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 leaders, of the Western Christian Church, seem to know these facts.


Fact:


  • 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  (or yeh-hoo-dee), and in the Greek of the New Testament it is ioudaios.  
  • The name Jew, in its original Hebrew language, 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 time periods, were ever Jews. 
  • 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), now called the Talmud or Babylonian Talmud, 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.
  • The Biblical Jewish era did not last long. It only covered a time span of approximately 600 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 a Hebrew or called Himself a Hebrew.
  • 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 every Biblical instance those who opposed Jesus as the Messiah, then persecuted and attempted to kill Him, God called Jews.
  • Paul, in Galations 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."
  • 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.
  • Jesus never called himself a Jew or used the name Jew for himself. 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.
  • Jesus said that Biblical Israel (who were called Jews at that time) will never again bear fruit.


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 is several years 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, it appears that it should not have been translated as anything other than her actual given name.






Page 20 - General facts - Jews of the Bible