1 Keep not thou silence, O God: hold not thy peace, and be not still, O God.
2 For, lo, thine enemies make a tumult: and they that hate thee have lifted up the head.
3 They have taken crafty counsel against thy people, and consulted against thy hidden ones.
4 They have said, Come, and let us cut them off from being a nation; that the name of Israel may be no more in remembrance.
5 For they have consulted together with one consent: they are confederate against thee:
6 The tabernacles of Edom, and the Ishmaelites; of Moab, and the Hagarenes;
7 Gebal, and Ammon, and Amalek; the Philistines with the inhabitants of Tyre;
8 Assur also is joined with them: they have holpen the children of Lot. Selah.
9 Do unto them as unto the Midianites; as to Sisera, as to Jabin, at the brook of Kison:
10 Which perished at Endor: they became as dung for the earth.
11 Make their nobles like Oreb, and like Zeeb: yea, all their princes as Zebah, and as Zalmunna:
12 Who said, Let us take to ourselves the houses of God in possession.
13 O my God, make them like a wheel; as the stubble before the wind.
14 As the fire burneth a wood, and as the flame setteth the mountains on fire;
15 So persecute them with thy tempest, and make them afraid with thy storm.
16 Fill their faces with shame; that they may seek thy name, O LORD.
17 Let them be confounded and troubled for ever; yea, let them be put to shame, and perish:
18 That men may know that thou, whose name alone is JEHOVAH, art the most high over all the earth.
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Psalm 83, found in the Book of Psalms in the Holy Bible, King James Version (KJV), is a plea to God for deliverance from enemies. It is a song or poem of Asaph, a choir director and seer in David's court, and is part of the third section of the Book of Psalms. This psalm is often categorized as an imprecatory psalm due to its calling for divine judgment against Israel's foes. The central themes of Psalm 83 revolve around warfare, divine intervention, and the supremacy of God.
The psalm begins with the psalmist pleading to God not to remain silent or inactive in the face of the threats posed by Israel's enemies. A confederation of nations, including Edom, Ishmaelites, Moab, Hagarenes, Gebal, Ammon, Amalek, Philistines, Tyre, and Assyria, is named in the psalm as conspiring against Israel. Their goal is to wipe out Israel as a nation, to obliterate its name and memory from the earth. The psalmist refers to these adversaries as God's enemies, thereby emphasizing the close relationship between God and Israel.
In the face of such overwhelming hostility, the psalmist appeals to God for divine intervention. The psalmist implores God to deal with these enemies as He had done in previous battles, invoking the historical battles of Midian, Sisera, and Jabin at the river Kishon, and the destruction of Oreb, Zeeb, Zebah, and Zalmunna. These historical references serve to remind both the psalmist and the reader of God's power and past interventions on behalf of His people.
The psalmist's prayer for divine intervention is not merely for the sake of Israel's survival, but also for the larger purpose of God's glory. The psalmist prays that Israel's enemies would be put to shame and perish, so that they would know that the Lord, whose name is Jehovah, is the Most High over all the earth. Thus, the psalmist's plea for divine intervention is ultimately a plea for the vindication of God's name and supremacy.
Warfare is a prominent theme in Psalm 83. The psalmist uses vivid and violent imagery to describe the desired downfall of Israel's enemies. The psalmist prays that they would be like chaff before the wind, and that God would pursue and terrify them with His storm. The psalmist also prays that their faces would be filled with shame, and that they would seek God's name. This desire for the enemies' humiliation and defeat is driven not by personal vengeance, but by the psalmist's yearning for God's glory and justice.
Despite the violent imagery, the psalmist's ultimate desire is not for the physical destruction of the enemies, but for their spiritual transformation. The psalmist prays that the enemies would seek God's name, implying a hope for their repentance and recognition of God's supremacy. Thus, the theme of warfare in Psalm 83 is ultimately linked to the theme of God's glory and justice.
The supremacy of God is a central theme in Psalm 83. The psalmist affirms God's sovereignty over all nations, not just Israel. The psalmist prays that God would make Himself known to the enemies, so that they would realize that He alone is the Most High over all the earth. This affirmation of God's supremacy serves to counter the enemies' arrogant attempts to usurp God's chosen people and to obliterate His name from the earth.
The psalmist's affirmation of God's supremacy is not just a theological statement, but also a source of hope and assurance in the face of adversity. The psalmist's confidence in God's supremacy over the nations and over all circumstances provides a powerful counterpoint to the threats and conspiracies of the enemies. This affirmation of God's supremacy thus serves to inspire faith and courage in the face of overwhelming odds.
Psalm 83 is often categorized as an imprecatory psalm due to its calling for divine judgment against Israel's enemies. The psalmist's imprecations are not expressions of personal hatred or revenge, but are pleas for God's justice against those who oppose His people and His name. The psalmist's imprecations are thus expressions of faith in God's justice and sovereignty.
While the imprecatory nature of Psalm 83 may seem harsh to modern readers, it is important to understand it in its historical and cultural context. In a time and culture where warfare and hostility were common, the psalmist's imprecations can be seen as a natural response to the threats and injustices faced by Israel. Moreover, the imprecations serve to underscore the seriousness of the enemies' actions and their need for divine judgment.
In conclusion, Psalm 83 is a plea to God for deliverance from enemies, an affirmation of God's supremacy, and a prayer for divine judgment against those who oppose God and His people. Its themes of warfare, divine intervention, and the supremacy of God reflect the challenges faced by Israel and provide timeless lessons on faith, courage, and reliance on God. Despite its violent imagery and imprecatory nature, Psalm 83 ultimately points to a God who is supremely powerful, just, and committed to the welfare of His people.