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Part of the difficulty with this question is the fact that the word Jew does not occur in the Bible until 2 Kings 16:6 (KJV) and 2 Kings 25:25 in most other Bible translations. In those instances, ...
There's no question about it, Abraham was the first Jew. According to God's Word in Romans 2:28,29 : for HE IS NOT A JEW WHICH IS ONE OUTWARDLY (being a Jew is not defined by race since race defines the outward flesh), NOT OF CIRCUMCISION WHICH IS OUTWARD IN THE FLESH (being a Jew is not defined by coming through the line of people who were given the law and the covenant of outward/bodily circumcision), BUT HE IS A JEW WHICH IS ONE INWARDLY, CIRCUMCISED WITHIN, OF THE HEART IN THE SPIRIT. God has made it very plain in his Word who the Jew is, with that said Abraham was the first Jew. He was the first one to have faith within. Remember Abraham originally was from the Ur of Chaldees, which essentially was Babylon, where they knew not the LORD, and worshipped strange Gods. Abraham's nationality being a Hebrew, had nothing to do with him being a Jew, for the Jew is the BELIEVER in the One True God within your heart. To be a Jew is a belief, not defined by race, or coming through the line of a particular family/ people. God bless.
My short answer take on this is from Genesis 17:1-27 when God speaks to Abram and reveals to him that "I will make you father of many nations" and that "your name shall no longer be Abram, but will be Abraham". And, subsequently resulted in the Twelve tribes of Israel. Abraham's faith in God was as good as it gets! God has shown many times that He really does want our 'deep abiding faith' in Him. Abram cried out to God at the water's edge and other times, he would plead with God for Sarai, (which God later changed to Sarah), his wife to bless him with children. God told Abraham one evening to look at the stars in the sky as a way of 'counting his descendants' for they will be many! Abraham was the 'father of the Jews' and his descendants many! --Andy--
Abraham was not a Jew. Neither was Isaac nor Jacob. The descendants of the patriarch Judah are racially Jews and all who joined themselves nationally to the tribe of Judah - those of the tribe of Benjamin and Levi. [2 Chron 36:23, Ezra 1:3-5] Abraham was Hebrew and so was Isaac and Jacob (Gen 14:13). Moses was Hebrew but he was of the tribe of Levi. Moses was the son of Amram, the son of Kohath, the son of Levi [Ex 6:16-20]. So Moses was a Levite, he was not a Jew. Jews are Israelites. But most Israelites are not Jews. The Jews are the house of Judah only, a PART of the Israelites. But when these people are spoken of as nations, rather than as collective individuals, the term "Israel" never refers to the "Jews." The three tribes at Jerusalem under the Davidic king are called, merely, the house of Judah (Ezra 1:3-5). From any exhaustive concordance we can learn that the first time in all the Bible that the word "Jew" occurs is in 2 Kings 16:6. The first place in Scripture where the name Jew appears, "the Jews were at WAR against Israel!" They are of a different nation altogether. They are, individually, children of Israel. "At that time," says verse 6, "Rezin king of Syria [ the ally of Israel, fighting with Israel against Judah] recovered Elath to Syria, and drove the Jews from Elath." The first place in the Bible where the word "Jew" appears we find, Israel at war against the Jews! Who drove the Jews out of Elath? The ally of King Pekah of Israel! The army (Syrians) fighting with Israel against Judah. And the children of Judah who resided in the town of Elath are called Jews in a manner which distinguished them from the house of Israel, with whom these Jews were at war. The term "Jew" is merely a nickname for "Judah." So who was the first Jew? Certainly it was Judah, one of the twelve sons of Jacob or Israel. The twelve sons of Jacob became the twelve tribes of Israel. But the ten tribes of Israel were rent from the kingdom of Israel and were given to Jeroboam. They became the house of Israel. Judah together with Benjamin and Levi became a separate nation to the house of Israel (1Kings 12:19-21).
Isaac was the seed of Abraham just as Jacob, later Israel was the seed of Isaac. To this extent, Jacob - Israel was the first Jew.
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