I think the major differences between execute, executeQuery, executeUpdate are:
Statement execute(String query) is used to execute any SQL query and it returns TRUE if the result is an ResultSet such as running Select queries. The output is FALSE when there is no ResultSet object such as running Insert or Update queries. We can use getResultSet() to get the ResultSet and getUpdateCount() method to retrieve the update count.
Statement executeQuery(String query) is used to execute Select queries and returns the ResultSet. ResultSet returned is never null even if there are no records matching the query. When executing select queries we should use executeQuery method so that if someone tries to execute insert/update statement it will throw java.sql.SQLException with message “executeQuery method can not be used for update”.
Statement executeUpdate(String query) is used to execute Insert/Update/Delete (DML) statements or DDL statements that returns nothing. The output is int and equals to the row count for SQL Data Manipulation Language (DML) statements. For DDL statements, the output is 0.