Who Are The Gentiles?

benjamites's picture

A SCRIPTUAL study into the meaning of the terms "Gentile" and "Israelite"

All scripture references by poster KJV. I am not opposed to other translations, but just my preference.

"A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of Thy people Israel" Luke 2:32

It is generally taught in the Christian churches of America, that the world is divided into three main religious groups - Jews, Gentiles and Christians. These religious groups teach that anyone who is not a Jew, must belong to one or the other of these remaining groups, and is either a Gentile or a Christian.

The modern definition of a "gentile" as given in Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary is: "relating to the nations at large, as distinguished from the Jews."

But here is something important we MUST know, if we are to understand the Bible. The word GENTILE is not used in any of the ancient manuscripts, simply because there was no such word in the Hebrew or Greek languages. The word GENTILE as used in our modern Bible versions, including the King James Version, in the Old Testament, always comes from the Hebrew word "goy," (singular) and "goyim", (plural). It is translated five different ways in the Old Testament, according to Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible; "goy or goyim (singular or plural)", a foreign NATION hence GENTILE; (2) HEATHEN; (3) NATION, and (4) PEOPLE, or ANOTHER."

Notice that the Hebrew word "goy, or goyim," is NEVER translated to mean "non-Jew."
The word "goy" is found in the Old Testament some 557x. 30x it has been translated GENTILE; 11x as people; 142x as heathen; 373x as NATION, and one time as ANOTHER. But not once as "non-Jew."

Let's examine a few specific verses of Scripture in the Old Testament, using the word GENTILE in place of the word NATION, as used by the translators. It should be remembered that the word "goy" or "goyim" was used in every instance in the original Hebrew.

Genesis 12:2 "I will make of thee (Abraham) a great GENTILE (nation.) Doesn't make much sense, does it?

Genesis 17:4,5 ". . . and thou (Abraham) shall be a father of many GENTILES (nations), neither shall thy name any more be called Abram; for a father of many GENTILES (nations) have I made thee."

Genesis 25:23 "And the Lord said to her (Rebekah the wife of Isaac, the son of Abraham) two GENTILES (nations) are in your womb, and two manner of people shall be separated from your bowels; the one people shall be stronger than the other people; and the elder shall serve the younger."

Genesis 48:19 ". . . And his seed (Abraham's descendants) shall become a multitude of GENTILES (nations)."

This kind of translation does not make much sense. But if you will look closely at your King James Version, you will find the translators used the Hebrew word "goy" as NATIONS in one place and as GENTILE in another. Could it be that they were influenced by the Church doctrine of their time, since the word GENTILE never appeared in earlier manuscripts? The King James Version, for instance was written because King James, disliked the footnotes of the Geneva Bible, which was the Bible of the Reformation fathers.

To be continued....

My disappointments in life are God's Divine appointments. Are they for you too?

"Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ. Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit."

Apostle Paul ~ Ephesians 3:4-5

ElderDad's picture

Changing emphasis and use

Simply put, the term is most literally "nation" or "nations" (when the plural is used). When Abraham was separated, God made of him a "goy" (nation). Later, the term "nations" was used to refer to the "other nations." Although the root meaning is the same, the use is different. This occurs frequently in any language. In the U.S., we have "one nation under God," but there is also an organization called the United Nations, or perhaps one would wish to speak of the Native American Nations. Interesting, one is larger, more comprehensive than the U.S., while the other is smaller, a subculture within the U.S.

Dave S.
Moderator, Volunteers for Proofreading
2 Tim. 3:16--All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable
for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.




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