Ezra 4:12
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12  be it known to the king that the Yehudim who came up from you to us have reached Yerushalayim and are rebuilding that rebellious and wicked city; they are completing the walls and repairing the foundation.

y’-DEE-a le-he-VAY l’-mal-KA DEE y’-hu-da-YAY DEE s’-LI-ku min l’-va-TAKH a-LE-na a-TO lee-ru-sh’-LEM kir-y’-TA ma-ra-d’-TA u-veesh-TA ba-NA-yin v’-shu-ra-YA shakh-LEE-lu v’-u-sha-YA ya-KHEE-tu

יב  יְדִיעַ לֶהֱוֵא לְמַלְכָּא דִּי יְהוּדָיֵא דִּי סְלִקוּ מִן־לְוָתָךְ עֲלֶינָא אֲתוֹ לִירוּשְׁלֶם קִרְיְתָא מָרָדְתָּא ובאישתא [וּבִישְׁתָּא] בָּנַיִן ושורי [וְשׁוּרַיָּא] אשכללו [שַׁכְלִילוּ] וְאֻשַּׁיָּא יַחִיטוּ׃

 4:12   The Yehudim

The chosen people have many biblical titles: Hebrews, children of Yaakov, and Israelites, to name a few. What is the origin of the branding ‘Jew’, in Hebrew Yehudi (יהודי)? The term is first employed as a specific ethnic title during the Babylonian exile, as can be seen in this verse and also in the books of Daniel and Esther. Historically, this name indicated an association with the tribe of Yehuda (יהודה), from which most of the Babylonian exiles descended. However, the name ultimately derives from the Hebrew root which means to ‘praise’ or ‘give thanks’, as it says “She [Leah] conceived again and bore a son, and declared, ‘This time I will praise Hashem.’ Therefore she named him Yehudah” (Genesis 29:35). The name thus highlights the inherent Jewish value of gratitude to God. The fact that this collective name was given in exile shows that sometimes one has to travel far away to discover who he really is.

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Ezra 4:12

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