Week 09: The Emergence of "Israel"

April 3-9: The Emergence of Israel

Where does “Israel” come from? Where does its history begin? Who are the Israelites among the Canaanites? Here is a beginning list of “Enduring Understandings and Essential Questions” relating to the Former Prophets.



Read Bandstra Chapter 6 Joshua: The Conquest of Canaan and Chapter 7 Judges: Securing the Land. Or, in Stanley or your Introduction of choice, read on the books of Joshua and Judges, and on the “emergence” or “settlement” of the people Israel in the land.

Recommended Reading:


View or listen to the two-part lecture, “Emergence of Israel”:

“Make” of the Week

Pick one of the following options for this week’s “make,” sharing it on your blog, remembering to tag your post with our tag, “ootle17.” (Garrett students: Remember that your work is assessed according to the course rubric. You may need to add analysis or other elements that will allow you to include each element of the rubric. Remember too that you must have commented, thoughtfully and substantively, to at least three [3] other OOTLE-ers on Deuteronomy & the DtrH or on Emergence by Tuesday morning.)

Make Option 01: (Based on Stanley, Exercise 45:) Read Judges 19:1-21:25. In about 1000 words:

What would you say is the central message or theme of the story? What purposes would the story have served for the people who preserved it and told it in ancient Israel?

List, in detail, the plot elements that would seem strange or even offensive to many modern readers in your social context. How, in detail, might these narrative elements have been perceived by an ancient audience? How might these narrative elements have functioned for that audience and its society? (That is, what good might these strange and offensive elements have served for the original hearers?)

How does the story depict the leadership of Israel during this premonarchical period?

Make Option 02: What can you surmise of a society from a single poem?

Step 1. Read Judges 5:2 (beginning with “When hair is long in Israel...”) through Judges 5:31a (ending with “...the sun, rising in its strength”).

Step 2. Read this short page on how to do primary source analysis. On your own, bring its questions to the poem in Judges, re-reading that poem.

Step 3. In about 1000 words, and using this source analysis sheet as a template, answer its questions in a blog post. Be sure to provide a link to the poem for your readers (perhaps the CEB link that I provide above).

It’s fine to bring the poem and its analysis into conversation with your other learning about the Emergence of Israel. However, be careful not to rely uncritically on the biblical narrative(s) in your analysis. (For example, you would not assume that the poem is written by a man named Barak, nor by the woman “Deborah” addressed in verse 7, nor would you assume that the narrative details reflect any historical persons or events. What can the poem itself tell us about the questions posed?)

Activity of the Week: Share Your Learning

Who in your life knows that you are participating in the Open Old Testament (Hebrew Bible) Learning Event 2017? Who doesn’t know? What would you like to share with someone about your learning? How might they respond?

Choose anybody in your life who might be interested to hear about your learning up to this point in OOTLE17. Make a date with them to spend a chunk of time about equal to a coffee date, a lunch, or a long phone call. Be sure that they understand the reason for the date.

During your date, tell them anything(s) at all that currently have your attention concerning the Hebrew Bible and its academic study. Be sure to give them time to ask their own questions. Allow the conversation to range as widely as it needs to, but keep circling around to the topic so that it doesn’t simply get left behind.

You do NOT need to write anything up on this, though you may blog about it if you choose! Garrett-Evangelical students should simply plan to confirm to us in their reports whether they have chosen to do this Activity.

Office Hours/Fireside Chat

I will be hosting a Zoom meeting on Tuesday, April 4, at noon Central Time. Watch for invitations!