The Prophecy of Psalm 83

The Psalms are a veritable treasure trove of information and insight into God and His ways.  Psalm 83 is no exception.  In fact it is prophetic in nature and shows that a confederation of Middle Eastern countries are still to come together, with the Beast Power, against the nation of Israel in the end time.

Psalm 83:1 A Song. A Psalm of Asaph. Do not keep silent, O God! Do not hold Your peace, And do not be still, O God! A Levite; one of the leaders of David’s choir (1 Chronicles 6:39). Psalm 50 and Psalm 73-83 inclusive are attributed to him. He is mentioned along with David as skilled in music, and a “seer” (2 Chronicles 29:30).

2 Chronicles 29:30 Moreover King Hezekiah and the leaders commanded the Levites to sing praise to the LORD with the words of David and of Asaph the seer. So they sang praises with gladness, and they bowed their heads and worshiped.

Active participle of H2372; a beholder in vision; also a compact (as looked upon with approval): – agreement, prophet, see that, seer, [star-] gazer.

No surprise that this chapter has a prophetic nature to it.

Keep not thou silence, O God,…. As is perceived sometimes of God
Sometimes His answers are obvious
Sometimes “No”
Sometimes there is no answer because the people that are asking (and that can be us aren’t right with God)

Asaph is asking/praying that this not be one of those times.

hold not thy peace

(BBE) A Song. A Psalm. Of Asaph. O God, do not keep quiet: let your lips be open and take no rest, O God.
(CEV) (A song and a psalm by Asaph.) Our God, don’t just sit there, silently doing nothing!
(YLT) A Song, –A Psalm of Asaph. O God, let there be no silence to Thee, Be not silent, nor be quiet, O God

In a since “do not be deaf” to this petition and definitely “do not be still” but a please be active and intervening for what is to follow.

You can hear the pleading in Asaph’s words for God not to be indifferent

JFB: The historical occasion is probably that of 2 Chronicles 20:1, 2 Chronicles 20:2 (compare Psalm 47:1-9; Psalm 48:1-14 ).  After a general petition, the craft and rage of the combined enemies are described, action on them is invoked.

Psalm 83:2 For behold, Your enemies make a tumult; And those who hate You have lifted up their head. Now we see the reason for the concern

For, lo, thine enemies make a tumult – the enemies who will talk about later are now eager to put their plan into action. It is the commotion and clamor that a war machine makes as it is getting ready to go to battle.

It is like the rolling waves of the sea coming to shore before it comes crashing down at its destination .

And they that hate thee – He points out here that not only do they hate Israel but they also hate God and what he stands for.

Have lifted up the head – Have become proud; bold; confident of success

Psalm 74:23 Do not forget the voice of Your enemies; The tumult of those who rise up against You increases continually.

Psalm 83:3 They have taken crafty counsel against Your people, And consulted together against Your sheltered ones. Crafty: H6191

1 Samuel 23:22  Go, I pray you, prepare yet, and know and see his place where his haunt is, and who hath seen him there: for it is told me that he dealeth very subtillyH6191 .

Who is more subtle and crafty? Genesis 3:1

NIV Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”

(KJV) Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?

(NKJV) Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, “Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?”

Of course this is where thoughts like this originated. Satan is the father of lies and murder.

Counsel against Your people, And consulted together against Your sheltered ones.

Definitely a reference to the people of God who God has put a hedge about, like Satan mentions to God about Job

Job 1:10 Have You not made a hedge around him, around his household, and around all that he has on every side?

But I am wondering if it has more meaning than just that.

He says against Your people…. against Your sheltered ones

(BBE) They have made wise designs against your people, talking together against those whom you keep in a secret place.

(KJV) They have taken crafty counsel against thy people, and consulted against thy hidden ones.

Could this possibly be a reference to those in the Place of Safety?

Gill: 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, [He is taking this from the Bible]

Revelation 12:6 Then the woman fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared by God, that they should feed her there one thousand two hundred and sixty days.

