God's Chosen People, the Jews: Isn't God Unfair in Showing Such Preference?
by Rich Deem

Introduction

Is God Preferential?

The Old Testament states quite emphatically that the Jews are God's chosen people. Is it unfair for God to show partiality to one people group over all the others?

Rich Deem

The first book of the Bible, Genesis, says that God chose Abraham to make into a great nation.1 The descendants of Abraham, the Jews, would establish the nation of Israel to become a people of God's own possession.2 Doesn't this preferential treatment contradict the benevolent nature of God? How can God be perfect and preferential at the same time?

Chosen for what?

The common assumption of many skeptics is that God chose the Jews3 just to give them some sort of preferential treatment. In reality, the Bible says that the Jews were selected to be a blessing to all the nations of the world.1 In fact, the same passages that says that God chose the Jews also says that God does not show partiality and commands the Jews to love other peoples.4 The Old Testament indicates that the Jews were not prospered because of their righteousness, since they were "a stubborn people."5 However, the main way that the Jews were to be a blessing to all the peoples of the earth was that the Messiah was to be born through the line of David. Beginning with the third chapter of Genesis, the Old Testament tells how the Messiah was to come as the Savior of the world,6 These prophecies specifically state that the Messiah was to be God in human flesh,7 who would be the Son of God.8 The Messiah would establish the new covenant9 and would die as the ultimate sacrifice for the sins of all people.10

The "curse" of being chosen

Being chosen as the people through whom God would send the Messiah was no walk in the park for the Jews. God expected His chosen people to strictly follow His moral laws and not follow the evil ways of their neighbors.11 Because they failed to be faithful to God, the Jews were scattered among the nations,12 where they "profaned the name of the Lord."13 However, after their 70 year exile in Babylon,14 the God gathered the Jews back to Israel15 in preparation for the coming Messiah.

Does God show partiality?

Both the Old and New Testaments indicate that God does not show partiality among people, since He is the Creator of all.16 Because of this principle, the Jews were commanded to be impartial.17 Likewise, the New Testament commands its followers to love all people and not show partiality,18 especially when it comes to distinctions between the rich and the poor.19 So, from these commandments, it is pretty clear that God was not giving preferential treatment to the Jews in choosing them.

Conclusion Top of page

I have had a number of skeptics complain that it is unfair for God to choose the Jews as His people over all others. Although it would be unfair for God to show partiality to one people group, this is not what was meant when the Bible said that God chose the Jewish people. The Bible indicates that God chose the Jewish people as the people through whom He would send the Messiah. Being chosen did not always bring great blessings, since the Jews were held to a higher level of accountability, and were judged for their failures. The Bible makes it clear that God does not show partiality, since He created all people. He commands His people to behave likewise.

El Pueblo Escogido de Dios, los Judíos: ¿No es Dios Injusto al Mostrar tal Preferencia?



