When the Most High divided to the nations their inheritance,
&c.] 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 Genesis 11:8 Genesis 11:9 ) ; 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.