Revelation 12:14 But the woman was given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness to her place, where she is nourished for a time and times and half a time, from the presence of the serpent.
Revelation 12:15 So the serpent spewed water out of his mouth like a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away by the flood.
Revelation 12:16 But the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed up the flood which the dragon had spewed out of his mouth.
Revelation 12:17 And the dragon was enraged with the woman, and he went to make war with the rest of her offspring, who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.

against Your people AND against Your sheltered ones

This looks like it is going to happen to what looks are two separate groups.

Psalm 83:4 They have said, “Come, and let us cut them off from being a nation, That the name of Israel may be remembered no more.” They wanted to: utterly destroy them; root them out and get rid of them completely

Let us (the nations we will address in a few verses) they are going make a concerted and combined effort to overpower them

And naturally take their land, the promised land, for themselves.

Again we see Satan in the picture: Wanting to obliterate Israel in the same way that he has wanted to destroy Spiritual Israel (the church).

He is trying to thwart the plan of God and contravene the promises that have been made to both physical and spiritual Israel

Psalm 83:5 For they have consulted together with one consent; They form a confederacy against You: (YLT) For they consulted in heart together, Against Thee a covenant they make,

Clarke: They have consulted together with one consent – With a united heart, Their heart and soul are in the evil that they have set out to do.

Brown Driver Briggs Definition for “consent”

1) inner man, mind, will, heart, understanding;
1a) inner part, midst
1a1) midst (of things)
1a2) heart (of man)
1a3) soul, heart (of man)
1a4) mind, knowledge, thinking, reflection, memory
1a5) inclination, resolution, determination (of will)
1a6) conscience
1a7) heart (of moral character)
1a8) as seat of appetites
1a9) as seat of emotions and passions
1a10) as seat of courage

For they have consulted together with one consent – “They have made a covenant,”

literally, “They cut a covenant against thee;”
that is, they ratify such a covenant”
“they have cut the covenant sacrifice.”

The process described:

When they cut the calf in twain, and passed between the parts thereof – This was the ancient and most solemn way of making a covenant.

1. A calf as sacrifice was offered to God to secure his approbation and support.

2. The victim was then exactly divided from the nose to the rump; the spinal marrow being divided longitudinally, in the most careful manner, that the half of it might remain on each side.

3. These divided parts were laid opposite to each other, a passage being left between them.

4. The contracting parties entered this passage at each end, met in the middle, and there took the covenant oath; adjudging themselves to death should they break this covenant.

Jeremiah 34:18 And I will give the men who have transgressed My covenant, who have not performed the words of the covenant which they made before Me, when they cut the calf in two and passed between the parts of it—

Jeremiah 34:19 the princes of Judah, the princes of Jerusalem, the eunuchs, the priests, and all the people of the land who passed between the parts of the calf—

Gill signifying thereby, that if they did not fulfil the engagements they entered into, they imprecated to be cut to pieces as that creature was.

Imprecate: to invoke or call down (evil or curses), as upon a person. We will talk about this word a little more later

So what we are seeing here is that these enemies are united in their opposition to Israel in spite of any issues they may have had with each other and that they are committed to perpetrate the evil that they have concocted…even to the point that they say let us be cut asunder from head to toe if we don’t carry out the promise on the people of Israel…that’s dedication.

Psalm 83:6 The tents of Edom and the Ishmaelites; Moab and the Hagrites; Esau or Edom — Turkey, perhaps also, in some instances, Palestinians

Esau= Edom

Bible history, from about Genesis 16 on, records that all of these nations fought against Israel and Judah all the time. Only very rarely did they ally with Israel for any length of time, and when they did, it was usually because they faced an even stronger, more dreaded enemy. It seems that Israel had peace from them only when they were conquered

Genesis 36:12 Now Timna was the concubine of Eliphaz, Esau’s son, and she bore Amalek to Eliphaz. These were the sons of Adah, Esau’s wife.

