Ancient Hebrew Social Structure- By: Jenna
In the time of ancient Hebrews, there were four classes that made up their social structure pyramid. At the top were men of rank and influence. This class consisted of kings, officials, military officers, civil officers, rabbis, and heads of rich families. The next class was made up of common and civilized Hebrews, mostly herders and farmers. Near the bottom of the pyramid were free Hebrews with basic civil rights, but they had little authority. Finally, at the bottom of the pyramid, there were slaves, who worked for 7 years and then were freed.
In the time of the ancient Hebrews, these social classes existed to show a person’s rank in society. Men benefitted from this because they were able to take part in High Class jobs and receive a higher ranking in their community. Women, however, were not able to be leaders at this time in history, and centered themselves around their family. But, not all men were able to take part in these kinds of jobs, and were mostly farmers and herders. So, while kings ruled over, and rabbis preached in synagogues, this led for a pretty balanced economy. Even though the king was the most powerful, others, who were classified as “men of rank and influence” were rabbis, officials, military and civil officers, and heads of rich families. Because they had a monarchy as their form of government, most citizens did not have a say in many laws. For example, when the Temple in Jerusalem was being built, people groaned under the amount of labor and revolted. These people were mostly slaves, who were at the bottom of the heap in the social pyramid, but some were people of the middle class.
As the ancient Hebrews began to adapt to their surroundings, most became herders and farmers. Some also became fishermen if there was a water source nearby. While the men worked, the women stayed home and collected water from wells, ground grain, made cheese and butter, and made linen garments. Besides this, the Hebrews had many foods they could use, such as lentils, grapes, olives, barley and more. The Israelites made a code that told when animals should be eaten and how to clean and prepare them.
An ancient hebrew social pyramid
An ancient hebrew king, part of the upper class
An ancient Hebrew farmer