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C O U R S E 
The Fall and Rise of Jerusalem
Oded Lipschits, Ph.D., Tel Aviv University
C O U R S E   L E C T U R E 
Geopolitical Background of Ancient Jerusalem
Notes taken on October 2, 2013 by Edward Tanguay
fertile crescent
cradle of ancient Middle Eastern civilizations
4500-2000 BC: rise of civilization
social and economic powers grew on both sides of the crescent
Sumer, Akkad, Babylonia, Phoenicia, Assyria and Egypt were the dominant cultures until around 335 BC with the conquests of Alexander the Great
between Tigris and Euphrates Rivers
Sumer (4500 BC - 2400 BC)
settled by non-Semitic people
drained marshes for agriculture
developed trade
weaving, leather work, metalwork
Akkad (2334 BC – 2193 BC)
united Semites and Sumerian speakers under one rule
Babylonia (1792 BC - 911 BC)
became strong with Hammurabi
Akkadian-speaking Semitic nation state
retained the written Semitic Akkadian language for official use
Assyria (2400 BC - 605 BC)
a Semitic Akkadian kingdom
700 BC: expanded from Mesopotamia to conquer Syria and Israel, and for a short period ruled Egypt as well
trading up into Anatolia (Turkey)
6000 BC, a Neolithic culture (10000 BC - 2000 BC) rooted in the Nile Valley
3200 BC: first known hieroglyphic inscriptions in pottery
3150 BC: King Menes unified kingdom
southern edge of the Fertile Crescent
Egyptian influence was felt in Israel throughout many centuries
1400 BC - 1200 BC: Egypt ruled Israel and Syria
Phoenicia (1550 BC - 300 BC)
enterprising maritime trading culture that spread across the Mediterranean
Neo-Assyrian Empire (911 BC - 612 BC)
most powerful state on earth
eclipsed Babylonia, Egypt, Urartu/Armenia and Elam for dominance of the Near East, Asia Minor, Caucasus, North Africa and east Mediterranean
conquered Eber-Nari, "Beyond the River"
Syria, Phoenicia, Land of Israel
three important areas seen as one area
natural resources, strategic maritime area, technological developments
first time in 911 BC did the lands of Israel belong to one geopolitical unit
put an end to the entities which had existed there previously
determined the fate of the region for centuries afterward
Land of Israel
it is in this Neo-Assyrian context that you have to understand the term for "other side of the river"
King Solomon (970 BC - 931 BC)
third king of the United Monarchy
from 1 Kings 4:31: "And Solomon ruled over all the kingdoms from the Euphrates River to the land of the Philistines, as far as the border of Egypt. These countries brought tribute and were Solomon's subjects all his life."
Abram (ca. 2000 BC according to Bible's internal chronology)
from Genesis 15:18: "On that day the Lord made a covenant with Abram and said, 'To your descendants I give this land, from the Brook of Egypt to the great river, the Euphrates."
quite synonymous with The Levant
Southern Syria and Israel
often associated with the Hebrew Bible, where the "Land of Canaan" extends from Lebanon southward to the "Brook of Egypt" and eastward to the Jordan River Valley
borders described in the book of Numbers and Ezekiel
was an area within Canaan within the larger geopolitical area which extended between Egypt and Mesopotamia
Judah must be understood within this background along with the balance of present powers and their interests