14“Behold, to the LORD your God belong heaven and the highest heavens, the earth and all that is in it. 15“Yet on your fathers did the LORD set His affection to love them, and He chose their descendants after them, even you above all peoples, as it is this day. 16“So circumcise your heart, and stiffen your neck no longer. 17“For the LORD your God is the God of gods and the Lord of lords, the great, the mighty, and the awesome God who does not show partiality nor take a bribe. (Dt 10:14–17 NASB95)
8When the Most High apportioned the nations, when he divided humankind, he fixed the boundaries of the peoples according to the number of the gods; 9the LORD’s own portion was his people, Jacob his allotted share. (Dt 32:8–9 NRSV cf. Ex. 19:5; Dt. 14:2)
5From these the coastlands of the nations were separated into their lands, every one according to his language, according to their families, into their nations. (Ge 10:5 NASB95)
1 Paula Fredriksen, “Mandatory Retirement: Ideas in the Study of Christian Origins Whose Time Has Come to Go,” 241.
2 Paula Fredriksen, “How Jewish Is God?: Divine Ethnicity in Paul’s Theology,” Journal of Biblical Literature 137, no. 1 (2018): 193–212.
As we move from the three divine/human rebellions of Genesis 3-11, Yahweh scatters the nations at Babel under the stewardship of divine beings (sons of elohim) and turns His attention to one man, Abram, through whom He will birth and build a great nation (the Jewish nation of Israel). God not only sets His purposes for the earth in this one man/nation, He also binds His name to them as the God of Israel (used over 200 times in the OT). Through this nation, God will also bring forth the seed (Messiah) who will crush the serpent and restore all things in the age to come (Acts 3:19-26). The nations who were disinherited at Babel are welcomed and grafted in alongside Israel (Rom 9-11) through the redemption that is in Messiah Jesus (Gal 3:8, 14; Acts 17:22-31).
As the OT/Tanakh unfolds the very wisdom and plan of Yahweh is established in the development of Israel as a great nation including (people, law, presence of God, land, government).
Throughout the life of Abraham, Yahweh comes to him and reiterates over and over His covenant promise of a great nation inclusive of descendants and land (see below) as well to Isaac (Gen 26:4) Jacob (Gen 28:14) and their descendants.
*Note the correlation between Gen 15/Rom 4 justification by faith and Gen 22/James 2 justification by works. The land that is promised to Abraham will be inherited by him, his Jewish descendants and the seed (Messiah Jesus) in the age to come. Messiah Jesus will have dominion from sea (Red) to sea (Mediterranean) and from the River (Euphrates) to the ends of the earth in the age to come (Gen 15:18; Ex 23:31; Deut 1:1-11; Josh 1:1-4; Psalm 2:6-9; 72:1-19; 105:6-11; Zech 9:10; Isa 11; Matt 8:11).
3 “This promissory call is the first recorded speech since God’s word of judgment at the Tower of Babel, resulting in the creation of the nations (Gen 11:5-6,9). This new word to Abram counters the old since it provides for the redemptive plan of ‘all peoples’ (Gen 12:3). By making his descendants a ‘great nation’ (Gen 12:2) who will be a ‘blessing’ (Gen 12:2), the Lord will bring salvation to the scattered nations” K. A. Matthews, Genesis 11:27-50:26, NAC [Nashville: Broadman & Holman, 2005], 105