Bible Question:

Was Noah Jewish? If not, when did God start the Jewish nation?

Bible Answer:

Noah was not Jewish. If he had been, every person would be a Jew by lineage since the flood destroyed everyone expect for Noah and his family (Genesis 5:29-9:1). In Genesis 9:1-7, we find that God told Noah to populate the earth. That means every living person is a descendant of Noah, as well as a descendant of Adam. So, if Noah was a Jew, then every person who has been born since Noah would be a Jew.

Jacob Was the First Jew

The Jewish race started with Jacob (Genesis 32:28);  Abraham was not the immediate, direct father of the Jews. Yet, the Jews regard Abraham as their father or forefather (Luke 1:73). But Scripture tells us that Abraham was the father of Isaac and Ishmael (1 Chronicles 1:28). Since Ishmael was the father of the Arabs (Genesis 25:12-18), that means Abraham was also the forefather of the Arabs.

Abraham was also the forefather of the Jews because he was the father of Isaac, who was the father of Jacob, whom God named Israel (Genesis 32:28; 35:10). The Jews are descendants of Jacob.

However, it often the Jews in Jesus’ day spoke of Abraham as their father (Luke 1:73). Listen to a conversation between some Jews and Jesus.

They answered and said to Him, “Abraham is our father.” Jesus said to them, “If you are Abraham’s children, do the deeds of Abraham. John 8:39 (NASB)

Those who practice Judaism trace their religion to Abraham (Genesis 17:9-24). The rite of circumcision started with Abraham (Genesis 17:9-27) and it is one of the key signs or marks of a male Jew.  However, Romans 4:9-12 states that Abraham became a believer in God while uncircumcised. That is, Abraham was a Gentile when he believed in God.

The name “Israel” comes from Jacob (Isaiah 48:1) who was the son of Isaac and the grandson of Abraham (Genesis 50:24). Jacob had twelve sons who had many descendants. The descendants formed the twelve tribes of Israel: Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Zebulun, Dan, Joseph, Benjamin, Naphtali, Gad, and Asher. (1 Chronicles 2:1-2). These twelve tribes settled in the promised land of Canaan. Later the nation split into two kingdoms called the Kingdom of Judah and the Kingdom of Israel. The word Jew comes from the Kingdom of Judah.

Noah Was an Ancestor of the Jews

So, was Noah as Jew? The answer is. no. The following table shows the genealogy of the patriarchs from Abraham to Jacob. Notice that Noah was not a son of Abraham or Jacob. Instead,  Noah was a great forefather of Jacob and not a son of Jacob, the first Jew.Chronology of The Ancient Patriarchs



The Jewish race are descendants of Jacob. The name, Jew, was first used to describe the descendants of Jacob’s son Judah.  2 Kings 25:25. It is now used to describe all of the descendants of Jacob’s twelve sons.

Suggested Links:

Where did Noah come from? If not, who was his father?
Who is a Jew according to the Bible?
Why is it that our clergy persist in calling Abraham and Jesus Jews?