The Origins of Monotheism

The Beginnings of Jewish Teaching

The Life of Abraham: Father of the Jews

Abraham was originally named Abram. He lived in Ur until one night in 1950 b.c.e. when he had a dream that there was only one god. This God told him to leave Ur and go to Canaan. Once Abraham got there, he and and his beautiful wife Sarah had a second son to mark a covenant* with God. One day God asked for a sacrifice. Abraham took his son to the alter, raised a knife, and then stopped. A ram bleated in the bushes, so Abraham picked up the ram and sacrificed it instead. The sacrifice had been made. Isaac, son of Abraham, became the father of the Jews.

* a covenant is an agreement or promise

The Life of Moses

Moses was a descendant of Isaac. At this point, the Jews were enslaved by Egypt. God spoke to Moses and told him to free the Jews. Moses couldn't talk the Pharaoh into letting the Jews go, so God released the ten plagues: 1. Water to Blood, 2. Frogs, 3. Gnats and Lice, 4. Flies, 5. Livestock Diseased, 6. Boils, 7. Thunder and Hail, 8. Locusts, 9. Darkness, 10. Death of the Firstborn. Finally the Pharaoh gave in, but by the time the Jews were at the Red Sea the Pharaoh had changed his mind and sent armies after them. So Moses took up his staff and parted the Red Sea. The Jews escaped through the sea, drowning the soldiers behind them. This is called the exodus.* One day Moses went up the holy mountain Sinai to pray. When he came back he had the ten commandments.

*exodus means many people leave from a certain place at the same time

Jewish saviors

David and Solomon

The Life of David and Solomon

In Israel, after the death of Moses, the Jews were in battle with the Philistines. Their king had fallen in battle, and the Philistines had promised to be the Jew's slaves if they could kill Goliath. David stepped forward and slew him with a single shot from his slingshot. The Jews made David their king. When King David died, his son Solomon became king. Solomon built a mighty temple and placed in it the Ark that held the ten commandments.


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