Through the process of my Bible reading over the span of my life, there have accumulated a distinct handful of verses wont to catch my attention as possessing something more to them, something elusive just beneath the surface.
Genesis 23:8 has been one of those verses:
"When the Most High gave the nations their inheritance, When He separated the sons of man, He set the boundaries of the peoples according to the number of the sons of Israel."
I might say the language is "not straightforward," being obscure or complex. I still would not dare suggest I have mastered every nuance of the verse, but I believe I have obtained a grasp of it. It contains a touch of irony. YHVH is saying that when he alotted each Adamic nation its inheritance, the allotment accorded with what would come to be in the future, at which time Israel would represent the sole heir of the legacy and estate of the Adamic race. The reason might simply be that all Aryan peoples have been destined to become de facto Israel in Christ; the substitution or representation of Israel for Adam might be primarily genetic (Israel being denoted primarily by blood rather than extra-Israelite Aryan/Adamic 'graft'); or the truth might be a mixture of those two possibilities. Either way remains the ironic theme of arrogation, as if God were saying of a rich man ("Max") who was destined to be sued by a poor man ("John"), "I watched over Max and guided his every step, for, so I loved John." By its nature, irony would explain why the meaning might appear a bit obscure to cursory perusal.
The Genesis 23:8 quotation under examination cross-references with, thus lending more information to the picture of another verse, Acts 17:26.
"And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation."
The word "blood" appears in the AV in italics indicating the word was added for the sake of presumed clarity of translation. A more literal translation would be, "And hath made of one, all nations..."
The verse appears to speak to the effect that when God predestined the world's geo-political boundaries he bore in mind the considerations of the many various nations, not just Israel. However, bearing in mind the likely meaning of the parallel thought concept spelled out in our verse from Genesis, the emphasis of the verse from Acts would not be upon the many nations to whom God divided an inheritance, but the great miracle of the fact that every nation is destined to be Israelite! Many peoples, one race! It is destined that one day the sun will no more ever set on the Hebrew empire!
Such an interpretation of Acts 17:26 is not new, however, so far the reflex of expositors has not been ready-reference to Genesis 23:8 for proof.
The above, then, would comprise one example of Biblical material that your author, personally, has found obscure. Such passages, however, which, over time, are allowed to incubate within the climate of a cultivated mind, at last, often are destined to bring forth fruit.
The original intent of the present scrivening was to focus on Jeremiah 3:14, not Deuteronomy 32:8, so, to get back on track:
"I will take you one of a city, and two of a family, and I will bring you to Zion."
This verse always comes to my mind when I think of how geographically far flung tend to be Israel believers. I remember, as a young man, a group of Identity Christians coalescing, and beginning to meet on Sundays, openair, in a certain beautiful mountain community three hours from me. I did not have a vehicle at the time, yet, the kinsmen were intent on being permitted to travel the necessary distance to get me!
Examples abound! The aforementioned was kind of a "family" church to the one I was more closely involved with. That church, too, however--my own--being strewn across numerous counties, still met most every week. When I had the opportunity living proximate to Ozarkia I thought nothing of it to reach out to every compatriot I was able to pick up on my radar within a 500 mile radius. It seems to me, "that's what we do," it represents a hallmark of Identity Christians. It has long struck me that such is motivated by a spirit springing right from Jeremiah 3:14. That part of the verse's significance, then, would not constitute the latent mystery here under primary examination.
The mystery to me has been, perhaps, two-fold. The first thing, the verse says, "two of a family and one of a city." The peculiarity lying in the fact that a family tends to be a smaller unit than a city, while, in the specifics of the verse, the smaller unit is said to muster the greater number. That, then, the primary thing that has perplexed.
My second concern with the verse is my imagining how people might try to misconstrue it as fundamentally dispersionist, promoting the modern church-building concept over against the Kingdom/nation concept (contra Hebrews 10:25). I can even anticipate how some particularly dishonest people might try to construe the prophecy as casting a positive light on race mixing. After all, it is not difficult to see how the tenor of the verse describes some exception to the norm. Since it is race and the Kingdom/nation concept that casts the normal context of the Bible, maybe God means that, at some point, He would do away with that conceptuality? It might be easy enough for the individual of moderately judicious insight to hesitate at any such radical conclusion which the verse does not require, but it might also be nice for there to exist some grammatical or contextual observation of an immediately preclusionary nature.
A sort of aside: God makes no habit of changing the conclusion of His vision. The Bible is so extremely liberal with its irony that, indeed, Christians can be said to worship a God of paradox, but the irony in the Bible, typically, relates to the route through which the very static ideal shall be reached. In other words, no time soon is YHVH disposing of the ultimate ideals for which the Christian works, such as that of an Israel Nation, though, in the meantime, nationalism, per se, is elusive, and Israel is blind to her Identity. True to form, one would assume correctly that the irony of Jeremiah 3:14 is as to means and not the end.
The grand thing is that the one enigma of the verse solves the other. The particular phraseology, Viz., "two of a family, one of a city" elevates the weight of the presence, yea, elevates the importance, of blood and race above that of geo-political structures. Envision with me: things get really bad, let's say theoretically you only have one Aryan family left in a world of (for the sake of theory) ten nations. Now, things are really bad, so, many, even in the last Aryan family are lost. The family has, say, a hundred people spread out with ten in each nation. Let's say 90% of the family are lost. What would you have? You would have 'one of a city and ten of a family.' I exaggerated to get the point across, and, you will excuse me for being didactic, but I am sure you see now if you had previously been a tiny bit oblivious, in truth, like your student. The particular wording of the verse renders it as clear as can be that God's selection of who is called out is not dictated by modern political or even familial presumptions. Neither, however, is it random, indiscriminate, or unbiased
God's ingeniousness in the tiny bit of phraseology here under examination is worthy of wonder. A major reason that people constantly misapply the Bible is that they expect His Word to be malleable as might be most unscientific, common speech of man. They presume they will be able to twist the words of this rube--God--thereby underestimating Him. How much slack will they be cut for expecting Elohiym, the Creator of the universe; Christ, the great barrister, our Advocate, to be as naive as themselves?