The Israelites faced many foes on the battlefield over the course of the Neolithic ages up until the time of Christ. They waged wars on the Persians, the Babylonians, the Assyrians, and also the Canaanites, who were the original inhabitants of the region around Israel. They fought many wars, but were they actually what God meant for us to do? By fighting, were the Israelites furthering God’s plan for the world? Yes, they were furthering God’s plan in the way that we all fight for what is good in the world. The Assyrians were a war-like nation who took up the region of modern-day Syria with provinces into Iran, Iraq, and a small portion of Turkey.
They were definitely the most war-like race that the Jews faced because their religion promoted war. They were mainly hated because of their horrible policy after taking over a country, they would conquer a nation, and then deport the inhabitants of the country to the very heart of their empire. The first armed conflict that Israel fought against the Assyrians were when the kings of Phoenicia and Syria formed a defensive alliance against the Assyrian attack force in 853 B. C.
They sent 2,000 chariots and 10,000 men to aid in the defense. King Ahab of Israel died in the battle. There were many other battles that the Jews fought with the Assyrians. The Canaanites were the original inhabitants of Israel, they were much like the Jews, with the same build and language of the Jews. They were mainly farmers, living in small towns. They worshiped gods of agriculture, they worshiped their gods by temple prostitution, homosexuality, and other orgiastic rites, they also sacrificed children. The Jews after wandering forty years in the desert came and found them. But instead of a full invasion force, the conquest of Canaan resulted from “unplanned irruptions of separate Israelite tribes, at different times and at different places.
” (Carroll, 82). Once Joshua had gained a foothold in the country, he kept attacking his way in until he completely finished off their army at the plain of Jezreel. The way that this furthered God’s plan for the world is that this is how the Jews came to own the promised land. The Babylonians did not have many encounters with the Jews, but the few that they did have were quite important. Nebuchadnezzar was crowned king of Babylonia in 605 B. C. and he decided to attack Israel.
He conquered all of Israel all the way up to Jerusalem itself, and after seiging it for several months, the holy city surrendered. And Nebuchadnezzar exiled them just like the Assyrians did. This even though it does really seem to further God’s plan, the Jews at this time were not following what God wanted, so this was a punishment that God had foretold of. The Persians were a race that was quite the opposite of the Assyrians, they had a great love for learning. Even though they did pick fights with the Greeks, they were mostly peaceful. They had They had a great leader named Cyrus, “Cyrus the Great emerged in history in 559 B.
C. as ruler of the little province of Anshan, a district in northwestern Elam just south of Media and east of the Zagros Mountains”(Benson, Ezra T. The Persian Empire).
He formed an army and started pushing west. He conquered Babylonia right as the Jews were exiled in Babylonia. Instead of simply turning the Jews into slaves though, he frees them and sends them back to Israel.
He did this because “He had respect for the God of Judah” (Benson, Ezra T. The Persian Empire). “Moreover, King Cyrus brought out the articles belonging to the temple of the Lord, which Nebuchadnezzar had carried away from Jerusalem and had placed in the temple of his god.” (Ezra 1, 7). This even though not very war-like, was probably the most interesting thing that happened to the Hebrews.
The Israelites Faced many different nations, be the encounters peaceful or warlike depends on each given encounter. They fought the Palestinians and the Assyrians, the Canaanites and the Babylonians. An interesting point that I notice while writing this is that The nation of Israel has not been at peace for a longer time than a normal man’s life, since the beginning of time! But whatever they did, they did to further God’s plan for the world.