King David - World History

King David - World History
Posted on 28-12-2022

King David ( 1000 ) David is elected king of Israel.

At the beginning of the first millennium (if not before) the Indo-European peoples arrived as far as Italy. They brought with them iron and new customs associated with metallurgy, such as cremation of the dead. They did not introduce any type of political organization, but over time different cultures would crystallize throughout the entire peninsula. France begins to be occupied by the Celts, who introduce new agricultural techniques.

In the east, the Aryans were fully established in India. Around this time a rigid social division into four classes was consolidated. There were the Brahmins (priests), the Chatria (warriors), the Vaisya (herdsmen and traders), and the Sudra (the ancient aborigines of India, now reduced to slavery). In a long process that started even before the invasion, the Aryans developed a religion that preceded current Hinduism. The Brahmins were the only ones who could know the rites and sacred texts, known as Veda, or revelation, drawn up in Sanskrit but not in writing, but transmitted orally. The chief god was Vishnu, also called Siva, who ruled the world through his numerous wives, including the benevolent Parvati, the warrior Durga , and the destroyer Kali. Hinduism refers to the doctrine of it as sanatana-dharma, which means something like "universal cosmic law without origin",for unlike other religions, Hinduism has no renowned founder. One of its highlights is the idea of ​​cycles and reincarnation. For example, when a man dies, he is reincarnated in one of the four classes according to the extent to which he had respected the cosmic order in his previous lives. Thus, all things considered, inequalities by birth were an expression of universal justice.

The actions of an individual that determine his next reincarnation are his karma, but man has different ways to get out of the cycle of reincarnations (samsara) and finally reach liberation (moksa). Since all thought influences karma, one of the ways was thought control through meditation (the way of meditation). The main meditation technique was yoga. On the other hand, there was the way of deeds, which consisted of carefully observing traditional rituals in the hope of thus accumulating favorable and meritorious karma.

In Guatemala, agricultural communities made up of peoples with a common language proliferate and extend throughout the Yucatan peninsula. It is the prelude to the Mayan culture .

In Peru, the Chavín culture appears , already fully agricultural, which united a large territory whose inhabitants worshiped a feline god. Its gold jewelry is the oldest in America. In Chavín de Huantar there is a square lined with platforms presided over by a great truncated pyramid, whose interior is a set of galleries, chambers and stairs. Scattered throughout the territory, there are stelae with representations of human beings with feline attributes and a ferocious appearance.

The Phoenician city of Tire continued to assert itself as a maritime power. He traded with Egypt and Greece, and began to explore the western Mediterranean.

The Ionian Greeks, after having gradually occupied the Aegean islands, began to populate the eastern coast. It was they who named it "Anatolia", which in Greek means "rising sun". They also adapted the Semitic words "assu" and "ereb" (east and west), turning them into Asia and Europe. More precisely, it seems that it was the Cretans who adapted the Semitic words in this way, and the Ionians took them from the Cretans. The eastern coast of the Aegean, together with the islands, received the name of Ionia. Twelve cities were founded on the coast,Thus the Greeks came into contact with the Phrygians, who at that time dominated almost the entire western half of Anatolia, but did not oppose Greek colonization. On the contrary, they felt attracted by their culture and always maintained friendly relations. Their most important capital was Gordion. The Greeks said that it had been founded by Gordias, who had been a peasant whom Zeus appointed to be king of Phrygia through an oracle.

Continental Greece was beginning to achieve some stability after the ravages of the Dorian invasion. Hesiod describes the Greece of three centuries later and speaks of adobe huts with a single room for men and animals. It is cold in winter and hot in summer. Grain, onions, cheese, milk and honey are eaten, but not very often. There is malaria, and to flee from it one must go to stony hills, where instead there is hunger. You couldn't buy or sell with gold or anything else that served as currency. To buy a car, several families had to pool their grain reserves. Periodically, the Dorian masters came from the city to requisition part of the harvest, or even part of the men, as soldiers. The Dorian nobles led a sober life, but more bearable. Some men found a new way to make a living: entertaining their masters with old and not-so-old stories. Naturally, they were not stories about peasants and their adobe huts. They were about heroes, kings and gods. Thus, in Greece one of the richest mythologies in history began to emerge, modeled largely at the convenience of the new masters.

