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)



Posted by Phillip Chan

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


  1. Ann

    Hi author with passion! i’m so happy and i add “Like” (facebook) to phillipchan.org

  2. ShanBaj

    This makes alot of sense! Its crystal clear now. Thank you 🙂

  3. Angela

    Thanks for breaking that down for me. I was also curious about the name progression!

  4. theJudahite Teacher

    Jews were idumeans whom seized control over the judahites via Herod by the power of the roman military. Idumeans are ancient enemies of judahites. There are 12tribes. They split and christ came to rejoin them, cleanse them of sin and bring them back to the Father. Read rev2:9 & rev3:9 these jews are they whom claim to be judahites but are not but go to the synagogue of satan. The true judahites and israelites were sent into slavery here in america and received new names. Nigger, colored, african, african amerian. The Book of maccabees shows how we lost our identity and became the lost sheep of the house of israel. Christ said he was not sent (BUT) to the lost sheep of the house of israel. Learn more, much more @theJudahite

  5. Simione Naituku

    So that means Jews are those of Judah and Benjamin and some Levites……….which means they are NOT Israelites. Israelites and Jews are two different people although they are from Patriarch Jacob …….start reading from the Old Testament, New Testament, right up to the Book of Mormon, Doctrines and Covenants and Pearl of Great Price, you will then know. When the scriptures talks about the Jews it is referring especially to the Southern Tribe and when about the Israelites it is talking about the Northern Tribe of Israel who are scattered around the four corners of the earth world as the Ten Lost Tribes. The two above are sometimes called Judah and Samaria and Jerusalem. Now the whereabouts and the true identity of this Ten Lost Tribes are only known to the Lord Jesus Christ, WHO in turn will tell each of these tribes who they really are. The starting evidence will be only from the scriptures as a prima facie, and supporting evidence of this will be from facts of their own history and archaeological findings and some circumstantial way of life that has been pronounced to them as curses and or blessings by God Himself when they were scattered. Incredible how God works.

  6. Elizabeth

    The term Jew is found in Nehemiah. I just started looking tonight and haven't found it in previous books….yet. Elizabeth

