Psalms 82

A psalm of Asaph.

1 God presides in the great assembly; he renders judgment among the “gods”:
2 “How long will you[a] defend the unjust and show partiality to the wicked?[b]
3 Defend the weak and the fatherless; uphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed.
4 Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.
5 “The ‘gods’ know nothing, they understand nothing. They walk about in darkness; all the foundations of the earth are shaken.
6 “I said, ‘You are “gods”; you are all sons of the Most High.’
7 But you will die like mere mortals; you will fall like every other ruler.”
8 Rise up, O God, judge the earth, for all the nations are your inheritance.

Psalms 82 Commentary

Chapter 82

An exhortation to judges. (1-5) The doom of evil rulers. (6-8)

Verses 1-5 Magistrates are the mighty in authority for the public good. Magistrates are the ministers of God's providence, for keeping up order and peace, and particularly in punishing evil-doers, and protecting those that do well. Good princes and good judges, who mean well, are under Divine direction; and bad ones, who mean ill, are under Divine restraint. The authority of God is to be submitted to, in those governors whom his providence places over us. But when justice is turned from what is right, no good can be expected. The evil actions of public persons are public mischiefs.

Verses 6-8 It is hard for men to have honour put upon them, and not to be proud of it. But all the rulers of the earth shall die, and all their honour shall be laid in the dust. God governs the world. There is a righteous God to whom we may go, and on whom we may depend. This also has respect to the kingdom of the Messiah. Considering the state of affairs in the world, we have need to pray that the Lord Jesus would speedily rule over all nations, in truth, righteousness, and peace.

Cross References 14

  • 1. Psalms 7:8; Psalms 58:11; Isaiah 3:13; Isaiah 66:16; Joel 3:12
  • 2. S Job 21:22
  • 3. Deuteronomy 1:17
  • 4. Psalms 58:1-2; Proverbs 18:5
  • 5. S Deuteronomy 24:17
  • 6. Psalms 140:12; Jeremiah 5:28; Jeremiah 22:16
  • 7. S Psalms 14:4; S Psalms 53:2; Micah 3:1
  • 8. Job 30:26; Isaiah 5:30; Isaiah 8:21-22; Isaiah 9:2; Isaiah 59:9; Isaiah 60:2; Jeremiah 13:16; Jeremiah 23:12; Lamentations 3:2
  • 9. S Judges 5:4; S Psalms 11:3
  • 10. John 10:34*
  • 11. Psalms 49:12; Ezekiel 31:14
  • 12. Psalms 12:5
  • 13. S Psalms 76:9
  • 14. Psalms 2:8; Revelation 11:15

Footnotes 2

  • [a]. The Hebrew is plural.
  • [b]. The Hebrew has "Selah" (a word of uncertain meaning) here.

Chapter Summary

INTRODUCTION TO PSALM 82

\\<>\\. This psalm was written for the use of persons in power, for the instruction of kings and princes, judges and civil magistrates; according to Kimchi, it was written about the times of Jehoshaphat, who appointed new judges throughout the land; those that were before having been very corrupt, to whom he gave a charge agreeably to the purport of this psalm, 2Ch 19:5-7, but it seems rather to be written by Asaph, in the times of David, under a spirit of prophecy, and has respect to the times of Christ, when there was a great corruption among the judges and rulers of the Jews, both civil and ecclesiastic. The Syriac version calls it, "a reproof of the ungodly Jews"; our Lord cites a passage out of it in vindication of himself from their charge of blasphemy, Joh 10:34-36.

Psalms 82 Commentaries