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Bible Commentaries
Psalms 82

Dr. Constable's Expository NotesConstable's Expository Notes

Verse 1

1. The Judge of the judges 82:1

The writer envisioned God sitting as Judge over a gathering of human judges, the judges that lived in every town in Israel. The human judges in Israel served as God’s judicial representatives among His people. The Hebrew word translated "rulers" (NASB) or "gods" (NIV) is elohim (lit. strong ones). This word usually describes God in the Old Testament, but sometimes it refers to the strong ones in Israel, namely, the human rulers or authorities (cf. Psalms 45:6; Exodus 21:6; Exodus 22:8-9). It does not refer to angels here (cf. Ephesians 6:12) as the Syriac translators thought. This is clear from the context. It does not refer to the gods of the heathen either (cf. 1 Corinthians 10:20).

Verses 1-8

Psalms 82

In this psalm, Asaph warned Israel’s judges to judge justly. [Note: For further discussion, see Chisholm, "A Theology . . .," pp. 275-76.]

Verses 2-5

Israel’s judges were perverting justice. God called them to practice righteous justice. Chisholm believed the king is in view in Psalms 82:2-7 rather than God. [Note: Ibid., p. 266, n. 17.] The essence of proper judging was making sure that the defenseless got justice. Israel’s judges, who should have been the wisest of the people, were ignorant of the importance of fair judgment and the consequences of unfair judging. Consequently law and order, the foundations of life on earth, were unstable.

Verses 2-7

2. The indictment of the judges 82:2-7

Verses 6-7

God warned the unjust judges that they themselves would suffer judgment for their injustice. God had appointed them as "gods" (i.e., individuals with power by God’s authority). He had made them His sons in the sense of His representatives on earth (cf. 2 Samuel 7:14). Nevertheless because they had not behaved as God, who judges justly, they would die as mere men without honor as God’s sons. They would die as all the other Israelites would. "Men" and "rulers" (Psalms 82:7) is a merism that signifies all mortals. [Note: Dahood, 2:270.]

Jesus’ accusers charged Him with blasphemy when He claimed to be the Son of God (John 10:33). In replying to their accusation, Jesus quoted Psalms 82:6 to remind them that God called Israel’s judges His sons. His point was that it was not inappropriate for Him to call Himself the Son of God. Jesus, of course, is God’s ultimate Judge of all humankind, so it was especially appropriate for Him to call Himself the Son of God.

Verse 8

3. The call for divine judgment 82:8

Asaph concluded this psalm by calling for God to judge the whole earth, not just Israel. The world, then as now, needed righteous judgment that only God, the righteous Judge, can provide. God’s provision of Jesus Christ, to whom He has committed all judgment (John 5:22-30), was His answer to this petition.

The need for righteous judgment and the cry for it will continue until Jesus Christ reigns and judges. He will judge at various times in the future. For the Christian, this will take place at the judgment seat of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:10). For Tribulation saints and Old Testament saints it will be just after He returns at His second coming (Revelation 20:4; Revelation 20:6; Isaiah 26:19; Daniel 12:2). For all unbelievers it will be at the great white throne judgment (Revelation 20:11-15).

Bibliographical Information
Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Psalms 82". "Dr. Constable's Expository Notes". https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/dcc/psalms-82.html. 2012.
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