I will show you." 

Our story now turns to Abraham, the first of the three Patriarchs of the Jewish People, as his journey begins around 2,000 years BCE.   Genesis 12:1 The L-rd said to Abram, "Go forth from your native land and from your father’s house to the land that I will show you."

The Sojourn of Abram into Egypt

Genesis 12:10

“Now there was a famine in the land (i.e. Canaan); so Abram went down to Egypt to sojourn there, for the famine was severe in the land.”

This scene was carved into cliffs overlooking the Nile at Beni Hasan, c. 1900 BCE.  It depicts S emites (possibly Israelites) in Egypt. Bearing the Egyptian title for Hyksos, a figure named Abisha (leaning over an ibex, second from right), leads his clansmen into Egypt.

A famine forced Abram and Sarai to leave Canaan and sojourn to Egypt. Genesis 12 verse 10 tells the story:   Now there was a famine in the land so Abram and Sarai went down to Egypt to sojourn there, for the famine was severe in the land.”  In front of you is a scene that was carved into cliffs overlooking the Nile at Beni Hasan, circa 1900 BCE dating to the relevant time period. It depicts Semites (possibly Israelites) in Egypt. Bearing the Egyptian title of Hyksos, a figure named Abisha - leaning over an ibex, second from right - leading his clansmen into Egypt.  

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Abraham Serving Three Angels
 by Rembrandt

Genesis 18:1-2, 10

The L-RD appeared to him (Abraham)… Looking up, he saw three figures standing near him.…. Then one said, “I will return to you next year, and your wife Sarah shall have a son!”

Abraham and Sarah guided many into the monotheistic faith of One G-d. They did not have children of their own until the Bible describes the visitation of three angels, bringing them surprising news.    

Genesis 18:1-2, 10 The L-RD appeared to him (Abraham) by the terebinths of Mamre… Looking up, he saw three men standing near him.…. Then one said, “I will return to you next year, and your wife Sarah shall have a son!”

Sotheby's Auction House, 2020

The Sons of Jacob

Genesis 35:22-26

Jacob had twelve sons:

The sons of Leah:
Reuben the firstborn of Jacob,
Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar and Zebulun.

The sons of Rachel:
Joseph and Benjamin.

The sons of Rachel’s servant Bilhah:
Dan and Naphtali.

The sons of Leah’s servant Zilpah:
Gad and Asher.


Jacob had twelve sons who would later become the Twelve Tribes of Israel.   
  Genesis 35:22-26 
Jacob had twelve sons: 
The sons of Leah:
Reuben the firstborn of Jacob, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar and Zebulun. 
The sons of Rachel:
Joseph and Benjamin. 
The sons of Rachel’s servant Bilhah:
Dan and Naphtali. 
The sons of Leah’s servant Zilpah:
Gad and Asher.

Joseph Accused by Potiphar's Wife by Rembrandt

Genesis 37:36, 39:19-20
“The Midianites, meanwhile, sold him in Egypt to Potiphar, a courtier of Pharaoh and his prefect. ...

When his master (Potiphar) heard the story his wife told him, saying, "This is how your slave treated me," he burned with anger.  Joseph's master took him and put him in prison, the place where the king's prisoners were confined… 

Joseph was sold as a slave in Egypt to the house of Potiphar. There he was respected by his master, but Potiphar’s wife wanted to force Joseph to lie with her. Constantly refusing her advances, she then falsely accused him of attempting to lie with her. Potiphar took Joseph and put him in prison.   

Genesis 39:19-20 When his master heard the story his wife told him, saying, "This is how your slave treated me," he burned with anger.  Joseph's master took him and put him in prison, the place where the king's prisoners were confined…

Gemäldegalerie der Staatlichen Museen, Berlin

Joseph Interprets Pharaoh's Dream

Genesis 41:26-27
“The seven healthy cows are seven years, and the seven healthy ears are seven years; it is the same dream.

The seven lean and ugly cows that followed are seven years, as are also the seven empty ears scorched by the east wind; they are seven years of famine.”
 





Painting from the tomb of 

Nefertari,Thebes, Egypt

The Bible accounts Joseph's interpretation of Pharaoh's dreams:    
Genesis 41:26-27

“The seven healthy cows are seven years, and the seven healthy ears are seven years; it is the same dream. The seven lean and ugly cows that followed are seven years, as are also the seven empty ears scorched by the east wind; they are seven years of famine.”

