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Ancient Middle East

Land of the Bible

The Kingdoms of Israel and JudahThe Kingdoms of Israel and Judah The land of the Bible, now the modern state of Israel and the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and Gaza, has a long history. Early humans first lived in the area 2.6 million years ago. During the 2nd millennium BC, the region, known as Canaan, was dominated by Egypt, but some time during this period a people identifying themselves as Israelites emerged. They became united in a single kingdom, probably in the 11th century BC, before splitting into the kingdoms of Israel and Judah in about 930 BC. Israel fell to the Assyrians in 722 BC, Judah to the Babylonians in 586 BC. Judah's nobility were exiled to Babylon, where they became known as the Jews.

Israelite shepherdIsraelite shepherd


The archaeological evidence tells us that the Israelites were natives of the region of Canaan. The Bible tells us that they came to Canaan from exile in Egypt. Here they came into conflict with the Philistines, who were also living along the eastern shores of the Mediterranean. History tells us that by the 11th century BC the United Monarchy of Israel and Judah had been founded, with Hebrew as its main language. The inhabitants of the Kingdom of Judah, which split from the Kingdom of Israel, would later be known as Jews.

The people

In the past four millennia, Jerusalem has been destroyed twice, and captured and recaptured dozens of times.

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