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By Paul Johnson

A countrywide bestseller, this fabulous 4000 yr survey covers not just Jewish heritage yet he impression of Jewish genius and mind's eye at the global. through the writer of contemporary instances: the area From the Twenties to the Eighties.

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Moses commanded Joshua to ‘go out, fight with Amalek’, while he himself stood ‘on top of the hill with the rod of God in mine hand’. Aaron and Hur held up the old prophet’s hands to encourage the warriors, ‘and his hands were steady until the going down of the sun. ’124 Just ISRAELITES / 43 before his death, Moses transferred the leadership to Joshua and ‘set him over the congregation’ at a solemn public ceremony. ’125 Thus Joshua began and to a great extent completed the conquest of Canaan. He may not have commanded all the Israelites, at any rate at the beginning.

The Israelites were already in the process of becoming very distinctive, and in certain critical respects they were spiritually in advance of their age. But they were still a primitive people by the standards of advanced societies in 1250 BC. Even in their spirituality they retained many backward elements, and continued to do so for centuries. Indeed, being both historically minded and legalistic, they were inclined to formalize and cling to old superstitions. 106 Belief in magic was ubiquitous and institutionalized.

65 Most of the Egyptian detail in the Joseph narrative appears to be authentic. That West Semites came into Egypt in large numbers is certain. They began to penetrate the Nile Delta as early as the end of the third millennium BC. These immigrants usually came peacefully; sometimes willingly in search of commerce and work; sometimes driven by hunger—for the Nile was much the most regular provider of grain ISRAELITES / 25 surpluses—and sometimes as slaves. There is a famous passage in an Egyptian papyrus, Anastasi VI, in which Egyptian frontier guards notify the palace of a tribe passing through in search of pasture and water.

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