Deuteronomy 32:8
When the Most High divided to the nations their inheritance, when he separated the sons of Adam, he set the bounds of the people according to the number of the children of Israel.
Jump to: BarnesBensonBICalvinCambridgeClarkeDarbyEllicottExpositor'sExp DctGaebeleinGSBGillGrayHaydockHastingsHomileticsJFBKDKJTLangeMacLarenMHCMHCWParkerPoolePulpitSermonSCOTTBWESTSK
EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(8, 9) Comp. Deuteronomy 21:16.

“when the Most High made nations to inherit,

When He parted the sons of Adam,

He set the bounds of the peoples,

According to the number of the sons of Israel.

For the portion of Jehovah is His people,

Jacob the cord [7] of His inheritance

[7] i.e., limit.

The allusion is to the dispersion from Babel (Genesis 10, 11). The Jews were accustomed to reckon seventy nations and languages in that dispersion. Seventy members of Jacob’s household went down into Egypt. And literally they interpret this passage to mean that in dividing the lands to the peoples, Jehovah left room for His own, so that they might inherit the promised land without any undue pressure upon other nations. It is noticeable that the children of Lot and Esau were carefully preserved from disturbance by Israel (Deuteronomy 2). But this is the bare literal interpretation. The true meaning of the passage is given by St. Paul in his speech at Athens: “He determined (for all nations) times before appointed, and the setting of the boundaries of their habitation, that they might seek the Lord.” The nations were so disposed in the world, and so developed, that each might have its opportunity of seeking Jehovah, in due season, through contact with His people—“if, as was certainly not impossible, they might feel after Him and find Him, who is not far from any one of us. For we are even His offspring.” Hence He appoints our inheritance. With some such thought as this, the LXX. translate the latter half of Deuteronomy 32:8, “He set the bounds of the peoples according to the number of the angels of God” The chosen people were to be His messengers to the nations. He chose Israel for His own portion, that through them He might inherit the world. And yet in the face of this glorious calling and mission, the undutiful behaviour of Israel was their one great blot. They had only to accept the position already prepared for them, and they refused!

Deuteronomy 32:8. Their inheritance — When God, by his providence, allotted the several parts of the world to several people, which was done, Genesis 10:11. When he separated — Divided them in their languages and habitations, according to their families. He set the bounds — That is, he disposed of the several lands and limits of the people, so as to reserve a sufficient place for the great numbers of the people of Israel. And therefore he so guided the hearts of several people, that the posterity of Canaan, which was accursed of God, and devoted to ruin, should be seated in that country which God intended for the children of Israel, that so when their iniquities were ripe they might be rooted out, and the Israelites come in their stead.32:7-14 Moses gives particular instances of God's kindness and concern for them. The eagle's care for her young is a beautiful emblem of Christ's love, who came between Divine justice and our guilty souls, and bare our sins in his own body on the tree. And by the preached gospel, and the influences of the Holy Spirit, He stirs up and prevails upon sinners to leave Satan's bondage. In ver. 13,14, are emblems of the conquest believers have over their spiritual enemies, sin, Satan, and the world, in and through Christ. Also of their safety and triumph in him; of their happy frames of soul, when they are above the world, and the things of it. This will be the blessed case of spiritual Israel in every sense in the latter day.That is, while nations were being constituted under God's providence, and the bounds of their habitation determined under His government (compare Acts 17:26), He had even then in view the interests of His elect, and reserved a fitting inheritance "according to the number of the children of Israel;" i. e., proportionate to the wants of their population. Some texts of the Greek version have "according to the number of the Angels of God;" following apparently not a different reading, but the Jewish notion that the nations of the earth are seventy in number (compare Genesis 10:1 note), and that each has its own guardian Angel (compare Ecclus. 17:17). This was possibly suggested by an apprehension that the literal rendering might prove invidious to the many Gentiles who would read the Greek version.8, 9. When the most High divided to the nations their inheritance—In the division of the earth, which Noah is believed to have made by divine direction (Ge 10:5; De 2:5-9; Ac 17:26, 27), Palestine was reserved by the wisdom and goodness of Heaven for the possession of His peculiar people and the display of the most stupendous wonders. The theater was small, but admirably suited for the convenient observation of the human race—at the junction of the two great continents of Asia and Africa, and almost within sight of Europe. From this spot as from a common center the report of God's wonderful works, the glad tidings of salvation through the obedience and sufferings of His own eternal Son, might be rapidly and easily wafted to every part of the globe.

