The Sons of God in Psalms 82 and Genesis 6: Part One

       Does Psalms 82 inform us that the Most High God has an assembly of supernatural lesser gods who are being judged for their failure to properly rule nations given to them as an inheritance? Are the sons of God mentioned in Genesis 6 supernatural beings who had sexual relations with human women which resulted in the birthing of the Nephilim?

       In part one of this two part series, I will take an in-depth look at Psalm 82 to determine who the “gods” are that are seen as being judged. In part two I will address the issue of supernatural beings having sexual relations with human women and the appearance of the Nephilim.  Let’s begin our investigation by looking at Psalms 82:1.

       Psalms 82:1: God (Hebrew: elohim) stands in the congregation of the mighty (Hebrew: el); He judges among the gods (elohim) (NKJV).

       Some have interpreted this passage to mean that YHWH God has a council or assembly of lesser gods (el / elohim). These gods are seen as having received as their inheritance the nations of the earth except for that of Israel which is seen as the inheritance of the Most High YHWH God. These lesser gods are seen as ruling over the nations they have inherited. The Most High God is seen as judging these lesser gods for mishandling their assignment of rulership over these nations. This is the position taken by Michael Heiser in his 2015 book entitled “The Unseen Realm.”

       Heiser states on page 123 of his book that “Yahweh’s portion would be Israel. He cast off the other nations and assigned them to lesser gods.  These gods became divine rivals, not servants of Yahweh.  There rule is corrupt (Psa 82). The rest of the Old Testament pits Yahweh against those gods and Israel against their nations,”     

       Let’s begin our examination of this perspective by looking at how the Hebrew word elohim is used in Scripture.  On his website (www.thedivinecouncil.com) Heiser writes the following:

       “All beings called elohim in the Hebrew Bible share a certain characteristic: they all inhabit the non-human realm.  By nature, elohim are not part of the world of humankind, the world of ordinary embodiment. Elohim—as a term—indicates residence, not a set of attributes; it identifies the proper domain of the entity it describes.”

       Is use of the Hebrew word elohim limited to the non-human realm as Heiser writes? The term elohim is overwhelming seen as identifying the God of Israel in the Old Testament (OT) Scriptures. It is used to identify the God of Israel several thousand times. However, it is also used to describe false gods and apparently used to identify human judges. Here are some examples from the NIV of its use in identifying human judges.

       Exodus 21:6: then his master must take him before the judges (hā·’ĕ·lō·hîm = "the ’ĕ·lō·hîm").  He shall take him to the door or the doorpost and pierce his ear with an awl. Then he will be his servant for life. 

       Exodus 22:8: But if the thief is not found, the owner of the house must appear before the judges (hā·’ĕ·lō·hîm) to determine whether he has laid his hands on the other man's property.

       Exodus 22:9: In all cases of illegal possession of an ox, a donkey, a sheep, a garment, or any other lost property about which somebody says, `This is mine,' both parties are to bring their cases before the judges (hā·’ĕ·lō·hîm). The one whom the judges (’ĕ·lō·hîm) declare guilty must pay back double to his neighbor. 

       The Hebrew Soncino Commentary shows elohim to be a plural word in the Hebrew language and is often used in Hebrew to denote “plenitude of might.”  Some Hebrew linguists believe elohim is derived from the Hebrew el, which has the meaning of "the strong one."  The Gesenius Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon of the Old Testament defines elohim as “plural of majesty.” The Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament states the plural elohim is “usually described as a plural of majesty and not intended as a true plural when used of God as this noun is consistently used with singular verb forms and with adjectives and pronouns in the singular.”  The Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew Lexicon defines elohim as “rulers, judges, either as divine representatives at sacred places or as reflecting divine majesty and power” and “divine ones, superhuman beings including God and angels.”   

