The history of the Hebrew people is contained in the Old Testament which is not intended as a history in the contemporary sense but is rather a complicated collection of historical narrative, wisdom literature, poetry, law, and religious witness. Traditionally, the religion of the Hebrews is based on the understanding that the patriarch Abraham came from Ur in Mesopotamia about 1900 B.C. and wandered west to tend his flocks in the land of the Canaanites. Worshiping a single God, the ancient Israelites introduced the concept of monotheism into a region of the world in which multiple deities were more common. The only direct comparison of Hebrew monotheism to the religion of other countries in the region was the brief period in Egypt when Ankhenaten (formerly Amenhotep IV) elevated the god Aten to primacy. This Egyptian pharaoh called for the worship of a single god, a characteristic that linked the religion with that of the Israelites.
The religion of the Israelites was codified by Moses, who led the people of Israel from bondage in Egypt to what is now the state of Israel. The Jewish god was neither a natural force nor like human beings or any other creatures. The faith of the Jews was given special strength by their belief that God made a covenant with Abraham that his progeny would be a chosen people who would be rewarded for following God’s commandments and the laws he revealed to Moses.
 Donald Kagan, et al The Western Heritage Volume A, to 1527. (New York: Macmillan Publishing Company, 1987), p.24.
 Homer W. Smith, op cit., p. 55.
 Donald Kagan, et al, op cit., p. 27.
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