Deuteronomy 32:8-9, Jehovah’s Portion

When the Most High gave to the nations their inheritance, When he separated the children of men, He set the bounds of the peoples according to the number of the children of Israel. For Jehovah’s portion is his people; Jacob is the lot of his inheritance.

//Whether or not the idea appeals to Christians or Jews today, it’s clear that once upon a time, the Israelites believed in multiple gods. The scriptures bear witness to this in a number of places; faint traces of polytheism abound in the Bible, and I’ve made reference to many of these scriptures before. For example, Moses sings, “Who is like you, YHWH, among the gods?”

Today’s verse is another of my favorites. Bible scholars point out that although the Israelites worshipped only YHWH (Jehovah), they accepted the existence of other gods, including El, the “Most High” god. In some scriptures, Jehovah seems to BE El, the Most High God, the ruler over all others, but not in this instance. Here, Jehovah appears to have been understood as one god within the royal pantheon.

When the nations were divided up, Israel was awarded to Jehovah, and as such, Jehovah expected Israel’s loyalty. Jacob (the father of the nation, whose name was later changed to Israel) was Jehovah’s “inheritance,” and other nations were assigned to other gods.

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