kingdom in ancient Palestine comprising the lands occupied by the Hebrew people; established ab 1025 b.c. ; divided 933 b.c. into a Southern kingdom (Judah) & a Northern kingdom (Israel)  or Ephraim the Northern portion of the Hebrew kingdom after the division; a republic established 1948; a people chosen by God


H3478 Yisra’el  – Israel = “God prevails”

the second name for Jacob given to him by God after his wrestling with the angel at Peniel

the name of the descendants and the nation of the descendants of Jacob

G2474 Israēl – Israel = “he shall be a prince of God”

the name given to the patriarch Jacob (and borne by him in addition to his former name)

those whom God pronounces to be Israelites and has chosen to salvation

Scripture References

Genesis 32:28 He said, “Your name will no longer be called Jacob, but Israel; for you have fought with God and with men, and have prevailed.”

Genesis 43:8 Judah said to Israel, his father, “Send the boy with me, and we’ll get up and go, so that we may live, and not die, both we, and you, and also our little ones.

Genesis 47:27  Israel lived in the land of Egypt, in the land of Goshen; and they got themselves possessions therein, and were fruitful, and multiplied exceedingly.

Matthew 2:20 “Arise and take the young child and his mother, and go into the land of Israel, for those who sought the young child’s life are dead.”

Matthew 10:6 Rather, go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.


Israel is a very complex word that has several meanings.  In order to properly understand which Israel is being spoken of the context of each verse must be understood.  In Genesis 32:28; 43:8, the Israel being spoken of is the patriarch Jacob.  In Genesis 47:27 the Israel being spoken of is not just Jacob, but all of his descendants who were “fruitful, and multiplied exceedingly.”  In Matthew 2:20 it is referring to the physical state of Israel and Matthew 10:6 is referring to the Northern Kingdom or Ephraim as they are often called.

As you can see, Israel has many different meanings in the bible.  To assume that the word Israel is always referring to the Country in the Middle East can cause much confusion.


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