Moses was a prophet according to the teachings of the Abrahamic religions. Scholarly consensus sees Moses as a legendary figure. According to the Hebrew Bible, he was adopted by an Egyptian princess, in life became the leader of the Israelites and lawgiver, to whom the authorship of the Torah, or acquisition of the Torah from Heaven is traditionally attributed. Called Moshe Rabbenu in Hebrew, he is the most important prophet in Judaism, he is an important prophet in Christianity, the Bahá'í Faith, a number of other Abrahamic religions. According to the Book of Exodus, Moses was born in a time when his people, the Israelites, an enslaved minority, were increasing in numbers and the Egyptian Pharaoh was worried that they might ally themselves with Egypt's enemies. Moses' Hebrew mother, secretly hid him when the Pharaoh ordered all newborn Hebrew boys to be killed in order to reduce the population of the Israelites. Through the Pharaoh's daughter, the child was adopted as a foundling from the Nile river and grew up with the Egyptian royal family.
After killing an Egyptian slavemaster, Moses fled across the Red Sea to Midian, where he encountered The Angel of the Lord, speaking to him from within a burning bush on Mount Horeb. God sent Moses back to Egypt to demand the release of the Israelites from slavery. Moses said that he could not speak eloquently, so God allowed Aaron, his brother, to become his spokesperson. After the Ten Plagues, Moses led the Exodus of the Israelites out of Egypt and across the Red Sea, after which they based themselves at Mount Sinai, where Moses received the Ten Commandments. After 40 years of wandering in the desert, Moses died within sight of the Promised Land on Mount Nebo. Jerome gives 1592 BCE, James Ussher 1571 BCE as Moses' birth year. In the Book of Deuteronomy, Moses was called "the man of God". Several etymologies have been proposed. An Egyptian root msy, "child of", has been considered as a possible etymology, arguably an abbreviation of a theophoric name, as for example in Egyptian names like Thutmoses and Ramesses, with the god's name omitted.
Abraham Yahuda, based on the spelling given in the Tanakh, argues that it combines "water" or "seed" and "pond, expanse of water", thus yielding the sense of "child of the Nile". The Biblical account of Moses' birth provides him with a folk etymology to explain the ostensible meaning of his name, he is said to have received it from the Pharaoh's daughter: "he became her son. She named him Moses, saying,'I drew him out of the water.'" This explanation links it to a verb mashah, meaning "to draw out", which makes the Pharaoh's daughter's declaration a play on words. The princess made a grammatical mistake, prophetic of his future role in legend, as someone who will "draw the people of Israel out of Egypt through the waters of the Red Sea."The Hebrew etymology in the Biblical story may reflect an attempt to cancel out traces of Moses' Egyptian origins. The Egyptian character of his name was recognized as such by ancient Jewish writers like Philo of Alexandria and Josephus. Philo linked Mōēsēs to the Egyptian word for water, while Josephus, in his Antiquities of the Jews, claimed that the second element, -esês, meant'those who are saved'.
The problem of how an Egyptian princess, known to Josephus as Thermutis and in Jewish tradition as Bithiah, could have known Hebrew puzzled medieval Jewish commentators like Abraham ibn Ezra and Hezekiah ben Manoah. Hezekiah suggested she either took a tip from Jochebed; the Israelites had settled in the Land of Goshen in the time of Joseph and Jacob, but a new pharaoh arose who oppressed the children of Israel. At this time Moses was born to his father Amram, son of Kehath the Levite, who entered Egypt with Jacob's household. Moses had one older sister and one older brother, Aaron; the Pharaoh had commanded that all male Hebrew children born would be drowned in the river Nile, but Moses' mother placed him in an ark and concealed the ark in the bulrushes by the riverbank, where the baby was discovered and adopted by Pharaoh's daughter, raised as an Egyptian. One day after Moses had reached adulthood he killed an Egyptian, beating a Hebrew. Moses, in order to escape the Pharaoh's death penalty, fled to Midian.
