Israel and Judah

Updated: Sep 2, 2021

*This post contains affiliate links that add no additional cost to you, as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

I believe it is very important for us to know about the distinction between the house of Judah and the house of Israel (Also called the house of Joseph or Ephraim). Today many people associate all 12 tribes of Israel as Jews, but this is false, for the term Jew does not show up until after Israel became two nations.

Abraham was a Hebrew not a Jew

The word Hebrew is also usually associated with only Jewish heritage and culture. However, the first man to be called a Hebrew was:

“And one who had escaped came and informed Abram the Hebrew, for he dwelt by the terebinth trees of Mamrĕ the Amorite, brother of Eshkol and brother of Anĕr, and they had a covenant with Aḇram. ” (Genesis 14:13)

Abraham couldn’t have been a Jew as neither the tribe of Judah nor the house of Judah had been established, so to say only the Jews are Hebrews is false. When in fact all of Israel are Hebrews, Abraham fathered Isaac who fathered Jacob (who later becomes Israel) who fathered the 12 tribes. If you read my post, “Grafted In” then you know those of us who follow Yeshua are Abraham’s seed, thus we are Hebrews.

Israel Divides into Two

The nation of Israel was split in two, after years of unrest and infighting among the 12 tribes of Israel. The details of this can be found in the books of 1&2 Samuel and 1 Kings. The southern kingdom made up of the tribes of Judah, Benjamin, and a portion of Levi (to what extent is unsure), became known as Judah or the house of Judah. The northern kingdom, made up of the other 10 tribes, became known as Israel or the house of Israel. The distinction is seen here:

“And he mustered them in Bezeq, and the children of Yisra’ĕl (Israel) were three hundred thousand, and the men of Yehuḏah (Judah) thirty thousand.” (1 Samuel 11:8)

Up until Israel divided, the word Jew was never used.

The Misconception of the Usage of Hebrew and Jew

It is a common misconception to say that the Jews were slaves to the Egyptians when it was all of Israel that was enslaved, that is why YHWH says this.

“Say, therefore, to the children of Yisra’ĕl (Israel), ‘I am יהוה, and I shall bring you out from under the burdens of the Mitsrites (Egyptians), and shall deliver you from their enslaving, and shall redeem you with an outstretched arm, and with great judgments, ” (Exodus 6:6)

YHWH doesn’t say “tell the Jews”, he tells Moses to inform all of Israel. Since we’re in Exodus, let's look at a verse that supports the notion that all of Israel are Hebrews.

“And the midwives said to Pharaoh, “Because the Hebrew women are not like the Mitsrian (Egyptians) women. For they are lively and give birth before the midwives come to them.” (Exodus 1:19)

The first time the word Jew is brought up is here:

“And in the seventh new moon it came to be that Yishma‛ĕl (Ishmael) son of Nethanyah (Nethaniah), son of Elishama, of the seed of the reign, came with ten men and struck Geḏalyahu (Gedaliah) that he died, and the Yehuḏim (Jews), and the Kasdim (Chaldeans) who were with him at Mitspah (Mizpah).” (2 Kings 25:25)

Remember this takes place after the split, those who come from the house of Judah are called Jews, those who come from the house of Israel are nev