c. 200000 BCE - c. 18000 BCE

Primitive man in Israel.

Neanderthal man. c. 200000 - 45000 BCE Mousterian culture: (Levant)

Small flint tools, made of thin flakes. Tools typical of this culture are elongated points, flakes of various shapes used as scrapers, end scrapers and many denticulate tools used for cutting and sawing. 

It is not known what connection, if any, exists between the Neanderthal Mousterian culture and later cultures.

c. 18000 BCE - c. 3800 BCE

Pre-historic ancestors of the Hebrews.

14 200 years

Prehistoric cultures of Israel:

The earliest ancestors of the Hebrews in the archaeological record are the pre-historic Levantine cultures: Kebaran, Natufian, Yarmukian and Ghassulian, and the Halaf and Ubaid cultures of the Aram Naharaim and Eridu regions respectively.

Genetic studies show that the Jewish people are descended from the pre-historic Levantine communities.

Abraham was thus born into a civilization that was at least 16 200 years old. As an outgrowth of the earliest inhabitants of Israel, Jews have had ancestors in Israel for at least 20 000 years. (If there is continuity between the Mousterian culture and the later Kebaran culture, then Jews have in fact had ancestors in the region for some 200 000 years or more.)

c. 18000 - 10500 BCE Kebaran culture: (Levant)

Small geometric microliths. Small groups of highly mobile hunter-gatherers. Dispersal to upland environments in the summer, and aggregation in caves and rock shelters near lowland lakes in the winter.

Developed into the Natufian culture.

c.10500 - 8500 BCE Natufian culture: (Levant)

Hunting and gathering. Sickles of flint blades set in straight bone handles for gathering wild grain and  stone mortars and pestles for grinding it. Cave dwellings and villages. Buried their dead with their personal ornaments in cemeteries. Carved bone and stone artwork.

Developed into the Yarmukian culture and contributed to the development of the Halaf culture.

c. 8500 - 4300 BCE Yarmukian culture: (Levant)

Pottery decorated with incisions of a herring-bone pattern. Sickle blades with course denticulation. A rich assemblage of art objects, which include large numbers of schematic anthropomorphic pebble figurines.

Developed into the Ghassulian culture.

c. 6000 - 5000 BCE Halaf culture: (Aram Naharaim)

Rapid spread of small farming communities, distinctive round "tholos" buildings, and distinctive well-made glazed pottery painted with geometric and animal designs.

Absorbed by the Ubaid culture.

c. 5000 - 3500 BCE Ubaid culture: (Eridu)

Large-scale irrigation systems and distinctive buff or greenish coloured pottery decorated with geometric designs in brown or black paint; tools such as sickles often made of hard fired clay in the south, stone and sometimes metal used for tools in the north. Farming villages grow into small towns, some with temple buildings.

Contributed to the development of both the Hebrew and Mesopotamian cultures.

c. 4300 - 3300 BCE Ghassulian culture: (Levant)

Small communities of farming people. Mud-brick, trapezoid-shaped houses or underground dwellings and polychrome wall paintings. Elaborate pottery style including footed bowls and horn-shaped goblets, use of sculptural decoration, and reserved slip. Copper smelting. Buried their dead in stone dolmens.

Developed into the Shemite / Hebrew culture.

3761 BCE - 1742 BCE

0 YM - 2019 YM

The beginnings of Judaism.

From Adam to the Covenant Between the Parts.

2019 years.

The ten antediluvian generations.

The history of Israel begins with Adam who was the first person to practice the Jewish religion.

(Although the Jews as a people start with Abraham, Judaism as a religion started with Adam.)

There were ten generations from Adam to Noah.

3761 - 2830 BCE

0 - 930 YM

Adam and Eve: The beginning of the Jewish calendar and the start of Jewish history.

The first generation: The first people to worship the G-d of Judaism were Adam and his wife Eve (Chavah).

According to Jewish tradition, Adam and Eve are the ancestors of all mankind and the name Adam is used in Hebrew to denote man, particularly in the sense of mankind. Jewish tradition considers the creation of the world to have been completed when Adam and Eve came into being. The Jewish festival of Rosh Hashanah (Head of the Year) is considered to have been established at that time. It marks the beginning of the Jewish year and commemorates the creation of the world and of Adam and Eve. The creation was divided into six "days" with the creation of mankind on the sixth day. G-d is said to have rested on the seventh day - an event commemorated weekly by the Shabbat (Sabbath).

