Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament 
An Israelite was one who belonged to the nation of Israel, regarded, more especially from the print of view of the nation, as the recipient of Divine favour and special privilege. An Israelite is a member of a chosen people and as such is the sharer of the blessings belonging to that people. It is a name of honour, and is to be distinguished from both ‘Hebrew’ and ‘Jew,’ the former being, at least in NT times, a Jew with purely national sympathies, who spoke the native Hebrew or Aramaic dialect of Palestine; while the Jew was one who belonged to the ancient race wherever he might be settled and whatever his views. Every Jew, however, regarded himself as a true Israelite, and prided himself on the privileges which he, as a member of the favoured nation, had received when other nations had been passed by. The Apostle Paul refers to these privileges when he describes his ‘kinsmen according to the flesh’ as Israelites ‘whose is the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises’ ( Romans 9:4). He knows the way in which the Jew boasts of them, and claims that he can share in that boasting as well as any of his detractors. ‘Are they Israelites?-so am I. Are they the seed of Abraham?-so am I’ ( 2 Corinthians 11:22). This feeling of exclusive national privilege led in many cases to the rejection of the gospel by the Jews, who did not wish their privileges to be extended to the heathen world. This rejection of his message by those who wore Israelites by birth caused the Apostle to conceive of a true or spiritual Israelite as equivalent to a believer in Jesus Christ-one after the type of Nathanael of John 1:47, an Israelite indeed in whom is no guile (cf. articleIsrael). The Apostle applies the term in its natural sense to himself in Romans 11:1, ‘I also am an Israelite,’ in order to show that all the members of the race have not been rejected by God, but that there is a remnant according to the election of grace-Israelites who are Israelites indeed, not merely by outward physical connexion, but also by moral and spiritual characteristics.
W. F. Boyd.
Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible 
ISRAELITE ( John 1:47 ). This is the only instance of the use of the word ‘Israelite’ in the Gospels. It has the particular significance, suggested by the story of Jacob in Genesis 32:28; Genesis 35:10 , of one belonging to the Jewish race, with special reference to the privileges conferred by God on His people: ‘whose is the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the temple service, and the promises’ ( Romans 9:4 ). Its use (as distinct from ‘Jew’ and ‘Hebrew’) became closely associated with belief in the Messianic hope (cf. John 1:45 ), and the expression ‘Israelite indeed,’ addressed to Nathanael, breathes that sense of tragedy so apparent in the Fourth Gospel, inasmuch as those who were specially ‘His own’ received Him not. We may compare the attitude of ‘the Jews,’ in ch. 6, who blindly claimed race privileges, and yet were enemies of Christ, and who cherished the very prejudice that Nathanael overcame (cf. John 1:46 with John 6:42 , where the objection in both cases is to the commonplace origin of Jesus), when he readily responded to Philip’s invitation, ‘Come and see.’ It is in this sense that Nathanael is ‘without guile.’ He does not allow his devout sense of privilege to destroy openness of heart towards the claim of Jesus of Nazareth. His action shows that he is sincere, frank, and without sinister aim (cf. 2 Corinthians 12:16 , 1 Thessalonians 2:3 ). To Jesus, therefore, he is an object of surprise.
R. H. Strachan.
Webster's Dictionary 
(n.) A descendant of Israel, or Jacob; a Hebrew; a Jew.
King James Dictionary 
IS'RAELITE, n. A descendant of Israel or Jacob a Jew.
Fausset's Bible Dictionary 
(See Israel .).
Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature 
(Heb.Yisreeli', יַשְׂרְאֵלַי , 2 Samuel 17:25; once [ Numbers 25:14 -] אַישׁ יַשְׂרָאֵל , Man Of Israel, i.e. male Israelite; fem. יַשְׂרְאֵלַית , "Israelitish woman," Leviticus 24:10; Sept. and New Test. Ι᾿Σραηλίτης ), a descendant of Jacob, and therefore a member of the chosen nation, for which, however, the simple name ISRAEL (See Israel) (q.v.) is oftener employed in a collective sense, but with various degrees of extension at different times:
(1.) The twelve tribes descended from Jacob's sons, called "Israel" already in Egypt ( Exodus 3:16), and so throughout the Pentateuch and in the books of Joshua, Judges, Samuel, and Kings, often with the explicit addition "All" Israel.
(2.) The larger portion, or ten northern tribes, after the death of Saul (2 Samuel 2, 9, 10, 17, 28), a distinction that prevailed even under David ( 2 Samuel 19:40).
(3.) More definitely the schismatical portion of the nation (consisting of all the tribes but Judah [including Simeon] and Benjamin), which established a separate monarchy at Samaria after the death of Solomon ( 1 Kings 12:19). Seldom does the legitimate kingdom of Judah appear in the sacred narrative under this appellation ( 2 Chronicles 12:1; 2 Chronicles 15:17).
(4.) After the Exile, the two branches of the nation became again blended, both having been carried away to the same or neighboring regions, and are therefore designated by the ancient title without distinction in Ezra, Nehemiah, and 1 Maccabees. Gradually, however, the name "Jews" ‘ (q.v.) supplanted this appellation, especially among foreigners. (5.) In the New Test. the term "Israel" or "Israelite" is used of the true theocracy or spiritual people ( 2 Corinthians 11:22). (See Hebrew).
- ↑ Israelite from Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament
- ↑ Israelite from Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible
- ↑ Israelite from Webster's Dictionary
- ↑ Israelite from King James Dictionary
- ↑ Israelite from Fausset's Bible Dictionary
- ↑ Israelite from Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature