Tag Archives: Israel

Bible Term: Israel

In the Bible, Israel refers to a person, a people, a nation, and a place.

The person Israel (originally called Jacob, Genesis 32:28) was Abraham’s grandson (Isaac’s son) .

Jacob/Israel had twelve sons, which eventually became the twelve tribes of Israel (Matthew 19:28), the people of Israel, and later the nation of Israel. In the Bible, they were called the Israelites; nowadays, they are called Israelis.

The land in which they eventually settled was also called Israel.

Three People Given a New Name by God

In the book of Genesis, God gives new names to three people.

In doing so, God is effectively saying, I’m giving you a new identity. You may see yourself according to your old name, but I see you differently. I’m giving you a new name and a new future.

Abram becomes Abraham
Sarai becomes Sarah
Jacob becomes Israel

The Amplified Bible tells us the meaning for five of these names:

Abram means “high, exalted father,” whereas Abraham means “father of a multitude” (Genesis 17:5).

The meaning of Sarai is not given, but Sarah means “Princess” (Genesis 17:15).

Jacob means “supplanter” (one who usurps or replaces another), whereas Israel means “contender with God” (Genesis 32:28).

Would you like God to give you a new name? Just ask.