Hebrews. First of all, who are the Hebrews? They are descendants of Eber (Gn 10:21-25). Eber was a descendent of Shem (Shem → Arphaxad → Shelah → Eber). Remember, Shem was one of three sons of Noah (the other two being Japheth and Ham) who survived the flood. Eber had two sons: Peleg and Joktan. We later learn that Abraham was a descendent of Peleg and was known as a Hebrew (Gn 14:13). It is likely that Job was one of these descendants (Jobab, Gn 10:29). All of the sons of Eber were Hebrews. So, what about Joktan’s descendants?
It seems that ever since Noah and his sons exited the ark on Mt. Ararat (today in modern Turkey), they began to migrate and settle eastward as their population began to grow. We know that the descendants of Peleg settled in the area today known as Iran since this is the area from which Abraham came (i.e., city of Ur in southern Mesopotamia; Gn 11:27-30). However, it seems that those of Joktan continued to move eastward (Gn 10:30). Therefore, some have proposed that the Joktan Hebrews are the ancient descendants of the Orient. We know that after God caused the people to possess different languages due to the sin of Nimrod building the tower of Babel in the plain of Shinar (later known as Babylon), these other descendants of Noah then began to scatter to other parts of the world. The descendants of Ham went west and also south into Africa, the descendants of Japheth went toward the north and west into Europe and the descendants of Shem remained in the general geographic region. Therefore, this could be why most of the world has a common language ancestry and not tied to the oriental languages as the descendants of Joktan would likely not have been affected since they were not disobedient to God’s message to spread throughout the world (Gn 9:1). This would then imply that most of those in the Middle East and Orient are common in that they are all of Hebrew descent. That would also explain why Abraham was noted as a Hebrew after he entered the land of Canaan. Most of the indigenous people of that geography were descendants of Ham and not of Shem (Eber was the largest group of descendants of Shem).
Jews. The term Jew is an abbreviated form of Judah, one of the tribes of Israel and the name of the Southern Kingdom as mentioned earlier. There were some of its kings that were considered righteous but others were considered wicked and their wickedness was the main reason for Judah also being taken into captivity, but this time by Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. However, when Babylon was captured by the Medes and Persians, King Cyrus allowed the Jews to return and rebuild Jerusalem (Er 1:1-2). From that time to 70 AD, Jerusalem, its temple and the land was re-established. After the Romans destroyed its temple in 70 AD, the nation went through many conquests and the people displaced. Even today there are more Jews outside Israel and in Israel. It was not until 1948 that the nation was re-established and recognized. Therefore, most of Israel today is composed of Jews but those with an Armenian connection are likely of Israelite descent. Although many today may not be able to trace their ancestry to a specific tribe, it may be that all are represented in some form.
Fall Jewish Holidays - Part 1: Rosh Hashanah