Prepare Ye the Way
1800 - 1700 BC, the Holy Land
The account of the marriage of Jacob (Israel) with Leah and Rachel reaffirms old ties with the Haran area. The family prospered and 12 sons were born to Israel: of Leah were born Reuben, Simeon, Levi and Judah, whose tribes would one day control the southern part of the Promised Land; and later, Issachar and Zebulun; of Bilhah and Zilpah (handmaidens), Dan Naphtali, Gad and Asher, ancestors of the lesser tribes; of Rachel, Joseph and Benjamin, whose descendants were destined to dominate the northern part of the Holy Land.
Among the peoples in Canaan at this time were the Hivites of the small city of Shechem. This city, like several others, including Jerusalem, was probably under Hurrian control.
Though Egyptian influence was still strong in the coastal area, many of the cities were of old Amorite (or other) tradition and quite independent of outside rule. The Amorites themselves were a mass of petty states and kingdoms. There was plenty of room for ambitious men to move in and establish or conquer strongholds of their own, adding to the polyglot population of the land.