Here is our synopsis of Biblical history. In this article we provide suggestions of where to shoot, but there are many more locations relating to Biblical History in Israel. We can built a schedule and arrange permissions for your shoot.
It could be said that Jewish history began about 4,000 years ago (c. 17th century BCE) with our patriarchs – Abraham, his son Isaac and grandson Jacob. The Bible describes their life as nomadic, much as that of nomadic sheepherders everywhere.
Hebron – the Cave of the Patriarch
Abraham’s well at Beer Sheba
Dome of the Rock
Abraham, who had been living with his family in Ur in Mesopotamia, was summoned by God to bring his people to Canaan. In Canaan they would have the opportunity to know the One God without the evil influence of their pagan neighbors who believed in numerous gods.
In time the whole of Canaan was afflicted with famine and Jacob (Israel), his twelve sons and their families were forced to settle in Egypt where their descendants were reduced to slavery and forced labor after many years.
Beit El where Jacob built the sacrifice altar
Northern Samaria is where Joseph was thrown into the hole by his brother
Although it took 400 years, the new people of Israel were freed from their bondage by Moses who, according to the biblical story, was chosen by God to take his people out of Egypt and back to the land that had been promised to their forefathers – the Land of Israel.
Pyramids in Egypt
Israel Museum exhibits Egyptian artifacts
The Israelites wandered for 40 years in the Sinai desert, and received the Torah (Pentateuch), which included the Ten Commandments. Their monotheistic faith and nationhood is based on these holy documents and their experience of struggling together to survive in the desert. The events of that time are remembered every year in the Jewish holidays of Pesach (Passover), Shavuot (Pentecost) and Succot (Feast of Tabernacles).
Egyptian Israeli desert borders; camels
Beduin caravan in the desert
Ten commandments on Mount Sinai; Santa Katarina Monastery– a difficult desert location
Jewish synagogue containing the tablets from the Ten Commandments rock
Celebration of holidays in Israel
During the next two centuries, the Israelites conquered most of the Land of Israel and achieved a degree of economic and social consolidation as became farmers and craftsmen. Although periods of relative peace alternated with periods of war the people were fortunate to have leaders known as ’judges’, who generally possessed military skills. This was particularly important in facing the threat from the Philistines (a sea-going people who had settled on the Mediterranean coast). The people realized that it was imperative to select a king who would unite the tribes and be permanent. Moreover they expected that their king’s legacy as a military leader would be carried on by his sons.
Ashkelon city – Samson’s excavation of the Dagon Temple
Ailon Valley provides the judge with an illustration of the sun and the moon.
The first king Saul (c. 1020 BCE) provided the transition between the loose tribal organization and the full monarchy under David, his successor, albeit not his son.
Ein Dor in Jezrael Valley
Mount Gilboa where Saul died
Through successful military expeditions, including the final defeat of the Philistines, the kingdom that was established by King David (c.1004-965 BCE), became a major power in the region with Israel’s authority accepted from the borders of Egypt and the Red Sea to the banks of the Euphrates. Under David the twelve tribes of Israel were united into one kingdom with Jerusalem as his capital. In addition to his other qualities, the Bible describes David as a poet and musician; his verses are found in the Book of Psalms.
Amek Aela where fought Goliath
Cave in the Judean desert where he hid
Hebron the first kingdom
City of David
King David Tomb
Solomon, David’s son (c.965-930 BCE), succeeded his illustrious father and further strengthened the kingdom. Through the wise use of peace treaties and politically profitable marriages, Solomon was able to ensure peace for his kingdom, thus improving Israel’s standing among the nations of the region at the time. King Solomon’s efforts in developing foreign trade and copper mining and metal smelting were significant steps in improving domestic prosperity, while the building of new towns and fortifying old ones were some of the most important of Solomon’s achievements. Last but not least of Solomon’s achievements was the building of the Temple in Jerusalem with all the significance that had for Israel’s political and religious life. Furthermore, according to the Bible, Solomon authored the Book of Proverbs and the Song of Songs.
Jaffa Gate where Solomon brought building materials for the construction of the Temple
Temple model in Jerusalem,
Eilat, the location from which the Jewish kingdom traded with Africa
Until a century after the destruction of Jerusalem (586 BCE), the prophets preached during the period of the monarchy. The achievement of justice was the primary goal of the prophets and to achieve this goal they often made powerful statements about the morality of Jewish national life in the Land of Israel. These religious and charismatic personalities were thought to possess a divine gift of revelation, and were important in Israeli life as advisers and critics of the nation’s kings on matters of religion, ethics and politics. Words such as those of Isaiah (1:17) continue to inspire us: “Learn to do good, devote yourselves to justice; aid the wronged, uphold the rights of the orphan; defend the cause of the widow continue to nourish humanity’s pursuit of social justice.” Many of the prophets’ comments have found their way into inspirational literature as well as the Bible.
Shrine of the Book, Isaiah’s scroll and those of other prophets
Shilo, the center of the prophet Samuel’s area, there are ruins to film
Israel Museum for ritual tools found in the prophets’ area
Kfar Haran on the outskirts of Jerusalem; identified with Samuel’s life.
Discontent characterized the end of Solomon’s reign. His overly ambitious schemes had bankrupted the nation while his favoritism towards members of his own tribe had antagonized leaders of other tribes. Upon his death (930 BCE), the ten northern tribes broke away and the land was divided into a northern kingdom of Israel and a southern kingdom of Judah.
For more than 200 years Samaria was the capital of the Kingdom of Israel while Jerusalem ruled the Kingdom of Judah for 400 years. Both kingdoms had 19 kings during this period. The conquest by the Assyrian and Babylonian empires ended this unfortunate relationship. The Assyrians (722) conquered the Kingdom of Israel who carried off its people into exile. The Kingdom of Judah was conquered by Babylonia more than a hundred years later. Most of Jerusalem’s inhabitants were exiled and its Temple destroyed (586 BCE).
Samaria the kingdom of Israel Sebastian ruins
Kingdom of Judea; Jerusalem, David’s city;
The First Exile
The First Temple period ended with the Babylonian conquest but the Jewish people’s connection to the Land of Israel continued as described by these famous lines from Psalms: “If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget its cunning. If I do not remember thee, let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth; if I do not set Jerusalem above my highest joy.”
The exile to Babylonia following the destruction of the First Temple (586 BCE), initiated the beginning of the Jewish Diaspora. And it was there that a religious way of life outside the Land began to develop, thus ensuring the survival of the Jewish People as a unique nation.
Zahakis Cave; David’s city; the model a Babylonian stone engraving of the Israelis taken into exile