       Some English translations of the forgoing Exodus passages render hā·’ĕ·lō·hîm as “God.” These include the English Standard version, (ESV), American Standard Version (ASV), and the Jerusalem Publication Society Tanakh (JPS) among others. While Heiser does not address these Exodus passages in his book, he does address them on his website where he uses the JPS rendering of ’ĕ·lō·hîm as “God” to conclude that these passages are referring to the God (’ĕ·lō·hîm) of Israel and not human judges called ’ĕ·lō·hîm.

       Heiser points out that when Moses appointed judges over Israel as recorded in Exodus 18, these judges are not called ’ĕ·lō·hîm He further points out that there is nothing compelling in the Exodus 21 and 22 passages to conclude that ’ĕ·lō·hîm is semantically a plural as opposed to being semantically a singular. Based on these observations, Heiser concludes that ’ĕ·lō·hîm is not referring to human judges in Exodus 21 and 22.  While he doesn’t say as much, he apparently sees these passages as saying that people are being brought before God who then administers judgements through human judges. Is this the case?

       It is apparent from a reading of Exodus 18 that Moses chose capable men to judge the people as to small matters while great matters would be brought to Moses. The passages in Exodus 21 and 22 show this new system in action. Small matters are being brought before human judges who Moses had appointed for this very purpose. There is no reason to believe the people were coming before the God of Israel to have these matters presented and it was the God of Israel who was making decisions through human judges. Exodus 18 clearly reveals that Moses appointed capable men to facilitate the making of decisions involving routine matters. These judges would hear and consider the evidence for and against and then make judgements accordingly. 

       It is instructive that the JPS translation that Heiser uses was made by Jewish scholars directly from the Hebrew Masoretic Text. While it is true these scholars rendered ’ĕ·lō·hîm as “God” in the Exodus passages cited above, they footnoted their rendering of ’ĕ·lō·hîm as “God” with “That is, the judges.” So it’s apparent these Hebrew scholars felt ’ĕ·lō·hîm related to human judges.  They even footnoted “God" (’ĕ·lō·hîm) as “That is, the judges” in Exodus 22:28 which reads “You will not revile God, (’ĕ·lō·hîm) nor curse your people's leader” (JPS).

       I believe the context of the passages in Exodus make it evident that ’ĕ·lō·hîm is referring to human judges and not to the God of Israel. This is the majority view among Biblical scholars. The manner in which ’ĕ·lō·hîm is defined in Hebrew Lexicons certainly allows for ’ĕ·lō·hîm to define beings other than supernatural beings.  

       While ’ĕ·lō·hîm is primarily used to identify the supernatural God of Israel, this word does not have an intrinsic meaning of supernatural or divinity.  It does not mean supernatural or divine in and of itself. Instead this word is defined by traits such as power and might.  Such traits can be used to identify both supernatural and non-supernatural beings. Therefore, Heiser’s contention that ’ĕ·lō·hîm only pertains to the non-human realm and only indicates residence and not attributes is clearly not the case.

       Let’s now take a look at Psalms 82:1 within the context of the rest of Psalms 82.

       Psalms 82:1: God (’ĕ·lō·hîm) stands in the congregation of the mighty (el); He judges among the gods (’ĕ·lō·hîm).

       Verses 2-4:  How long will you judge unjustly, And show partiality to the wicked? Selah. Defend the poor and fatherless; Do justice to the afflicted and needy. Deliver the poor and needy; Free them from the hand of the wicked (NKJV).

       Verse 5:  They do not know, nor do they understand; They walk about in darkness; All the foundations of the earth are unstable (NKJV).

       Verses 6-8:  I said, "You are gods (’ĕ·lō·hîm), And all of you are children (Hebrew: ū·ə·nê) of the Most High. But you shall die like men, And fall like one of the princes.'' Arise, O God (’ĕ·lō·hîm), judge the earth; For You shall inherit all nations (NKJV). “For you own all the nations.” (NET). “For all the nations are your inheritance.” (NIV).

       The God (’ĕ·lō·hîm) that is seen as standing in the congregation of the mighty (el) and judging among the gods (’ĕ·lō·hîm), appears to be the Most High God, the God of gods spoken of in Deuteronomy 10:17 and Psalm 136:2.