Ishmael — Saudi-Arabia

Moab — Jordan, perhaps also Western Iraq

Hagrites [possibly Syria]

Psalm 83:7 Gebal, Ammon, and Amalek; Philistia with the inhabitants of Tyre; Gebal [Lebanon]

Ammon [Jordan and the PLO]

Amalek [the PLO]

Philistia [Palestinians from the Gaza Strip]

Tyre [Babylonian system – Beast power]

Barnes has a problem with Tyre: With the inhabitants of Tyre – On the situation of Tyre, see the Introduction to Isa. 23. Why Tyre should unite in this confederacy is not known. The purpose seems to have been to combine as many nations as possible against the Hebrew people, and – as far as it could be done – all those that were adjacent to it, so that it might be surrounded by enemies, and so that its destruction might be certain. It would not probably be difficult to find some pretext for inducing any of the kings of the surrounding nations to unite in such an unholy alliance. Kings, in general, have not been unwilling to form alliances against liberty.

Psalm 83:8 Assyria also has joined with them; They have helped the children of Lot. Selah Assyria [Germany] also has joined with them; They have helped the children of Lot [Jordan]

Lot’s children by his daughters were Moab and Ammon

Zechariah 1:18 Then I raised my eyes and looked, and there were four horns.
Zechariah 1:19 And I said to the angel who talked with me, “What are these?” So he answered me, “These are the horns that have scattered Judah, Israel, and Jerusalem.”
Zechariah 1:20 Then the LORD showed me four craftsmen.
Zechariah 1:21 And I said, “What are these coming to do?” So he said, “These are the horns that scattered Judah, so that no one could lift up his head; but the craftsmen are coming to terrify them, to cast out the horns of the nations that lifted up their horn against the land of Judah to scatter it.”

What we also need to understand and what we can glean from this is that these countries will be allied together with Germany. Notice who is not mentioned: Egypt. Some think that they will be the King of the South…they are not even a part of this end-time confederation…IF there is actually a King of the South scenario that is dual.

Psalm 83:9 Deal with them as with Midian, As with Sisera, As with Jabin at the Brook Kishon, Do unto them as unto the Midianites – Who were utterly defeated by Gideon along with the Amalekites

Judges 7:20 Then the three companies blew the trumpets and broke the pitchers—they held the torches in their left hands and the trumpets in their right hands for blowing—and they cried, “The sword of the LORD and of Gideon!”
Judges 7:21 And every man stood in his place all around the camp; and the whole army ran and cried out and fled.
Judges 7:22 When the three hundred blew the trumpets, the LORD set every man’s sword against his companion throughout the whole camp; and the army fled to Beth Acacia, toward Zererah, as far as the border of Abel Meholah, by Tabbath.

As to Sisera – Captain of the army of Jabin, king of Canaan, who was totally defeated by Deborah and Barak, near Mount Tabor, by the river Kishon; and himself, after having fled from the battle, slain by Jael, the wife of Heber, the Kenite. See Judges 4:15, etc.

He was conquered by the Hebrew armies under the direction of the prophetess Deborah, by the instrumentality of Barak Judges 4:4 , Judges 4:6, Judges 4:14-15, and was slain by Jael, the wife of Heber the Kenite, Judges 4:17-21. To the River Kishon Judges 4:13

Judges 4:24 And the hand of the children of Israel grew stronger and stronger against Jabin king of Canaan, until they had destroyed Jabin king of Canaan.

Compare the similar fate of these (2 Chronicles 20:23) with that of the foes mentioned in Judges 7:22, here referred to. They destroyed one another (Judges 4:6-24; Judges 7:25). Human remains form manure (compare 2 Kings 9:37; Jeremiah 9:22).

Psalm 83:10 Who perished at En Dor, Who became as refuse on the earth. A continuation of the thought in :9

They became as dung for the earth – The land was enriched or made fertile by their flesh, their blood, and their bones, as the field of Waterloo was by that of the slain, or as fields of battle commonly are.

Jeremiah 8:2 They shall spread them before the sun and the moon and all the host of heaven, which they have loved and which they have served and after which they have walked, which they have sought and which they have worshiped. They shall not be gathered nor buried; they shall be like refuse on the face of the earth.

