We seem to have another theme of being "bought" in Deuteronomy 32 as opposed to being bought by the blood of Jesus. I am aware of the other question on this site for 2 Peter 2:1, yet this question is different because it brings in the reconciling of another verse that needs some interpreting. I will lay out the text at hand:

5 “They have corrupted themselves; They are not His children, Because of their blemish: A perverse and crooked generation.

6 Do you thus deal with the Lord, O foolish and unwise people? Is He not your Father, who bought you? Has He not made you and established you?

7 “Remember the days of old, Consider the years of many generations. Ask your father, and he will show you; Your elders, and they will tell you:

8 When the Most High divided their inheritance to the nations, When He separated the sons of Adam, He set the boundaries of the peoples According to the number of the children of Israel.

9 For the Lord’s portion is His people; Jacob is the place of His inheritance.

Traditionally, Israel in the OT has been called "God's son", and God would call Himself their Father, examples:(Exodus 4:22, 1 Chronicles 29:10)

"Then you shall say to Pharaoh, ‘Thus says the Lord: “Israel is My son, My firstborn." (Exodus 4:22)

"Therefore David blessed the Lord before all the assembly; and David said: “Blessed are You, Lord God of Israel, our Father, forever and ever." (1 Chronicles 29:10)

Yet in Deuteronomy 32:5 we have a clear distinction that certain people are not His(God's) children.

That being said, in verse 6 we read from the pen of Moses:

"Is He not your Father, who bought you?"

This "bought" term seems to imply that God "bought" Israel out of bondage from Egypt. Deuteronomy seems to be using the term "bought" in a historical redemptive sense and not a salvific sense. The proof of the pudding is in v.5 as previously noted,

"They are not His children" (v.5)

Given that 1st and 2nd Peter use a multitude of OT imagery and OT stories, is it possible that 2 Peter 2:1 is in reference to being bought in the historical sense, as being descendants of the Israelis who came out of Egypt and not bought in the salvific sense? (I read Deuteronomy 32:1-4 as well for context)

I ask because we read also from Paul:

"For they are not all Israel who are of Israel"

(Meaning: Not all who are in Israel are the true people of God, Romans 9:1-13)

Then following down to 2 Peter 2:1, we read:

"But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction."

Given this context, it is obvious that "false teachers" being among the congregations that Peter was addressing would not be His children, since Christ gives (true) pastors and teachers to His church (Ephesians 4:11) Not only that, but 2 Peter 2:1 doesn't mention them becoming a false teacher, but rather that they ARE false teachers who are coming amongst them.

My question is: How do we reconcile Deuteronomy 32:5-9 with 2 Peter 2:1? Put my question another way: Can we have any contextual/historical certainty that Deuteronomy 32:6 and 2 Peter 2:1 are on the same topic of "boughtness"?

1 Answer 1


This question is less complicated than it appears. There are several Hebrew idioms and customs bound up in the language involved.

  1. Manumission

Two Greek words are translated “redeem” (“exagerazo” and “lutroo”) with almost exactly equivalent meanings. Both speak of Christ redeeming sinners as slaves (Luke 1:68, 24:21) by paying a ransom (Matt 20:28, Mark 10:45, 1 Tim 2:6, Heb 9:15), but, Scripture is silent about to whom the manumission fee was paid (it is only an analogue, metaphor or figure of speech!). 1 Cor 6:20, 7:23, Gal 3:13, 4:5, Titus 2:14, 1 Peter 1:18, Rev 5:9. This manumission idea emphasises God’s free gift of salvation because both Greek verbs were commonly used to buy freedom for a slave or hostage, without any contribution of the slave. Perhaps the most touching example of redemption is contained in the enacted parable of Hosea and Gomer – see Hosea 3:1-3.

Thus, Israel is depicted as having been bought - ie, God paid the slave fee to have Israel a free nation of citizens.

God also calls Israel the adopted son, Ex 4:22, 1 Chron 29:10. However, this remained true only as long as Israel remained faithful to God as the northern kingdom of Israel's captivity shows. The ten tribes have been lost to history.

  1. Apostasy

having been bought, it is possible that Israel could be rejected because of unfaithfulness. This is clearly depicted several times in places such as:

  • Deut 32:5-9 where the freed Israelites, "His people have acted corruptly toward Him". Then the synoptically parallel clause, "the spot on them is not that of His children". In V6 God asks, "Is this how you repay the LORD?" (ie, who paid the manumission fee).
  • Jer 23:33 - “Now when this people or a prophet or priest asks you, ‘What is the burden of the LORD?’ you are to say to them, ‘What burden? I will forsake you, declares the LORD.’
  • Israel and Judah went into captivity - the northern kingdom of Israel was cast off forever and lost to history. Enough of a remnant remained faithful of Judah that God returned them to the promised land after the Babylonian captivity.
  • Rom 11:19-21 - You will say then, “Branches were broken off so that I could be grafted in.” That is correct: They were broken off because of unbelief, but you stand by faith. Do not be arrogant, but be afraid. For if God did not spare the natural branches, He will certainly not spare you either. [This is essentially a warning to remain faithful or else be broken off the tree.]
  1. Biological vs Adoption

The appendix below shows that the nation of promise was always open to foreigners. Indeed, Paul says this explicitly in Rom 9:6-8 -

It is not as though God’s word has failed. For not all who are descended from Israel are Israel. Nor because they are Abraham’s descendants are they all his children. ... So it is not the children of the flesh who are God’s children, but it is the children of the promise who are regarded as offspring.