There, on Mount Horeb, God appeared to Moses as a burning bush, revealed to Moses his name YHWH and commanded him to return to Egypt and bring his chosen people out of bondage and into the Promised Land. During the journey, God tried to kill Moses because he had not circumcised his son, but Zipporah saved his life. Moses returned to carry out God's command, but God caused the Pharaoh to refuse, only after God had subjected Egypt to ten plagues did the Pharaoh relent. Moses led the Israelites to the border of Egypt, but there God hardened the Pharaoh's heart once more, so that he could destroy the Pharaoh and his army at the Red Sea Crossing as a sign of his power to Israel and the nations. After defeating the Amalekites in Rephidim, Moses led the Israelites to biblical Mount Sinai, where he was given the Ten Commandments from God, written on stone tablets. However, since Moses remained a long time on the mountain, some of the people feared that he might be dead, so they made a statue of a golden calf and worshiped it, thus disobeying and angering God and Moses.
Moses, out of anger, bro
The Promised Land is the land which, according to the Tanakh, was promised and subsequently given by God to Abraham and his descendants, in modern contexts an image and idea related both to the restored Homeland for the Jewish people and to salvation and liberation is more understood. The promise was first made to Abraham confirmed to his son Isaac, to Isaac's son Jacob, Abraham's grandson; the Promised Land was described in terms of the territory from the River of Egypt to the Euphrates river. A smaller area of former Canaanite land and land east of the Jordan River was conquered and occupied by their descendants, the Israelites, after Moses led the Exodus out of Egypt, this occupation was interpreted as God's fulfilment of the promise. Moses anticipated that God might subsequently give the Israelites land reflecting the boundaries of God's original promise, if they were obedient to the covenant; the concept of the Promised Land is the central tenet of Zionism, whose discourse suggests that modern Jews descend from the Israelites and Maccabees through whom they inherit the right to re-establish their "national homeland".
Palestinians claim partial descent from the Israelites and Maccabees, as well as all the other peoples who have lived in the region. The imagery of the "Promised Land" was invoked in African-American spirituals as heaven or paradise and as an escape from slavery, which can only be reached by death; the imagery and term have been used in popular culture, sermons and in speeches, such as the "I've Been to the Mountaintop" speech by Martin Luther King Jr.: "I just want to do God's will. And He's allowed me to go up to the mountain, and I've looked over. And I've seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you, but I want you to know tonight. So I'm happy, tonight. I'm not worried about anything. I'm not fearing any man. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord." The promise, the basis of the term is contained in several verses of Genesis in the Torah. In Genesis 12:1 it is said: The LORD had said to Abram, "Leave your country, your people and your father's household and go to the land I will show you."and in Genesis 12:7: The LORD appeared to Abram and said, "To your offspring I will give this land."Commentators have noted several problems with this promise and related ones: It is to Abram's descendants that the land will be given, not to Abram directly nor there and then.
However, in Genesis 15:7 it is said: He said to him, "I am the LORD, who brought you out from Ur of the Chaldeans to give you this land to take possession of it." However, how this verse relates to the promises is a matter of controversy. There is nothing in the promise to indicate God intended it be applied to Abraham’s physical descendants unconditionally exhaustively or in perpetuity. Jewish commentators drawing on Rashi's comments to the first verse in the Bible, assert that no human collective has any a priori claim to any piece of land on the planet, that only God decides which group inhabits which land in any point in time; this interpretation has no contradictions since the idea that the Jewish people have a claim to ownership rights on the physical land is based on the idea of God deciding to give the land to the Jewish people and commanding them to occupy it as referred to in Biblical texts mentioned. In Genesis 15:18-21 the boundary of the Promised Land is clarified in terms of the territory of various ancient peoples, as follows: On that day the LORD made a covenant with Abram and said, "To your descendants I give this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the Euphrates - the land of the Kenites, Kadmonites, Perizzites, Amorites, Canaanites and Jebusites."The verse is said to describe what are known as "borders of the Land".
In Jewish tradition, these borders define the maximum extent of the land promised to the descendants of Abraham through his son Isaac and grandson Jacob. The promise was confirmed to Jacob at Genesis 28:13, though the borders are still vague and is in terms of "the land on which you are lying". Other geographical borders are given in Exodus 23:31 which describes borders as marked by the Red Sea, the "Sea of the Philistines" i.e. the Mediterranean, the "River,". The promise is fulfilled at the end of the Exodus from Egypt. Deuteronomy 1:8 says: See, I have given you this land. Go in and take possession of the land that the LORD swore he would give to your fathers—to Abraham and Jacob—and to their descendants after them, it took a long time. The furthest extent of the Land of Israel was achieved during the time of the united Kingdom of Israel under David; the actual land controlled by the Israelites has fluctuated over time, at times the land has been under the control of various empires. However, under Jewish tradition when it is not in Jewish occupation, the land has not lost its status as the Promised Land.
