83:0Bible students do not agree when the psalmist wrote Psalm 83. In verses 6-8 is a list of the enemies of Israel. Because they were enemies of Israel, they were also enemies of God. This was true when the psalmist wrote the psalm, but it is not necessary that it is true today. The problem is this: not all these people were enemies of Israel at the same time. Some were enemies 800 BC, some 600 BC, some 400 BC (BC means ‘years Before Christ came to the earth.’) So, some Bible students think that Psalm 83 comes from 800 BC, some from 600 BC, and some from 400 BC Maybe we shall never know who is right!
The psalmist tells us that this is ‘a song for Asaph.’ A psalm is words with music, or a song. Asaph was the name of a group of singers. Asaph lived about 1000 BC, but his singers continued for many centuries. So, any of the Bible students could be right about the date of Psalm 83!
Enemies All Round Us!
83:0The psalm is in two parts:
– Verses 1-8: what the enemies of God and Israel are doing
– Verses 9-18: what the psalmist wants (prays that) God will do
This psalm is a song for Asaph.
1 God, do not seem to be asleep!
Do not remain quiet and do nothing, God!
2 For look, your enemies are all doing something.
The people that hate you are getting ready to fight you.
83:2In verses 1-2, the psalmist says that God seems to be doing nothing while his enemies are getting ready to fight him. They fight God by fighting his people Israel. They want everybody to forget that there ever was an Israel, verse 4! Verses 6-8 tell us who these enemies are. Some are to the east, like Moab. Some are to the west like Philistia. Some are to the south and some are to the north. We are not sure who the Hagrites and Gebal were. The important thing is this: the enemies were all round Israel! In verse 8, ‘the sons of Lot’ means the countries that his children started.
3 They are making clever plans against your people.
They are deciding together what to do with those people that you love.
4 They are saying, ‘Come on, we will destroy their country.
Then nobody will ever remember the name of Israel.’
5 They are deciding together what to do.
They are agreeing to do something against you.
6-7 The people doing this are from:
· Edom and the Ishmaelites,
· Moab and the Hagrites,
· Gebal, Ammon and Amalek,
· Philistia and Tyre.
8 Even Assyria has joined them.
They have made the sons of Lot Moab and Ammon strong.
9 Do to them what you did to Midian
and to Sisera and Jabin at the River Kishon.
10 They died at Endor
and they became like dirt on the ground.
11 Make their leaders like Oreb and Zeeb.
Make all their princes like Zebah and Zalmunna.
12 They said, ‘Let us take all the country that belongs to God.’
83:12In verses 9-12,we read about people that God destroyed. Gideon destroyed Midian; the story is in Judges 6-8. Oreb and Zeeb were princes of Midian. People from Ephraim killed them, the story is in Judges 7:24-25. Ephraim was one of the tribes of Israel. Gideon killed Zebah and Zalmunna in Judges 8:21. They were kings of Midian. Sisera and Jabin come from another story, in Judges 4:1-24. Jabin was king of Hazor. Sisera was the leader of his army. A woman (Jael) killed Sisera as he hid in her tent. Two judges (leaders) of Israel destroyed Jabin's army at the River Kishon.
13 God, blow them away like chaff in the wind!
14 As fire burns a forest and lights the mountains,
so they are on fire.
83:14In verse 14, ‘lights the mountains’ means ‘makes a fire on the mountains.’ Bible students are not sure what verses 16-18 mean. Some think that it means that the psalmist wants God to destroy his enemies as he destroyed Midian. Other Bible students think that it means that the psalmist wants them to be sorry and believe in God. The name Lord is the covenant name of God. It is the name people use who agree with God and who want to obey him.
15 Go after them with bad weather
and frighten them a lot with your storms.
16 Make their faces ashamed
so that they will look for your name, Lord.
17 Let them always be ashamed and very frightened.
Let them become so ashamed that then they die!
18 Then they will know that your name is Lord.
They will know that you are the Most High God
and you rule over all the earth.