A History of the Jews by Paul Johnson

By Paul Johnson

A countrywide bestseller, this exceptional 4000 yr survey covers not just Jewish heritage yet he effect of Jewish genius and mind's eye at the international. by way of the writer of Modern instances: the area From the Twenties to the Eighties.

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Thus, when Eblon the King of Moab, the oasis-sheikh who ‘possessed the city of palm trees’, oppressed part 46 / A HISTORY OF THE JEWS of the Benjaminites, ‘the Lord raised them up a deliverer’ in the shape of Ehud, ‘a man left-handed’, always a grave disadvantage in those times, especially for a poor man. Ehud was too lowly to have a weapon. So he ‘made him a dagger which had two edges, of a cubit length’, hid it ‘under his raiment’ and got the local Israelites to contribute to a gift, by which he obtained admission to the sheikh.

122 One interesting theory is that the Levite tribe, to which Moses himself belonged and which soon claimed the exclusive right to the priesthood, was the first to settle in Kadesh and there elaborated the new religion. The other tribes were already in Canaan. The last to force its way into the Promised Land were the tribe of Joseph, from Egypt, and the Levites of Kadesh, who had been reformed by Moses as an instrument for the fervent worship of Yahweh. 123 It is plausible but undemonstrable. With the entry into and conquest of Canaan, however, the pattern of historical events begins to clarify as more and more archaeological evidence confirms or illuminates the Biblical record.

63 The Bible sees a peculiar virtue in powerlessness, appropriate to a people which has seldom possessed power, and suffered much from its exercise; but it also sees virtue in achievement, and achievement as the sign of virtue, especially of those once weak and lowly. Both Joseph and Moses had no rights of birth, and narrowly survived vulnerable childhoods or youth; but both had the God-endowed qualities to bring them to greatness by their own efforts. But there the resemblance ends. Joseph was the great minister-statesman of an alien ruler, the pattern of many Jews over the next 3,000 years.

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