By Max Weber
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For the rest, the situation of the free peasants can only be indirectly determined. The Song of Deborah indicates that the ancient Israelite confederacy was, indeed, largely a peasant organization. " That the confederacy in historical times has at no time been only a peasant organization has also been established. Later, in the time of Kings, there is no more talk of "peasants" in the armies, at least, they are no longer the backbone of the army. It is highly probable that economic and technical military changes here played the same role as elsewhere.
Ritual correctitude and the segregation from the social environment imposed by it was but one aspect of the commands upon Jewry. There existed in addition a highly rational religious ethic of social conduct; it was free of magic and all forms of irrational quest for salvation; it was inwardly worlds apart from the paths of salvation offered by Asiatic religions. To a large extent this ethic still underlies contemporary Mid Eastern and European ethic. World-historical interest in Jewry rests upon this fact.
He presides over the tribal palavers (among small tribes often occurring every evening) and he has the decisive voice whenever opinion hangs in the balance, he sets the time for the departure on the march and determines the camp site. Like the sheik, however, he lacks all power of coercion. His example and verdict will be honored by the sibs only so long as he proves his charisma. Furthermore, all participation in the war expeditions is vol· untary, only indirectly compulsory through ridicule and shame.
Ancient Judaism by Max Weber