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Moreover, the ancient Israelites’ entire mode of existence was affected by their belief that throughout history they stood in a unique relationship with the divine.
The people of Israel believed that their response to the divine presence in history was central not only for themselves but for all humankind.
It is a total guide to religious and ethical conduct, involving ritualistic observance as well as individual and social .
It is a liturgical and ethical way constantly expatiated on by the prophets and priests, by rabbinic sages, and by philosophers.
In one form or another, messianism has permeated Jewish thinking and action throughout the ages, and it has strongly influenced the outlook of many secular-minded Jews ().
Law embraces practically all domains of Jewish life, and it became the principle means by which Judaism was to bring about the reign of God on earth.
The Hebrews were seminomadic herdsmen and occasionally farmers.
Between creation and redemption lies the particularistic designation of the Jewish people as the locus of God’s activity in the world, as the people chosen by God to be “a kingdom of priests and a holy nation” ( 19:6).Although other ancient communities also perceived a divine presence in history, the understanding of the ancient proved to be the most lasting and influential.It is this particular claim—to have experienced God’s presence in human events—and its subsequent development that is the differentiating factor in Jewish thought.Even the chosen community failed in its obligation and had to be summoned back, time and again, to its responsibility by the prophets—the divinely called spokespersons who warned of retribution within history and argued and reargued the case for affirmative human response.Israel’s role in the divine economy and thus Israel’s particular culpability were dominant themes sounded against the motif of fulfillment, the ultimate triumph of the divine purpose, and the establishment of divine sovereignty over all humankind.
From Canaan the Hebrew ancestors of the people of Israel (named after the patriarch Jacob, also called Israel) migrated to Egypt, where they lived in servitude; a few generations later they returned to occupy part of Canaan.