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Hebrew is the original language of the Old Testament. Abraham, who was the founder of the Israelite nation, and who hailed from what is today southern Iraq, was the first person to be referred to as a Hebrew in the Bible. Pronounced ib-ree', the word Hebrew literally means "one from beyond". In turn, ib-ree' is derived from Eber, or Heber, which means "the region beyond". Eber was the son of Salah, and the great grandson of Shem, who was one of the three sons of Noah. Eber fathered Peleg and Joktan. Abraham was born hundreds of years later from the line of Peleg; thus he was a Shemite.

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