Question from a Site Viewer
Who and Where did Gentiles Come From?
If Noah and his wife were Jewish and the wives of his sons were Jewish as well, how could any other race other than Jews be established?
The division between Jews and Gentiles began with Jacob. Before Jacob, there were no Jews. Noah was not a Jew, nor were Abraham or Isaac. The term “Jew” refers to the descendants of Jacob.
In Genesis 32:28, God gave Jacob the new name of “Israel.” Throughout most of the Old Testament, the descendants of Jacob are known as the Israelites. After the reign of Solomon over the nation of Israel, the nation divided into two nations in 931 BC; one continued the name of Israel and the other became known as Judah, Jacob’s son, since Judah’s descendants made up the majority of this second country. Over time, many people from Israel came to live in the nation of Judah. In 722 BC, the nation of Israel was destroyed by the Assyrians but the nation of Judah continued. By around 687 BC, the people of the nation of Judah were being called “Jehudi,” a Hebrew word that we translate as “Jew” (Jeremiah 34:9; Daniel 3:8, 12; 2 Kings 25:25). Because many of the twelve tribes of Israel had taken up residence in the country of Judah, the term included descendants of the other tribes. In the book of Esther, Mordecai, of the tribe of Benjamin, is called a Jew (Esther 2:5).
Because only those descended from Jacob are Jews, everyone else are considered Gentiles. Thus, the Arabs, who are descended from Abraham through Ishmael, are not Jews and would resist being called Jews. Other descendants of Shem, Noah’s son through whom Abraham came, also would be considered as Gentiles, as would all of the descendants of Ham and Japheth, Noah’s other two sons.
Jesus was a Jew, as were all of the twelve apostles. For those who believe in Jesus Christ as our Savior, our connection to Christ, whether we are Jews or Gentiles, binds us into a family relationship and a close connection to the Jewish people. As Paul states in Romans 11:28, even when certain Jewish people resist Christ, they are still to be loved. Our prayer is that both Jews and Gentiles will come to understand the grace that Jesus brings to us.