Pappe, Ilan. “The Bible in the Service of Zionism: ‘We Do Not Believe in God, But He Nonetheless Promised Us Palestine.” In History, Archaeology, and the Bible Forty Years After ‘Historicity’, Changing Perspectives 6 (ed. Ingrid Hjelm and Thomas L. Thompson; Abingdon and New York: Routledge, 2016).
The secular early Zionists quoted intensively from the Bible to show that there was a divine imperative to colonize Palestine, or in their discourse, to redeem Eretz Israel. But in fact the Bible is not a very useful text for reinventing a Jewish nation: the father of the nation, Abraham, was not from Palestine, the Hebrews became a nation in Egypt and the Ten Commandments were given to them in Egypt (the Sinai). This text was reinterpreted by the early and secular Zionists. The nation was one of the tribes, living under occupation in Canaan, exiled to Egypt and came back to redeem the homeland, as did the modern Zionists. As new occupiers of Canaan was how the secular Zionists saw themselves. Namely, the successors of Joshua and the Judges, and, then, they too founded a Jewish kingdom.