This remained true in the NT under the new covenant - people could apostatize and leave God's promises as 2 Peter 2:21 shows. here are more examples:

  • 1 Cor 9:27 Paul says he disciplines his body to keep it under control so that after preaching to others he does not become a castaway/disqualified. That is, Paul believed that it was possible that he could lose his way and become lost.
  • 1 Cor 10:12 also contains a stern warning from Paul, “If you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall.”
  • Galatians 5:4: "You have been severed from Christ, you who are seeking to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace"
  • Gal 6:9 says, “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”
  • 1 Tim 6:10, For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.
  • Heb 2:1-3, We must pay closer attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away. For if the message spoken by angels was binding, and every transgression and disobedience received its just punishment, how shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation?
  • Similarly, Heb 6:4-6 also teaches that some “who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit…” can fall away.
  • Heb 10:26: If we(!) deliberately keep on sinning after receiving the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left
  • Heb 10:29: How much more severely do you think someone deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified them and who has insulted the Spirit of grace. This verse clearly shows that it is possible to be sanctified and subsequently lost.
  • Heb 13:9, “Do not be led away by diverse and strange teachings, for it is good for the heart to be strengthened by grace …”
  • 2 Peter 1:10, “make your calling and election sure”. This clearly allows for the possibility of losing one’s election.
  • 2 Peter 3:17 contains a very stern and sobering warning to be on guard that we do not fall from our secure position. Verse 14 contains a similar warning.

APPENDIX - Israel and Foreigners

the Old Testament contains many examples of foreigners becoming part of Israel, indicating that the Israelite Covenant was open to all and was never exclusive. For example:

  • The unfortunate story in Gen 38 about Judah and Tamar shows that a foreigner became the mother of the tribe of Judah.
  • When Jacob entered Egypt, his family numbered 75 people (Acts 7:14, Ex 1:5). Some of these were not direct descendants of Abraham such as the wives of the 12 patriarchs, notably Joseph’s own wife. 215 years and four generations later at the exodus, Israel’s army had over 600,000 men, excluding women and children, (Ex 12:37, Num 1:46, etc) suggesting a total population of several million people, requiring many additions. This included a significant mixed multitude (Ex 12:38) showing that Israel obviously consisted of many non-biological Jews had joined. (Note that it is biologically impossible for Israelite numbers to have grown from 75 to several million biologically without many outside additions.)
  • Moses married a Midianite (Ex 2:16-21) also known as a Cushite. Miriam and Aaron were severely reprimanded and punished for displaying racism (Num 12:1, 2)
  • Caleb, who represented and led the tribe of Judah was a Kennizite (Num 32:12).
  • Rahab was a Canaanite (Josh 2:1, 2, Matt 1:5)
  • Ruth was Moabite (Ruth 1:4 16, 17, Matt 1:5) – these last two make King David descended from foreigners (Ruth 4:13-16).
  • Uriah was a Hittite (2 Sam 11:3)
  • King David’s elite personal regiment consisted of Gittites, that is, Philistines (2 Sam 15:18-22, 1 Chron 18:17)
  • Isa 56:6, 7 - And the foreigners who join themselves to the LORD to minister to Him, to love the name of the LORD, and to be His servants— all who keep the Sabbath without profaning it and who hold fast to My covenant—I will bring them to My holy mountain and make them joyful in My house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and sacrifices will be accepted on My altar, for My house will be called a house of prayer for all the nations.” See also V3.
  • The Rechabites were Kenites (Jer 35:1-19)
  • Many other foreigners lived in Israel (1 Chron 22:2, 17, 2 Chron 30:25)
  • In Esther’s time “many of the people of the land became Jews” (Esther 8:17, 9:27)
  • Even in NT times, many Jewish synagogues were attended by godly gentiles converted to Judaism (Acts 13:16, 26, 16:14, 17:17)
  • Many Jewish proselytes came to worship in Jerusalem (John 20:20, Acts 2:9-11)
  • Jesus quotes Isa 56:7, “My house shall be a house of prayer for all nations”, Mark 11:17.
  • Further, biological Israelites could opt out of the covenant and be cut-off (Ex 30:33, 38, 31:14, Lev 7:20, 21, 25, 27).
  • By your statement: "Thus, Israel is depicted as having been bought - ie, God paid the slave fee to have Israel a free nation of citizens." Are you referring to being bought in the "Manumission" sense then? And not the "salvific sense"? Yes, I read all of what you wrote, I am still "chewing on it", so to speak.
    – Cork88
    Commented Jan 25, 2022 at 21:51
  • 1
    There are numerous metaphors in Scripture and here we have at least three of them, manumission (= redemption), salvation (rescue from danger), reconciliation of family members, adoption,etc. There are many more such as propitiation, expiation, legal justification, robe of righteousness, credit/account, etc. None of these is literal, all figures of speech in human language to depict a divine relationship.
    – Dottard
    Commented Jan 25, 2022 at 21:58
  • I didn’t specify the 2nd to last paragraph as the primary question regarding between true/false teachers. Nevertheless, would it be inappropriate to ask if you could address that? Or would that have to be a separate question? Since 2 Peter 2:1 seems to imply that these “teachers” were already false, NOT that they were ONCE true teachers. What do you think of that exegetically speaking, Dottard?
    – Cork88
    Commented Jan 25, 2022 at 22:25
  • …Pardon the seeming contradiction, since there might be up to 3 different ways to interpret “bought” in 2nd Peter 2:1, that was my question I guess. Whatever works with you/HSE rules.
    – Cork88
    Commented Jan 25, 2022 at 22:27
  • 1
    @Cork88 - "bought" almost always refers to the act of manumission in some sense; thus, both the NT and the OT references refer to the freedom from slavery either to sin, the devil or in Egypt, etc.
    – Dottard
    Commented Jan 25, 2022 at 22:29

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