For example, the triumph of the Dorians against the Mycenaean Greeks had its logical heavenly counterpart: the main god of the Mycenaean religion was Cronos, but he was defeated by the main god of the Dorians: Zeus,exactly the same as Cronos had displaced the goddess Gaia in his day. Naturally, the change of power could not be due to an illegitimate usurpation. The legend explained that when Cronos overthrew his father, Urano, he predicted that the same thing would happen to him. To avoid the prophecy, Cronos devoured his children as soon as they were born, but his wife Rhea replaced one of them with a stone, which the father swallowed without noticing the difference. The son who was saved was Zeus, who, after a series of vicissitudes, dethroned his cruel father and forced him to regurgitate his brothers (who were still alive, because they were immortal). Among them were Hera (who would be his last wife), Poseidon and Hades. The three brothers shared the universe: Zeus was left as king of the heavens, Poseidon as god of the seas and Hades as god of the underworld of the dead. From them would emerge the new generation of Greek gods that would gradually eclipse the previous two (the Pelasgian and the Mycenaean).

Just as the Sumerians placed their mythical heroes before the deluge, so now the Greeks placed theirs in the Mycenaean era, the Golden Age that had preceded the present Iron Age, as they described it. In the mythical history of the Greeks, Europe became the first inhabitant of Crete, mother of King Minos. There was a legend that the Dorians must have liked especially (if not entirely designed for them). It made reference to Hercules, son of Zeus himself and Queen Alcmene, wife of the Theban king Host.Many stories were told about him, making him the quintessential Greek hero, but the one that concerns us now refers to his (very numerous) children, who turned out to be a horde of powerful bandits, the Heraclids. One of them challenged one by one the soldiers that the king of Mycenae had sent to expel them from Greece. The conditions were that if he defeated them all, the Heraclids would rule Mycenae, while if he lost he would leave the country with all his brothers, who promised not to return for at least fifty years (that is, in the people of their children and grandchildren). The fact is that he lost, so the Heraclids left, but in the third generation, the pact fulfilled, they returned and took over Greece. Evidently the grandsons of the Heraclids were the Dorians who, therefore, in invading Greece, only returned to the land of their ancestors. It is the Greek version of the promised land of the Israelites.

As for the Israelites, after Saul's death they found themselves completely at the mercy of the Philistines. However, Abner, who had been Saul's chief general, withdrew with part of the army, taking with him Ishbosheth, Saul's only surviving son, and retreated east of the Jordan, away from Philistine influence. The Hebrew kingdoms, always hostile towards the Israelites, took advantage of the circumstances. Thus, the kingdom of Moab totally absorbed the tribe of Reuben. Meanwhile, David took advantage of the situation and convinced the elders of Judah to make him king of Judah, and he established his capital at Hebron,a fortified city about 30 kilometers from the Philistine capital of Gad. Unlike Saul, King David was a shrewd diplomat, and he was able to convince the Philistines that under his rule the Israelites would be a faithful puppet they would never have to worry about.

David was lucky: Ishbosheth argued with Abner because of a woman, and he got angry to the point of starting negotiations with David to help him overthrow the one who had been his protégé. David demanded that Abner hand over to him Michal, Saul's daughter who had been his wife before he was forced to flee from Giba. No doubt David understood the importance of being able to present himself as Saul's son-in-law when claiming the throne of Israel. Abner handed Michal over to him and made a pact with David. He possibly gave him a part of the Israelite army. Then Joab,David's general acting as go-between, treacherously killed Abner, theoretically for personal revenge (since Abner had killed his brother, or so Joab said), but it is more likely that he was following David's orders, to prevent Abner could go back and reveal the covenant to Ishbosheth. David publicly mourned Abner's death, but Joab continued in charge of him.

