judge the earth: who is the Judge of the whole earth, to whom all judgment is committed, and who will judge the world in righteousness:
for thou shalt inherit all nations; which he will do in the latter day, when he shall be King over all the earth, and the Heathen shall be given him for his inheritance, he being heir of all things; and universal justice will not take place in the world till that time comes; and therefore it is to be wished and prayed for, as by the prophet and church here.
INTRODUCTION TO Psalm 83
A Song or Psalm of Asaph. This is the last of the psalms that bear the name of Asaph, and some think it was written by him on occasion of David's smiting the Philistines, Moabites, Syrians, Edomites, and others, 2 Samuel 8:1, but these did not conjunctly, but separately, fight with David, and were overcome by him; whereas those this psalm makes mention of were in a confederacy together; and besides, the Tyrians in David's time were in friendship with him; but are here mentioned as joining with others against Israel, Psalm 83:7, others are of opinion that this was prophetic delivered out with respect to future times, either to the conspiracy of the enemies of the Jews against them in the times of the Maccabees,
"Now when the nations round about heard that the altar was built and the sanctuary renewed as before, it displeased them very much. &c.'' (1 Maccabees 5:1)
or rather to the confederacy of the Moabites, Ammonites, and others, in the times of Jehoshaphat, 2 Chronicles 20:1, so Kimchi, Arama, and the generality of interpreters: perhaps reference is had to the enemies of God's people, from age to age, both in the Old and in the New Testament; R. Obadiah understands it of the war of Gog and Magog.
hold not thy peace; or "be not deaf" (b) to the cries and tears of his people, and to the reproaches, menaces, and blasphemies of wicked men:
and be not still, O God; or "quiet" (c), at rest and ease, inactive and unconcerned, as if he cared not how things went; the reason follows.
(b) "ne obsurdescas", Vatablus; "ne surdum agas", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator; "ne quasi surdus et mutus sis", Michaelis. (c) "ne quiescas", Pagninus, Montanus, Musculus, Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Gejerus; "neque quietus sis", Michaelis.
and they that hate thee have lift up the head; are haughty, proud, and arrogant; speak loftily, and with a stiff neck; set their mouth against heaven, and God in it; and their tongue walks through the earth, and spares none; they exult and rejoice, as sure of victory, before the battle is fought; such then were, and such there are, who are haters of God, hate his being, perfections, purposes, and providences; hate his Son without a cause, and even do despite unto the Spirit of grace; hate the law and its precepts, the Gospel and its doctrines and ordinances, and the ways, worship, and people of God, as appears by what follows.
(d) "sonuerunt", V. L. "perstrepunt", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Cocceius; "strepunt", Gejerus.
and consulted against thy hidden ones; not hidden from the Lord, and unknown unto him, though from their enemies, and unknown by them, and so the object of their hatred and persecution; but hidden by him as his jewels and peculiar treasure, which he takes care of; hidden under the shadow of his wings, in the secret of his presence and tabernacle, as in a pavilion; and therefore it was a daring piece of insolence in their enemies to attack them: so the life of saints is said to be hid with Christ in God, which denotes both its secrecy and safety; see Colossians 3:3, the Targum is,
"against the things hidden in thy treasures;''
meaning the riches of the temple.
come, and let us cut them off from being a nation; they were not content to invade their country, take their cities, plunder them of their substance, and carry them captives, but utterly to destroy them, root and branch; so that they might be no more a body politic, under rule and government, in their own land, nor have so much as a name and place in others; this was Haman's scheme, Esther 3:8.
that the name of Israel may be no more in remembrance; but this desperate and dreadful scheme, and wretched design of theirs, took not effect; but, on the contrary, the several nations hereafter mentioned, who were in this conspiracy, are no more, and have not had a name in the world for many hundreds of years; while the Jews are still a people, and are preserved, in order to be called and saved, as all Israel will be in the latter day, Romans 11:25. So Dioclesian thought to have rooted the Christian name out of the world; but in vain: the name of Christ, the name of Christianity, the name of a Christian church, will endure to the end of the world; see Psalm 72:17. Compare with this Jeremiah 11:19.
they are confederate against thee; or have made a covenant against thee (f); the covenant they had entered into among themselves, being against the Lord's people, was against him; and such a covenant and agreement can never stand; for there is no wisdom, nor understanding, nor counsel against the Lord, Proverbs 21:30. This the psalmist mentions to engage the Lord in the quarrel of his people, and not be still, and act a neutral part; since those were his enemies, and confederates against him, and they are next particularly named.