       Deuteronomy 10:17: For the Lord (YHWH) your God (’ĕ·lō·hîm), is God (’ĕ·lō·hîm), of gods (hā·’ĕ·lō·hîm), and Lord of lords,

       Psalms 136:2: Give thanks to the God (lê·lō·hê) of gods (hā·’ĕ·lō·hîm).          

       Psalms 82:1 records that God stands in the congregation of el and judges among the gods (’ĕ·lō·hîm). The passages in Deuteronomy and Psalms speak of God being a God of gods.  It appears the “gods” (’ĕ·lō·hîm) mentioned in these passages are lesser gods under the authority of the one and only Most High God. Are these lesser “gods” supernatural beings or human beings? 

       As seen above, ’ĕ·lō·hîm can describe mortal man as well as supernatural entities. Moreover, some translations of Psalm 82:1 identify the assembly in which God stands to simply be His assembly (the assembly of El) without identifying who is in the assembly. Under this rendering, the “gods” (’ĕ·lō·hîm) He is judging could be seen to exist outside of his assembly as opposed to being in His assembly.

       The New English Translation (NET) renders this verse in the following manner. “God stands in the assembly of El; in the midst of the gods he renders judgment.” In a footnote to this verse in the NET translation, it’s recorded that “The phrase עֲדַת אֵל (’adat ’el, “assembly of El”) appears only here in the OT. Some understand “El” to refer to God himself. In this case he is pictured presiding over his own heavenly assembly.”  If this should be the case, God is here seen as presiding over His assembly without the members of that assembly identified. This could make the gods he is judging to be outside His assembly where they could be human rulers and not supernatural rulers. Here are a few more renderings of this passage.  

       God standeth in the congregation of God; He judgeth among the gods (ASV).

       God takes his place in his own assembly. He pronounces judgment among the gods (God’s Word Translation).

       While these three renderings of Psalms 82:1 provide another way of looking at its meaning, there is a third way to view this passage. As will be seen below in my discussion of the use of the Hebrew word el in the OT, it will be seen that just as is true of the Hebrew word ’ĕ·lō·hîm, the Hebrew word el is also seen in the OT to identify both God and man. This being the case, it may be that where it is said in Psalms 82:1 that God (’ĕ·lō·hîm) stands in the congregation of the mighty (el) and judges the (’ĕ·lō·hîm), it may be referring to both the el and the ’ĕ·lō·hîm as human rulers and not as supernatural rulers. More on this below.

       In verses 2-4 of Psalms 2, God is seen as addressing beings called gods (’ĕ·lō·hîm) about matters of justice and the needs of the weak and fatherless. He admonishes them to maintain the rights of the poor and oppressed, rescue the weak and the needy and deliver them from the hand of the wicked. These are all human conditions described here.  These are all conditions of an earthly nature. The ’ĕ·lō·hîm are being accused of failing to address these earthly matters in a righteous manner. Are supernatural beings being held responsible for what are very earthly, human matters?

       Are these ’ĕ·lō·hîm supernatural “gods” that are being judged about these matters or are they human ’ĕ·lō·hîm?  Remember, in Exodus we saw judges of Israel referred to as ’ĕ·lō·hîm.  In OT Scripture we see that the same kinds of accusations made against the ’ĕ·lō·hîm in Psalm 82 as are made against those who are clearly human rulers. 

       Psalms 58:1-2: Do you rulers indeed speak justly? Do you judge uprightly among men?   No, in your heart you devise injustice, and your hands mete out violence on the earth. The context of Psalms 58 indicates these are human rulers.

       Ezekiel 34:1-2:  The word of the LORD came to me:  "Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel; prophesy and say to them: `This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Woe to the shepherds of Israel who only take care of themselves! Should not shepherds take care of the flock?

