They will be fruitful, multiply and inhabit all the land between Egypt and Mesopotamia.
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The way to understand Israel's relationship to the super powers—Egypt and Mesopotamia on either side—is to understand its own sense of its fragility as a people. I will make your name great." According to the Bible, this promise establishes the covenant, a sacred contract between God and Abraham.
The primary way in which the Bible looks at the origins of Israel is as a people coming to settle in the land of Israel. The Lord said to Abraham, "Go forth from your native land and from your father's house to the land that I will show you. To mark the covenant, Abraham and all males are circumcised; his descendents will be God's chosen people.
The earliest is the victory stele of the Egyptian pharaoh Merneptah, from 1208 B. Both the stele and the Bible place a people called the Israelites in the hill country of Canaan, which includes modern-day Israel and Palestine.
It is here, between two of history's greatest empires, that Israel's story will unfold.
In one chapter, the Bible says the flood lasts for 40 days and 40 nights, but in the next it says 150 days.
To see if the floodwaters have subsided, Noah sends out a dove. There are two complete versions of the flood story interwoven on the same page.
You cannot afford to ignore the biblical text, especially if you can isolate a kind of kernel of truth behind these stories and then you have the archaeological data.
Now what happens when text and artifact seem to point in the same direction?
From beneath the sand, appears the corner of a royal monument, carved in stone.