The Biblical figure Abraham was the patriarch of the Israelites. His grandson Jacob became prosperous and ruled over a portion of Canaan territory around 1800 B.C.E. The name of the God of the Israelites was "El Shaddai" or "El". Jacob renamed himself "strength with God", which in ancient Hebrew is "isra-El". It must be understood that Jacob is the same person as Israel, which was possibly what he wished to convey all those years ago, a oneness with God and the land. To this day, millions of people have the first name and surname of Jacob, which might be testament to the man so long ago that with gratitude to God and the land named himself Israel.
Suellen Ocean is the author of Secret Genealogy a how-to for tracing ancient Jewish ancestry and Secret Genealogy II, Uncovering the Jewish Roots of Our Christian Ancestors, both available at Amazon, B&N and Ocean-Hose.