General facts – Jews of the Bible
General Facts regarding the name Jew in the Bible.
There is not much new here, almost everything here has been truth for well over nineteen hundred years. What is astonishing is that very few people, in the Western Christian Church, including those who are called to be teachers, seem to know these facts.
- The actual name "Jew," as it is commonly pronounced and used, appears to have its origins sometime around the 1700's. Some will argue that its origin is actually a few hundred years earlier, however, one thing is clear, the name "Jew" is not pronounced as "Jew" in the languages of the Bible. In the Hebrew of the Old Testament it is Yhudiy (Pronounced, yeh-hoo-dee), and in the Greek of the New Testament it is ioudaios (Pronounced, ee-oo-dah'-yos ).
- God's Word says: "Jews are not pleasing to God, they are hostile to all men, they are the ones who killed both the Lord Jesus and the prophets" (1 Thessalonians 2: 14-15)….. And let us not forget that God is stating this fact not someone called an anti-Semite. …… (Important Note: This passage is referring to Biblical Jews, therefore, since no person alive today has a traceable connection to ancient Israel, it is not directly pointing to anyone identifying as a Jew today. For more on modern Jews see Page 8)
- The name Jew, in its original Hebrew language (Yhudiy), was first used by God near the end of the Old Testament era but it is mostly used/found in the new Testament (translated from the Greek word ioudaios).
- No person in the Bible is ever called a Jew prior to God divorcing and destroying the northern kingdom of Israel and then "her treacherous sister Judah" (Jeremiah 3:8). God only begins to call the people Jews after this divorce. - Note: this is many generations after most of the notable people of the Old Testament (i.e. Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Joshua, Samuel, King Saul, King David, King Solomon, etc.) were dead. Therefore, none of those people, or anyone else of those earlier time periods, were ever Jews. This needs to be repeated often until Western Christians understand the fact that; MOST OF THE NOTED PEOPLE, OF THE OLD TESTAMENT, WERE NOT JEWS. Most were Hebrews or Israelites but not Jews. To call anyone from that earlier time period a Jew (those prior to the Babylonian captivity), is changing God's Word and distorting Truth.
- God only begins calling the people Jews when God's Law starts becoming corrupted with the teachings of men. Only when the Oral Torah (Mishnah and/or Midrashim), now called the Talmud or BabylonianTalmud, begins to displace God's written word, does the name Jew appear in the Bible. This is also the time period when the Arc of the Covenant is forever removed from the Sons of Israel.
- God stops calling the people Hebrews at the same time period that He begins calling them Jews. From that transition point on they are only called Jews and never called Hebrews again in the Old Testament. The name Hebrew is also seldom used in the New Testament, and then in almost every case only to designate the Hebrew language.
- The names Hebrew and Jew were not, and are not, exclusively synonyms (i.e. Ishmael, who some believe is the father of the Arab lineage, was also a Hebrew because his father Abraham was a Hebrew).
- When the Jewish era ended God no longer conveyed his truths in Hebrew; all New Testament (New Covenant) scripture is in Greek (except for a few Aramaic words).
- The Biblical Jewish era did not last long. It only covered a time span of approximately 650 years with most of that time, about 400 years, falling in the scripturally silent inter-testament period.
- Jesus never called himself a Jew or used the name Jew for himself (but because Joseph was His adopted father He was considered a Jew legally). Along with that Jesus was never called, or ever called Himself, a Hebrew, or even an Israelite (although He did call His disciple Nathanael an Israelite).
- Throughout the Gospels Jesus refers to the Jews as if He were not part of them. One example is
John 13:33, where He is speaking to his disciples. He said "...and as I said to the Jews, now I also say to you..."
- Jesus died with the title, and Roman criminal charge of, "the King Of The Jews," and God symbolically had the final Jewish King wearing a crown of thorns, not a royal golden crown (yet). Moreover, as stated, in almost every Biblical instance those who opposed Jesus as the Messiah, then persecuted and attempted to kill Him, God called Jews. (see answer to question #8 on the test on page 4)
- Paul, in Galatians 1:14 calls the Judaism he was advancing in as "ancestral traditions." Scripture does not call the Judaism of the New Testament "God's Law" but rather "traditions" or as Jesus called it "the doctrines and precepts of men" (Mat 15:9)
- At the time of Christ the Oral Torah had, and was, displacing and perverting God's written law. Jesus addressed this when He said "but in vain do they worship me teaching as their doctrines the precepts of men" (Mat 15:9 & Mark 7:7).
