Israel was a family in Canaan, but it was formed into a nation in Egypt, and through the exodus experience. The kingdom reshaped the nation, and so did the exile and restoration. Finally the controversy over Jesus’ claims to be the Jewish messiah, divided the nation permanently.

In this section we will explore the Israel’s history as we can establish it from the Biblical account and from external historical sources.

The initial priority is to consider Israel’s history up to the invasion of Canaan, since the history of the period after that is much better understood.

Potted history of Israel

Jacob’s story as recorded by his grandchildren

Joseph was Thutmoses IV’s Royal Herald, Re’a

Exodus from Egypt in Judah’s Israelite history (J Source)

Exodus from Egypt in Ephraim’s Israelite history (E Source)

Exodus from Egypt in the priestly account (P Source)

An historical exodus

Wilderness wanderings


It is necessary to give special attention to two stories from Ephraim’s Israelite history that are presented as history, but were originally not seen that way:

Aaron’s golden calves

Abraham offering up Isaac