What does it mean that the Jewish people are God’s Chosen people?
Without argument, the Jewish people have been the most persecuted ethnic and religious group throughout history. No people group has suffered more attempts at genocide than the Jews (52 according to Yad Vashem). Both Pharaoh and Herod murdered Jewish babies, the invading Roman armies in 70 CE killed around 1,000,000 Jews, and Hitler succeeded in gassing six million. Most people have never heard of Bohdan Khmelnitsky, but he was the Ukrainian nationalist who led an uprising in the 1600s, killing some 300,000 Jewish people, often in the most barbaric way.
Why the Jews?
There are many reasons why the Jews have been persecuted so greatly. Historians, who tend to not look in the spirit realm for answers, fail to see the most basic reason. Because God chose Israel, Satan opposes Israel. There can be no doubt to the Bible believer that this is a diabolical plot against God from his arch enemy.
But if we are going to give a more rational reason for this constant and brutal persecution, it is because the Jewish people claim to be God’s chosen people. Over the centuries, that has not always been received very well by those who interpreted that as them not being chosen. Who were these arrogant Jews to think that God chose them and not us? And not just that, until Christianity became the dominant world religion, the Jews were mocked and persecuted for spreading the idea that there was only one God. The rest of humanity believed in a plethora of gods that needed to be appeased.
What does it mean to be chosen?
However, the idea of being chosen has nothing to do with superiority. It has nothing to do with racial supremacy. When God chose Israel, it was not an exclusive choice. In fact, it was quite the opposite. God’s deep desire in choosing Israel was to use Israel to reach the rest of the world. That’s why twice in Isaiah, God refers to Israel as “a light to the nations” (Is. 42:6, 49:6) and even says, “It is too small a thing for you to be my servant, to restore the tribes of Jacob and bring back those of Israel I have kept.” Instead, God says His plan is for “my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.” God’s plan has always been to use Israel as a servant nation to reach the world.
You can see this in Psalm 67, where the psalmist asks that God’s “face” would “shine on [Israel]” (v. 1). Why? “So that your ways may be known on earth, your salvation among all nations (v. 2).
Jewish chosenness has always meant that Jews have believed themselves to be chosen by God to spread ethical monotheism to the world and to live as a moral “light unto the nations” (Isaiah 49:6). All other meanings imputed to Jewish chosenness are not Jewish. The Hebrew Bible, where the concept originates, neither states nor implies that chosenness means Jewish superiority or privilege. The Bible repeatedly declares that the Jews were not chosen because of any intrinsically positive qualities.
No Cover Up
God did not choose Israel because they were bigger and better: “The Lord did not set his affection on you and choose you because you were more numerous than other peoples, for you were the fewest of all peoples.” If Jewish chosenness meant superiority, then why does the Bible reveal the worst narratives about Israel? Surely the Jewish writers would have covered up David’s adultery, Israel’s rebellion against God, and the wickedness of most of the kings. The Hebrew Bible honors Gentiles like Rahab, Ruth, and the daughter of Pharaoh, who saves Moses.
Israel was chosen to spread ethical monotheism in the world, which can be summed up in the 10 Commandments. And ultimately to proliferate the Yeshua’s message of the Kingdom of God to the nations. There is a reason that Jesus was born in the nation of Israel. This was the nation called to be a priestly nation to the whole world (Ex. 19:5-6). Paul understands the calling to be a light to the nations as something that he and his fellow apostles are tasked to do (Acts 13:47). It was the Jewish apostles that spread the message of Yeshua to the ends of the earth, as they were commanded (Acts 1:8).
God versus the gods
But there is not even a hint of racial or ethnic superiority in the Hebrew Bible. The superiority is in God. It is in the belief in understanding that there is only one Maker of heaven and earth and the values He reveals to His people. While the pagans never knew exactly how to appease their gods, who were often quite whimsical in their desires—the God of the Hebrews was very clear about who He was and what He expected.
In the ancient Near East, gods were not known for their consistency. Worshipers were left to guess what might please their God or displease him, and this could change from day to day. That doubt and uncertainty led to constant confusion, and one could only guess whether he or she was in favor or out of favor by evaluating one’s daily fortune.
The pagan gods were not concerned with the morality of humans, but Yahweh demanded justice, humility, and mercy (Zech. 7:9). He expected faithfulness in marriage and truthfulness in our relationships (Ex. 20:14, 16).
Aryanism and Judaism
The chosenness of Israel had nothing to do with their blood being of a purer quality. In most racist movements, such as the Aryanism of the Nazis, a pure bloodline is desired if not demanded. Hitler was tormented by the idea that his grandfather might have been Jewish because that would have tainted his blood. He wrote: “Alone the loss of purity of the blood destroys the inner happiness forever; it eternally lowers man, and never again can its consequence be removed from body and mind.” The Gestapo, at Hitler’s request, investigated and concluded that his grandfather was not Jewish.
But being Jewish, though it is an ethnicity going back to Abraham, is rooted in what you believe, not your genes. The focus of the Hebrew Bible is not on a superior race or ethnicity but on the belief in the God of Israel and his values. The Aryan felt he was chosen to populate the earth with a perfect race. The Jew is called to populate the earth with the belief in the one true God.
 Prager, Dennis; Telushkin, Joseph. Why the Jews?: The Reason for Antisemitism (p. 40). Touchstone. Kindle Edition.  Hill, Andrew E.; Walton, John H.. A Survey of the Old Testament (p. 175). Zondervan Academic. Kindle Edition.  Crowe, David M.. The Holocaust (p. 81). Taylor and Francis. Kindle Edition.