Bible Answer

Is Lot really a Gentile?

My husband and I are studying Genesis Lesson 19D. We were surprised to hear that Lot was a Gentile. How is that?

Indeed, Lot was not a Jew. In fact, not even Abraham was a Jew. Scripture tells us that the first Jew was Isaac. 

The Jewish people came to be as a result of a promise the Lord made to Abraham:

Gen. 12:1  Now the Lord said to Abram, 
    “Go forth from your country, 
    And from your relatives 
    And from your father’s house, 
    To the land which I will show you;
Gen. 12:2  And I will make you a great nation, 
    And I will bless you, 
    And make your name great; 
    And so you shall be a blessing;
Gen. 12:3  And I will bless those who bless you, 
    And the one who curses you I will curse. 
    And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed.”

God promised Abraham a posterity of a “nation” of people. That nation will be the Jewish people who come forth from Abraham. God elaborates on this plan later in Genesis 15:

Gen. 15:2 Abram said, “O Lord God, what will You give me, since I am childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?”
Gen. 15:3 And Abram said, “Since You have given no offspring to me, one born in my house is my heir.”
Gen. 15:4 Then behold, the word of the Lord came to him, saying, “This man will not be your heir; but one who will come forth from your own body, he shall be your heir.”
Gen. 15:5 And He took him outside and said, “Now look toward the heavens, and count the stars, if you are able to count them.” And He said to him, “So shall your descendants be.”

The Lord explained further to Abraham that this new nation would begin as a single child who would come forth from his own body. This child would be the first among a nation of people. God names this first child Isaac:

Gen. 17:6 “I will make you exceedingly fruitful, and I will make nations of you, and kings will come forth from you.
Gen. 17:7 “I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your descendants after you.
Gen. 17:15  Then God said to Abraham, “As for Sarai your wife, you shall not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall be her name.
Gen. 17:16 “I will bless her, and indeed I will give you a son by her. Then I will bless her, and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of peoples will come from her.”
Gen. 17:18 And Abraham said to God, “Oh that Ishmael might live before You!”
Gen. 17:19 But God said, “No, but Sarah your wife will bear you a son, and you shall call his name Isaac; and I will establish My covenant with him for an everlasting covenant for his descendants after him.

So the first member of this new nation of people created by God is Isaac. Over time, history assigned the name “Jew” to this nation (from the name of the tribe Judah), and therefore the first Jew to live was Isaac. No man prior to Isaac was called Jew.