      Micah 3:1-2, 7: Then I said, "Listen, you leaders of Jacob, you rulers of the house of Israel. Should you not know justice, you who hate good and love evil; who tear the skin from my people and the flesh from their bones.

       Verse7: Both hands are skilled in doing evil; the ruler demands gifts, the judge accepts bribes, the powerful dictate what they desire-- they all conspire together.

       These are human rulers being addressed in these passages. They are being accused of the same kind of incompetence and mismanagement as the ’ĕ·lō·hîm in Psalms 82. Psalms 58 appears to be addressing human rulers in general while the other three passages appear to be addressing the human rulers over Israel.  Since ’ĕ·lō·hîm is seen to describe both God and human judges in the Hebrew Scriptures, is there reason to believe that the ’ĕ·lō·hîm seen as being judged in Psalms 82 are not supernatural beings but human judges and other human rulers who were failing to properly govern the nations of the earth? 

       In the following scriptural passages, there is every indication that humans are being referred to as gods.

       In Psalm 29:1 we read “Ascribe unto Jehovah (YHWH), O ye sons (ḇə·nê-) of the mighty (Hebrew: ê·lîm), Ascribe unto Jehovah glory and strength” ASV/NAS). The Hebrew word ê·lîm rendered “mighty” in this passage is a plural of the Hebrew word el. The Gesenius’ Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon defines el as “strong, mighty, a mighty one.  El, in its various tenses, is found 248 times in the Hebrew OT text and is generally seen as referring to YHWH God but at times refers to false gods and at times refers to man. Therefore, man can be seen as el as well as YHWH God. The plural of el, which is ê·lîm, appears 4 times in the Hebrew Scriptures.    

       In Daniel 11:36 we read “"The king will do as he pleases. He will exalt and magnify himself above every god (el) and will say unheard-of things against the God (el) of gods” (ê·lîm).  It would appear that the el the king says unheard of things against is YHWH God as this el is seen as the God of gods. The every el he exalts himself over and the gods (ê·lîm,) of whom YHWH God (el) is the God of appears from the context of Daniel 11 to be speaking of human beings, not supernatural beings.

       In Exodus 15:11 we read “Who among the gods (ê·lîm) is like you, O LORD (YHWH)? Who is like you-- majestic in holiness, awesome in glory, working wonders?"  It would appear that the “gods” (ê·lîm) that are seen as inferior to YHWH are human rulers as the context of Exodus 15 is deliverance from the Egyptian Pharaoh and the leaders of Edom and Moab who are seen as trembling before YHWH God.  

       Job 41:25: When he rises up, the mighty (ê·lîm) are terrified; they retreat before his thrashing.        

       Psalms 89:5-7: And the heavens (Hebrew: shamayim) will praise Your wonders, O Lord (YHWH); Your faithfulness also in the congregation (biq·hal) of the saints (qə·ō·šîm). For who in the heavens (Hebrew: aš·ša·aq) can be compared to the Lord (YHWH)? Who among the sons (ḇə·nê-) of the mighty (Hebrew: ê·lîm) can be likened to the Lord (YHWH)?  God (el) is greatly to be feared in the assembly (bə·sō·w) of the saints (qə·ō·šîm), and to be held in reverence by all those who are around Him (NKJV).

       Let’s carefully examine this passage from Psalms 89. The Hebrew word biq·hal is a tense of the Hebrew qahal which has the meaning of assembly, convocation, congregation. It appears 123 times in the OT and by context can be seen to overwhelming refer to humans.  The same can be said for the Hebrew bə·sō·w which is a tense of the Hebrew sod which appears 21 times in the OT. It means council or assembly but is also used to speak of counsel in the sense of advice.

       The Hebrew qə·ō·šîm is a tense of the Hebrew qadosh which appears 118 times in the OT and has the basic meaning of “holy.”  It is used by OT writers to identify humans, God and places as holy. It is primarily used to identify God as holy (some 50 times). It is also used to identify places as holy (14 times), to instruct the Israelites to be holy as God is holy (some 10 times) and to identify the people of Israel as holy some 11 times (See Deuteronomy 7:8, 14:2 & 21). The Hebrew qadosh, when not describing God, is overwhelming seen as describing earthly things and earthly people. Here are a few examples.

