Study. Education in ancient Israel. By Fabian Massa.

Translated from Spanish to English with Google Translator.


1. The Old Testament Times

6 Train up a child in the right way, and when he is old he will not leave.
Proverbs 22.6.NVI.
In principle, education was the responsibility of the family and then when education became institutional areas (school, synagogue) family formation remained significant. Obviously the mandate of Deuteronomy 6:4 - 9 stood firm and helped Israel never lost its identity as a nation despite the difficult situations that crossed over all the ancient and modern history.

4 "Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD. 5 Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. 6 upon your hearts these words that I command you today. 7 Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you rise. 8 Tie them to your hands as a sign; bind them on your foreheads; 9 Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates *. Dt 6.4-9 NIV


Law enforcement depended on the survival of Israel, and the only way to pass it is through education:
19 Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you rise; 20 write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates * cities. 21 Thus, while the heaven on earth, you and your descendants will prolong his life on the land which the Lord swore to your fathers to give them. Dt 11.19-21 NIV

In ancient Israel (Patriarchal Era) there was no school of any kind, and was the elder of the family or the father who was responsible for transmitting knowledge. An example of the weight of the parents in the education we have reflected in the book of Proverbs:

My son, listen to your father's    and do not forsake your mother's teaching *.9 grace your head like a headband;    They adorn your neck like a necklace. 1.8 NIV Prov.

The patriarch is the source and symbol of education. The law takes a sense of reality. After slavery in Egypt and the years in the desert, Israel finally takes to the conquest of Canaan. This is where copper force the laws of the Pentateuch, which prescribes moral standards, health, religious, festivals, historical reminders and great deeds of God and the nation.

The mandate of writing in the doorways, fragments of law, contain virtually obliged to teach reading and writing. This has resulted in a very low rate of illiteracy in Israel since ancient times.


A. young and children were taught with the following contents:


a-The Law of God: The Pentateuch (Torah)
b-The prayer in the Psalms
c-The Sacred History: including religion, fused with the history of Israel; geography; history and culture surrounding towns; the laws of worship, moral and civil laws.
d-The music in its various manifestations: singing, instruments, dance, all of great importance in the life of Israel. Remember the young David, who shepherded his sheep carrying his lyre and prayers.
e-The writing was institutionalized, the priests had the ministry to preserve the Word of God, which at that time could only be done by copying the manuscripts again and again.
f-The office that was transmitted from father to son. Joseph was a carpenter and Jesus continued with the same office until he began his public ministry.


B. The education of women was limited to running the household and caring for the family:

Aleph10 exemplary woman, [d] where can be found?    It's more valuable than precious stones!Bet11 Her husband has full confidence in her    and needs of ill-gotten gains.Gimel12 She brings him good, not harm,    every day of his life.Dalet13 She selects wool and flax,    and works with eager hands.I have14 She is like the merchant ships,    bringing her food from afar.Vav15 rose at dawn,    feeds [t] his family    and portions for her servant girls.Zayin16 She considers a field and buys it;    with their earnings [f] plant a vineyard.Jet17 She girds the waist [g]    and gets ready for work.Tet18 Is pleased to the prosperity of their businesses,    and her lamp does not go out at night.Yod19 One hand holds the spindle    and the other twists the thread.

Proverbs 31.1 - 19 and so on until verse 31.
While Israeli society was strongly patriarchal (like all the peoples of the Middle East) had her in high esteem and it was not a sex article or only for the purpose of reproduction.


C. The education of the people in the Law


The reading of the Act is the initial mode of public education, and had been prescribed with obligatory by Moses

9 And Moses wrote this law and gave it to the priests the Levites who carried the ark of the covenant of the LORD, and all the elders of Israel. 10 He told them: "Every seven years, in the year of canceling debts, during the Feast of Tabernacles, 11 when thou, Israel, you appear before the LORD thy God in the place which he shall choose, thou shalt read aloud this law before all Israel. 12 will gather all men, women and children of thy people, and foreigners living in your towns, to listen and learn to fear the LORD your God and follow carefully all the words of this law. 13 And their descendants, for whom this law will be known, will hear and learn to fear the LORD your God while living in the land you are to possess the other side of the Jordan. "NIV Deuteronomy 31.9-13

During the Babylonian exile (after 586 BC) In response to the need to maintain national identity (which includes a Jewish religion, language, history and traditions) emerged the Masters of Law and the scribes, who translated sacred texts from Hebrew to Aramaic (a language spoken in Babylon), the exposed, the interpreted and explained, to enable compliance.
After the deportation of Babylon, in compliance with the decree of Cyrus (Ezra 1.1) the Jews returned to Palestine in three different waves

I. The 1 with Zerubbabel in 538 BCE

II. The 2nd with Ezra in 458 BCE

III. And the 3rd with Nehemiah in 432 B.C.


Upon returning to Palestine, synagogues multiplied to the point of having cities with several. Also the synagogue was a place for the education of the people, through regular reading of the Law on Mondays and Thursdays, and traditional market days of court hearings, trades were made in this direction; but the main ceremony took place on Saturday.


D. Schooling.


In the intertestamental period gained an increasing weight Synagogue, the Doctors of the Law, religious weight of the Pharisees and the exhaustive and excessive coding mandatory religious, had come to forget that the value of the Holy Book was its communication of God's will, and it became a cult by itself.

Higher education.


It took place in the "House of Study and Research", in which the scribe received their training, but also the rabbi and the doctor of the Law upon a time the scribe was the wise (not knowing how to write, but their attitude to the Fear of the Lord Wisdom): Minister of kings, government official, judge, chronicler of the kingdom, royal messenger or ambassador, private secretary and teacher. Now, the scribe had been relegated to the role of elementary teacher, and the concept of wise had shifted to rabbis and doctors.




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