- Nowhere in the New Testament does God use the name Jew (in the flesh) as a endearing term. In most cases the name Jew is used for those who are antagonistic to Jesus and/or the advancement of God's Kingdom. There are many times the name Jew is used in a neutral connotation, not endearing or antagonistic, but never anytime for anyone truly positive to God's kingdom. (see answer to question #8 on the test on page 4)
- Biblically, Jewish lineage came through the father, not the mother, and other than Adam, Jesus was the only man who did not have an earthly biological father; Jewish or otherwise. Therefore since Joseph was not His true Father, rather he was conceived by the Holy Spirit, it could be argued that Jesus was not a Jew ...... or even that He was both a Jew and a non-Jew at the same time.
- Jesus said that Biblical Israel (who were called Jews at that time) will never again bear fruit.
- Jesus himself said that the Jews, who were in Judaism at the time of Christ, were in the DOMINION OF SATAN. When Jesus spoke to Saul (who later became Paul) while he was on his way to Damascus to persecute Christians, he said that He was rescuing him from the Jewish people and sending him to open their eyes so that they would turn from darkness to light and from THE DOMINION OF SATAN. (Acts 26: 17 - 18).
This is what the Bible says about Jews in the New Testament:
As you will see, in many scriptures, the Jews of the Bible are not spoken of in the same endearing, or even neutral manner, as they usually are in the Western Christian Church today. The non-believing Jews were almost always recorded as being evil and antagonistic to Jesus and those who followed Him. .......... (However: We must not forget that the converted believing Jews were then Christians and therefore not antagonistic to Jesus or His followers. These believing Jews, like every other believer, Jewish or otherwise, were now part of the body of Christ. Therefore the following list of scriptures is not speaking of them but rather, only, the non-believing Jews.)
John 5:16 For this reason the Jews were persecuting Jesus...
John 5:18 For this reason therefore the Jews were seeking all the more to kill Him (Jesus).....
John 7:1 ...... for He (Jesus) was unwilling to walk in Judea because the Jews were seeking to kill Him.
John 7:13 Yet no one was speaking openly of Him (Jesus) for fear of the Jews.
John 8:48 The Jews answered and said to Him (Jesus),......You .... have a demon?"
John 8:52 The Jews said to Him, "Now we know that You have a demon.....
John 9:22 ....... they were afraid of the Jews; for the Jews had already agreed that if anyone confessed Him (Jesus) to be Christ, he was to be put out of the synagogue.
John 10:31 The Jews picked up stones again to stone Him (Jesus).
John 11:8 ......... the Jews were just now seeking to stone You (Jesus)......
John 19:12 ...............Pilate made efforts to release Him, but the Jews cried out saying, "If you release this Man, you are no friend of Caesar..................."
John 19:38 ...... Joseph of Arimathea, being a disciple of Jesus, but a secret one for fear of the Jews, ............
John 20:19 .............. the doors were shut where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst ........."
Acts 9:23 ............... the Jews plotted together to do away with him (Paul),
Acts 9:29 And he (Paul) was talking and arguing with the Hellenistic Jews; but they were attempting to put him to death.
Acts 12:3 When he saw that it pleased the Jews, he proceeded to arrest Peter also.
Acts 13:45 But when the Jews saw the crowds, they were filled with jealousy and began contradicting the things spoken by Paul, and were blaspheming.
Acts 13:50 But the Jews incited the devout women of prominence and the leading men of the city, and instigated a persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and drove them out of their district.
Acts 14:2 But the Jews who disbelieved stirred up the minds of the Gentiles and embittered them against the brethren.
Acts 14:19 But Jews came from Antioch and Iconium, and having won over the crowds, they stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city, supposing him to be dead.
Acts 17:5 But the Jews, becoming jealous and taking along some wicked men from the market place, formed a mob and set the city in an uproar; and attacking the house of Jason, they were seeking to bring them out to the people.
Acts 18:12 .................... the Jews with one accord rose up against Paul and brought him before the judgment seat,
Acts 20:3 ......................when a plot was formed against him (paul) by the Jews as he was about to set sail for Syria, he decided to return through Macedonia.
Acts 20:19 serving the Lord with all humility and with tears and with trials which came upon me (Paul) through the plots of the Jews;
Acts 21:11 And coming to us, he took Paul's belt and bound his own feet and hands, and said, "This is what the Holy Spirit says: 'In this way the Jews at Jerusalem will bind the man who owns this belt and deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles.'"
Acts 21:27 ................... the Jews from Asia, upon seeing him in the temple, began to stir up all the crowd and laid hands on him (Paul),
Acts 23:12 When it was day, the Jews formed a conspiracy and bound themselves under an oath, saying that they would neither eat nor drink until they had killed Paul. .... (Editors note: Since Paul lived for many years after these Jews pledged not to eat or drink anything until they killed him, they must have been VERY skinny when Paul finally died.)
Acts 23:27 "When this man (Paul) was arrested by the Jews and was about to be slain by them .................
Acts 24:9 The Jews also joined in the attack, asserting that these things were so.
