Building the Bible


Why are Jews referred to by so many different names in the Bible?

Sometimes the Jews are referred to as Hebrews. Abraham was the first one to be called a Hebrew. Most scholars think the word derives from the name Eber, who was one of Abraham’s ancestors (Genesis 14:13). The use of the name Hebrews set Abraham and his family apart. Sometimes Jews are referred to as Israelites, a term that came into use when God changed Jacob’s name to Israel (Genesis 32:28). The use of the name Israelite marks the beginning of nationhood for Jacob and his family. When the Jews are referred to as Jews it refers to the fact that they are people from Judah.


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