Traditional Jewish interpretation, that of most Christian commentators, define Abraham's descendants as Abraham's seed only through his son Isaac and his grandson Jacob, to the exclusion of Ishmael and Esau. This may however reflect an eisegesis or reconstruction of primary verses based on the late
The Ten Commandments known as the Decalogue, are a set of biblical principles relating to ethics and worship, which play a fundamental role in Judaism and Christianity. The commandments include instructions to worship only God, to honour one's parents, to keep the sabbath day holy, as well as prohibitions against idolatry, murder, theft and coveting. Different religious groups follow different traditions for numbering them; the Ten Commandments appear twice in the books of Exodus and Deuteronomy. Modern scholarship has found influences in Hittite and Mesopotamian laws and treaties, but is divided over when the Ten Commandments were written and who wrote them. In biblical Hebrew, the Ten Commandments are called עשרת הדברים and in Mishnaic Hebrew עשרת הדברות, both translatable as "the ten words", "the ten sayings", or "the ten matters"; the Tyndale and Coverdale English biblical translations used "ten verses". The Geneva Bible used "tenne commandements", followed by the Bishops' Bible and the Authorized Version as "ten commandments".
Most major English versions use "commandments."The English name "Decalogue" is derived from Greek δεκάλογος, the latter meaning and referring to the Greek translation δέκα λόγους, deka logous, "ten words", found in the Septuagint at Exodus 34:28 and Deuteronomy 10:4. The stone tablets, as opposed to the commandments inscribed on them, are called לוחות הברית, Lukhot HaBrit, meaning "the tablets of the covenant". Different religious traditions divide the seventeen verses of Exodus 20:1–17 and their parallels at Deuteronomy 5:4–21 into ten "commandments" or "sayings" in different ways, shown in the table below; some suggest. All scripture quotes above are from the King James Version. Click on verses at top of columns for other versions. Traditions: LXX: Septuagint followed by Orthodox Christians. P: Philo, same as the Septuagint, but with the prohibitions on killing and adultery reversed. S: Samaritan Pentateuch, with an additional commandment about Mount Gerizim as 10th. T: Jewish Talmud, makes the "prologue" the first "saying" or "matter" and combines the prohibition on worshiping deities other than Yahweh with the prohibition on idolatry.
A: Augustine follows the Talmud in combining verses 3–6, but omits the prologue as a commandment and divides the prohibition on coveting in two and following the word order of Deuteronomy 5:21 rather than Exodus 20:17. C: Catechism of the Catholic Church follows Augustine. L: Lutherans follow Luther's Large Catechism, which follows Augustine but subordinates the prohibition of images to the sovereignty of God in the First Commandment and uses the word order of Exodus 20:17 rather than Deuteronomy 5:21 for the ninth and tenth commandments. R: Reformed Christians follow John Calvin's Institutes of the Christian Religion, which follows the Septuagint; the biblical narrative of the revelation at Sinai begins in Exodus 19 after the arrival of the children of Israel at Mount Sinai. On the morning of the third day of their encampment, "there were thunders and lightnings, a thick cloud upon the mount, the voice of the trumpet exceeding loud", the people assembled at the base of the mount. After "the LORD came down upon mount Sinai", Moses went up and returned and prepared the people, in Exodus 20 "God spoke" to all the people the words of the covenant, that is, the "ten commandments" as it is written.
Modern biblical scholarship differs as to whether Exodus 19-20 describes the people of Israel as having directly heard all or some of the decalogue, or whether the laws are only passed to them through Moses. The people were afraid to hear more and moved "afar off", Moses responded with "Fear not." He drew near the "thick darkness" where "the presence of the Lord" was to hear the additional statutes and "judgments", all which he "wrote" in the "book of the covenant" which he read to the people the next morning, they agreed to be obedient and do all that the LORD had said. Moses escorted a select group consisting of Aaron and Abihu, "seventy of the elders of Israel" to a location on the mount where they worshipped "afar off" and they "saw the God of Israel" above a "paved work" like clear sapphire stone, and the LORD said unto Moses, Come up to me into the mount, be there: and I will give thee tablets of stone, a law, commandments which I have written. 13 And Moses rose up, his minister Joshua: and Moses went up into the mount of God.
