1. Exposition

When did the term "Jews" become a common reference to the people of Israel?

Ezra 4:12 (ESV)

12 be it known to the king that the Jews who came up from you to us have gone to Jerusalem. They are rebuilding that rebellious and wicked city. They are finishing the walls and repairing the foundations.

The term Jews became the common name of the people of Israel after the exiles to Assyria and Babylon (Nehemiah 1:2; Esther 2:5; Daniel 3:8). This was because the returning exiles belonged chiefly to the tribes of Judah and Benjamin. Some commentators suggest that the Jews mentioned in this verse are those who came to Jerusalem with Ezra and that the work of rebuilding the walls thus began in the time of Ezra the scribe.