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date: 25 August 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This article discusses the social, political, and economic background of Israel to the end of the Persian period, based upon extra-biblical texts, archaeological discoveries, and anthropological models. Where appropriate, reference will be made to Old Testament material, not in order to vindicate its historical ‘truth’ through the back door, but to suggest ways of looking at it in the light of the historical and social reconstruction. The biblical narrative is silent on all but religious happenings for the first half of both the 8th and 7th centuries, as well as much of the 6th to 4th centuries. In the case of kings such as Omri, the biblical record is virtually silent on the subject of his many military achievements. However, it should not be concluded that the historical information in the biblical records is worthless; and, to be fair to the biblical editors, they refer constantly to the books of the chronicles of the kings of Judah and Israel as sources of further information.

Keywords: Israel, Persian period, biblical history, Old Testament

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