History of the Jewish people: The Biblical period (segment 5).

 

Abraham was born Av-ram (exalted father in Hebrew) around 1780 BC to the Habiru tribe, people from the city of Ur in western Babylon not far from where Kuwait is today. His father Terah (hard worker in Hebrew) and his brother Nahor (snorer in Hebrew) were successful “Elilim” merchants who worshipped local gods. Both the father and the older brother failed to apprentice young Av-ram to sell “Elilim” in Terah’s shop, probably because Av-ram was a spiritual boy and rumours of the one-God ware sweeping Ur. The incredible law-of-one sea people, now called the Hyksos, just left on their way to Egypt after leaving their Hebrew mark on Mesopotamia. (they conquered Egypt in 1792 BC). The new Babylonian king Hammurabi, who lived in Sippar about 40 miles north-west of Ur wrote a code of enlightened laws that influenced Av-ram to start planning his exit north from Ur in search Elohim (500 years later, many of these Hammurabi laws were incorporated by Moses into the Torah).  Ur at the time of Hammurabi was a minor kingdom with ancient Hebrew roots planted by the sea-people who gave rise earlier to the prospering Habiru tribe. In 1755 BC Av-ram married Sarai (Sarai means my female minister in Hebrew), a beautiful young princess, one of the daughters of the ruler of Ur. His exit strategy began with a caravan wedding trip west to Egypt to learn about El. Upon his return to Ur, he packed his family and sheep and left Ur to go to Hevron (friendship city in Hebrew) in Canaan, about 200 miles to the west. As soon as he and his extended family crossed (crossed=avru=Hebrew) the Euphrates near the place where the second Garden of Eden existed 3972 earlier, he heard a voice saying in Hebrew, lech lecha miartsitcha umimoladetcha... (leave your country, birth place and your father’s home and go to the land that I will show you. I will make you a great nation. I will bless those who bless you and curse those who curse you). I think, at that point, Av-ram experienced being overwhelmed by his visions. Instead of turning left towards Hebron 200 miles away, he turned north and walked 200 miles to Haran (today’s Syria) and turn left and walked 200 miles down south to Hevron. After 40 years of traveling from Ur, accumulating kids and wealth on the way and becoming a 99-year-old patriarch of big clan, he finally arrived in Hebron and bought burial land there. Av-ram was discouraged, but then a big event happened. At 100 and Sarai at 90, they had the promised son Itzhak (to laugh in Hebrew).  He celebrated by performing the brit bain habetarim sacrificial ritual, a permanent covenant with God who changed Avram’s name to Avraham (father of nations) and Sarai’s name to Sarah (a female government minister in Hebrew). From that moment on all Jewish babies would be circumcised at 8 days after birth (brit mila).. By the time Izhak had Yaakov and Yaakov had 12 sons and a daughter and children, the clan grew to 70 people. In 1650 BC they traveled to Egypt because of famine in Canaan and became slaves to the first pharaoh, not a Hyksos. In about 1270 BC they were 600,000 people, revolting against Ramses II. Soon, Moses took them out of Egypt to go back home to Canaan (today Jews all over the world celebrate Pesach to commemorate the Exodus from slavery to freedom). When Joshua conquered Canaan in 1230 BC they were still only 600,00 after 40 years in the Sinai desert, but now fierce nomads! By the time the Kingdom of David peaked in 975 BC the Hebrew people were a solid nation of 2 million people, about 2% of the world population at that time!

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