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Bible Dictionaries

Bridgeway Bible Dictionary

Jew

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The name ‘Jew’ was not used in Old Testament times before the division of the Israelite kingdom. After the death of King Solomon, the kingdom was split into two parts, the northern part being known as Israel and the southern part as Judah. People of the southern kingdom, though Israelites by blood (since they were descended from Jacob, or Israel) were called Judeans, to distinguish them from those of the northern kingdom. The name ‘Judean’ was later shortened to ‘Jew’ (Jeremiah 34:9).

Both northern and southern kingdoms were eventually destroyed and the people taken captive to foreign lands. When the descendants of these captives were later allowed to return to the land of Israel, most of those who returned belonged to the former southern kingdom (the Judeans, or Jews).

By this time the name ‘Jew’ was in common use. It was freely applied to all those now living back in the ancient homeland, without having any specific reference to the tribe they originally came from. In other words, it was used in general as a name for all Israelites (Ezra 6:7; Nehemiah 6:6; Esther 3:6; Esther 3:10; Jeremiah 44:1; Daniel 3:8). By the time of the New Testament, the names ‘Hebrew’, ‘Israelite’ and ‘Jew’ were used interchangeably (Matthew 2:2; John 1:19; Acts 2:5; Romans 1:16; Romans 2:28-29; Romans 11:1; 1 Corinthians 9:20; 2 Corinthians 11:22; Galatians 2:14; Philippians 3:5; see also HEBREW; ISRAEL; JUDAH, TRIBE AND KINGDOM).


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Bibliography Information
Fleming, Don. Entry for 'Jew'. Bridgeway Bible Dictionary. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/bbd/j/jew.html. 2004.

Lectionary Calendar
Wednesday, November 13th, 2019
the Week of Proper 27 / Ordinary 32
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