chapter  I
40 Pages

The People of Israel

The beginnings of the history of Israel are involved in profound obscurity, perhaps even more than is the case with Greek and Roman history. The history of Israel was therefore determined not by the nature and situation of Palestine, considered absolutely, but by the latter under certain definite conditions of society. The present-day mode of life of the Bedouins of Arabia still vividly recalls that found in the ancient Israelitic legends of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Even before the Israelites came to Canaan, trade was highly developed in this country. The Israelites probably went to Egypt rather early in their history, perhaps when they were merely wandering cattle-breeders, long before they became permanent inhabitants of Canaan. Foreign rule in Palestine was thus abandoned for a time. This was the opportunity for a group of Bedouin tribes, under the general name of Israelites, to enter the country as conquerors and gradually to occupy it.