Jacob Allows Benjamin to Leave for Egypt by Rembrandt

Genesis 43:13-14
“Take your brother too; and go back at once to the man.
And may El Shaddai dispose the man to mercy toward you, that he may release to you your other brother, as well as Benjamin. As for me, if I am to be bereaved, I shall be bereaved.” 

Jacob sent his sons to buy food in Egypt, but Benjamin, Joseph’s brother remained with his father. Joseph, who was not recognized by his brothers, insisted that Benjamin returns with them the next time they came to purchase food. With a heavy heart, Jacob sent Benjamin with his brothers as they returned to Egypt.

Genesis 43:13-14
“Take your brother too; and go back at once to the man.
And may El Shaddai give you mercy before the man, that he may release to you your other brother, as well as Benjamin. As for me, if I am to be bereaved, I shall be bereaved.” 

Thutmose I of Egypt,
1506-1493 BCE

Thutmose I led the conquest of Canaan, and went as far north as the border between the Hittite Empire (Turkey) and Syria.  
Thutmose I and His Mother Seniseneb,

Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
 

Egypt dominated Canaan between 1500-1150 BCE. Thutmose I (the first) led the conquest of Canaan and went as far north as the border between the Hittite Empire (Turkey) and Syria. Thutmose I and His Mother Senseneb are depicted in this image from the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

Twelve Tribes of Israel

Exodus 1:1-7

These are the names of the sons of Isra​el who went to Egypt with Jacob, each with his family:

Reuben, Simeon, Levi, and Judah; Issachar, Zebulun, and Benjamin;
Dan and Naphtali; Gad and Asher.

The descendants of Jacob numbered seventy in all, including Joseph, who was already in Egypt.

Now Joseph and all his brothers and all that generation died, but the Israelites were fruitful and increased rapidly; they multiplied and became exceedingly numerous, so that the land was filled with them.

Jacob’s sons flourished in Egypt. Their families grew into the respective Twelve Tribes of Israel.     

Exodus 1:1-7 
These are the names of the sons of Israel who went to Egypt with Jacob, each with his family: 
Reuben, Simeon, Levi, and Judah; Issachar, Zebulun, and Benjamin;
Dan and Naphtali; Gad and Asher. 
The descendants of Jacob numbered seventy in all, including Joseph, who was already in Egypt. 
Now Joseph and all his brothers and all that generation died, but the Israelites were fruitful and increased rapidly; they multiplied and became exceedingly numerous so that the land was filled with them.

The Tabernacle at Shiloh,​ Heritage Division of the Office of the Prime Minister of Israel

לְאַחַר שֶׁשָּׁאוּל הַמֶּלֶךְ וּבְנוֹ יְהוֹנָתָן מֵתִים בַּקְּרָב, פּוֹנִים רָאשֵׁי הַשְּׁבָטִים לְדָוִד, שֶׁמָּלַךְ כְּבָר שֶׁבַע שָׁנִים וָחֵצִי בְּחֶבְרוֹן. הֵם מְמַנִּים אוֹתוֹ לְמֶלֶךְ עַל הַקּוֹנְפֵדֵרַצְיָה הַשִּׁבְטִית הַמְּאֻחֶדֶת שֶׁל יִשְׂרָאֵל.     

דָּוִד הַמֶּלֶךְ פּוֹנֶה מִיָּד לְכִוּוּן יְרוּשָׁלַיִם, אַחַת הֶעָרִים הָאַחֲרוֹנוֹת שֶׁטֶּרֶם נִכְבְּשָׁה בְּמַהֲלַךְ כִּבּוּשׁ הָאָרֶץ בִּידֵי בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל.   דָּוִד בּוֹחֵר בִּירוּשָׁלַיִם מֵאַרְבַּע סִבּוֹת עִקָּרִיּוֹת: מַיִם, בִּטָּחוֹן, אִחוּד וְשִׁלְטוֹן קַרְקָעִי נֵיטְרָלִי, אַךְ חָשׁוּב מֵהַכֹּל, בִּגְלַל הַקְּדוֹשָׁה שֶׁל יְרוּשָׁלַיִם הַטְּבוּעָה בַּמָּקוֹם הַנִּבְחָר, שֶׁבּוֹ יִבָּנֶה בֵּית הַמִּקְדָּשׁ הָעֲתִידִי.     

לְפָנֶיךָ סִרְטוֹן הַמְּסַפֵּר אֶת הַסִּבּוֹת שֶׁל דָּוִד בְּכִבּוּשׁ הָעִיר.