    1. Rasil

      The word Jew is not in the original Bible. It’s modern connotation refers to someone who follows and adheres to a faith similar to that of the Pharisees of Judah, but is NOT of the tribe and stock of Judah. In other words JEWS are people from nations other than the 12 Hebrew tribes who practice a religion known as Judaism/Pharasaism, the doctrine of the Pharisees. It is much like those who believe in Christ and are called Christians, in honor of the One whom they follow, and their religion is known as Christianity, the doctrine of Christ. If one would say that all Christians are Judahites bc Christ was from the tribe of Judah, it would be a fallacy. In much the same way, Jews are NOT Judahites or Judeans. In fact the religion that is known as Judaism is actually Pharisaism. Judaism as it pertains to Pharisaism, is a misnomer, since it is neither the doctrine of Judah nor the doctrine that Christ practiced. It is the doctrine of the Pharisees of old, an evil doctrine they brought back from their Babylonian captivity. It does NOT follow the truth of the Bible, neither of the Old or New Testaments. It’s central tenets are found in a book called the Talmud, a book full of worldly traditions, lies and superstitions. It is actually based on the mystical religious practices of the Babylonisns which were assimilated by the Judahites. Blasphemous. Rabbis during their Babylonian captivity around 600 B.C.. The Rabbis then used these occult traditions in place of the word of God, wrote Edward Hendrix in Solving the Mystery of Babylon The Great. This is why Messiah was constantly rebuking them. (John 8:44) When the word Jew was first introduced into the English language in theb18th century, its one and only implication, inference and innuendo was “Judean”. However, this is important, during thev18th, 19th, and 20th centuries, a well organized and well financed international pressure group created a secondary meaning for the word “Jew” among the English speaking peoples of the world. This so called secondary meaning for the word “Jew” bears NO relation whatsoever to the 18th Century original connotation of the word “Jew”. It is a deliberate misrepresentation. The present generally accepted secondary meaning of the word “Jew”, is fundamentally responsible for the confusion in the minds of Christians regarding elementary tenets of the Christian faith. It is likewise responsible today to a very great extent for the dilution of the devotion of countless Christians for their Christian faith. Christians today, are finally waking up to the fact that so called, self styled Jews throughout the world for three centuries have spent uncounted sums of money to manufacture the fiction that the Judeans in the time of Jesus were Jews rather than Judeans and that Jesus was a Jew. Please read How The Askenazi Jews Conquered The West. The term Jew is a made up term invented in the 18th and 19th centuries. There is no “j” in either Hebrew or Greek. A Catholic monk actually created the j by adding a hook to the i. The people residing in Israel today are imposters who are from a Eastern Europe. In 740 AD, in Russia, under King Bulan, they all converted to Judaism as s political move bc the king didn’t want Christianity or Islam. He brought in Rabbis to teach them Hebrew etc. their Hebrew is not genuine Hebrew. It is Yiddish. Their connection to Judaism is matrilineal, yet this is not the correct according to Scripture. It is patrilineal through Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. They have literally stolen a heritage that belong to the Biblical Hebrew Israelites who have been scattered to the 4 corners of the universe and not born in Eastern Europe. They are in Israel today bc Ben Gurion, the United Nations and Britain collectively helped created Israel as a state and not the hand of God. This is a man made deal whereby the Wordbof God says that when He returns His people to the PromisedvLand, there will be “peace.” Israel’s Genesis was an apartheid state born in a blood bath. In any case they are all Askenazis from Eastern European countries viz., Poland, Russia, Germany, Turkey even, Lithuania, Croatia, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Romania, etc. According to research and Koestler’s book, they were ruthless, warring people and literally kicked out of 100+ countries and control media, banking, communications, Hollywood, entertainment industry, education, garment industry, fashion, publications, etc. Revelation 2:9 and 3:9 tells us who they really are in the churches viz. Smyrna…they were rich, blasphemous saying they were Jews, were not, but were of the synagogue of Satan. Revelation 3:9, church of Philadelphia…the same words are spewed. He knew they were not Jews and again He said they were of the synagogue of Satan. Just examine the Israeli flag which is a hexagram. They say it is the Star of David, but David NEVER EVER had a star. This star is the symbol for the God Moloch to whom they sacrificed babies and children. It is Satan’s symbol. We as Christians have been deceived in believing they are YAH’s “chosen”, but they are not!!! U.S. is the only country supporting Israel. Christian churches are afraid to tell the truth bc when Bush became president he they collect money from the Faith Based Funding, when they propose an initiative for social problems. So the church keeps its mouth shut regarding The truth about Jews and Israel in order to collect the funding. Just do the research. The Word tells us to study to show thyself approved. The Modern Day Christian Church is nothing like the church of the 2nd century or Messiah’s day. So this article is so wrong, but he believes what they tell him. Shalom and get ye understanding and wisdom along with your knowledge.

  7. Richard Evans

    You may be interested in reading Rabbi Lazer Gurkow’s comments on this subject.
    God bless

  8. Lorie Ann

    In John 1:47 we see Jesus / Yeshua calling Nathaniel a True Israelite. So , It stands to reason that people were still being referred to as Israelites in Jesus’ day . BUT , also we find that Jesus called ( in John 8 :44 ) the Pharisee’s and Scribes that they were of their father the devil. Now , were the Pharisee’s Jews or Israelites ? Or a sect of some kind . ? What I find most interesting is in that very same conversation that Jesus is having with them , they claim they HAVE NEVER BEEN IN BONDAGE TO ANY MAN. Yet they are Abraham’s seed . But we all know the Israelites / Hebrews CAME OUT OF BONDAGE IN EGYPT ! So, who are these Pharisee’s that Jesus is talking to who claim they were never in bondage .? Most people feel that the words Israelites , Hebrews, Jews are interchangeable .

    1. Shackelford

      Every time the word “Jew” appears in the Bible, it was translated from the word Judah. People from Judah are referred to as Judahites in the bible. Why change the bible?

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.