The mount was covered by the cloud for six days, on the seventh day Moses went into the midst of the cloud and was "in the mount forty days and forty nights." And Moses said, "the LORD delivered unto me two tablets of stone written with the finger of God. Before the full forty days expired, the children of Israel collectively decided that something had happened to Moses, compelled Aaron to fashion a golden calf, he "built an altar before it" and the people "worshipped" the calf. After the full forty days and Joshua came down from the mountain with the tablets of stone: "And it came to pass, as soon as he came nigh unto the camp, that he saw the calf, the dancing: and Moses' anger waxed hot, he cast the tablets out of his hands, brak
Tablets of Stone
According to the Hebrew Bible, the Tables of the Law as they are known in English, or Tablets of Stone, Stone Tablets, or Tablets of Testimony in the Exodus 34:1, were the two pieces of stone inscribed with the Ten Commandments when Moses ascended Mount Sinai as written in the Book of Exodus. Exodus 31:18 refers to the tablets as the "Tablets of Testimony". According to the biblical narrative there were two sets of tablets; the first, inscribed by the finger of God, were smashed by Moses when he was enraged by the sight of the Children of Israel worshipping a golden calf and the second were cut by Moses and rewritten by God as He said in Exodus 34:1. According to traditional teachings of Judaism in the Talmud, they were made of blue sapphire stone as a symbolic reminder of the sky, the heavens, of God's throne. Many Torah scholars, have opined that the Biblical "sapir" was, in fact, the lapis lazuli. According to the bible, both the first shattered set and the second unbroken set were stored in the Ark of the Covenant.
In recent centuries the tablets have been popularly described and depicted as round-topped rectangles but this has little basis in religious tradition. According to rabbinic tradition, they were rectangles, with sharp corners, indeed they are so depicted in the 3rd century paintings at the Dura-Europos Synagogue and in Christian art throughout the 1st millennium, drawing on Jewish traditions of iconography; the rounded tablets appear in the Middle Ages, following in size and shape contemporary hinged writing tablets for taking notes. For Michelangelo and Andrea Mantegna they still have sharp corners, are about the size found in rabbinic tradition. Artists such as Rembrandt tended to combine the rounded shape with the larger size. While, as mentioned above, rabbinic tradition teaches that the tablets were squared, according to some authorities, the Rabbis themselves approved of rounded depictions of the tablets in replicas so that the replicas would not match the historical tablets. According to the Talmud, the length and width of each of the Tablets was six Tefachim, each was three Tefachim thick - 50 and 25 centimetres though they tend to be shown larger in art.
According to tradition, the words were not engraved on the surface, but rather were bored through the stone. In Jewish religious tradition, the arrangement of the commandments on the two tablets is interpreted in different ways. Rabbi Hanina ben Gamaliel said that each tablet contained five commandments, "but the Sages say ten on one tablet and ten on the other"; because the commandments establish a covenant, it is that they were duplicated on both tablets. This can be compared to diplomatic treaties of Ancient Egypt, in which a copy was made for each party, but the tablets may have contained not only the Ten Commandments but additional precepts and words as can be inferred from the verses Exodus 31:18, Exodus 34:1, Exodus 34:27-28. Replicas of the tablets, known as tabots or sellats, are a vital part of the practice of Ethiopian Orthodox Church, which claims that the original Ark of the Covenant is kept in the Church of Our Lady Mary of Zion in Axum; the Quran states that tablets were given to Moses, without quoting their contents explicitly: "And We ordained laws for him in the tablets in all matters, both commanding and explaining all things,:'Take and hold these with firmness, enjoin thy people to hold fast by the best in the precepts: soon shall I show you the homes of the wicked,-.'"
