Heb. Goyim Gentiles were the whole world apart from "the land" (Israel). The goyim were the surrounding nations, foreigners as opposed to Israel (Neh 5:8). In the New Testament: (1) The Gk. ethnos in the singular means a people or nation (Mt 24:7; Acts 2:5), and even the Jewish people (Lk 7:5; 23:2). It is only in the plural that it is used for heathen (Gentiles). (2) Helle, lit., Greek (Jn 7:35; Rom 3:9). The KJV is not consistent in its treatment of this word, sometimes rendering it "Greek" (Acts 14:1; 17:4; Rom 1:16; 10:12), sometimes "Gentile" (2:9-10; 3:9; 1 Cor. 10:32). Gentile seems to have arisen from the almost universal adoption of the Gk. language. The Jews were the chosen people of God. They were in covenant with Yahweh. The Jews considered all others idolaters. In the time of Jesus the Jews unjustly felt contempt for all gentiles. The Lord made it clear that he placed Israel in the center of the world as a light to the whole world. They were the chosen people because they would give the Written Word of Yahweh to the world and ultimately bring forth the Living Word of Yahweh Jesus. But they rejected God's truth and rejected His Messiah. Therefore God has temporarily set aside the nation (throughout the church age) and will again arise on their behalf after a time of great tribulation (Jacob's trouble or testing) when they humble themselves before the risen LORD.