What it means to be human in ancient Israel:
Israelites are a group of people in the Middle East who believe that they are all descendants of Jacob. The Israelites are perhaps the only people with a well recorded history dating back to 6000BC; their history is well written in religious books such as the Quran and the bible. In the olden days being an Israelite was a hard thing as you had to live according to the standards set by the leaders and the God that was never seen, most people suffered as there was no democracy. The Israelites were ruled by kings who had super special powers and no one was authorized to question their judgment. To them, the kings were a level lower than God and therefore deserved to be respected.
The people of Israel were monotheists, meaning they worshiped only one God but sometimes they ended up worshiping the gods and goddesses of the surrounding people. According to their religious beliefs, it was clearly stated that one should worship only God despite that some went against the rule. However, there were serious consequences attributed to that. For instance, anyone found worshiping another god was stoned to death outside the city and in the case where the whole group was found to worship other gods it resulted in mass punishments that would sometimes lead to death. The Israelite community constituted of twelve tribes. Among these tribes was the Leviticus where the entire priests were chosen from.
The Levites only become priest and they were not required to do any duties other than their temple work. Furthermore, they had no land and therefore depended on the other tribes for food who had to give out one tenth of their produce to the Levites. This can be seen as some form of exploitation of the people of Israel as others had to work and use their hard work to feed the people who had been chosen by god. Despite this, they highly believed that it was the right thing to do before God.
In Israel, most people were farmers and lived in small villages while a small number lived in towns. However, the towns were much smaller and underdeveloped than the modern day towns. Markets were always held in the gateways of the towns. The life of most Israelites however revolved around worshiping and most of the time they were either doing service to god or praying to god for forgiveness. The Israelites had rules that were supposed to guide them throughout their life; these rules were known as the commandments. These had to be followed strictly failure to which they would be punished severely.
Moses one of the early Israelites, was given these rules by god while on top of Mount Sinai, alone meaning no one was there to witness him being given the rules. This means that the people had to live and abide by the rules that they did not have a chance to even vote for and make a decision yet no one was supposed to go against them failure to which lead to death. This can be seen as some form of dictatorship as only one person was to be heard and if anyone went against him it automatically led to death.
Death penalties were common in Israel (the bible, exodus) and many crimes resulted in death, especially crimes that were related to religion. This is ironical as the same person (God) who created the people could be so mercy less and set rules that took away the life that he made. This can be seen as rules that were set by selfish leaders so as to make the people not to question their performances and believe that they had been chosen by god and so everything they did was right.
Leadership was highly respected in ancient Israel and no one was supposed to go against the leaders and anyone found to go against the leaders was persecuted by stoning. Yet these leaders were not chosen or elected by the people the leaders were chosen by God and they had to be from some families. Sex before marriage was an abomination and any person found having sex without getting married would be killed. To some point this rule was good but the punishment was too harsh for the crime, homosexuality would also lead to a death penalty this was wrong because it led to death yet life was supposed to be respected.
The common man had no excuse for sinning and if he was found to have sinned it would result in heavy punishment. On the other hand leaders could sin and get away with it take an example of David who killed a man for his wife but because he was loved by God he was forgiven, if he had been a common man then he would have been killed without questioning(Harmer 89). Gender inequality was common and women were looked down upon, they held no positions in the political posts and had to do whatever the men said the woman had to respect the man and had to get married and have children a woman who had no children was considered cursed even if the husband was the cause of the problem.
Prostitution was not allowed and any woman found was killed yet the man was not killed. This is very unfair to women as all of them had sinned and not the woman alone so why kill the woman alone and not all of them. War was common in ancient Israel and the local people did not decide when to go to war. This was a decision that was made by the leaders as they were the once to decide when to go to war and when not to go to war. Soldier’s war picked from every family who had to give a son to defend the people, even though this is not wrong it is still wrong considering the fact that during war people would die. However the soldiers had to go to war and incase of death there was no compensations that was made to the family.
In conclusion it is evident that the people of Israel suffered a lot and this was mainly because of their leaders who were believed to be God chosen yet they were just ordinary people. Life was unfair for the common man and they had to live in fear of death as most simple crimes would lead to death by stoning, and no one was allowed to question those in authority as they were believed to be chosen by God.
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