These tablets are not broken in the Quran, but picked up later: "When Moses came back to his people and grieved, he said:'Evil it is that ye have done in my place in my absence: did ye make haste to bring on the judgment of your Lord?' He put down the tablets, seized his brother by his head, dragged him to him...". "When the anger of Moses was appeased, he took up the tablets: in the writing thereon was guidance and Mercy for such as fear their Lord.". Tablet Tabot, a replica of the Tablets of Stone used in the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church World's largest book, a stone book the pages of which are inscribed stone tablets
Book of Deuteronomy
The Book of Deuteronomy is the fifth book of the Christian Old Testament and of the Jewish Torah, where it is called "Devarim". Chapters 1–30 of the book consist of three sermons or speeches delivered to the Israelites by Moses on the plains of Moab, shortly before they enter the Promised Land; the first sermon recounts the forty years of wilderness wanderings which had led to that moment, ends with an exhortation to observe the law referred to as the Law of Moses. The final four chapters contain the Song of Moses, the Blessing of Moses, narratives recounting the passing of the mantle of leadership from Moses to Joshua and the death of Moses on Mount Nebo. Presented as the words of Moses delivered before the conquest of Canaan, a broad consensus of modern scholars see its origin in traditions from Israel brought south to the Kingdom of Judah in the wake of the Assyrian conquest of Aram and adapted to a program of nationalist reform in the time of Josiah, with the final form of the modern book emerging in the milieu of the return from the Babylonian captivity during the late 6th century BC.
Many scholars see the book as reflecting the economic needs and social status of the Levite caste, who are believed to have provided its authors. One of its most significant verses is Deuteronomy 6:4, the Shema Yisrael, which has become the definitive statement of Jewish identity: "Hear, O Israel: the LORD our God, the LORD is one." Verses 6:4–5 were quoted by Jesus in Mark 12:28–34 as part of the Great Commandment. Patrick D. Miller in his commentary on Deuteronomy suggests that different views of the structure of the book will lead to different views on what it is about; the structure is described as a series of three speeches or sermons followed by a number of short appendices – Miller refers to this as the "literary" structure. Chapters 1–4: The journey through the wilderness from Horeb to Kadesh and to Moab is recalled. Chapters 4–11: After a second introduction at 4:44–49 the events at Mount Horeb are recalled, with the giving of the Ten Commandments. Heads of families are urged to instruct those under their care in the law, warnings are made against serving gods other than Yahweh, the land promised to Israel is praised, the people are urged to obedience.
Chapters 12–26, the Deuteronomic code: Laws governing Israel's worship, the appointment and regulation of community and religious leaders, social regulation, confession of identity and loyalty. Chapters 27–28: Blessings and curses for those who keep and break the law. Chapters 29–30: Concluding discourse on the covenant in the land of Moab, including all the laws in the Deuteronomic code after those given at Horeb. Chapters 31–34: Joshua is installed as Moses's successor, Moses delivers the law to the Levites, ascends Mount Nebo or Pisgah, where he dies and is buried by God; the narrative of these events is interrupted by two poems, the Song of Moses and the Blessing of Moses. The final verses, Deuteronomy 34:10–12, "never again did there arise in Israel a prophet like Moses," make a claim for the authoritative Deuteronomistic view of theology and its insistence that the worship of the Hebrew God as the sole deity of Israel was the only permissible religion, having been sealed by the greatest of prophets.
Deuteronomy 12–26, the Deuteronomic Code, is the oldest part of the book and the core around which the rest developed. It is a series of mitzvot to the Israelites regarding how they ought to conduct themselves in Canaan, the land promised by Yahweh, God of Israel; the following list organizes most of the laws into thematic groups: All sacrifices are to be brought and vows are to be made at a central sanctuary. The worship of Canaanite gods is forbidden; the order is given to destroy their places of worship and to commit genocide against Canaanites and others with "detestable" religious beliefs. Native mourning practices such as deliberate disfigurement are forbidden; the procedure for tithing produce or donating its equivalent is given. A catalogue of which animals are permitted and which forbidden for consumption is given; the consumption of animals which are found dead and have not been slaughtered is prohibited. Sacrificed animals must be without blemish. First-born male livestock must be sacrificed.
The Pilgrimage Festivals of Passover and Sukkot are instituted. The worship at Asherah groves and setting up of ritual pillars are forbidden. Prohibition of mixing kinds (22
The Exodus is the founding myth of the Israelites. Spread over the books of Exodus, Leviticus and Deuteronomy, it tells of the enslavement that befell the children of Israel in Egypt, their liberation through the hand of Yahweh and the revelations at Sinai, their wanderings in the wilderness up to borders of Canaan, the land their God has given them, its message is that Israel was delivered from slavery by Yahweh and therefore belongs to him through the Mosaic covenant, the terms of which are that Yahweh will protect his chosen people for all time, so long as they will keep his laws and worship only him. The narrative and its laws remain central to Judaism, recounted daily in Jewish prayers and celebrated in festivals such as Passover, as well as serving as an inspiration and model for non-Jewish groups from early Protestants fleeing persecution in Europe to African-Americans striving for freedom and civil rights. Scholars are broadly agreed that the Exodus story was composed in the 5th century BCE.
