Members“To Be Hebrew” – The First Name of Israel

Why was “Hebrew” the first label and name given to God’s chosen people?

By Aviel Schneider | | Topics: history, Bible, Hebrew
A Hebrew man
Photo: Shutterstock

At home I am called by my private name and in the community such as at work by my family name. Outside Jerusalem I am the “Jerusalemite” and outside Israel the “Israeli.” The name attributed to the children of Israel has similarly changed throughout history: Hebrews, Jacob, Israel and Jews. Different times and environments have bestowed on the Chosen People different labels.

Of these four names, the first was chosen by a refugee, the second by a father, the third by God and the fourth by the Gentiles. Refugee, Father, God and Gentiles, in a sense, formed a people. From refugee to father of a family and a tribe in Eretz Israel. In the Land, God reveals Himself to this father and gives him a new name. These “warriors of God” arouse antagonism among the pagans and this leads to a Syrian king first calling the Hebrews “Jews.” Four names that chronologically reflect Israel's history.

In the Bible the word Hebrew (Ha'Evri – העברי) is mentioned for the first...

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