References Top of page

  1. And I will make you a great nation, And I will bless you, And make your name great; And so you shall be a blessing; And I will bless those who bless you, And the one who curses you I will curse. And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed." (Genesis 12:2-3)
  2. "For you are a holy people to the LORD your God; the LORD your God has chosen you to be a people for His own possession out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth. (Deuteronomy 7:6)
  3. Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD, The people whom He has chosen for His own inheritance. (Psalm 33:12)
    But chose the tribe of Judah, Mount Zion which He loved. And He built His sanctuary like the heights, Like the earth which He has founded forever. He also chose David His servant And took him from the sheepfolds; From the care of the ewes with suckling lambs He brought him To shepherd Jacob His people, And Israel His inheritance. So he shepherded them according to the integrity of his heart, And guided them with his skillful hands. (Psalm 78:68-72)
    "I have made a covenant with My chosen; I have sworn to David My servant, I will establish your seed forever And build up your throne to all generations." Selah. (Psalm 89:3-4)
    O seed of Abraham, His servant, O sons of Jacob, His chosen ones! (Psalm 105:6)
    For the LORD has chosen Jacob for Himself, Israel for His own possession. (Psalm 135:4)
    "But you, Israel, My servant, Jacob whom I have chosen, Descendant of Abraham My friend, You whom I have taken from the ends of the earth, And called from its remotest parts And said to you, 'You are My servant, I have chosen you and not rejected you." (Isaiah 41:9)
  4. "Yet on your fathers did the LORD set His affection to love them, and He chose their descendants after them, even you above all peoples, as it is this day. So circumcise your heart, and stiffen your neck no longer. For the LORD your God is the God of gods and the Lord of lords, the great, the mighty, and the awesome God who does not show partiality nor take a bribe. He executes justice for the orphan and the widow, and shows His love for the alien by giving him food and clothing. So show your love for the alien, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt." (Deuteronomy 10:19)
  5. "Know, then, it is not because of your righteousness that the LORD your God is giving you this good land to possess, for you are a stubborn people. (Deuteronomy 9:6)
  6. Old Testament prophecies of the coming Messiah:
    • And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, and you shall bruise him on the heel." (Genesis 3:15)
    • And I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse. And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed." (Genesis 12:3)
    • But God said, "No, but Sarah your wife shall bear you a son, and you shall call his name Isaac; and I will establish My covenant with him for an everlasting covenant for his descendants after him. (Genesis 17:19)
    • "I see him, but not now; I behold him, but not near; a star shall come forth from Jacob, and a scepter shall rise from Israel, and shall crush through the forehead of Moab, and tear down all the sons of Sheth. (Numbers 24:17)
    • "The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor the ruler's staff from between his feet, until Shiloh comes, and to him shall be the obedience of the peoples. (Genesis 49:10)
    • Then it will come about in that day that the nations will resort to the root of Jesse, Who will stand as a signal for the peoples; and His resting place will be glorious. (Isaiah 11:10)
    • "Behold, the days are coming," declares the LORD, "When I shall raise up for David a righteous Branch; and He will reign as king and act wisely and do justice and righteousness in the land. In His days Judah will be saved, and Israel will dwell securely; and this is His name by which He will be called, `The LORD our righteousness.'" (Jeremiah 23:5-6)
    • "And My servant David will be king over them, and they will all have one shepherd; and they will walk in My ordinances, and keep My statutes, and observe them." "They will live on the land that I gave to Jacob My servant, in which your fathers lived; and they will live on it, they, and their sons and their sons' sons, forever; and David My servant will be their prince forever." (Ezekiel 37:24-25)
    • There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness from then on and forevermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will accomplish this. (Isaiah 9:7)
    • "Behold, My Servant, whom I uphold; My chosen one in whom My soul delights. I have put My Spirit upon Him; He will bring forth justice to the nations. He will not cry out or raise His voice, Nor make His voice heard in the street. A bruised reed He will not break And a dimly burning wick He will not extinguish; He will faithfully bring forth justice. "He will not be disheartened or crushed Until He has established justice in the earth; And the coastlands will wait expectantly for His law." Thus says God the LORD, Who created the heavens and stretched them out, Who spread out the earth and its offspring, Who gives breath to the people on it And spirit to those who walk in it, "I am the LORD, I have called You in righteousness, I will also hold You by the hand and watch over You, And I will appoint You as a covenant to the people, As a light to the nations." (Isaiah 42:1-6)