he set the bounds of the people according to the number of the children of Israel—Another rendering, which has received the sanction of eminent scholars, has been proposed as follows: "When the Most High divided to the nations their inheritance, when He separated the sons of Adam and set the bounds of every people, the children of Israel were few in numbers, when the Lord chose that people and made Jacob His inheritance" (compare De 30:5; Ge 34:30; Ps 105:9-12).

When God by his providence did allot the several parts of the world to several people, which was done Ge 10 Ge 11. See Deu 2:5,9 Am 9:7 Acts 17:26,27.

Separated the sons of Adam, i.e. divided them in their languages and habitations according to their families.

He set the bounds of the people, i.e. he disposed of the several lands and limits of the people, so as he did reserve a convenient and sufficient place for the great numbers of the people of Israel, whom he designed to make as numerous as the stars of heaven. And therefore he so guided the hearts of several people, that the posterity of Canaan, which was accursed of God, Genesis 9:25-27, and devoted to ruin, should be seated in that country which God intended for the children of Israel, that so when their iniquities were ripe, and God’s time came, they might be rooted out, and the Israelites might come in their stead. When the Most High divided to the nations their inheritance,.... In the times of Noah and his sons, in the days of Peleg, who had his name (that is "Division") from thence, Genesis 10:25; "the Most High" is a well known and proper, epithet of God; the dividing of the earth to the several nations of it, and giving to everyone their part and portion to possess and inherit, was the work of God; for though it was done by the sons of Noah, yet by the order, appointment, and direction of the Most High, who rules in heaven and in earth, Genesis 10:32; men might not and did not take what they pleased, or seize on as much as they could, but each had their parcel allotted and portioned out to them, by the Lord himself; so the Targum of Jonathan."when by lot the Most High divided the world to the people that sprung from the sons of Noah:"

when he separated the sons of Adam; one from another; distinguished by the persons from whom they descended, by the tribes and nations to which they belonged, and by the countries they inhabited; for though they descended from Noah and his sons, they were the sons of Adam, the first man: or rather "the children of men", as the wicked of that generation were called, in distinction from the sons of God, or his people and worshippers; and may have respect to the separation of them at Babel, where their languages were confounded, and they were scattered about, and some went into one part of the world, and some into another, according to the appointment and direction of divine Providence; so the builders of Babel are called, and this was what befell them, Genesis 11:5; which sense the above Targum confirms,"when he separated the writings, the languages of the children of men in the generation of the division:''

he set the bounds of the people; or nations, the seven nations of the land of Canaan; he pitched upon and fixed the land they should inherit, and settled the bounds of it, how far it should reach, east, west, north and south:

according to the number of the children of Israel: the sense is, that such a country was measured out and bounded, as would be sufficient to hold the twelve tribes of Israel, when numerous, and their time was come to inhabit it; and which, in the mean while was put into the hands of Canaan and his eleven sons to possess; not as their proper inheritance, but as tenants at will, until the proper heirs existed, and were at an age, and of a sufficient number to inherit; in which may be observed the wise disposition of divine Providence, to put it into the hands of a people cursed of God, so that to take it from them at any time could not have the appearance of any injustice in it; and their enjoying it so long as they did was a mercy to them, for so long they had a reprieve: now here was an early instance of the goodness of God to Israel, that he should make such an early provision of the land flowing with milk and honey for them, even before they were in being, yea, before their ancestors, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, existed; as early as the days of Noah; and yet, ungrateful as they were despised and set at nought his Son, the rock of salvation, when sent unto them: thus the heavenly inheritance, typified by the land of Canaan, was not only promised, but prepared, provided, secured, and reserved for the spiritual Israel of God, before the foundation of the world, from all eternity, and which is appointed according to their number; there is room enough in it for them all, though they are many; in it are many mansions for the many sons to be brought to glory.

