By Max Weber
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To be sure, the sources never refer to a fully secular nobility as a special estate. The king could apparently marry any free Israelite inasmuch as the members of fully qualified sibs considered one another as peers. However, not all free sibs were politically equal. Naturally, there were great differences resulting from economic qualification for military service, which was a pre-condition of all political right. Furthermore, superior position in the distribution of social and political power rested on the hereditary charisma of princely sibs of various cantons ( Gau).
This also is true of bards and musicians indispensable to the Bedouins. In agreement with this, Cain (Gen. 4:21, 22) is the tribal father of the smith and the musician and, at the same time ( 4:17), the founder of cities. It may, thus, be assumed that at the time of the establishment of this lineage such artisans, in Palestine as in India, were guest people, standing outside, both the gibborim and the general Israelite brotherhood. Alongside the guest-status of numbers of these skill groups we encounter certain highly skilled craftsmen viewed as liberal charismatic artisans.
Some of the cities described in the Amama letters were obviously castles of this type. The charismatic chieftains also possessed castles, as did David and, in early times, Abimelech. Economically and politically, the cities of the tradition represent very different phenomena. The city could be but a small fortified agricultural community with a market. In this case it differed only in degree from a village. If fully developed, however, the city throughout the ancient Orient was not only a market place, but above all a fortress and, as such, seat of the army, the local deity, his priests, and the respective monarchical or oligarchical authorities of the body politic.