ABRAHAM, the father of the Jewish nation, was born at "Ur of the Chaldees." 

In early life, he was associated with those who worshiped false gods, his father Terah being an idolater. 

Joshua 24:2.

Abraham was the only one in his time who truly worshiped the Lord. In Genesis 18:19, we read that he would "command his children and his household after him, to keep the way of the Lord, to do justice and judgment." For this reason, God chose him to preserve his name in the earth.

In order to preserve Abraham and his posterity from idolatry, God called him away from his native country, and he dwelt in the land of Canaan, or Palestine, a country in southwestern Asia, bordering on the Mediterranean Sea.

The descendants of Abraham at last became a great nation, and made Jerusalem the capital of their kingdom. For many years they preserved the worship of God in its purity, year after year continuing the sacrificial offerings. In order that these services might be carried on in a proper manner, the children of Israel, during the days of Moses, built a sanctuary in which to offer their sacrifices. The tribe of Levi was chosen from among the twelve tribes to care for this sanctuary; and priests were chosen from the family of Aaron to conduct the services in it.

The sanctuary was first erected in the wilderness, as the children of Israel were traveling from the land of Egypt to the land of Canaan. When they reached Canaan, the sanctuary was pitched at Shiloh. 

But because Israel departed from God, he forsook the sanctuary, and for many years they were without a sanctuary. But Solomon, during his reign, built that grand temple of which you read in the book of Kings; and in this the sacrificial offerings were carried on several hundred years.

Israel received many laws from God to govern them; and for this reason their government has sometimes been called a theocracy, or a government of God, the divine mind or will being made known through the high priest.