       Psalms 16:3: As for the saints (qadosh) who are in the land, they are the glorious ones in whom is all my delight.

       Psalms 34:9: Fear the LORD, you his saints (qadosh), for those who fear him lack nothing.

       Isaiah 4:3: Those who are left in Zion, who remain in Jerusalem, will be called holy (qadosh), all who are recorded among the living in Jerusalem.

       The Hebrew word shamayim in Psalms 89:5, in its various tenses, appears 421 times in the OT. It is used to identify the visible sky where sun, moon and stars are. In the creation account seen in Genesis 1:6-8, this word is used to identify the heavens immediately above the earth.  This word is used in these ways many times in the OT narrative. This word is also used a number of times to identify where God dwells,

       1st Kings 8:1 Hear the supplication of your servant and of your people Israel when they pray toward this place. Hear from heaven (shamanism), your dwelling place, and when you hear, forgive. 

       The Scriptures appear to identify three different heavens. There is the heaven we readily see where there is an atmosphere of air that can be manipulated by the laws of nature to create weather. Genesis 7:11 speaks of the floodgates of the heavens (shamayim) being opened during the great flood. Deuteronomy 27:28 speaks of the dew of heaven (shamayim). Deuteronomy 28:12 speaks of the LORD opening the heavens (shamayim) to send rain on the land. James 5:18 speaks of the heavens giving rain.      

       Then there is a second heaven where is located our solar system and the stars and planets that make up the galaxies. This is the heaven that David appears to have in mind when he wrote “When I consider your heavens (shamayim), the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place" (Psalm 8:3). Deuteronomy 4:19 speaks of the sun, moon and stars as the “heavenly array” (shamayim).

       A third heaven is where God lives and were the governing authority for the universe is located.  Jehoshaphat, king of Judah asked “O LORD, God of our fathers, are you not the God who is in heaven? (shamayim).  You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations. Power and might are in your hand” (2nd Chronicles 20:6). Solomon refers to heaven (shamayim) as God’s dwelling place (1 Kings 8:43, 49). The psalmist refers to the LORD as being on His heavenly (shamayim) throne (Psalm 11:4) and of heaven (shamayim)  being His dwelling place from which He looks down and sees all mankind (Psalm 33:13-14).   

       For the sake of this discussion, it is instructive that in Psalms 89: 5-7, two different Hebrew words are rendered “heaven.” In Psalm 89:5 we have the word shamanism which is used in the OT to identify all three heavens. However in Psalm 89:6, the Hebrew word aš·ša·aq is rendered “heavens.” This is a tense of the Hebrew word shachaq which is defined in the Gesenius Hebrew/Chaldee Lexicon as “a cloud of dust or firmament of heaven. The Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew Lexicon gives a similar meaning.

       The Hebrew aš·ša·aq appears 21 times in the OT and is mostly rendered as sky or clouds. In Isaiah 40:15 the nations are seen as dust (aš·ša·aq). Since this word is not used in the OT in association with the heaven where God resides, it may be inappropriate to use it to reference the location of the “son’s of the mighty” in Psalms 89:6. 

       Psalm 89:6 reads “Who among the sons (ḇə·nê-) of the mighty (Hebrew: ê·lîm) can be likened to the Lord (YHWH)?"  The mighty and the sons of the mighty are seen as being compared to YHWH. If the “mighty” (ê·lîm) are supernatural beings, who are their sons? This passage makes a lot more sense if the “mighty” (ê·lîm) are humans since humans commonly have sons. It appears much more reasonable to see the mighty and their sons spoken of here as humans.  Remember that ê·lîm is a tense of el and el is seen in Scripture as identifying both God and man.  In the following Scriptures we see el used to identify human men.