Adam and Eve originally lived in the land of Eden (a place also mentioned in Babylonian texts) which was located at the sources of the Euphrates, Tigris, Pishon (Uizhun) and Gihon (Gaihun-Aras) rivers. However they were banished from Eden after eating of the forbidden tree of knowledge. Adam is said to have gone to the land of Israel and performed penance at the Jordan. There was a town near the Jordan called Adam, the name of which is perhaps related to this event.

The Temple Mount is said to be the place of Adam's first sacrifice to G-d. The Temple Mount is thus regarded as being a holy site to Judaism for nearly 6000 years. It is also said that the skull of Adam is buried there. Mystical traditions claim it to be the place where G-d gathered dust to create Adam, the place where the waters of the deep were blocked off during the creation of the world, the first place in the world to be created and the very source of the first light of creation.

Some think that Adam is the same as Tudiya Adamu whose name is found at the beginning of the Assyrian King List (AKL), also thought to be equivalent to Tubtiyamuta listed in the Genealogy of the Hammurabi Dynasty (GHD). (The names in the beginnings of the AKL and the GHD are thought to be corrupted mixes of the names of the descendants of Adam.) The ancient Egyptians deified their ancestors and some see a connection with Atum whom they worshipped as the creator of man.

According to tradition Adam lived for 930 years.

  Cain and Abel: Early agriculture and sheep farming..

Cain (Qayin) and Abel (Hevel), the sons of Adam made offerings to G-d at the Temple Mount. The continued use of the Temple Mount by the early followers of Judaism after Adam, is a further reason for its holiness to Judaism.

Cain was a tiller of the ground and Abel was a keeper of sheep. Abel offered the firstlings of his flock and Cain offered the fruits of the ground but not the choicest. Abel's offering was accepted while Cain's was rejected. Cain subsequently killed Abel out of jealousy. As punishment, Cain was banished to the land of Nod east of Eden.

The four generations sprung from Cain: The first city dwellers:

The four generations sprung from Cain were his son Enoch (Chanokh), his grandson Irad (`Irad), his great grandson Mehujael (Mechuya'el) and his great great grandson Methushael (Metusha'el).

Cain is credited with building the first city, which he named after his son Enoch. This is thought to be the city of Eridu in the east of Biblical Israel west of the Euphrates. Eridu was regarded as the first city in Sumerian tradition and the name can be understood to mean City of the Son. Some see the name Irad as being related to Eridu. (Towns and villages in Israel already existed before the first formal city - the town of Jericho dates back to the early Natufian period.)

The four generations are said to have perished in a seismic rupture.

The children of Lamech: Further development of crafts and culture:

Lamech (Lamekh) was the son of Methushael. He had two wives Adah (`Adah) and Zillah (Tzillah). Adah's children were the brothers Jabal (Yaval) and Jubal (Yuval), Zillah's children were Tubal-Cain (Tuval-Qayin) and his sister Naamah (Na`amah).

Jabal established cattle farming and the use of the tent style dwelling by such farmers. Jubal was the first to use musical instruments such as the harp and pipe. Tubal-Cain was the first to use cutting instruments of copper and iron. Naamah is said to be the first to have used instruments for weaving silk.

The children of Lamech turned away from the worship of G-d to idol worship.

3631 - 2719 BCE

130 - 1042 YM

Seth: Astronomy and writing.

The second generation: Seth (Shet) was the son of Adam from whom Noah was descended. Like Adam, Seth worshipped the G-d of Judaism.

Whereas Cain's descendents turned away from G-d, Seth's descendents remained faithful. Their community was known as the Bnei Elohim (Sons of G-d) and they lived on Mount Hermon in the land of Israel, whereas Cain's descendants lived in the valley below. They are credited with the invention of astronomy and are said to have recorded their knowledge on a pillar of brick and on a pillar of stone.

According to tradition Seth was born when Adam was 130 and lived 912 years. Adam died when Seth was 800.

3526 - 2621 BCE

235 - 1140 YM

Enosh: Mining of precious stones and metals.

The third generation: Enosh was the son of Seth. It was during his lifetime that people started worshipping heavenly bodies and idols which gradually led to abandonment of the worship of G-d. It is also said that people began mining gold, silver and gems, and gathering pearls during the time of Enosh. It was during his lifetime that there was a large ocean flood described as covering a third of the land. Tradition regards this flood as punishment for the idolatry of the generation.

According to tradition Enosh was born when Seth was 105 and lived 905 years. Seth died when Enosh was 807.

3436 - 2526 BCE

325 - 1235 YM

Kenan: Flood prediction.

