Important Distinctives of the Jewish People
Based on the Hebrew Bible


The history of the Jewish people goes back around 4000 years to the time of Abraham. They have survived many wars and genocides. They were twice driven from their land, and their center of worship was destroyed, yet they miraculously returned twice, just as YHWH said He would do for them. 

The Hebrew Bible includes the 24 books of the Masoretic Text, which was probably determined at the Council of Jamnia around 90AD. These books include the five books of Moses, historical books, wisdom books and prophetic books. A person who hasn't read the Bible is encouraged to first read Genesis and Exodus. These two books describe the foundation of the Jewish people, their Law and their culture.

If a person looks carefully at the Hebrew Bible, he can see that the Jewish people are unique. The Chinese culture and some western cultures have had similarities, but no other culture is like the Jewish culture. The primary reason is their Law. Below is a list of some important distinctives of the Jewish people based on the Hebrew Bible.

  1. YHWH chose the Jews to be a people to worship YHWH alone (Genesis 12;1-3, 15:1-7, 22:15-18; Exodus 20:1-6).

  2. YHWH gave the land of Israel to the Jews to serve Him forever. (Genesis 15:7, 17:8, 28:1-4)

  3. YHWH made a covenant of circumcision with Abraham and his descendents. This is a sign of belonging to YHWH. (Genesis 17:10-14) Note that on the 8th day, the blood clots the best, since Vitamin K is the highest on this day.

  4. The 12 tribes of Jacob (later renamed Israel) formally became a nation when YHWH gave them their Law at Mt. Sinai in Arabia (Exodus 19-24 and beyond). Moses was on the mountain for 40 days and 40 nights, and around 2 million people witnessed the event. No other nation had God give them inspired Scripture in such a way. The Law of Israel is what makes them great. (Psalm 147:19,20). The Law of Israel is their source of wisdom and understanding (Deuteronomy 4:5-14). The Law included civil, moral, ceremonial, dietary and military laws and regulations, and it included both blessings for obedience (Deuteronomy 28:1-14) and curses for disobedience (Deuteronomy 28:15-68).

  5. Originally, the Jews were not to have kings, because YHWH was supposed to be their King, but the people wanted a human king, so YHWH gave them one (1 Samuel 8:1-22, 9:15-17, 10:1,24, 12:1; Hosea 13:9-11). Nevertheless, even the king was under the law (Deuteronomy 17:14-20).

  6. YHWH wanted men of Israel to be free men, not slaves (Leviticus 25;39-44).

  7. YHWH wanted men of Israel (except Levites) to be property owners (Leviticus 25:23-28).

  8. YHWH wanted men of Israel to have fair business practices, like keeping promises (Deuteronomy 23:21-23), not stealing, dealing falsely or lying (Lev. 19:11), paying workers on time (Leviticus 19:13), not to charge interest on loans to other men of Israel (Leviticus 25:35-37), and using honest weights and measures (Deuteronomy 25:13-16). Note: today, this would mean using gold and silver and not fiat currency which is unbacked by anything tangible.

  9. YHWH wanted the people of Israel to not mistreat weak people, like strangers, the poor, orphans and widows (Ex. 22:21-24, Leviticus 19:9,10,14,15, 23:22).

  10. YHWH provided a means of atonement of sins through blood sacrifice of a goat (Lev. 16:1-34)

  11. Jews were not allowed to eat or drink blood (Leviticus 17:10-14).

  12. The Jews expect a resurrection of the dead (Job. 19:25,26; Psalm 49:15; Isaiah 26:19; Hosea 13:14; Daniel 12:2).

Further Study

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This page was last updated on 24 March 2013 .

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