The usage of the OT does not make it clear whether the Hebrews are regarded as an ethnic group. The description is rare. But they are distinguished from Egyptians (Exod. 2: 11) and identical with ‘Israelites’ (Exod. 5: 1, 3). The Philistines who are alarmed by ‘Hebrews coming out of their holes’ (1 Sam. 14: 11) are referring contemptuously to Israelites. There were rules about releasing slaves who were Hebrews (Israelites), reiterated by Jeremiah (Jer. 34: 9, 14), some of whom were ‘neighbours and friends’ (34: 17) of their owners. Jonah pronounces himself a Hebrew (Jonah 1: 9) who worships Yahweh. As late as the Maccabean period, Jews are distinguished from foreigners as ‘Hebrews’ (2 Macc. 11: 13) and in the NT those Jews who retained the use of Hebrew and Aramaic rather than speaking Greek are called Hebrews (Acts 6: 1; Phil 3: 5). Generally, however, from and after the Exile, the people of Judah and Judaea are known as ‘Jews’.