Who Are the Jews?

Much has been said about Jews.  However, it has become my experience that few really know anything about them.  Much of what has been said or written or said about them is either outright not true or partially false.  Moreover, the term Jew and Israelite are mistakenly used interchangeably.

Also, there charlatans, so called preachers who claim that there are millions of Jews, chosen ones, who are unaware of their blessings.

With this three part series, I intend to address both.  I will use nothing more than the Holy Scriptures that plainly address both matters.  It is all plain for all to see if they will just take the time to read it.

I base this part on the books Genesis, Joshua, I&II kings and I&II Chronicles.  You are welcome to read it for yourself.  There is nothing difficult about it.  It just takes a little time and, if you do read it, you might want to take notes.  Who knows?  You just might learn something besides what I write.  I won’t mind.  Really.

 

Prior to the great flood recorded in the Holy Bible, Noah had three sons.  Their names were Ham, Shem and Japheth.  One of the descendants of Shem was Abram, later renamed Abraham.  Abraham had 8 sons, one by Hagar and 6 by Keturah.  Isaac was his only son by Sarah and was the one who was promised by God.

To be sure, God’s promise to be the father of many nations was completely fulfilled through all the sons.  I would suspect, even a learned man of ancient history could go nuts trying to figure all the nations descended from these 8 men.

However, Isaac was the son of promise.  It was through him that God made two unconditional promises.  Isaac had two sons, twins.  One was called Jacob and the other Esau.  Later, the promises were passed on through Jacob, later renamed Israel.  Israel had 12 sons who later became known as Israelites.  Sometimes, they were known as Hebrews.

One of the sons of Israel was Judah, the father of the tribe of Judah, the Jews.  Hence, we can truly say that not all Israelites are Jews; but all Jews are Israelites.  Today, many Israelites are called Jews who are not, though they are truly Israelites.

This is not totally incorrect though.  Oddly, even God collectively calls them Jews after their return from captivity.  Don’t ask me to explain this.  I don’t know.

At any rate, they are one nation, twelve tribes as they enter the Promised Land.  As a side note, the tribe of Levi is separated out and the tribe of Joseph was split into two tribes, Ephraim and Manasseh.  So, though there are still twelve tribes, though the Levites are not counted among them.  Every time God commands a census, the Levites are counted separately.  Mostly, when the tribes are listed, the Levites are not included.  They are the priestly tribe and are treated differently.

Two and ½ tribes remained on the east side of the Jordan.  At first, they remained part of the nation of Israel but gradually, they drifted away.

Also, because of the sins of Solomon, the remaining tribes on the west side of the Jordan split.  Judah, AKA the southern nation consisted primarily of the Jews, but also included Levites and some Benjaminites.  The northern nation became known as Israel.

And so things were until the captivities.  To keep this from being too long, I will cover the captivities in my next post.  By the way, the captivity is what led to all the confusion.