This is the translation used in AV for a large number of Hebrew and Greek terms. In some cases ambiguity occurs, as the pl. 'peoples' is not used in AV except in Re 10:11; 17:15. Thus 'people' is used sometimes of the people of Israel, and often of heathen nations. RV uses 'peoples' freely, and this makes the meaning much clearer in such passages as Ps 67:4; Isa 55:4; 60:2 etc. (see art. Nations, also preface to RV).
A special phrase 'the people of the land' occurs frequently in the OT, especially in Jeremiah, Ezeklel, 2Kings., and 2 Ch. In most of these cases it means the general body of the people, the common people as opposed to the courtiers or the ruling class. In Ge 23:7,12-13; Nu 14:9 the term is applied to non-Israelites. In the Books of Ezra and Nehemiah the 'people of the land' are the half-heathen, half-Jewish population with whom the less scrupulous Jews intermarried, but who were avoided by the stricter party represented by Ezra and Nehemiah (Ezr 10:2,11; Ne 10:30-31; cf. Ne 9:1,30). The same phrase was used by the Rabbis to describe the common people, who were lax in observing the Mosaic law (Joh 7:49).
W. F. Boyd.