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,

Psalm 83:11 Make their nobles like Oreb and like Zeeb, Yes, all their princes like Zebah and Zalmunna, Make their nobles like Oreb and like Zeeb – These were princes or rulers of the Midianites, Picking up where we left off previously in Judges 7

Judges 7:23 And the men of Israel gathered themselves together out of Naphtali, and out of Asher, and out of all Manasseh, and pursued after the Midianites.
Judges 7:24 And Gideon sent messengers throughout all mount Ephraim, saying, Come down against the Midianites, and take before them the waters unto Bethbarah and Jordan. Then all the men of Ephraim gathered themselves together, and took the waters unto Bethbarah and Jordan.
Judges 7:25 And they took two princes of the Midianites, Oreb and Zeeb; and they slew Oreb upon the rock Oreb, and Zeeb they slew at the winepress of Zeeb, and pursued Midian, and brought the heads of Oreb and Zeeb to Gideon on the other side Jordan.

Yea, all their princes as Zebah, and as Zalmunna – The word here rendered princes means properly anointed, and was given to princes, kings, prophets, and priests, as anointed, or as set apart by anointing to their office. Zebah and Zalmunna were kings of Midian, slain also by Gideon. See Judges 8:5, Judges 8:21.

Judges 8:4 When Gideon came to the Jordan, he and the three hundred men who were with him crossed over, exhausted but still in pursuit.
Judges 8:5 Then he said to the men of Succoth, “Please give loaves of bread to the people who follow me, for they are exhausted, and I am pursuing Zebah and Zalmunna, kings of Midian.”

Judges 8:12 When Zebah and Zalmunna fled, he pursued them; and he took the two kings of Midian, Zebah and Zalmunna, and routed the whole army.
Judges 8:21 So Zebah and Zalmunna said, “Rise yourself, and kill us; for as a man is, so is his strength.” So Gideon arose and killed Zebah and Zalmunna, and took the crescent ornaments that were on their camels’ necks.

Slain by Gideon, the one on the rock Oreb, and the other at the wine-press of Zeeb. Judges 7:25. The prayer here is, that the enemies who had conspired against the land of Israel might be utterly destroyed.

Psalm 83:12 Who said, “Let us take for ourselves The pastures of God for a possession.” Who said, Let us take to ourselves the houses of God in possession – The houses of God here mean the habitations of God, or the places where he dwelt among the people.

(ASV) Who said, Let us take to ourselves in possession The habitations of God.
(BBE) Who have said, Let us take for our heritage the resting-place of God.
(CEV) All of them said, “We’ll take God’s valuable land!”
(ISV) who said, “Let us possess the pastures of God.”
(JPS) (83:13) Who said: ‘Let us take to ourselves in possession the habitations of God.’
(KJV) Who said, Let us take to ourselves the houses of God in possession.

Not the language of Oreb and Zeeb, of Zebah and Zalmunna, but of the all those mentioned in :6-8

Let us take to ourselves, and for our possession, the dwellings of the land where God is supposed to reside.

Same attitude is found by the same people in:

2 Chronicles 20:10 And now, here are the people of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir—whom You would not let Israel invade when they came out of the land of Egypt, but they turned from them and did not destroy them—
2 Chronicles 20:11 here they are, rewarding us by coming to throw us out of Your possession which You have given us to inherit.
2 Chronicles 20:12 O our God, will You not judge them? For we have no power against this great multitude that is coming against us; nor do we know what to do, but our eyes are upon You.”
2 Chronicles 20:13 Now all Judah, with their little ones, their wives, and their children, stood before the LORD.
2 Chronicles 20:14 Then the Spirit of the LORD came upon Jahaziel the son of Zechariah, the son of Benaiah, the son of Jeiel, the son of Mattaniah, a Levite of the sons of Asaph, in the midst of the assembly.
2 Chronicles 20:15 And he said, “Listen, all you of Judah and you inhabitants of Jerusalem, and you, King Jehoshaphat! Thus says the LORD to you: ‘Do not be afraid nor dismayed because of this great multitude, for the battle is not yours, but God’s.

Psalm 83:13 O my God, make them like the whirling dust, Like the chaff before the wind! O my God, make them like a wheel … – Or rather, like a rolling thing – something that the wind rolls along

Anything driven before a whirlwind, as chaff, or stubble,

The prayer here is, that they might be utterly destroyed, or driven away.

