The Hebrew People in Canaan



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Canaan to Egypt and Back

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.

The Ten Commandments After leaving Egypt, the

Israelites wandered in the Sinai desert for 40 years, living

as nomads. According to the Torah, Moses climbed to

the top of Mount Sinai, where God spoke to him. When

Moses came down the mountain, he carried two stone

tablets that contained the Ten Commandments. These

commandments became the basis for the laws of the Israelites.

The commandments later became an important part of the

moral and ethical traditions of Western civilization.




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