Story of the Chosen People - Helene Guerber

Guerber's history of the Jewish people tells many familiar stories from the Old Testament, but is not written as a Children's Bible. She recounts the stories of Genesis and Moses in detail, but moves quickly through the histories of Israel and Judea, and uses independent historical sources to describe events of the Babylonian captivity, and exile of the Jews. Her story passes over the life of Christ, but ends with the conquest of Judea by the Romans and the destruction of the Temple.

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[Book Cover] from The Story of the Chosen People by Helene Guerber
Moses and Mariam


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In this little volume the author has tried to give a consecutive story of the Jews, or Chosen People, as objectively as the Stories of the Greeks and of the Romans, with which it forms a series. The narrative has been written in the simplest style, so as to enable even the youngest child of the third or fourth reader grade to understand it.

Not the least attempt has been made to dwell upon the strictly religious side of the subject, for, owing to the mixed population in our large cities and schools, such an attempt would be impracticable. The sole aim of this very elementary work is to familiarize children, be they of Jewish, Protestant, Roman Catholic, or Freethinker parentage, with the outline of the story contained in the Old Testament, so that they can understand the allusions which appear even in juvenile literature, and can look with intelligent appreciation upon the reproductions of works of art which are now to be found in nearly all our books and magazines.

I have found that, when told to young children, these historical narratives prove a source of much interest, and that the elementary knowledge then obtained remains so clear and vivid that even when they are grown up, and able to enter into the subject more thoroughly, the impression of the story as first heard is the one which is most permanent.

While it may seem that, with all the facilities which the country affords to rich and poor alike, such instruction in schools would be superfluous, the fact remains that, with the exception of a few well-known stories, the children have no idea of the contents of the Old Testament. This lack of general information on the subject is often a great drawback to teachers in the course of their instruction, as references are constantly made to the Bible.

Although this is a juvenile history of the Jews, it has not been written without much research; and, in order to make it as brief, comprehensive, and accurate as possible, many authorities beside the Bible, Josephus, and the Bible dictionaries, have been consulted.

It is hoped that an inkling of the story of the Jews will stimulate the children’s interest, will early imbue them with a taste for history, and will give them the desire to gain further and more complete information on the subject when they grow older.

We are indebted to Merton Russell Cotes, Esq., J.P., F.R.G.S., ex-Mayor of Bournemouth, for permission to reproduce T. M. Rooke’s painting of Ahab and Elijah, now in his possession, and to Messrs. Braun, Clement & Co., for the use of several of their carbons.

[Contents, page 1 of 3] from The Story of the Chosen People by Helene Guerber
[Contents, page 2 of 3] from The Story of the Chosen People by Helene Guerber
[Contents, page 3 of 3] from The Story of the Chosen People by Helene Guerber