‘Am ha-Arez (Heb., ‘people of the land’). In biblical Hebrew, the term refers to the general population, particularly that of Palestine, which harassed the returning Jewish exiles. In the era of the second Temple, the ʿam ha-arez were contrasted with the observant pharisees, and in rabbinic times the term was pejorative to indicate those who were not scholarly and well-versed in Torah.
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