Deuteronomy 32:8

Hebrew Bible

6 Is this how you repay the Lord, you foolish, unwise people? Is he not your father, your Creator? He has made you and established you. 7 Remember the ancient days; bear in mind the years of past generations. Ask your father and he will inform you, your elders, and they will tell you. 8 When the Most High gave the nations their inheritance, when he divided up humankind, he set the boundaries of the peoples, according to the number of the heavenly assembly. 9 For the Lord’s allotment is his people, Jacob is his special possession. 10 The Lord found him in a desolate land, in an empty wasteland where animals howl. He continually guarded him and taught him; he continually protected him like the pupil of his eye.

Pirkei DeRabbi Eliezer 24


And Abraham, son of Terah, passed by, and saw them building the city and the tower, and he cursed them in the name of his God, as it is said, "Swallow up, O Lord, divide their language" (Ps. 55:9). But they rejected his words, like a stone cast upon the ground. Is it not a fact that every choice and good stone is only put at the corner of a building? and with reference to this, the text says, "The stone which the builders rejected is become the head of the corner" (Ps. 118:22). Rabbi Simeon said: The Holy One, blessed be He, called to the seventy angels, who surround the throne of His glory, and He said to them: Come, let us descend and let us confuse the seventy nations and the seventy languages. Whence (do we know) that the Holy One, blessed be He, spake to them? Because it is said, "Go to, let us go down" (Gen. 11:7). "I will go down" is not written, but "Go to, let us go down." And they cast lots among them. Because it is said, "When the Most High gave to the nations their inheritance" (Deut. 32:8). The lot of the Holy One, blessed be He, fell upon Abraham and upon his seed, as it is said, "For the Lord's portion is his people; Jacob is the lot of his inheritance" (Deut. 32:9). The Holy One, blessed be He, said: The portion and lot which have fallen to Me, My soul liveth thereby, as it is said, "The lots have fallen unto me in pleasures; yea, I have a goodly heritage" (Ps. 16:6). The Holy One, blessed be He, descended with the seventy angels, who surround the throne of His glory, and they confused their speech into seventy nations and seventy languages. Whence do we know that the Holy One, blessed be He, descended? Because it is said, "And the Lord God came down to see the city and the tower" (Gen. 11:5). This was the second descent.

 Notes and References

"... In another place, the Bible suggested that Israel had been singled out as God's future possession even earlier, at the time when humanity was first being divided up into different nations and peoples ... This seemed to mean that God had decided to take personal charge over Israel, whereas the fortunes of other peoples were given over to heavenly subordinates, angels (the 'sons of God') or other powers ... Indeed, according to another text, Israel was singled out even earlier, at the time of the creation of the world ..."

Kugel, James L. The Bible as it Was (pp. 408-409) Harvard University Press, 1998

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