       Ezekiel 17:13: And hath taken of the king's seed, and made a covenant with him, and hath taken an oath of him: he hath also taken the mighty (el) of the land (KJV)

       Ezekiel 31:11: I have therefore delivered him into the hand of the mighty (el)   one of the heathen; he shall surely deal with him: I have driven him out for his wickedness. The context of this chapter shows the “mighty one of the heathen” to be king Nebuchadnezzar.

       2nd Kings 24:15: And he carried away Jehoiachin to Babylon, and the king's mother, and the king's wives, and his officers, and the mighty (el) of the land, those carried he into captivity from Jerusalem to Babylon (KJV).

       The Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew Lexicon defines el as applying in Scripture to men of might and rank, mighty things in nature and primarily to the God of Israel. As covered above, the Gesenius’ Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon defines el as “strong, mighty, a mighty one, a hero.”  It should be evident from the foregoing Scriptures that that el is used to identify both God and man,          

       In Psalms 82:6 we see God addressing those he is judging as not only “gods (’ĕ·lō·hîm) but also as “sons (Hebrew: ū·ə·nê) of the Most High.” The Hebrew word rendered by the NKJ translators as “children” in Psalm 82:6 is ū·ə·nê. This is a tense of the Hebrew ben which is found some 4,932 times in the OT narrative and has the basic meaning of “son/male child, “son of a woman.” By context ben can be seen throughout the OT to overwhelming be used to identify human sons of human woman. However, it is used several times in the OT to identify supernatural sons of God which I will address in part two of this series.  Those who believe Psalms 82 is dealing with supernatural ’ĕ·lō·hîm being judged also conclude that thesons of the Most High” in verse 6 are supernatural sons of the Most High God and not human son’s. Is this the case?

       If the ’ĕ·lō·hîm / ū·ə·nê seen as being judged in Psalms 82 are supernatural beings, then supernatural beings are being held accountable for mismanaging human affairs rather than human rulers.  This doesn’t square with the Scriptures. In the OT we continually see human rulers over both Israel and nations in general held accountable and judged for mismanagement of their rulership. There is no scriptural reason to believe the conditions described in Psalm 82:2-4 are the result of supernatural beings directly or indirectly causing such mismanagement. These are all human conditions that are typically caused by the mismanagement of human rulers, not supernatural rulers.          

       God tells the ’ĕ·lō·hîm / ū·ə·nê that they will die like men and fall like one of the princes.  Can supernatural beings die? In referring to those who are resurrected from the dead, Jesus said “they can no longer die; for they are like the angels” (Luke 20:36a).  If the ’ĕ·lō·hîm seen as being judged in Psalm 2 are angels, they are beings that can’t die. Yet we see them being told they will die like men and fall like one of the princes. The passage from Luke 20 indicates that supernatural beings are created immortal and cannot die. Therefore, the beings described as ’ĕ·lō·hîm in Psalms 82 would appear to be mortal beings and not angels or any other kind of supernatural being. 

       As noted at the beginning of this essay, author Michael Heiser sees the ’ĕ·lō·hîm / ū·ə·nê of Psalm 82 as lesser gods appointed to rule over the nations of the earth. The nations of the earth are seen as the inheritance of these lesser gods while Israel alone is seen as the inheritance of YHWH God. This perspective is primarily based on what he believes Deuteronomy 32:8-9 is saying.

       Deuteronomy 32:8-9: When the Most High gave the nations their inheritance, when he divided all mankind, he set up boundaries for the peoples according to the number of the sons of Israel (Hebrew: yiś·rā·’êl). For the LORD's portion is his people, Jacob his allotted inheritance (NIV).   

       Most English translations of this passage render yiś·rā·’êl as “Israel.”  The Hebrew yiś·rā·’êl is the word found in the Masoretic Hebrew text, the text most often used to translate from Hebrew into English. The oldest extant copy of the Masoretic text is from the 9th century AD. The Hebrew word yiś·rā·’êl appears 2,506 times in the Hebrew Scriptures and is seen as the proper name of the descendants of Jacob whose name was changed to Israel.