The traditions behind it can be traced in the writings of the 8th-century BCE prophets, but it has no historical basis. Instead, archaeology suggests a native Canaanite origin for ancient Israel; the story of the Exodus is told in the books of Exodus, Leviticus and Deuteronomy, the last four of the five books of the Torah. It begins with the Israelites in slavery, their prophet Moses leads them out of Egypt and through the wilderness to Mount Sinai, where Yahweh reveals himself to his people and establishes the Mosaic covenant: they are to keep his torah, in return he will give them the land of Canaan. The Israelites accept the covenant and receive their laws, with Yahweh now present in their midst, journey on from Sinai, towards the promised land, but when told that the land is filled with giants they refuse to go on, Yahweh condemns them to remain in the desert until the generation that left Egypt passes away. After thirty-eight years at the oasis of Kadesh Barnea the next generation travel on to the borders of Canaan, where Moses addresses them for the final time, reviewing their travels and giving them further laws.
The Exodus ends with the death of Moses on Mount Nebo and his burial by Yahweh, while the Israelites prepare for the conquest of the land. The climax of the Exodus is the covenant between God and Israel mediated by Moses at Sinai: Yahweh will protect Israel as his chosen people for all time, Israel will keep Yahweh's laws and worship only him; the covenant is described in stages: at Exodus 24:3–8 the Israelites agree to abide by the "book of the covenant" that Moses has just read to them. The laws are set out in a number of codes: Ethical Decalogue, Exodus 20 and Deuteronomy 5. Scholars are broadly agreed that the publication of the Torah took place in the mid-Persian period, echoing a traditional Jewish view which gives Ezra, the leader of the Jewish community on its return from Babylon, a pivotal role in its promulgation; the first trace of the traditions behind it appears in the northern prophets Amos and Hosea, both active in the 8th century BCE in northern Israel, but their southern contemporaries Isaiah and Micah show no knowledge of an exodus.
The story may, have originated a few centuries earlier the 9th or 10th BCE, there are signs that it took different forms in Israel, in the Transjordan region, in the southern Kingdom of Judah before being unified in the Persian era. Many theories have been advanced to explain the composition of the Torah, but two have been influential; the first of these, Persian Imperial authorisation, advanced by Peter Frei in 1985, holds that the Persian authorities required the Jews of Jerusalem to present a single body of law as the price of local autonomy. Frei's theory was demolished at an interdisciplinary symposium held in 2000, but the relationship between the Persian authorities and Jerusalem remains a crucial question; the second theory, associated with Joel P. Weinberg and called the "Citizen-Temple Community", proposes that the Exodus story was composed to serve the needs of a post-exilic Jewish community organised around the Temple, which acted in effect as a bank for those who belonged to it.
The Torah served as an "identity card" defining who belonged to this community, thus reinforcing Israel's unity through its new institutions. The Exodus is at the centre of Jewish identity, it is remembered daily in Jewish prayers and celebrated each year at the feasts of Pesach and Shavuot, the two being known as "the time of our freedom" and "the time our Torah was given". The two are linked, with Pesach announcing that the freedom it introduces is only realised with the giving of the law. A third Jewish festival, the Festival of Booths, commemorates how the Israelites lived in booths following the exodus from their previous homes in Egypt; the Exodus roots Jewish religion in history, in contrast to pagan religions which are oriented towards nature. The festivals now associated with the exodus (Passove
The Israelites were a confederation of Iron Age Semitic-speaking tribes of the ancient Near East, who inhabited a part of Canaan during the tribal and monarchic periods. According to the religious narrative of the Hebrew Bible, the Israelites' origin is traced back to the Biblical patriarchs and matriarchs Abraham and his wife Sarah, through their son Isaac and his wife Rebecca, their son Jacob, called Israel, whence they derive their name, with his wives Leah and Rachel and the handmaids Zilpa and Bilhah. Modern archaeology has discarded the historicity of the religious narrative, with it being reframed as constituting an inspiring national myth narrative; the Israelites and their culture, according to the modern archaeological account, did not overtake the region by force, but instead branched out of the indigenous Canaanite peoples that long inhabited the Southern Levant, ancient Israel, the Transjordan region through the development of a distinct monolatristic—later cementing as monotheistic—religion centered on Yahweh, one of the Ancient Canaanite deities.
