ESSENTIAL QUESTION Why did the Hebrews go to Egypt?
Over time, the Hebrews in Canaan took a new name—the
Israelites. Their name came from Abraham’s grandson Jacob.
According to the Torah, he was given the name Israel. Jacob had
12 sons. Ten of these sons and two grandsons were the fathers of
the 12 tribes.
Moses Leads the Israelites The Torah tells of a terrible famine in Canaan. The starving Israelites went to Egypt, where Jacob’s son Joseph served as top adviser to Egypt’s pharaoh.
In time, a new pharaoh came to power. He enslaved the Israelites and forced them to work on his building projects. The Torah tells how Moses helped the Israelites leave Egypt. The migration of the Israelites from Egypt is known as the Exodus.