       However, some English translations of this passage have “sons of God” rather than “sons of Israel”. This rendering is based on a Hebrew rendering found in a fragment of the Book of Deuteronomy found in the Dead Sea Scrolls where the text reads “sons of God.”  Since the Dead Sea Scroll manuscript fragment of Deuteronomy is much older than the Masoretic text of the OT, some believe this is the correct rendering of this passage. This rendering is seen in the RSV.

        When the Most High gave to the nations their inheritance, when he separated the sons of men, he fixed the bounds of the peoples according to the number of the sons of God.     

       The Septuagint (LXX) (Greek translation of the Hebrew Scripture) renders this text as “angels of God” (κατ ριθμν γγέλων θεο). Here the translators were apparently using a Hebrew text that reads “sons of God” and interpreted “sons” as angels. The Septuagint was produced beginning in the 3rd century BC and into the 1st century BC. The NET translation of this passage also uses the more ancient Hebrew “sons of God” rendering and translates it as “heavenly assembly.”  Both the LXX and NET translators are assuming “sons of God” is the correct Hebrew rendering and further assume “sons” means supernatural beings of some kind.  

       Assuming “sons of God” is the correct rendering of this passage, is there reason to believe the sons of God mentioned here are supernatural/divine sons of God?   Heiser believes that when the people were scattered at the Tower of Babel event when their language was mixed, they were disinherited and their inheritance was given to divine sons of God who would rule over them and these are the “sons of God” mentioned in Deuteronomy 32:8 passage. However, a reading of the Tower of Babel event (Genesis11) gives no hint of such a thing. Furthermore, just the opposite appears to be true. 

       Deuteronomy 32:8 says “the Most High gave to the nations their inheritance.” and not that He gave it to supernatural sons of His.  While it is true that many OT Scriptures identify Israel as the inheritance of God, Psalms 82:8 informs us that all the nations are the inheritance of God and not just Israel alone.  

      Psalms 82:8: Rise up, O God, judge the earth, for all the nations are your inheritance (NIV).

      Psalms 82:8: Arise, O God, judge the earth; for to thee belong all the nations! (RSV).

      Psalms 82:8: Rise up, O God, and execute judgment on the earth! For you own all the nations (NET).

      Psalms 82:8: Arise, O God, judge the earth, for all the nations are Your inheritance (Berean Study Bible).


       In view of the foregoing analysis of Psalms 82 and related passages, I believe it to be presumptuous to conclude that the gods (’ĕ·lō·hîm), and sons (Hebrew: ū·ə·nê) of the Most High in Psalm 82:6 are supernatural beings. Given the fact that these beings are being judged in regard to conditions that are clearly of an earthly nature and given the fact these ’ĕ·lō·hîm can die, makes it rather improbable that these are supernatural beings.

       The foregoing discussion of Psalms 29 and 89 makes it clear that human rulers are at times identified as “gods.” As covered above, not only YHWH God is called ’ĕ·lō·hîm  or el in the Hebrew Scriptures but so is man. This being the case, when God (Hebrew: elohim) is said to stand in the congregation of the mighty (Hebrew: el) in Psalms 82:1, it could very well be it is human el He is referring to. It could very well be the case that He is seen as standing in the congregation or assembly of human rulers and judging human rulers as opposed to supernatural rulers. This would make much more sense of Psalms 82:2-4 where it is human, earthly conditions that these rulers are being judged for.  

       Heiser's contention that the "gods" discussed in Psalms 82 are supernatural beings (lesser gods) who were given earthly nations as an inheritance to rule over is not what  Deuteronomy 32:8-9 or Psalms 82:8 indicate. As discussed above, in Deuteronomy 32:8 it is the nations that are seen as receiving an inheritance, not supernatural beings. In Psalms 82:8 all the nations are seen as God's inheritance.