the name derived from the patriarch Judah, at first given to one belonging to the tribe of Judah or to the separate kingdom of Judah (2Ki 16:6; 25:25; Jer 32:12; 38:19; 40:11; 41:3), in contradistinction from those belonging to the kingdom of the ten tribes, who were called Israelites.
The history of the Jewish nation is interwoven with the history of Palestine and with the narratives of the lives of their rulers and chief men. They are now  dispersed over all lands, and to this day remain a separate people, "without a king, and without a prince, and without a sacrifice, and without an image [R.V. 'pillar,' marg. 'obelisk'], and without an ephod, and without teraphim" (HO 3:4). Till about the beginning of the present century  they were everywhere greatly oppressed, and often cruelly persecuted; but now their condition is greatly improved, and they are admitted in most European countries to all the rights of free citizens. In 1860 the "Jewish disabilities" were removed, and they were admitted to a seat in the British Parliament. Their number in all is estimated at about six millions, about four millions being in Europe.
There are three names used in the New Testament to designate this people, (1.) Jews, as regards their nationality, to distinguish them from Gentiles. (2.) Hebrews, with regard to their language and education, to distinguish them from Hellenists, i.e., Jews who spoke the Greek language. (3.) Israelites, as respects their sacred privileges as the chosen people of God. "To other races we owe the splendid inheritance of modern civilization and secular culture; but the religious education of mankind has been the gift of the Jew alone."
At first one belonging to the kingdom of Judah, as distinguished from northern Israel (2Ki 16:6). After the captivity, all members of the one new state were "Jews," i.e. in God's outward covenant, as contrasted with "Greeks" or Gentiles (Ro 1:16; 2:9, margin). "Hebrew" on the other hand expressed their language and nationality, in contrast to "Hellenists," i.e. Greek speaking Jews. Again the term" Israelites" expresses the high theocratic privileges of descent from the patriarch who "as a prince had power with God" (2Co 11:22; Ro 9:4). John uses "Jews" of the faction hostile to the Lord Jesus.
By the time that he wrote the Jews had definitely rejected the gospel offered to them by the apostles at home and abroad (1Th 2:14-16); so they are no longer regarded as the covenant people, the kingdom of God having passed from them to the Gentiles (Ac 13:45-46) The destruction of Jerusalem and the temple formally effected the transference, forever since the Jew professes a religion enjoining what God's providence makes it impossible for him to fulfil, namely, the observance of the great feasts and the sacrificial system in the temple at Jerusalem. B. F. Westcott (Smith's Bible Dictionary) notices the preparation for the last or gospel revelation by the disciplining of the Jews under
(1) the Persian supremacy (536-333 B.C.), in organization, order, and ritual;
(2) under the Greek (333-167 B.C.), in liberty and speculation;
(3) under the Asmonsean Maccabees, in independence and faith;
(4) under the Herods, in the separation between the temporal and the spiritual kingdom. JEWRY means Judea (Da 5:13). "The Jews' language" signifies both the Hebrew (2Ki 18:26) and the Aramaic Hebrew acquired in the captivity (Ne 13:24), "the language (lip) of Canaan" (Isa 19:18). (See HEBREW LANGUAGE.)
The name by which the descendants of Israel have been known for many centuries. It is corrupted from Judah. After the division of the kingdom in b.c. 937, the southern portion was called by the name of the powerful tribe of Judah, which composed most of its inhabitants. It was in this kingdom that the Deuteronomic reform occurred, which was the first step in the creation of an organized religion sharply differentiated from the other religions of the world. This religion, developed during the Exile, bore the name of the kingdom of Judah. All Israelites who maintained their identity were its adherents, hence the name 'Jew' has absorbed the name 'Israel.' For their history, see Israel (I. 21
A man of Judah. The term does not occur until after the division of the kingdom. 2Ki 16:6; 25:25. It is applied to any one belonging to the two tribes, and it may have been used respecting any of the ten tribes who remained in the land at the captivity or returned thither. The name is principally found in the O.T. in Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther, and Jeremiah. In Esther the name is applied to all the Hebrews in Persia. In the N.T. the name occurs most frequently in the gospel of John, where it is applied to those of Jerusalem and Judaea in distinction from 'the people' who may have been Galileans or visitors from a distance. John speaks of 'the Jews,' 'the Jews' passover,' etc., as though he were not a Jew. They had rejected the Lord, and in spirit John was separate from them.
In the addresses to the seven churches we twice read of those who "say they are Jews, and are not." The name is there used of those claiming to be the people of God by descent, but not so morally, as in another place there are some "who say they are apostles, and are not." Re 2:2,9; 3:9. In a similar way the Jews prided themselves in being 'sons of Abraham,' whereas, the Lord declared that they were not such morally. The name JEWESS occurs only in Ac 16:1; 24:24.
(a man of Judea). This name was properly applied to a member of the kingdom of Judah after the separation of the ten tribes. The term first makes its appearance just before the captivity of the ten tribes. The term first makes it appearance just before the captivity of the ten tribes.
After the return the word received a larger application. Partly from the predominance of the members of the old kingdom of Judah among those who returned to Palestine, partly from the identification of Judah with the religious ideas and hopes of the people, all the members of the new state were called Jews (Judeans) and the name was extended to the remnants of the race scattered throughout the nations. Under the name of "Judeans" the people of Israel were known to classical writers. (Tac. H. v.2, etc.) The force of the title "Jew" is seen particularly in the Gospel of St. John, who very rarely uses any other term to describe the opponents of our Lord. At an earlier stage of the progress of the faith it was contrasted with Greek as implying an outward covenant with God,
etc., which was the correlative of Hellenist [HELLENIST], and marked a division of language subsisting within the entire body, and at the same time less expressive than Israelite, which brought out with especial clearness the privileges and hopes of the children of Jacob.
2Co 11:22; Joh 1:47