The fourth generation: Kenan (Qeynan) was the son of Enosh. He is said to have been very knowledgeable and a genius. During his lifetime there was a second great sea flood also described as covering a third of the land. Kenan is said to have forecast the coming of the great flood in the days of Noah. His prediction and an account of the sea flood were recorded on a monument on an island in the Indian Ocean, also said to be his burial place.

According to tradition Kenan was born when Enosh was 90 and lived 910 years. Enosh died when Kenan was 815.

3366 - 2471 BCE

395 - 1290 YM


The fifth generation. Mahalalel (Mahalal'el) was the son of Kenan. According to tradition Mahalalel was born when Kenan was 70 and lived 895 years. Kenan died when Mahalalel was 840.

3301 - 2339 BCE

460 - 1422 YM


The sixth generation: Jared (Yered) was the son of Mahalalel. According to tradition, Jared was born when Mahalalel was 65 and lived 962 years. Mahalalel died when Jared was 830.

  2202 BCE Shem: Ancestor of Abraham.

The earliest settled inhabitants of Israel after the flood were the Bnei Shem or Shemites, who are named after their ancestor Shem. The Shemites were the founders of Jerusalem, originally called Shalem (Salem). Jerusalem is first mentioned in history c. 2500 BCE roughly the time that the Tanach places Shem.

Shem was the earliest owner of the land of Israel. He built Jerusalem together with his great-grandson Eber, and was its first ruler. He is said to be a priest of the Jewish G-d. The city of Jerusalem is thus regarded as being the home of the Jewish priesthood and a holy city to Judaism, right from time it was founded almost 4500 years ago. The site chosen for the city surrounds the Temple Mount, a place already regarded as holy since the time of Adam. The land of Israel, stretching from the Nile to the Euphrates was Abraham's rightful inheritance from Shem.

Abraham's decent from Shem:


  2037 BCE Birth of Eber: Descendant of Shem and ancestor of Abraham.  

Eber worshipped the same G-d as Shem and Abraham. The religious institution of ancient Jerusalem is called the Academy (Yeshiva) of Shem and Eber. It is regarded as the first Jewish religious institution.

The oldest name for the Jewish people is Hebrews (Ivrim). This name is derived from Eber (Ever), the earliest form being Bnei Ever, meaning sons of Eber. The oldest name for the land of Israel is Eretz Ha-Ivrim, meaning Land of the HebrewsHebrew (Ivrit) is the name used for the language of the Jewish people. Today the term Hebrews is most commonly used when emphasizing the ethnic and cultural identity of the Jewish people.

Archaeology has confirmed the existence of a powerful king named Eber ruling at the city of Ebla at the time that the Tanach places Eber. During his rule we find the use of the Jewish name for G-d appearing in personal names.

  1812 BCE Birth of Abraham: The first Jew. Father of the Jewish people.

Abraham is the first of the three Jewish Patriarchs - Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

Although several of Abraham's ancestors, including Eber, Shem, Noah and Adam, are said to have worshipped the Jewish G-d before him, none of them established a people who followed the Jewish religion passing on their religious identity from generation to generation. Abraham was the first to do that. The Jews as a people began with Abraham although the earliest name for them, the Hebrews, is derived from Eber, the ancestor of Abraham whose religion he had rediscovered.

Abraham was born in the city of Ur-Kasdim. It is said to lie in the region of Biblical Israel known as Aram Naharaim - the region in which the headwaters of the Euphrates lie. Others place it in the southeast of Biblical Israel, just west of the Euphrates or in central Biblical Israel near Ebla.

Later Abraham moved to the city of Haran in Aram Naharaim. At various times in his life he lived at other locations in Israel, including Elon Moreh near Shechem, between Beth-El and Ai, Elonei Mamre near Hebron and Beer-sheba. 

1742 BCE - 1522

The Age of the Patriarchs:

The Jews were a small family nation headed by an Av (patriarch).

220 years


Abraham as Patriarch of the Jewish people. 1742 BCE The Covenant Between The Parts (Brit Bein Habetorim): 
  (to be continued ... )


  1. Tanach - masoretic text

  2. Midrash Rabbah

  3. Rashi

  4. Meam Loez

  5. Toldot Am Olam

  6. Seder Hadorot

  7. Encyclopedia Judaica

  8. Encyclopedia Britannica

  9. Columbia Encyclopedia - Sixth Edition

  10. The Catholic Encyclopedia

  11. History of the Ancient Near East Electronic Compendium

  12. The Jewish Virtual Library

  13. Legend - The Genesis of Civilization by David Rohl