So it would take about 250 to
300 years before the geopolitical
conditions, throughout
the ancient world would allow the kingdoms
of Israel and Judah to take shape.
But as 300 years after the fall of the new
And that goes for their neighbors of Moab
and Ammon as well, so you have a
whole complexity of kingdoms develop after
the fall
of the new kingdom, but it's not
What happens before that is that the
reforms of Akhenaten late
in the 18th dynasty had drawn Egypt out of
international affairs.
And it was not until the formidable rulers
of the Ramside period, in the 19th
and 20th dynasties, that Egypt started to
make her presence felt again, in the
In this time, the Hittites, Notolia, that
modern Turkey, had extended their sphere
influence dramatically.
And it was up to the great, Ramesses II to
hold them
in check, which he successfully did at the
famous battle of Kadesh.
Through an elaborate treaty and gift
exchanges he
established with the Hittite empire a
balance of powers.
And Ramesses son Merneptah claimed in his
victory stele which
we discussed already several times to have
campaigned in Canaan.
And they are to have defeated among
Eschalon, Gazir, [INAUDIBLE] the people of
Remember how the Stella says about Israel.
Israel is wasted, its seed is no longer.
Now despite Merneptah's claim, Israel
survived and it grew into a robust people.
That eventually bequeathed its name into a
That fought wars long after Merneptah.
But what's important to note is that
scholars debate whether
Merneptah in fact, did campaign in Canaan,
whether he actually did.
Whatever the case may be, this exceptional
reference to
Israel only ill, illustrates Egypt's lack
of concern at
this time with territories up in the
central highlands,
where the states of Israel and Judah later
So, after Ramsses, you have Merneptah
coming on the
scene who claims to have campaigned in
Canaan but this
is an exceptional case and really what's
happening is that
Egypt is starting to give up its interest
in Canaan.
So that when Egypt did interfere.
It was along the lines of divide et
impera, that is Latin for divide and rule.
The point here is to cause a bit of chaos
and have to keep the natives down so that
they don't conni, they, they can't ignite
and create
real threats to the Egyptian homeland in
the Nile Delta.
Yet already during the reigns of Ramsses
Great and Merneptah we can notice drastic
It was the beginning of the end of
Egyptian rule.
Historians speak of catastrophic collapse,
catastrophic collapse of the contemporary
world systems.
Multiple factors elicited this crisis.
One can point not only to climate change
but also to internal unrest in the
Assyrian, Babylonian or Kassite, and
Egyptian, and especially Hittite courts.
All these courts had problems at home.
But what delivered the coup de grace to an
already mortally injured geopolitical
structure was the onslaught of the
so-called Sea Peoples.
The chaos caused by these migrating
from the Aegean and the Mediterranean
is reflected in the confusing, frenzied
we find in Egyptian art from the period.
In the mid 12th century, Ramesses III
claims to have
conquered various groups, and settled
them, somewhere in Egyptian territories.
More likely however, he was unable to
prevent their migrations.
He was there, he therefore claimed, that
was his idea, to allow them to reside
The whole problem must be viewed in
connection with
the gradual formation of the five
Philistine city-states on
the Mediterranean coast and Canaan which
represents the de
facto demise of an Egyptian imperial
province in Canaan.
These Philistines would later be a major
force in the southern Levant.
And the bible describes, of course,
many military conflicts between them and
After Ramesses III died in 1155, Egypt was
beset by problems of droughts, low Nile
flood levels,
food shortage, civil unrest, corruption,
increasing power of the
priest at Thebes, and incessant bickering
in the court.
Similar crisis in the competing imperial
centers led to
what the Egyptologist Yvon Osman calls a
regionalization of cultures.
That is, society has turned their,
attention inwards
and operated on much more confined
political sphere.
These political, environmental and social
developments caused a power vacuum.
It creates space, or a breathing room in
which now new peoples
could emerge on the scene, and start to
realize their political potential.
I'm referring here once again to the
states of Israel and Judah, and their
So for three or four centuries, until
new imperial powers emerged, these states
thrive, jockeying for power by fighting
other, making peace, and forming new
For three or four centuries, that's all.
After that, the new empires are going to
emerge, and
the end of Judah and Israel will be near.
Egypt itself was very interested in
maintaining relations with
these states, either playing them off
against each other.
Or later supporting them as a bulwark
against the encroaching Assyrian and later
Babylonian armies.
After an intermezzo of several centuries,
a Mesopotamian imperial power
re-consolidated itself.
And it did so in the form of the great
Assyrian Empire from the mid 9th century
to the 7th century.
Which was followed by the Babylonian
Empire, about the sixth century.
And then the Persian Empire, which ruled
the Middle
East from the late sixth to the fourth
All these imperial powers invariably set
their sights on Egypt, the formidable
and long standing center of political
power in the ancient Near East.
And so what this meant was that all those
small Levantine states on the
land bridge connecting Mesopotamia to
Egypt would
very soon be forced to forfeit their
And that brings us to defeat.
But before we go there, let's take a look
at how Israel and Judah emerged internally
as kingdoms.

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