Way before we called the people of Israel “Jews” (which happened long after the Babylonian exile was over), the Bible called them “Hebrews”.
The very first “Hebrew” was Abraham – the father of all monotheistic believers. But what does “Hebrew” actually mean in the Hebrew language? What characterized Abraham as such?
The word Hebrew comes from the verb לַעֲבור-La’avor, which means “to cross over.” On the one hand, Abraham crossed over from Mesopotamia (Modern Iraq) into Canaan, which is modern-day Israel. On the other hand, he crossed over from the world of idol worship that was familiar to him and his family to a new realm, one in which one true God was worshiped instead. In both senses Abraham became forever an עִבְרִי-‘ivri (a Hebrew) – one who has crossed over.
To cross over into the land of Biblical Hebrew, please, click HERE.