IT HAS OFTEN BEEN STATED THAT ABRAHAM WAS THE FIRST JEW. The Bible, however, never calls Abraham by that term and for good reason. The word “Jew” is merely the modem English contraction for the word “Judahite” or “Judean.” Thus, the question is not really whether Abraham was a Jew or not; but rather, WAS ABRAHAM A JUDAHITE? That is, was Abraham of the tribe of Judah? Obviously not, for Abraham preceded the tribe of Judah by 3 generations.
Abraham was a Semite (a descendant of Shem), and he was also a Hebrew (a descendant of Heber, or Eber). But to say that Abraham was a Judahite is to say that he descended from his own great-grandson! That is impossible.
The descendants of Judah (Heb., Yehudah) were known as Yehudim, which means “Judahites.” The New Testament, written in Greek, uses the term loudaioi, which is best translated “Judeans.”
It is somewhat confusing that almost all Bible translations employ the word Jew instead of Judean. But once we learn to read Judahite or Judean, the distinctions in the Bible between Hebrews, Israelites, and “Jews” is clarified. But let us concentrate for now upon the various meanings of the Biblical term “Judahite.”