JEW: The term  




The term “Jew” originated because it was the NATION of Judah that is in view with the Babylonian captivity of 605 BCE to 536 BCE. The term is a shortened form from Judah and was even used as a derogatory term. However, once in captivity in the same geographical area as the Northern Kingdom, the people of Israel were once again in one cultural unit.

Furthermore, just prior to the fall of the Northern Kingdom, many Israelites from the Northern kingdom returned to Judah. 2 Chron. 30:11. 

The result is that the Southern kingdom of Judah actually contained Israelites from all the tribes.


1. Jer. 34:8-10, The term Hebrew is equated with the term Jew. (587 BC)
At Acts 26:7, Paul associates the term Jew, with the 12 tribes.

2. In Esther, the term Jew(s) refers to a member of the nation of Judah, which was composed of people from all the tribes.

Ezra 2:70, all Israel.

2 Chron. 36:23, “whoever there is among you of ALL HIS PEOPLE.” 

2 Chron. 34:5-6, 33; 35:18

A. Concerning Israel/Ephraim: Hosea 11:11, “They will come trembling like birds from Egypt, And like doves from the land of Assyria; And I will settle them in their houses, declares the LORD.”

B. 1 Chron. 9:2-3, “Now the first who lived in their possessions in their cities {were} Israel, the priests, the Levites and the temple servants. And some of the sons of Judah, of the sons of Benjamin, and of the sons of Ephraim and Manasseh lived in Jerusalem.”

C. Ezra
    2:1, people of Israel
    2:28, Bethel and Ai (Northern kingdom cities)
    2:70, All Israel in their cities.      

     3:1, Now, no designation of Southern Kingdom and no king.
    6:16-22, the feast of unleavened bread - sons of Israel.
    7:6-7, 13; Sons of the people of Israel

D. Post-captivity status = one nation
      1. Zech. 8:9-13
      2. Malachi 1:1; 2:11 (3:4-6 = all 12 tribes).

Thus, a person could BECOME a jew, by becoming a member of the nation and basically accepting the religious practices of the NATION.  Esther 8:17

3. Jew is used in John and Acts to refer to a member of the nation of Israel
and not specifically a member of the tribe of Judah.
John 3:25; 4:9; 18:35; Acts 10:28; 18:2; 19:34; 21:39; 22:3

4. Romans 3:1-2, the Jews were entrusted with the oracles of God.
This has to refer to the people of Israel, for ALL the tribes were given the law at Sinai.

5. The comparison in Paul’s theology is between Jew and Gentile (Greek), not Jew, Israelite and Gentile. This is because Israelite and Jew were synonymous. Rom. 1:16; 2:9;10:12; Gal. 2:14; 3:28; Col. 3:11

6. Jew vs. Israelite: The two terms are interchangeable.
    A. Jew = 174 times in NT
    B. Israelite = 75 times in NT
    C. Examples:
        1. Acts 21:39; 22:3, Paul calls himself a Jew.
        2. Romans 11:1; 2 Cor. 11:22 - Paul calls himself an Israelite
            and calls Jews, Israelites.
        3. Hope of Israel:  Acts 26:6-7
          cf. Rom. 11:7 cf. 1:16, to the Jew first and then the Gentile.
        4. There are only 3 categories of people in the world:
            1 Cor 10:32, Jew, Gentile and church of God. (Jew and
            Israelite - being the SAME thing).
        5. Rom. 9:1-5 = Israelites
        6. Luke 2:36, Anna from the tribe of Asher.


7. The adjective, “Jewish” is used in John to refer to that which pertains to the nation of Israel. John 2:6; 19:42; Acts 12;11; 16:1; 19:13-14;

8. Christ’s title:  the King of the Jews. He is king of all Israel, not just those from Judah.

9. See other documentation:
    A. Unger’s Bible Dictionary: page588
    B. International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (ISBE, original
        edition) page 1675.



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