Psalm 82

82:0We do not know who wrote this psalm, or when. It is a picture of God leading a meeting in heaven, where he lives. He is telling the gods what he has decided to do. Who are these gods? Bible students suggest four answers:

– The rulers of countries on the earth, like kings

– The false gods of the countries on the earth

– The people of Israel 2,500 years ago

– Angels that have authority over countries on earth

Now the first three of these are either human, or gods made by humans. But verses 6 and 7 of the psalm may tell us that these gods are not human. They are ‘sons of the Most High (who will) die like Adam.’ We could translate ‘Adam’ here as ‘men.’ In verse 6, ‘sons of the Most High’ means ‘sons of God.’ This either means angels (who live with God in heaven) or his people Israel (Exodus 4:22). It is easiest to read the psalm with two meanings. At first, ‘the gods’ meant ‘the people of Israel.’ Now it means ‘angels with authority over countries of the earth’ (Ephesians 6:10).

God and the gods

This is a psalm of Asaph.

1 God is the leader of a meeting of the powerful ones.

He is telling the gods what he has decided.

82:1The word we translated ‘meeting’ is one that the Bible uses to describe Israel. That is why some Bible students think ‘the powerful’ means Israel's leaders. Some of them are hurting God's people. ‘The powerful’ may also mean ‘bad angels.’ They make rulers do bad things to God's people and other poor people.

2 He says ‘How long will you not be fair to people?

How long will you say that the godless are right?’


82:2God asks two questions. The answer to both is ‘Until God decides to give help to poor people that need it.’ ‘You’ means the rulers of Israel, and the bad angels that have authority on earth.

3 Be fair and give help to:

· people that are weak,

· children with dead parents,

· people that are poor,

· anyone that has nothing.

4 Make the poor people safe and give them the help that they need.

Take them away from the power of the godless.

82:4Verses 3-4: God gives help by making the rulers and important people obey him.

5 They the godless know nothing and they understand nothing.

They walk about in darkness.

The ground beneath them moves about.

82:5This tells us that the godless do not know what they are doing. They are like men who cannot see their way in the dark. As they walk, they think that the ground is moving under their feet!

6 I, God, say, ‘You are gods

and you are all sons of the Most High God.

7 But you will die like Adam.

You will fall like rulers.’

82:7Verses 6-7: God tells the gods that they will die like men. The reason is the same: they have not obeyed God. Just because they are important people or angels, that will not save them from death.

8 God, stand up and rule the earth,

because all the countries in it belong to you.

82:8Here is a prayer that we can all say!