When Did the Israelites Became Known as "the Jews"?

Did you ever ask that question?

We read the Old Testament and God’s people were known as the “Israelites”, but when you get to the New Testament, they are suddenly called “the Jews”. How did that come to be?

Here’s the answer…

The word “jew” is a shortened version of the word yehudi, which denotes a member of the clan of Judah/Yehud. After the Second Temple period, Judah/Yejud became the heart of Israel, thus yehudim became a term for all members of the people of Israel.


And here is an overall picture of the progression on their name change:

The Hebrews (Moses’ time) —> the Israelites –> Samarians/Judeans (Ezra’s time) –> Samaritans/Jews (Jesus’ time) –> Hellenists-Hebrews (Paul’s time)



Phillip Chan

Phil has been writing for 10 years. His passion is to grow in his love for Jesus to obey his purposes in our generation.

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