"…[British King] George III was often cast as evil King Rehoboam or Greek persecutor Antiochus; his conniving advisers were the sinister Haman; George Washington, the brilliant commander and reluctant president was either Moses, or Joshua, or Judah Maccabee, or, most favorably, the brave warrior Gideon who won the battle but refused to be king.…"
Above: Top row, left to right, George Washington and Thomas Jefferson; Bottom row left to right, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin
Chemi Shalev (no relation to the author mentioned below) writes in Ha'aretz:
…In his book American Zion, Haifa University historian Eran Shalev…provides a riveting account of the enormous influence that the Old Testament had on how Revolutionary America saw itself and how it conveyed that vision to others. George III was often cast as evil King Rehoboam or Greek persecutor Antiochus; his conniving advisers were the sinister Haman; George Washington, the brilliant commander and reluctant president was either Moses, or Joshua, or Judah Maccabee, or, most favorably, the brave warrior Gideon who won the battle but refused to be king.
In order to match the 12 Hebrew tribes numerically with the colonies, Jacob's son Levi was kept on the list of the tribes, even though he was not allotted any territory in Canaan, while Joseph was counted twice for his two sons, Ephraim and Menashe, who were. One of the role models for the fledgling republic, in addition to Rome, was its "Hebrew Republic" antecedent of loosely federated tribes, especially in the time of the Judges. The most frequently used parallel to the Revolutionary war, according to another research[er] of the same era, was the campaign fought by Deborah and Barak Ben Avinoam against the Canaanite warlord Sisera and his king Jabin….
The Old Testament was the "public bible" of antebellum America, as historian Mark Noll noted. The Puritans preferred its texts as their main religious guide while the Founding Fathers favored its nationalist-geographic narrative over the individual spiritual salvation offered by the New Testament, as Shalev writes. Benjamin Franklin famously wanted the Great Seal to include a portrayal of "Moses, standing on the Shore, extending his Hand over the Sea, thereby causing the same to overwhelm Pharaoh." Thomas Jefferson preferred the Children of Israel, led through the wilderness by pillars of cloud and fire. Congress ignored them both, opting for the Eye of Providence looking out over a pyramid and thus giving rise to generations of conspiracy theories about Freemason influence.
The predominance of the Old Testament began to fade in the first half of the 19th century. The Second Great Awakening, which was a reaction against the rationalism, deism and skepticism of the founding generation, saw a surge of Baptists and Methodists who preached of the approaching End of Days and anointed Christ as the single source for personal salvation. And while Abraham Lincoln preferred the Old Testament over the new, both as reading material and in public pronouncements, and even though he was viewed by many contemporaries as a latter day Moses, his victory over slavery in the Civil War marked the final step in the relegation of the Hebrew Old Testament to a secondary role. The widespread Confederate use of "Noah's curse" which consigned the supposedly dark-skinned Ham's son Canaan to be a "servant of servants" as justification for the enslavement of blacks, as well as what seemed to be the license given by Leviticus for perpetual servitude of non-Hebrews, tainted the Jewish bible in the eyes of many Northerners.…