AP World History Comparative Essay: Imperial Structures of Egypt and Israel The richness and consistency of the annual Nile River flood, combined with isolation due to the deserts of the east and west, are leading factors into why Egypt is one of the world’s great civilizations. On the other hand, Israel’s strategic location has played an important role in world history, despite its small size and lack of resources.
Although the imperial structures of Ancient Egypt and Israel have historical similarities in political and social hierarchy such as a monarchic systems of government and grave respect for their women, they have distinct differences that distinguish them from each other such as religion and their beliefs. In political hierarchies, both Ancient Egypt and Imperial Israel relied on their monarchy to maintain order within their civilizations. Egypt’s growing population led to a more complex political organization, making imperial structures way more complex also.
The political hierarchy of Egypt consisted of a Divine Kingship, where the kings were called pharaohs, which is another word for “palace”. Israel’s political structures and strategies were remarkably similar to the agrarian state of Egypt which was ruled by an elite. A religious leader by the name of Samuel recognized the need for a strong central authority so he anointed a man by the name of Saul to become the first king of Israel. Israel and Egypt both had a monarchy that was respected within their civilization.
Although women were not permitted to inherit property or initiate a divorce in Israel, they were greatly respected and had a strong influence over their husbands and the imperial structures that made up their community. In social hierarchy, both the women of Egypt and Israel were an essential part of the civilization. In Egypt women could indeed own and inherit property and dissolve their relationship if they pleased to do so. In both civilizations the women were treated with respect and played significant roles that impacted everyone.
The women were like the trustworthy consultant to their partner, no matter the legal rights and social freedom granted. Israel and Egypt have distinct differences in their belief system. Egypt was polytheistic, believing in many gods diverse in origin and nature. The gods were depicted with animal heads and others with human bodies. The Egyptians also believed in the afterlife and that everything was a recurring cycle. This very reason is why the Egyptians created sacred tombs for their deceased deities.
They would place the belongings of the deceased in the tombs with them in belief that they would need it in the afterlife. In contrast, Israel is monotheistic, believing in a single divine entity. The Israelites were forced to migrate to Egypt due to famine in Canaan. When they arrived they were captured and enslaved.
They were later led out of captivity by Moses, an Israelite with connections to the Egyptian royal family. Moses persuaded the pharaoh to release his people and he let them go. During their migration back it is recorded that the Israelites entered into a pact with their god, Yahweh. Yahweh promised the Israelites that they would be his “Chosen People” if they promised to worship him exclusively.
This is why the Israelites believe in only one god. With that being said, the imperial structures of Ancient Egypt and Israel were indeed very much alike and made up of similar components. Each society respected and valued their women and had productive imperial structures such as their sophisticated systems of government. Even after being enslaved in Egypt and conjoined with the Egyptians and their religious views many of the people found a way to stay true to their one god and kept their faith after being exposed to the Egyptians’ many goddesses and gods and that is what I love most about the Israelites.