Israel Antiquities Authority

SONS OF GOD? The Song of Moses (Deuteronomy 32:8) in the Masoretic Text describes the Most High dividing the nations according to number of “the sons [children?] of Israel.” This Dead Sea Scroll fragment (4QDeutj) and the third-century B.C.E. translation of the Hebrew Pentateuch into Greek (the Septuagint [LXX]), however, say the nations were divided according to the “sons of Elohim” (God). Based on this evidence, the original text probably referred to the head of the Canaanite assembly of gods El, which later became “Elohim,” in some sources and became “the sons of Israel” in the Masoretic Text. Very probably, the text was changed by scribes who were uncomfortable with any hint of polytheism.