🔼The name Goiim: Summary
- From the noun גוי (goy), people or nation.
🔼The name Goiim in the Bible
It's not wholly clear whether Goiim (or Goyim), meaning nations (see below) is supposed to be a name or rather part of the narrative. The Septuagint, Vulgate and King James versions treated Goiim as part of the narrative but younger versions of the English Bible tend to go with Goiim as proper name.
We hear first of the name Goiim, if indeed it is one, at the onset of the War of Four Against Five kings, in which king Tidal of Goiim and three royal colleagues of certain established Mesopotamian kingdoms went to war with five Canaanite rivals (Genesis 14:1). Where exactly this king Tidal held his sway is no longer known. It might have been a place that sounded to the Hebrews as Goiim (nations) but it's also possible that Tidal himself represented a smaller sub-alliance of clans, which joined the larger alliance as one.
Something similar appears in the defeated-kings list of Joshua 12 in which the author gloats over the demise of an unnamed king of Goiim in Gilgal (Joshua 12:23). Again, this Goiim may have been an otherwise unmentioned city in Gilgal (east of the Salt Sea) but it may also have been a reference to a freshly established (pre-named) alliance of local tribes and clans.
Likewise, general Sisera of Harosheth-hagoyim (that is: Harosheth "of the nations") may in fact have been the kind of military figure that emerges naturally from the joining of forces of various otherwise unrelated nations (Judges 4:2) although the usages of this name in Judges 4:13 and 4:16 seem to suggest that this name was indeed associated with a specific geographical location.
🔼Etymology of the name Goiim
The name Goiim is a regular plural form of the masculine noun גוי (goy) meaning people or nation:
It's unclear what the unused verb גוה (gwh) may have meant but it obviously had to do with corporeity. Noun גו (gaw) means middle or back; that part of the body around which the whole of it is formed. Noun גויה (gewiya) denotes the whole body of an individual, and the important noun גוי (goy) denotes the body of a social being: a people, tribe or nation.
There are no two ways about it: the name Goiim means Nations and denotes the physical presence of separate peoples including Israel.
🔼All the nations
The Bible envisions a perfect world in which peoples are not artificially separated by political borders (which in turn are formed solely according to the direction in which the tax money flows) but rather enjoy a global economy between utterly free individuals. Of course, families and local cultures must always exist, just like specialized organs exist in organisms, but the nations will be healed (Revelation 22:2) only when borders are dissolved and peoples are freed.
In our age of individuality, commercial preachers often emphasize the need for a "personal savior" but this is far less Biblical than they would have their audiences believe. The Psalmist wondered why the nations were in uproar and devising a vain thing against YHWH and his Christ (Psalm 2:1-2), and the Lord responded that he would shake all nations rather than all individuals (Haggai 2:7). Even Jesus, when he uttered the Great Commission, said nothing about individuals but commanded to make disciples of all nations, baptizing them [the nations] in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.