When they might have won national independence, after their warfare with the Swabian emperors, they let the golden opportunity slip. Pampered with commercial prosperity, eaten to the core with inter-urban rivalries, they submitted to despots, renounced the use of arms, and offered themselves in the hour of need, defenceless and disunited to the shock of puissant nations.
Under his influence old rivalries were effaced; at his voice all the tribes joined in the holy war.
External oppression and internal rivalries rent the Israelites, and in the religious philosophy of a later (Deuteronomic) age the period is represented as one of alternate apostasy from and of penitent return to the Yahweh of the " exodus."
It awakened fresh possibilities - successful combination against a common foe, the sinking of petty rivalries, the chance of gaining favour by a neutrality which was scarcely benevolent.