(e) "corde", Pagninus, Montanus; "ex corde", Tigurine version, Musculus, Gejerus; "cordicitus", Cocceius. (f) "foedus adversus te icerunt", Tigurine version; "contra te foedus pepigerunt", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Gejerus; so Musculus, Cocceius, Michaelis.
and the Ishmaelites; or Arabians, as the Targum, who descended from Ishmael, the son of Abraham:
of Moab, and the Hagarenes; the Moabites, who sprung from Lot by one of his daughters, in an incestuous way; and the Hagarenes are the same with the Hagarites, 1 Chronicles 5:10 who dwelt to the east of the land of Israel, so called from Hagar, the handmaid of Abraham, but not by him, but by another husband, after sent away from him, as Aben Ezra and Kimchi think, or by him, supposing Hagar to be the same with Keturah, as some do: the Targum calls them Hungarians; the Syriac version renders it Gadareans, or Gadarenes; of which see Mark 5:1.
and Ammon and Amalek, the Philistines, with the inhabitants of Tyre; these are well known in Scripture, and as the enemies of Israel.
(g) Nat. Hist. l. 5. c. 20.
"Sennacherib, king of Syria, is joined with them;''
and so some refer this to his invasion of Judea, and besieging Jerusalem, with an army consisting of many nations, in Hezekiah's time; but he was the principal there, and not an auxiliary, as here:
they have holpen the children of Lot; or were "an arm" (h) unto them, assisted and strengthened them: these were the Moabites and Ammonites, who were the principals in the war, and the rest auxiliaries, as it appears they were in the times of Jehoshaphat, 2 Chronicles 20:1, here were ten different nations, which joined in confederacy against the people of Israel; to which answer the ten horns of the beast, or ten antichristian kings, who agreed to give their kingdom to the beast, and to make war with the Lamb and his followers, Revelation 17:12, and it may be observed, that these were on all sides of the land of Israel; the Edomites, Ishmaelites, and Amalekites, were on the south; the Moabites, Ammonites, and Hagarenes, were on the east; the Assyrians on the north; and the Philistines, Gebalites, and Tyrians, on the west: so that Israel was surrounded on all sides with enemies, as the Lord's people are troubled on every side, 2 Corinthians 4:8, and so the Gog and Magog army, of which some understand this, will encompass the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city, Revelation 20:9.
Selah. See Gill on Psalm 3:2.
(h) "fuerunt brachium", Pagniuus, Montanus; "sunt brachium", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, &c.
as to Sisera, as to Jabin: Jabin was a king of Canaan, who oppressed Israel, and Sisera was his general; the latter was slain by a woman, Jael, the wife of Heber; and the former the hand of Israel prevailed against, until they destroyed him, Judges 4:2, the great victory which they obtained over them was
at the brook of Kison, or "Kishon", Judges 4:7 with this compare 2 Chronicles 20:16.
they became as dung for the earth; being unburied, they lay and rotted on the earth, and became dung for it; see Jeremiah 8:2, or were trodden under foot, as dung upon the earth; so the Targum,
"they became as dung trodden to the earth.''
(i) De locis Hebraicis, fol. 88. L. and 91. E.
yea, all their princes as Zebah, and as Zalmunna; kings of Midian, slain by Gideon, Judges 8:21.
let us take to ourselves the houses of God in possession; not only the temple, which was eminently the house of God, but all the habitations of the Israelites in Jerusalem, and other places, where the Lord vouchsafed to dwell; unless this should be ironically spoken by their enemies calling them so, because they pretended, as they reckoned it, to have and to hold them by the gift of God; whereas, of right, they belonged to them, at least some of them: such a claim was made by the Ammonites in the times of Jephthah, Judges 11:13, and to dispossess the Israelites was the intention of the Ammonites and Moabites in the times of Jehoshaphat, 2 Chronicles 20:10.
as the stubble before the wind; which cannot stand before it, but is driven about by it here and there; and so wicked men are, as chaff and stubble, driven away in their wickedness, with the stormy wind of divine wrath and vengeance, and chased out of the world, which is here imprecated.
(k) "Vide Suidam in voce" (l) "rem in levem quae turbine circumagitur", some in Amama; "pappos", i.e. "lanuginem carduorum", so some in Grotius; "as a rolling thing", Ainsworth.
(m) "sylvam", Montanus, Tigurine version, Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, &c. (n) Georgic. l. 2. v. 310.
and make them afraid with thy storm; God has his storms and tempests of wrath and vengeance, which he sometimes causes to fall upon wicked men in this life, to their inexpressible terror, and with which he takes them out of this world; and he has still more horrible ones to rain upon them hereafter: see Job 27:20.
that they may seek thy name, O Lord; not they themselves, who are filled with shame; for it is imprecated, that they be ashamed, and troubled for ever, and so as to perish, Psalm 83:17 but others; for the words may be supplied, as in Psalm 83:18 "that men may seek thy name, or that thy name may be sought": the judgments of God upon wicked men are sometimes the means of arousing others, and putting them upon seeking the Lord, his face, and his favour; that God would be merciful to them, pardon their iniquities, avert judgments from them, and preserve them from threatened calamities; and this is a good end, when answered; see Isaiah 26:9.
(o) Heb. "levitate", Piscator; so Ainsworth.
yea, let them be put to shame, and perish; wholly and eternally, in soul and body, for evermore.