Ancient Israel and Judah Map

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After more than a century of slavery, the children of Israel are freed from Egyptian bondage by God using Moses and Aaron. It was only after a series of plagues that Pharaoh Thutmose III finally agreed to give the Hebrew slaves their freedom in 1445 B.C. It is such freedom that allowed the people to eventually form one, and then later two, kingdoms.

´╗┐After the Exodus the twelve tribes of Israel are made to wander the wilderness for forty years as punishment for the sins they committed after leaving Egypt (Deuteronomy 8:2). Joshua leads a new generation, in 1405 B.C., into the land God promised to Abraham. Seven years later, in 1398 B.C., the land of Canaan is divided by lot among the tribes (Joshua 14).

After taking possession, through warfare, of their God-given inheritance in the Promised Land, the children of Israel were governed (usually) by individuals known as Judges. The Judges were God's response (usually) to his people crying out to be freed from those He allowed to oppress them because of their sins.

For example, because of their collective sins, God allowed the Midianites to oppress his chosen nation for seven years (Judges 6:1). It was only after the people cried out to God for help that He inspired and used Gideon to free them from Midianite oppression (Judges 6 - 8). After Israel was freed Gideon served as their Judge for forty years (1145 - 1105 B.C.).

Kingdoms of Israel and Judah Map

Another well-known person God inspired to save his people was Samson. God, in response to the disobedience of Israel and Judah, allowed the Philistines to harass and oppress them for forty years (Judges 13:1) . He then inspired and gave miraculous strength to Samson in order to free the people.

Samson was a Judge for the last twenty years of his life (1085 - 1065 B.C.). The time period of the Judges ran from 1398 to 1050 B.C. (348 years). After the Judges a united Israel had three kings before it split - King Saul, King David and King Solomon.

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