Israelites

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{country, population, people}
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{language, word, form}
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The Israelites were a Hebrew-speaking people of the Ancient Near East who inhabited the Land of Israel during the monarchic period (11th to 7th centuries BCE).

The word "Israelite" derives from the Biblical Hebrew ישראל (Standard: Yisraʾel; Tiberian: Yiśrāʾēl). The Hebrew Bible etymologizes the name as from yisra "to prevail over", and el, "God, the divine".[1][2] The ethnonym is attested as early as the 13th century BCE in an Egyptian inscription. The eponymous biblical patriarch of the Israelites is Jacob, who was given the additional name "Israel" after wrestling with an angel. Jacob demands a blessing from the angel which he eventually receives, hence "prevailing over the divine." (Genesis 32:28-30)

The biblical term "Israelites" (or the Twelve Tribes or Children of Israel) means both a people, the descendants of the patriarch Jacob/Israel, and the historical population of the kingdom of Israel, or a follower of the God of Israel and Mosaic law.[3] In Modern Hebrew usage, an Israelite is, broadly speaking, a lay member of the Jewish faith, as opposed to the priestly orders of Kohenim and Levites.

The name Hebrews is sometimes used synonymously with "Israelites". For the post-exilic period, beginning in the 5th century BCE, the remnants of the Israelites came to be referred to as Jews, named for the kingdom of Judah. This change is explicit in the Book of Esther (4th century BCE).[4] It replaced the title children of Israel.[5]

Although most literary references to them are located in the Hebrew Bible, there is also abundant non-biblical archaeological and historical evidence of ancient Israel and Judah.

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