    • Thy throne, O God, is forever and ever; A scepter of uprightness is the scepter of Thy kingdom. Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated wickedness; therefore God, Thy God, has anointed Thee with the oil of joy above Thy fellows. (Psalm 45:6-7)
    • "But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel. His goings forth are from long ago, from the days of eternity." (Micah 5:2)
    • "So you are to know and discern that from the issuing of a decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until Messiah the Prince there will be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks; it will be built again, with plaza and moat, even in times of distress. (Daniel 9:25)
    • "Therefore the LORD Himself will give you a sign: Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel. (Isaiah 7:14)
    • "And nations will come to your light, And kings to the brightness of your rising." (Isaiah 60:3)
    • When Israel was a youth I loved him, and out of Egypt I called My son. (Hosea 11:1)
    • A voice is calling, "Clear the way for the LORD in the wilderness; make smooth in the desert a highway for our God. Let every valley be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low; and let the rough ground become a plain, and the rugged terrain a broad valley; Then the glory of the LORD will be revealed, and all flesh will see it together; for the mouth of the LORD has spoken." (Isaiah 40:3-5)
    • "Behold, I am going to send My messenger, and he will clear the way before Me. And the LORD, whom you seek, will suddenly come to His temple; and the messenger of the covenant, in whom you delight, behold, He is coming," says the LORD of hosts. (Malachi 3:1)
    • "Behold, I am going to send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and terrible day of the LORD. And he will restore the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the land with a curse." (Malachi 4:5-6)
    • "I will surely tell of the decree of the LORD: He said to Me, `Thou art My Son, today I have begotten Thee.'" (Psalm 2:7)
    • Who has ascended into heaven and descended? Who has gathered the wind in His fists? Who has wrapped the waters in His garment? Who has established all the ends of the earth? What is His name or His son's name? Surely you know! (Proverbs 30:4)
    • But there will be no more gloom for her who was in anguish; in earlier times He treated the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali with contempt, but later on He shall make it glorious, by the way of the sea, on the other side of Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles. The people who walk in darkness will see a great light; those who live in a dark land, the light will shine on them. (Isaiah 9:1-2)
    • I will open my mouth in a parable; I will utter dark sayings of old, which we have heard and known, and our fathers have told us. We will not conceal them from their children, but tell to the generation to come the praises of the LORD, and His strength and His wondrous works that He has done. (Psalm 78:2-4)
    • "The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your countrymen, you shall listen to him." (Deuteronomy 18:15)
    • And on that day the deaf shall hear words of a book, and out of their gloom and darkness the eyes of the blind shall see. (Isaiah 29:18)
    • Then the eyes of the blind will be opened, And the ears of the deaf will be unstopped. Then the lame will leap like a deer, and the tongue of the dumb will shout for joy. For waters will break forth in the wilderness and streams in the Arabah. (Isaiah 35:5-6)
    • "He will not cry out or raise His voice, Nor make His voice heard in the street. "A bruised reed He will not break, And a dimly burning wick He will not extinguish; He will faithfully bring forth justice. (Isaiah 42:2-3)
    • He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He did not open His mouth; like a lamb that is led to slaughter, and like a sheep that is silent before its shearers, so He did not open His mouth. (Isaiah 53:7)
    • Listen to Me, O islands, and pay attention, you peoples from afar. The LORD called Me from the womb; from the body of My mother He named Me. (Isaiah 49:1)
    • The Spirit of the LORD God is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me to bring good news to the afflicted; He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to captives, and freedom to prisoners; to proclaim the favorable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn, (Isaiah 61:1-2)
    • Therefore, I will allot Him a portion with the great, And He will divide the booty with the strong; Because He poured out Himself to death, And was numbered with the transgressors; Yet He Himself bore the sin of many, And interceded for the transgressors. (Isaiah 53:12)
