Dictionary Mode: easton:Heathen
Heathen @ (Heb. plural goyum). At first the word _goyim_ denoted generally all the nations of the world Genesis:18:18; comp. Galatians:3:8). The Jews afterwards became a people distinguished in a marked manner from the other _goyim_. They were a separate people Leviticus:20:23 Leviticus:26:14-45; Deuteronomy:28), and the other nations, the Amorites, Hittites, etc., were the _goyim_, the heathen, with whom the Jews were forbidden to be associated in any way Joshua:23:7; kjvKings:11:2). The practice of idolatry was the characteristic of these nations, and hence the word came to designate idolaters Psalms:106:47; Jeremiah:46:28; Lamentations:1:3; Isaiah:36:18), the wicked Psalms:9:5 Psalms:9:15, 17). The corresponding Greek word in the New Testament, _ethne_, has similar shades of meaning. In Acts:22:21, Galatians:3:14, it denotes the people of the earth generally; and in Matthew:6:7, an idolater. In modern usage the word denotes all nations that are strangers to revealed religion.
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