Noah, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob Were Not Jews: Chapter 26, Shocked by the Bible

There is a premise that Joe Kovacs believes many people hold. That premise is that many people believe the Old Testament is all about the Jews. He makes the statement, “While most people think the Jews are the focus of the Old Testament, according to the Bible, they are not. This does not mean there are no Jews found in the Old Testament. There certainly are. But one of the most prevalent misconceptions about Scripture is that the Old Testament center on Jews and Judaism, while the New Testament focuses on Christians and Christianity.” The rest of the chapter is devoted to explaining this misconception and attempting to correct it. So, this is what I want to focus on and address in response.

Kovacs makes some very good points in this chapter. He is correct, as his title proclaims, that Noah, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob were not “Jews” in the truest and most restricted sense of the word. Likewise, the word Jew is not found in the Old Testament until 2 Kings 16:6 (some other versions have “men of Judah” or “Judeans”). The word used in this passage of Scripture refers to the southern kingdom of Israel known as Judah (comprised of two of the tribes of Israel—Benjamin and Judah) after the tribal leader Judah. Similarly, the northern kingdom was known as Israel and was comprised of the ten other tribes of Israel.

Joe Kovacs is completely correct in all of that; however, he leaves out some other understanding that clears up a lot of the confusion and misconceptions about the Jews being the focus of the Old Testament. Mainly that the Jews were, first and foremost, all Hebrews. Likewise, the Israelites were, first and foremost, all Hebrews. The Hebrew people trace their ancestry through Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (who were known as Hebrews). In fact, Abraham was called a Hebrew in Genesis 14:13, which was before God had even changed his name from Abram to Abraham. Therefore, while Kovacs was correct in the strictest sense of the word Jew that Abraham and the other patriarchs in the Old Testament were not Jews, he was wrong by not explaining the full meaning and understanding of exactly being a Jew meant.

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