Search the Site




A descendant of Jacob. Before the Davidic empire split into two separate kingdoms in the tenth century BCE, the term “Israelite” signified every Hebrew. After that event, it properly connoted an Ephraimite as opposed to an inhabitant of Judah. The Israelite (i.e., the Northern) kingdom had its capital at Shechem, then at Tirzah, and finally at Samaria. The latter was destroyed by the Assyrians in 722 BCE, and Israelites were deported, only to become assimilated into the alien culture. Hopes that remnants from the two kingdoms would someday come together again seem to have arisen in some circles (Ezek 37:15-22). In the NT, discussion took place over who actually could lay claim to the title “Israelite.” Paul made a distinction between an Israelite by physical lineage and one forged through religious bonds (Rom 2:28-29).