The outgrowth of Yahweh-centric belief, along with a number of cultic practices gave rise to a distinct Israelite ethnic group, setting them apart from other Canaanites. In the Hebrew Bible the term Israelites is used interchangeably with the term Twelve Tribes of Israel. Although related, the terms Hebrews and Jews are not interchangeable in all instances. "Israelites" refers to the direct descendants of any of the sons of the patriarch Jacob, his descendants as a people are collectively called "Israel", including converts to their faith in worship of the god of Israel, Yahweh. "Hebrews", on the contrary, is used to denote the Israelites' immediate forebears who dwelt in the land of Canaan, the Israelites themselves, the Israelites' ancient and modern descendants. "Jews" is used to denote the descendants of the Israelites who coalesced when the Tribe of Judah absorbed the remnants of various other Israelite tribes. Thus, for instance, Abraham was a Hebrew but he was not technically an Israelite nor a Jew, Jacob was both a Hebrew and the first Israelite but not a Jew, while David was all three, a Hebrew, an Israelite, a Judahite.
A Samaritan, on the contrary, while being both a Hebrew and an Israelite, is not a Jew. During the period of the divided monarchy "Israelites" was only used to refer to the inhabitants of the northern Kingdom of Israel, it is only extended to cover the people of the southern Kingdom of Judah in post-exilic usage; the Israelites are the ethnic stock from which modern Jews and Samaritans trace their ancestry. Modern Jews are named after and descended from the southern Israelite Kingdom of Judah the tribes of Judah, Benjamin and Levi. Many Israelites took refuge in the Kingdom of Judah following the collapse of the Kingdom of Israel. In Judaism, the term "Israelite" is, broadly speaking, used to refer to a lay member of the Jewish ethnoreligious group, as opposed to the priestly orders of Kohanim and Levites. In texts of Jewish law such as the Mishnah and Gemara, the term יהודי, meaning Jew, is used, instead the ethnonym ישראלי, or Israelite, is used to refer to Jews. Samaritans refer to themselves and to Jews collectively as Israelites, they describe themselves as the Israelite Samaritans.
The term Israelite is the English name for the descendants of the biblical patriarch Jacob in ancient times, derived from the Greek Ισραηλίτες, used to translate the Biblical Hebrew term b'nei yisrael, יִשְׂרָאֵל as either "sons of Israel" or "children of Israel". The name Israel first appears in the Hebrew Bible in Genesis 32:29, it refers to the renaming of Jacob, according to the Bible, wrestled with an angel, who gave him a blessing and renamed him Israel because he had "striven with God and with men, have prevailed". The Hebrew Bible etymologizes the name as from yisra "to prevail over" or "to struggle/wrestle with", el, "God, the divine"; the name Israel first appears in non-biblical sources c. 1209 BCE, in an inscription of the Egyptian pharaoh Merneptah. The inscription is brief and says simply: "Israel is laid waste and his seed is not"; the inscription refers to a people, not to a nation-state. In modern Hebrew, b'nei yisrael can denote the Jewish people at any time in history. From the period of the Mishna the term Yisrael acquired an additional narrower meaning of Jews of legitimate birth other than Levites and Aaronite priests.
In modern Hebrew this contrasts with the term Yisraeli, a citizen of the modern State of Israel, regardless of religion or ethnicity. The term Hebrew has Eber as an eponymous ancestor, it is used synonymously with "Israelites", or as an ethnolinguistic term for historical speakers of the Hebrew language in general. The Greek term Ioudaioi was an exonym referring to members of the Tribe of Judah, which formed the nucleus of the kingdom of Judah, was adopted as a self-designation by people in the diaspora who identified themselves as loyal to the God of Israel and the Temple in Jerusalem; the Samaritans, who claim descent from the tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh, are named after the Israelite Kingdom of Samaria, but until modern times many Jewish authorities contested their claimed lineage, deeming them to have been conquered foreigners w