The Exodus from Egypt and the forty years of wandering are traditionally seen as the formative period in the building of the Israelite nation — the transition from “family” history to “national” history. However, the biblical text makes it clear that many years passed after the entry into Palestine before the Israelite people were anything like a united nation. In terms of the creation of a national entity and a national identity, a major turning point came with the establishment of the monarchy; a further consolidation occurred with the enthronement of the Davidic dynasty. This lesson will investigate the transition from tribal confederation to established dynastic monarchy.
In looking at different biblical depictions of our connections to Israel, we find the promises and sojourns of the Patriarchs, the promises and instructions in the desert, the conquest and struggles of Joshua and Judges – and now, the creation of a proper kingdom of the Jews in their land, with a capital and a central government and all its institutions – including a centralized religious cult. It is the collective memory of this period of glory that has informed our messianic vision ever since it ended.