When the most High divided to the nations their inheritance, when he separated the sons of Adam, he set the bounds of the {e} people according to the number of the children of Israel.

(e) When God by his providence divided the world, he lent for a time that portion to the Canaanites, which would later be an inheritance for all his people Israel.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
8. Most High] Heb. ‘Elyôn, Numbers 24:16, Isaiah 14:14, and many Pss.

gave … inheritance] See Deuteronomy 1:38.

separated] Genesis 10:32 (P).

children of Israel] The purpose of His division was to leave room for Israel’s numbers.

But for the sons of Israel LXX has ἀγγέλων θεοῦ, angels of God, i.e. sons of ’El, after a late Jewish conception of a guardian angel for each nation (Daniel 10:13; Daniel 10:20 f., Deuteronomy 12:1, Sir 17:17), an antithesis to Jehovah’s own guardianship of Israel in the following vv., which accordingly LXX introduces by and = but in place of Heb. for. This reading and interpretation is accepted by Steuern., Berth., Marti, Robinson. But the text as read by the LXX seems to be rather an adaptation of the Heb. to the conception aforesaid (Dillm.); and it is difficult to see how the Heb. arose out of the LXX text if the latter was original.Verses 8, 9. - From the very beginning, when God first allotted to the nations a place and a heritage, he had respect in his arrangements to the sons of Israel, who were his portion, and had as it were kept their interest in view in all that he appointed and ordered. According to the number of the children of Israel. When the Most High portioned out to the nations the heritage of each, he reserved for Israel, as the people of his choice, an inheritance proportioned to its numbers. The LXX. has "according to the number of the angels of God," an arbitrary departure from the original text, in accommodation, probably, to the later Jewish notion of each nation having its guardian angel. The Lord's portion is his people (cf. Exodus 15:16; Exodus 19:5; 1 Samuel 10:1; Psalm 78:71). The lot of his inheritance; literally, the cord, etc., the allusion being to the measuring of land by a cord, equivalent to the portion by measure which Jehovah allotted to himself as his inheritance (cf. Psalm 16:6). But because what was about to be announced was of such importance throughout, he desired that the words should trickle down like rain and dew upon grass and herb. The point of comparison lies in the refreshing, fertilizing, and enlivening power of the dew and rain. Might the song exert the same upon the hearts of the hearers. לקח, accepting, then, in a passive sense, that which is accepted, instruction (doctrine, Proverbs 16:21, Proverbs 16:23; Isaiah 29:24). To "publish the name of the Lord:" lit., call, i.e., proclaim (not "call upon"), or praise. It was not by himself alone that Moses desired to praise the name of the Lord; the hearers of his song were also to join in this praise. The second clause requires this: "give ye (i.e., ascribe by word and conduct) greatness to our God." גּדל, applied here to God (as in Deuteronomy 3:24; Deuteronomy 5:21; Deuteronomy 9:26; Deuteronomy 11:2), which is only repeated again in Psalm 150:2, is the greatness manifested by God in His acts of omnipotence; it is similar in meaning to the term "glory" in Psalm 29:1-2; Psalm 96:7-8.
Links
Deuteronomy 32:8 Interlinear
Deuteronomy 32:8 Parallel Texts


Deuteronomy 32:8 NIV
Deuteronomy 32:8 NLT
Deuteronomy 32:8 ESV
Deuteronomy 32:8 NASB
Deuteronomy 32:8 KJV

Deuteronomy 32:8 Bible Apps
Deuteronomy 32:8 Parallel
Deuteronomy 32:8 Biblia Paralela
Deuteronomy 32:8 Chinese Bible
Deuteronomy 32:8 French Bible
Deuteronomy 32:8 German Bible

Bible Hub






Deuteronomy 32:7
Top of Page
Top of Page