It was in Canaan that the Hebrews, who had recently settled there after escaping slavery in Egypt, looked to build their own kingdom. Under attack from the Philistines, the Hebrews put aside their quarrels and at some point in the 10th century BC appointed Saul as the first king of their territory, Israel. The biblical stories of Samson, Samuel, Saul, and David and Goliath are all concerned with Philistine-Hebrew conflicts.

Finding themselves in a state of permanent war, and fearing that their culture might be lost, the Hebrews began to record their history, and continued to do so over the following centuries in writings that came to be known as the Tanakh, the Hebrew Bible.

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