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"פֶן-תִּשָּׂא עֵינֶיךָ הַשָּׁמַיְמָה, וְרָאִיתָ אֶת-הַשֶּׁמֶשׁ וְאֶת-הַיָּרֵחַ וְאֶת-הַכּוֹכָבִים כֹּל צְבָא הַשָּׁמַיִם, וְנִדַּחְתָּ וְהִשְׁתַּחֲוִיתָ לָהֶם, וַעֲבַדְתָּם--אֲשֶׁר חָלַק ה' אֱלֹקיךָ, אֹתָם, לְכֹל הָעַמִּים, תַּחַת כָּל-הַשָּׁמָיִם."

"... and lest thou lift up thine eyes unto heaven, and when thou seest the sun and the moon and the stars, even all the host of heaven, thou be drawn away and worship them, and serve them, which the LORD thy God hath allotted unto all the peoples under the whole heaven." (Devarim 4:19)

What's meant by "allotted by G-d unto all the peoples under the whole heaven", and why is it necessary to say so in relation to the prohibition to bow down for those and serve them?

  • The Ramban there gives an answer, but it’s nuanced so I don’t want to misquote. – LN6595 Nov 15 '18 at 4:24
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According to R' Samson Raphael Hirsch, in his commentary on this verse:

The first part of the verse enjoins us from falling into the trap of being so overcome by the number, size, and brilliance of the celestial objects that we ascribe to them powers of their own, and worship them. Instead, we must recognize that they're all members of the natural order ("צבא") that simply follows God's laws.

The second part emphasizes that God made these objects for a purpose - for use by all humans around the world. Humans should respond by making good use of and acknowledging God's gifts, but too many nations unfortunately make the mistake of forgetting God and worshipping the gifts themselves.

"In the pure position of the world, the forces of Nature are alotted to Man, in the erroneous one, Man is alotted to the forces of Nature."

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God allotted the seventy angels to watch over the peoples of the nations according to Deuteronomy 32:8 in Qumran. Since angels are often referred to as stars elsewhere in the Tanakh it is very likely that this is what is being referred to in this verse.

See this article for more information:

http://www.thedivinecouncil.com/DT32BibSac.pdf

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