(June 12, 2021) Robert McQuillan responds to a question that comes up occasionally…
Dear Dr Robert
I think I heard a preacher mention briefly that not all Israelites are Jews and not explaining. Did I hear correctly? Maybe I just heard wrongly… or can you explain a bit more. Stan
No, you heard correctly. But, let me share some background…
Old Testament characters such as Abraham are often referred to as Jews (especially in old movies). The reality is that Abraham was originally a Hebrew (Genesis 14:13), and the term ‘Jew’ was not used until after the return of the exiles from Babylon (Ezra 4:23).
This term – Jew – is from the Hebrew word Yehudi, meaning from the ’Kingdom of Judah.’ It indicated a ‘worshipper of one God’ and related to returning exiles – Israelites, mainly from the tribe of Judah but also including some Benjamites (In Esther 2:5, Mordecai is referred to as a Jew of the tribe of Benjamin). This was years before the other ten tribes of Israel had been taken to the old Assyrian empire.(more…)