This phrase appears three unique times in the Bible (one verse appears twice with the same wording in Deuteronomy 7:6 and in 14:2). It singles out Israel as God’s chosen people. Being an ‘am se•gu•la’ does not mean smothered with gifts and ‘Fringe Benefits.’ On the contrary, it entails higher demands and standards that are not put upon other nations. It ‘promises’ hardships, jealousy and, consequently, persecution and constant threat of annihilation.
Literal and extended meaning: ‘am’ means a nation, people. Se•gu•la has several meanings, none of which is an exact English translation: specialness, unique quality, treasure, talisman, supernatural cure.
“Now therefore, if you will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then you shall be my own treasure among all peoples; for all the earth is mine”
“For you are a holy people to the Lord your God; the Lord your God has chosen you to be a special people to himself, above all peoples that are upon the face of the earth”
“And the Lord has declared you this day to be his special people, as he has promised you, and that you should keep all his commandments”
The Hebrew word for ‘personnel’ and ‘senior staff’ is ‘se•gel,’ and is very likely to be related to se•gu•la — choosing a special group for a special mission from among many others. The common Jewish last name made with the three letters — S.G. L. (Segal, in English) — is a name for the high rank of Levites.