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The Kingdom of Judah is described as comprising the Tribe of Judah, the Tribe of Benjamin, and partially the Tribe of Levi, and later adding other tribes who migrated there from the Kingdom of Israel.

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Genesis and 49:8 connect the name "Judah" with the verb yada, meaning "praise", but scholars generally agree that the name of both the patriarch and the kingdom instead have a geographic origin—possibly referring to the gorges and ravines of the region.‎ Yidn).

The etymological equivalent is in use in other languages, e.g., يَهُودِيّ yahūdī (sg.), al-yahūd (pl.), in Arabic, "Jude" in German, "judeu" in Portuguese, "Juif" (m.)/"Juive" (f.) in French, "jøde" in Danish and Norwegian, "judío/a" in Spanish, "jood" in Dutch, "żyd" in Polish etc., but derivations of the word "Hebrew" are also in use to describe a Jew, e.g., in Italian (Ebreo), in Persian ("Ebri/Ebrani" (Persian: It is widely recognized that the attributive use of the noun Jew, in phrases such as Jew lawyer or Jew ethics, is both vulgar and highly offensive.

Interpretations of sections of the Tanakh, such as Deuteronomy 7:1–5, by Jewish sages, are used as a warning against intermarriage between Jews and Canaanites because "[the non-Jewish husband] will cause your child to turn away from Me and they will worship the gods (i.e., idols) of others." A popular theory is that the rape of Jewish women in captivity brought about the law of Jewish identity being inherited through the maternal line, although scholars challenge this theory citing the Talmudic establishment of the law from the pre-exile period. He brings two likely explanations for the change in Mishnaic times: first, the Mishnah may have been applying the same logic to mixed marriages as it had applied to other mixtures (Kil'ayim).

Thus, a mixed marriage is forbidden as is the union of a horse and a donkey, and in both unions the offspring are judged matrilineally.

In such contexts Jewish is the only acceptable possibility.

Some people, however, have become so wary of this construction that they have extended the stigma to any use of Jew as a noun, a practice that carries risks of its own.

The modern State of Israel is the only country where Jews form a majority of the population.

It defines itself as a Jewish and democratic state in its Basic Laws, Human Dignity and Liberty in particular.

a book in the Ketuvim, the third section of the Jewish Tanakh.

In 587 BCE Nebuchadnezzar II, King of the Neo-Babylonian Empire, besieged Jerusalem, destroyed the First Temple, and deported the most prominent citizens of Judah.

Historical definitions of Jewish identity have traditionally been based on halakhic definitions of matrilineal descent, and halakhic conversions.