The Gentiles are the Non-Jews, a name given by the Hebrews to all those who had not received the law of Moses. Within Palestine itself some areas apparently were so Gentile in population as to be out-of-bounds for stricter Jews. When Jesus, sending his disciples on their first mission, said 'Go nowhere among the Gentiles, and enter no town of the Samaritans,' the implication recognized Gentile districts in Palestine-Tiberias and Techeae; for example, cities on the Sea of Galilee, Scythopolis south of the Sea, and Sepphoris just north of Nazareth. Galilee was thus surrounded by Hellenistic influence. Foreigners who embraced Judaism were called proselytes.

Hebrew Goyim signified the nations, the surrounding nations, foreigners, as opposed to Israel. A Goy was a foreign nation; hence a Gentile. The distinction between Israel and other nations, as was shown in the covenant with Abraham, was to be only for a time; and believing Gentiles in no age were excluded. The Jews were hedged in by a multitude of special institutions and taught to consider a nonobservance of these customs as uncleanness. Blinded by an intense national pride, the Jews seemed often to regard the gentile heathen as only existing for the purpose of punishing the apostasy of Judea.

Through the superabundance of the grace of Jesus, the Gentiles are now called to faith. The Jews now as a group are too proud of their privileges to acknowledge Jesus Christ as their Messiah and redeemer. In Paul the Gentiles are usually called Greeks and he is called the apostle to the Gentiles, whereas Peter, etc. preached primarily to the Jews and are called apostles to the circumcision.
[315, 380, BD]

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