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A national-ethnic and, subsequently, religious designation for the people of the Judean state or province living in the homeland or in the Dispersion. In the OT, the term is used only in (Zech 8:23) and in the books of Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther, and Daniel. It became common only after the Babylonian exile (586 BCE). In the NT it is frequently used to distinguish the descendants of Israel from proselytes, Samaritans, and Gentiles.