It was increasingly clear that Saul's house was declining, while David was growing stronger. Perhaps this prompted two officials from Ishbosheth to cut off their king's head and bring it to David. It would not be unreasonable to assume that David was the inducer of this new betrayal, but he was officially even more dismayed than with Abner's death. According to the Bible, he had the two assassins killed, their hands and feet were cut off, and they were publicly hanged by the pool of Hebron. Now Israel was without a king. In such a critical situation, under the double Jewish and Philistine threat, the need for a strong king was indisputable, and the only candidate was David, the powerful king of Judah, Saul's son-in-law. An Israeli embassy was received in Hebron, where he begged David to agree to reign in Israel and he accepted. was the year991.

The Bible calls David's kingdom Israel, but it was never really a united kingdom. It consisted of a part of Israel proper, which occupied the northern two-thirds of the territory, and of the kingdom of Judah, in the southern part. The Israelites never quite considered Judah as part of their people. The Bible takes pains to hide this fact because it was written by Jews, but being forced to turn to a Jewish king must have been humiliating for the Israelites. David was no doubt aware of these problems and used all of his diplomacy to alleviate them. His first move was to change the capital (the Israelites would not have long tolerated being ruled from the center of Judah). The ideal city was Jerusalem. It was located on the border between both territories, it was a walled city easy to defend. This was both its greatest strength and its greatest drawback: Jerusalem was so easy to defend that the Israelites, Jews, and Philistines had never been able to conquer it. It was still in the hands of a Canaanite tribe, theJebusites.

Somehow, in 990David managed to take Jerusalem. The Bible doesn't explain how he did it, so it's likely that he used some not-so-honorable trick. Nor is it easy to explain why the Philistines tolerated David's rise impassively. Somehow, David must have convinced them that he worked for them, but after the capture of Jerusalem the Philistines demanded that he leave the city as a show of loyalty. David refused and thus went to war. However, the Israelites were now swollen by his remarkable victory at Jerusalem, and David had good generals. The result was a complete victory over the Philistines, who from this moment abandoned all imperialist ideas forever. They withdrew to their traditional cities and paid tribute to David.

With the new capital established in Jerusalem, David's efforts to unify his two-membered kingdom turned toward religion. Since the Philistines destroyed the Shiloh sanctuary, the Israelites had no common religious center. Each village worshiped their local gods on small altars, located especially on the hills (doubtless a holdover from the ancient nomadic culture of the Israelites: shepherds often worship their heavenly gods in high places). Among the fertile Israelite mythology, the part that offered the most unifying possibilities was that referring to Moses and his alliance with God. Around it was kept the Ark of the Covenant, which the Philistines had captured and kept in the city of Quiryat-Yearim, north of Judah (the Philistines feared foreign gods as much as their own, so they did not dare to destroy the Ark, nor to bring it into their territory). David took the Ark to Jerusalem and placed it in a sanctuary near his palace. Although he himself exercised a good part of the priestly functions, he appointed Abiathar as high priest, the only survivor of the group of priests that Saul had executed because he considered them supporters of David. It was possibly in this period that the biblical legends that present the twelve tribes of Israel traveling together through the desert under the orders of Moses helped by their god began to take shape.

Politically and religiously united the nation, David found himself with the strength to start an imperialist expansion. In the end, this can be seen as one more measure to unite her people with a feeling of patriotic superiority. One by one, he conquered the Hebrew kingdoms of Ammon, Moab, and Edom. He then advanced further north. He did not attempt to attack the Phoenicians (it would have been suicide without the help of a fleet). Instead, he signed trade agreements with them. However, he subjected the populations of the upper Euphrates to tribute. In this way the Israelites saw themselves as owners of an empire of respectable dimensions. The limits that God sets to the promised land when he speaks to Abraham according to the Bible are precisely those of this empire.

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