HEBREW – A descendant of Eber. It differentiates early Israelites from foreigners. After David founded the monarchy the term. “Hebrew” seems to disappear from the Hebrew language. The designation apparently begins with Abraham (Gen, 14:13), showing that he belonged to an ethnic group distinct from the Amorites. It distinguished Joseph from the Egyptians and slaves of other ethnic identity (Gen, 39:14,17; 41:12; 43:32). Abraham’s land had become the land of the Hebrews (Gen 40:15), and his God, the God of theHebrews (Exod, 5:3). Given the ethnic identity, special laws protected Hebrew slaves (Exod 21:2; Deut, 15:12; Lev, 25:40-41; Jeer, 34:8-22). After the death of Saul (1 Sam 29), the term “Hebrew” does not appear in the historical books, pointing possibly to a distinction between Hebrew as an ethnic term and Israel and/or Judah as a religious and political term for the people of the covenant and of God’s nation. 

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