    • And He saw that there was no man, And was astonished that there was no one to intercede; Then His own arm brought salvation to Him; And His righteousness upheld Him. (Isaiah 59:16)
  7. A voice is calling, "Clear the way for the LORD in the wilderness; make smooth in the desert a highway for our God. Let every valley be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low; and let the rough ground become a plain, and the rugged terrain a broad valley; Then the glory of the LORD will be revealed, and all flesh will see it together; for the mouth of the LORD has spoken." (Isaiah 40:3-5)
    For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6)
    "Behold, the days are coming," declares the LORD, "When I shall raise up for David a righteous Branch; and He will reign as king and act wisely and do justice and righteousness in the land. In His days Judah will be saved, and Israel will dwell securely; and this is His name by which He will be called, `The LORD our righteousness.'" (Jeremiah 23:5-6)
    Thy throne, O God, is forever and ever; A scepter of uprightness is the scepter of Thy kingdom. Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated wickedness; therefore God, Thy God, has anointed Thee with the oil of joy above Thy fellows. (Psalm 45:6-7)
    The LORD says to my Lord: "Sit at My right hand, until I make Thine enemies a footstool for Thy feet." (Psalm 110:1)
    "But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel. His goings forth are from long ago, from the days of eternity." (Micah 5:2)
  8. "I will surely tell of the decree of the LORD: He said to Me, `Thou art My Son, today I have begotten Thee.'" (Psalm 2:7)
    Who has ascended into heaven and descended? Who has gathered the wind in His fists? Who has wrapped the waters in His garment? Who has established all the ends of the earth? What is His name or His son's name? Surely you know! (Proverbs 30:4)
  9. "Incline your ear and come to Me. Listen, that you may live; And I will make an everlasting covenant with you, According to the faithful mercies shown to David. Behold, I have made him a witness to the peoples, a leader and commander for the peoples. (Isaiah 55:3-4)
    Behold, days are coming," declares the LORD, "when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah,...But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days," declares the LORD, "I will put My law within them, and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. (Jeremiah 31:31)
  10. But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, and by His scourging we are healed. (Isaiah 53:5)
    Therefore, I will allot Him a portion with the great, And He will divide the booty with the strong; Because He poured out Himself to death, And was numbered with the transgressors; Yet He Himself bore the sin of many, And interceded for the transgressors. (Isaiah 53:12)
    And He saw that there was no man, And was astonished that there was no one to intercede; Then His own arm brought salvation to Him; And His righteousness upheld Him. (Isaiah 59:16)
    "And I will pour out on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Spirit of grace and of supplication, so that they will look on Me whom they have pierced; and they will mourn for Him, as one mourns for an only son, and they will weep bitterly over Him, like the bitter weeping over a first-born. (Zechariah 12:10)
    For dogs have surrounded me; A band of evildoers has encompassed me; They pierced my hands and my feet. (Psalm 22:16)
  11. "Do not say in your heart when the LORD your God has driven them out before you, 'Because of my righteousness the LORD has brought me in to possess this land,' but it is because of the wickedness of these nations that the LORD is dispossessing them before you. (Deuteronomy 9:4)
    "You shall not behave thus toward the LORD your God, for every abominable act which the LORD hates they have done for their gods; for they even burn their sons and daughters in the fire to their gods. (Deuteronomy 12:31)
    But he walked in the way of the kings of Israel, and even made his son pass through the fire, according to the abominations of the nations whom the LORD had driven out from before the sons of Israel. (2 Kings 16:3)
    Moreover, he burned incense in the valley of Ben-hinnom and burned his sons in fire, according to the abominations of the nations whom the LORD had driven out before the sons of Israel. (2 Chronicles 28:3)
  12. "The LORD will scatter you among the peoples, and you will be left few in number among the nations where the LORD drives you. (Deuteronomy 4:27)
    "Moreover, the LORD will scatter you among all peoples, from one end of the earth to the other end of the earth; and there you shall serve other gods, wood and stone, which you or your fathers have not known. (Deuteronomy 28:64)
    "The LORD will bring you back to Egypt in ships, by the way about which I spoke to you, 'You will never see it again!' And there you will offer yourselves for sale to your enemies as male and female slaves, but there will be no buyer." (Deuteronomy 28:68)
