Famous Non Jews in Scripture

Discussing any sort of instruction beyond, 'Thou shall not kill,' I hear this phrase a lot: Those things are for the Jews only.

I've started asking a simple question, "Who are the Jews?" The responses mention rabbis, those living in Israel, people with Jewish blood, and you know, all the people who are in the Bible, duh!

Somehow most of us have been lead to believe that unless you've had a bar mitzvah and your father wears a yarmulke and your family eats a lot of kugel and bagels God doesn't really expect you to actually do what he says.

Galatians 3:28 There is neither Yahudi nor Aramean | Land of Honey

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I could not disagree more with this idea and this is why: most of the people in Scripture were not Jewish.

That thought probably falls somewhere on your mental speedometer between 'New' and 'Sacrilegious' but that doesn't make it untrue. I mean no disrespect to the Jewish people. Indeed there are many people in Scripture, including Yeshua, from the tribe of Judah. I'm not arguing that. But we should be aware many more people were given the Torah besides the Jews.

In fact did you know the word 'Jewish' isn't in Scripture all that much? If you do a word search for 'Jew' jewelry or jewels comes up far more often than 'Jew.' The words Jew, Jewish, or Judaism actually don't appear even once in the Torah (first five books), and only pop up a few times in the Tanakh, mostly in the book of Esther. Jeremiah uses Jew once, as does Zechariah, and it appears twice in Daniel. That's it. (Depending on the translation you're using.)

But, you may be saying, the people of Judah became the Jews. Yes, the people from Judah; not everyone in Scripture. Now you're catching on.

We've talked briefly before that Abraham wasn't a Jew. Jacob's son Judah could arguably be referred to as the first Jew, though that's a stretch. I don't call my sister a Jordanite, just Jordan. Anyway, let's take a look at some other famous non-Jews in Scripture.

In addition to Abraham and Sarah, everyone before Judah was not Jewish. Including Adam and Havah, Isaac and Rebekah, Jacob, Leah, and Rachel, as well as Noah and his family. And realistically the people of Judah weren't referred to as Jews for centuries.

Famous Non Jews in Scripture | Land of Honey

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Moshe. Yes, the very giver of the Torah supposedly for Jews only wasn't one himself. Moses, his brother Aaron, his sister Miriam were from the tribe of Levi. (Exodus 2:1)

Joshua. The man who lead Israel into the promised land was from the tribe of Ephraim. (Numbers 13:8)

Caleb. He and Joshua were the spies that came back with the good report and were the only people from the generation that left Mitzrayim to see the promised land. Caleb wasn't a natural born Israelite at all but was a Kenezite who chose to follow YHWH. (Joshua 14:14)

Rahab. She assisted the Israelite spies in Jericho but was not an Israelite herself. She is mentioned in the genealogy of Yeshua. (Joshua 2:1, Matthew 1:5)

Gideon. He was the judge who fought in battle to liberate Israel from the Midianites, from the tribe of Manasseh. (Judges 6:15)

Samson. The most famous judge of Israel was from the tribe of Dan. (Judges 13:2)

Samuel. Israel's last judge and a prophet came from the territory of Ephraim and was raised in the Tabernacle by a Levite. (1 Samuel 1:1)

Saul. The first king of Israel came from the tribe of Benjamin. (1 Samuel 9:1)

Ruth. King David's great-grandmother was from Moab. (Ruth 1:4)

Jeremiah and Ezekiel. Both prophets were from families of Levitical priests. Jeremiah's family resided in the land of Benjamin and Ezekiel lived in Babylonian exile. (Jeremiah 1:1, Ezekiel 1:3)

Obadiah. In addition to writing the book of his name, Obadiah hid a hundred prophets from Jezebel and Ahab. Scripture doesn't say for sure but since he worked in the Northern Kingdom of Israel we have no reason to believe he was Jewish. The Talmud believes Obadiah was an Edomite that served YHWH. (1 Kings 18)

Micah. Being from Moresheth he was not a biological part of Israel, but YHWH spoke through him to his people. (Micah 1:1)

Elijah. Described as a Tishbite from Gilead, Elijah was from one of the ten northern tribes. (1 Kings 17:1)

Elisha. He was from a city called Abel-meholah in the Northern King of Israel and was from one of the northern tribes. (1 Kings 19:16)

This list is by no means exhaustive. The tribal ancestry of most of the characters in Scripture is not listed. This is also not to say that those grafted in or from a different tribe are better or worse than those from Judah. There are exploits and sins attributed to those from Judah and Ephraim. There is no racial superiority in the Kingdom of YHWH, and he does not give different commandments depending on your family tree.

As one from the tribe of Benjamin wrote in Galatians 3:28, "There is neither Yahudi nor Aramean nor Greek...for you all are echad in the Moshiach Yeshua." In other words, it is irrelevant if you were born Jewish or from another tribe or a foreigner all together. Yeshua makes his people one. Regardless of your genealogy all believers are grafted into YHWH's people Israel.

1 comment:

  1. This is really amazing. I am learning something new everyday about the significance of the Torah and Old Testament. I have enjoyed looking around your blog, and am anxious to read more :)

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