ANCIENT ISRAELITES. 33
the sacredness of the family relation, and the inviola
bility of private and public property. The land was.
divided among all the tribes so that each family should have a home, and this was to remain in perpetuity. The land could never be owned and controlled by a few selfish men.
During seven centuries, in the reigns of the judges and Kings, the ideals of Moses were not carried out with any degree of fidelity. It was indirect violation of his laws that Solomon and Rehoboam had multiplied riches and horses and wives to themselves, in imitation of other Eastern potentates. The burden of heavy taxes thus thrown on the people led to a revolt of ten tribes and the establishment of the separate kingdoms of Israel and Judah. This division invited foreign conquests, and in 721 B. C. the Assyrians came and took the capital of Israel, Samaria, deporting a large mass of the people as captives. The ten tribes on their separation from Judah had given up the worship of Jehovah and adopted that of Baal and Ashtoreth, gods of the Canaanites. And now, in their captivity, they gave up their language as well. A few centuries later they are referred to as the " Lost Tribes, " " The Lost Sheep of the House of Israel. "
The Kingdom of Judah lasted a little longer. It fell a prey to the Babylonians under Nebuchadnezzar in 604-5 B. C. After seventy years, these people were returned under the proclamation of Cyrus, the Persian, who had now taken the throne of Babylon. From that time onward this division of the Israelites has been known as Jews. They formed less than ,one-fourth of the ancient nation of Israel,