PSALM 82#As in Ps 58, the pagan gods are seen as subordinate divine beings to whom Israel’s God had delegated oversight of the foreign countries in the beginning (Dt 32:8–9). Now God arises in the heavenly assembly (Ps 82:1) to rebuke the unjust “gods” (Ps 82:2–4), who are stripped of divine status and reduced in rank to mortals (Ps 82:5–7). They are accused of misruling the earth by not upholding the poor. A short prayer for universal justice concludes the Psalm (Ps 82:8).
The Downfall of Unjust Gods
1A psalm of Asaph.
God takes a stand in the divine council,
gives judgment in the midst of the gods.#a. [82:1] Is 3:13–14.
2“How long will you judge unjustly
and favor the cause of the wicked?#b. [82:2] Ps 58:2.Selah
3“Defend the lowly and fatherless;
render justice to the afflicted and needy.
4Rescue the lowly and poor;
deliver them from the hand of the wicked.”#c. [82:4] Dt 1:17.
5#The gods are blind and unable to declare what is right. Their misrule shakes earth’s foundations (cf. Ps 11:3; 75:4), which God made firm in creation (Ps 96:10).The gods neither know nor understand,
wandering about in darkness,
and all the world’s foundations shake.
6I declare: “Gods though you be,#I declare: “Gods though you be”: in Jn 10:34 Jesus uses the verse to prove that those to whom the word of God is addressed can fittingly be called “gods.”#d. [82:6] 2 Pt 1:4.
offspring of the Most High all of you,
7Yet like any mortal you shall die;
like any prince you shall fall.”
8Arise, O God, judge the earth,#Judge the earth: according to Dt 32:8–9, Israel’s God had originally assigned jurisdiction over the foreign nations to the subordinate deities, keeping Israel as a personal possession. Now God will directly take over the rulership of the whole world.
for yours are all the nations.