a name applied to the Israelites in Scripture only by one who is a foreigner ( Genesis 39:14 Genesis 39:17 ; 41:12 , etc.), or by the Israelites when they speak of themselves to foreigners ( 40:15 ; Exodus 1:19 ), or when spoken of an contrasted with other peoples ( Genesis 43:32 ; Exodus 1:3 Exodus 1:7 Exodus 1:15 ; Deuteronomy 15:12 ). In the New Testament there is the same contrast between Hebrews and foreigners ( Acts 6:1 ; Philippians 3:5 ).
This word first occurs as given to Abram by the Canaanites, ( Genesis 4:13 ) because he had crossed the Euphrates. The name is also derived from Eber, "beyond, on the other side," Abraham and his posterity being called Hebrews in order to express a distinction between the races east and west of the Euphrates. It may also be derived from Heber , one of the ancestors of Abraham. ( Genesis 10:24 ) The term Israelite was used by the Jews of themselves among themselves; the term Hebrew was the name by which they were known to foreigners. The latter was accepted by the Jews in their external relations; and after the general substitution of the word Jew, it still found a place in that marked and special feature of national contradistinction, the language.