Like a wheel set running down hill

Psalm 83:14 As the fire burns the woods, And as the flame sets the mountains on fire, As the fire burneth the wood,…. Or “forest

Done very easily and swiftly, when fire is set to it; even all the trees of it, great and small, to which an army is sometimes compared,

Above mentioned; as wicked men are but as trees of the forest, and the grass of the mountains, or as thorns and briers, to the wrath of God, which is poured out as fire, and is signified by everlasting burnings.

Pursue them to an utter destruction just as were their plans for Israel

Psalm 83:15 So pursue them with Your tempest, And frighten them with Your storm. So persecute them – So pursue them; so follow them up.

With thy tempest – With the expressions of thy displeasure; with punishment which may be compared with the fury of a storm.

And make them afraid with thy storm – Or, Make them afraid, terrify them, so that they will flee away. As all that is here sought by prayer is what people endeavor to do when an enemy invades their country – Make them GO away! So that we can have peace once more.

Most of the commentaries up to this point are calling this a imprecatory prayer – a prayer, this one by Asaph, where we ask God to curse, maim, kill our enemies or those who have done us wrong.

World, commentators believe this is OK. They also believe going to war is OK. But when we have the mind of God and we put everything together we see that is not what God would have us do…if we were to rely on Him and trust Him fully and completely.

Now we come to the crux of this section in :16-18 as to what the Psalmist is getting at what he ultimately wants for these enemies of Israel and God

Psalm 83:16 Fill their faces with shame, That they may seek Your name, O LORD. Fill their faces with shame – disgrace; (by implication) the pudenda: – confusion, dishonour, ignominy, reproach, shame.

As those who are disappointed and foiled in their plans – that there might be such a manifest interposition of God in the case, as that they should be led to see that Yahweh reigned; that it was in vain to contend with him, and that his people were under his protection.

That they may seek thy name, O Lord – That they may be led to seek thee. This explains the drift and design of the whole prayer in the psalm. It is not a imprecatory prayer for the destruction of their enemies; it is not a wish that they might be made to suffer; but it is a prayer that the divine dealing might be such as to lead them to the acknowledgment of the true God.

This is the Godly approach … to desire that men may be brought to the knowledge of the true God

Now of course the problem is that human nature predicates that it be by the means that we just read

It is not how God wants to do it but He will if we or anyone else make Him

Psalm 83:17 Let them be confounded and dismayed forever; Yes, let them be put to shame and perish, Let them be confounded – Let them be ashamed. That is, Let them have that kind of shame and confusion which results from the fact that their plans have not been successful, or that they have been foiled and baffled in their schemes. Let them be troubled as men are who are unsuccessful in their projects.

Forever – As a people; as confederated nations; as united in such an unholy alliance. Let them never again be able thus to combine, or to form a compact for the destruction of thy people. This does not refer to them as individuals, but as nations. It is a prayer that they may be so discomfited now that they may see the wickedness and folly of all such efforts, and that they may never again form such a combination.

Yea, let them be put to shame – By utter failure in their schemes.

And perish – Not individually, but as combined – as an alliance. Let there be a complete end to such a confederacy, so that it shall never be seen again.

Help them to see their folly and forever remember not to do it again not only because of the consequences but because it was the wrong thing to do in the first place.

Psalm 83:18 That they may know that You, whose name alone is the LORD, Are the Most High over all the earth. That men may know – That all people may be impressed with the belief that thou art the true and only God. This was the design and aim of the prayer in the psalm. It was that there might be such a manifestation of the power of God; that it might be so evident that the events which had occurred could be traced to no other source than God himself, that all people might be led to honor him.

That they may know who you truly are … as we do

Your dominion is so absolute over nations, even when combined together, and thy power is so complete in foiling their plans, and disconcerting their purposes, that it is clear that thou dost reign over them. He that could break up such a combination – he that could rescue his people from such an allied force – must have all power over the nations – must be the true God.

That men may know – That they may acknowledge, and be converted to thee. Here is no malice;