Acts 25:2 And the chief priests and the leading men of the Jews brought charges against Paul, and they were urging him,
Acts 25:7 After Paul arrived, the Jews who had come down from Jerusalem stood around him, bringing many and serious charges against him which they could not prove,
Acts 25:15 and when I was at Jerusalem, the chief priests and the elders of the Jews brought charges against him (Paul), asking for a sentence of condemnation against him.
Acts 26:2 "In regard to all the things of which I (Paul) am accused by the Jews, ................
Acts 26:7 ................................ I (Paul) am being accused by Jews.
Acts 26:21 "For this reason some Jews seized me (Paul) in the temple and tried to put me to death.
2 Cor 11:24 Five times I (Paul) received from the Jews thirty-nine lashes.
1 Thes 2:14 ............... for you also endured the same sufferings at the hands of your own countrymen, even as they did from the Jews,
More detail on how often God used the name Jew in the Old Testament scriptures.
Depending on translation, the terms “Jew”, “Jews” or “Jewish” are found in only seven * (or eight depending on the translation) of the thirty-nine books comprising the Old Testament.
It is important to note that the designation of “Judean”, which comes from the same word as “Jew” [yeh- ho-dee], is found in two more books and five more places, but in four is referring only to the language spoken, not the people themselves.
The fifth reference is in the plural, i.e., “Judeans”, and refers specifically to the people who were from the geographic region of Judea.
Therefore, the first time the name yeh-ho-dee is used in the Bible is found in II Kings 16:6, which was just prior to Babylon conquering and enslaving the southern kingdom of Judea.
“Jew” in singular:
In the Old Testament, the word “Jew” can be found in only three books, and in total only in ten places; eight of which are in the book of Ester and in reference to only one man; Mordecai. The other two, one in the book of Jeremiah and one in the book of Zechariah, are in reference to the people of the southern kingdom of Judah following their Babylonian captivity.
In the New Testament, reference to the name “Jew” can only be found in the gospel of John. The term “Jew” is not mentioned in Matthew, Mark or Luke. On the other hand, the term “Jews” (the plural form of “Jew”) is used many times in the gospels, but in almost every case refers to those who are antagonistic towards Jesus, i.e, God's Messiah.
“Jews” (the plural of “Jew”):
The word “Jews” is used many times in the Old Testament. However, it can only be found in the following six Old Testament books, 2 Kings, Ezra, Nehemiah, Ester, Jeremiah & Daniel, and applies only to the people of the southern kingdom Judah following their Babylonian captivity. It never applies to anyone of an earlier era, and never to anyone in the northern kingdom of Israel.
“Jewish”, the religion of the Jews:
Depending on which English language translation is used, the word “Jewish” appears in only three (or four) Old Testament books, that is, Nehemiah, Ester, Jeremiah *(and 1 Chronicles), and then only a total of five times. Again, this depends on the translation, and is only used when referring to the southern kingdom of Judah following their Babylonian captivity.
“Judean” and “Judeans”:
The name “Judean” can be found in four places: It is found twice in 2 Kings, and twice in Isaiah. The name “Judeans” is only found in 2 Kings 16:6, and that is the first time God used the name Yeh-ho-dee, that is, the same word translated as “Jew” in the Bible. .
* The New American Standard Bible (NASB) translation of "Jewish" in an earlier time period.
In 1 Chronicles 4: 18 one of Ezrah's wives was named Jehudiyh, which is now considered to be the feminine of Jehudiah, or a descendant of Judah, of which she appears to have been. The NASB, unlike some other English translations KJV (King James Version 1 Chronicles 4:18), does not translate her name as her given name but rather as a title. The NASB translation states "his Jewish wife" instead of translating Jehudiyh as her actual name. However, the name Jehudiah, of which Jehudiyh is supposedly the feminine reference, does not appear anywhere in God's word until hundreds of years later.
The entire section in 1 Chronicles, where Jehudiyh’s name is found, is a listing of genealogies where the names are listed as names, not titles. Many Hebrew names had meanings which designated a character or a place. Therefore, to translate Ezrah's wife's name as a meaning, instead of leaving it as her name, is inconsistent with the balance of that section of 1 Chronicles.
Furthermore, the KJV does not change her name to a title, but leaves it as " Jehudiyh”, the way it is actually recorded in God's word. Moreover, the NIV (New International Version 1 Chronicles 4:18) also does not translate her name as "Jewish", but translates it as "His Judean wife."
Therefore, although it might be correct to now say that Jehudiyh is the feminine for "Jewish" today, in the 1 Chronicles context where it is found, should not have been translated as anything other than her actual given name, especially in the NASB, which is a Bible translation that claims to be the most accurate "word for word" translation available in the English language.
Permission to reprint this page in whole or in part is granted providing credit is given to this site.
Links to Bible references are from the web site, https://classic.biblegateway.com/passage/ It is an excellent reference to God's Word and available to anyone with access to a computer. They have no connection to our site nor do they endorse us in any manner.