    "Also I scattered them among the nations and they were dispersed throughout the lands. According to their ways and their deeds I judged them. (Ezekiel 36:19)
  13. "When they came to the nations where they went, they profaned My holy name, because it was said of them, 'These are the people of the LORD; yet they have come out of His land.' "But I had concern for My holy name, which the house of Israel had profaned among the nations where they went. "Therefore say to the house of Israel, 'Thus says the Lord GOD, "It is not for your sake, O house of Israel, that I am about to act, but for My holy name, which you have profaned among the nations where you went. "I will vindicate the holiness of My great name which has been profaned among the nations, which you have profaned in their midst. Then the nations will know that I am the LORD," declares the Lord GOD, "when I prove Myself holy among you in their sight. "For I will take you from the nations, gather you from all the lands and bring you into your own land. "Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols. "Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. (Ezekiel 36:20-26)
  14. 'This whole land will be a desolation and a horror, and these nations will serve the king of Babylon seventy years. (Jeremiah 25:11)
  15. then the LORD your God will restore you from captivity, and have compassion on you, and will gather you again from all the peoples where the LORD your God has scattered you. If your outcasts are at the ends of the earth, from there the LORD your God will gather you, and from there He will bring you back. The LORD your God will bring you into the land which your fathers possessed, and you shall possess it; and He will prosper you and multiply you more than your fathers. (Deuteronomy 30:3-5)
    Hear the word of the LORD, O nations, And declare in the coastlands afar off, And say, "He who scattered Israel will gather him And keep him as a shepherd keeps his flock." (Jeremiah 31:10)
    "Therefore say, 'Thus says the Lord GOD, "I will gather you from the peoples and assemble you out of the countries among which you have been scattered, and I will give you the land of Israel."' (Ezekiel 11:17)
    'Thus says the Lord GOD, "When I gather the house of Israel from the peoples among whom they are scattered, and will manifest My holiness in them in the sight of the nations, then they will live in their land which I gave to My servant Jacob. (Ezekiel 28:25)
  16. "For the LORD your God is the God of gods and the Lord of lords, the great, the mighty, and the awesome God who does not show partiality nor take a bribe." (Deuteronomy 10:17)
    "Shall one who hates justice rule? And will you condemn the righteous mighty One, Who says to a king, 'Worthless one,' To nobles, 'Wicked ones'; Who shows no partiality to princes Nor regards the rich above the poor, For they all are the work of His hands? (Job 34:17-19)
    Opening his mouth, Peter said: "I most certainly understand now that God is not one to show partiality, (Acts 10:34)
    but glory and honor and peace to everyone who does good, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For there is no partiality with God. (Romans 2:10-11)
    And masters, do the same things to them, and give up threatening, knowing that both their Master and yours is in heaven, and there is no partiality with Him. (Ephesians 6:9)
    knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve. For he who does wrong will receive the consequences of the wrong which he has done, and that without partiality. (Colossians 3:24-25)
  17. "So I also have made you despised and abased before all the people, just as you are not keeping My ways but are showing partiality in the instruction. "Do we not all have one father? Has not one God created us? Why do we deal treacherously each against his brother so as to profane the covenant of our fathers? (Malachi 2:9-10)
    "Now then let the fear of the LORD be upon you; be very careful what you do, for the LORD our God will have no part in unrighteousness or partiality or the taking of a bribe." (2 Chronicles 19:7)
  18. If, however, you are fulfilling the royal law according to the Scripture, "YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF," you are doing well. But if you show partiality, you are committing sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors. (James 2:8-9)
  19. My brethren, do not hold your faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ with an attitude of personal favoritism. For if a man comes into your assembly with a gold ring and dressed in fine clothes, and there also comes in a poor man in dirty clothes, and you pay special attention to the one who is wearing the fine clothes, and say, "You sit here in a good place," and you say to the poor man, "You stand over there, or sit down by my footstool," have you not made distinctions among yourselves, and become judges with evil motives? (James 2:1-4)

http://godandscience.org/apologetics/gods_chosen_people.html
Last Modified December 14, 2007

 

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