Parish of Belmont, Anglican Church Newcastle, NSW Australia

Israel

Holy SepulchreIn the Biblical account Abrahams child Isaac had twin sons Esau and Jacob. Esau sold his birthright, and in a strange story of deceit Jacob inherits. Jacob becomes Israel (God prevails). The twelve sons of Israel (the children of Israel) become the the twelve tribes of Israel.  Contemporary archaeologists suggest that the tribes sprang up over time, and that they have assimilated rather than conquered the land.

By somewhere around 1020 BC the tribes of Israelites, were a prominent force in the land, and all somewhat autonomous and in various states of treaty and conflict. David arose and with some skill and accomplishment managed to unite the tribes to become the United Kingdom, and then around 1000 BC they were able to conquer Jerusalem, which David made the capital and moved the ark of the covenant to the City.

Jerusalem (which means ‘city of peace’) has been a fortified city from before time of Abraham ?1800BC, and remains the source of ongoing struggle to this day.

Sometime following this period of unity division arose, and around 930 BC the Kingdom was divided, with the tribe of Judah becoming the Kingdom of Judah (also called the Jews) in the south and the balance becoming the Kingdom of Israel or the Northern Kingdom. Sometime around 720 BC there was the conquest of the Assyrians which decimated the Northern Kingdom and many took refuge in the south and were distributed elsewhere.

Generally there is a bit of confusion in this area and people talk about Israel, Judah, Palestine, Holy Land, as interchangeable terms, and given the fluidity through history that may be OK, however there are times when we read the Old Testament when it is worth understanding a little of the differences involved.

Modern Israel, which covers much of the area of the United Kingdom was taken and created as part of a reconciliation following the atrocities of the second world war.