Psalm 82

Psalm 82

Rescue the Weak and Needy

A Psalm of Asaph.

82   God has taken his place in the divine council;
    in the midst of the gods he holds judgment:
  “How long will you judge unjustly
    and show partiality to the wicked? Selah
  Give justice to the weak and the fatherless;
    maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute.
  Rescue the weak and the needy;
    deliver them from the hand of the wicked.”
  They have neither knowledge nor understanding,
    they walk about in darkness;
    all the foundations of the earth are shaken.
  I said, “You are gods,
    sons of the Most High, all of you;
  nevertheless, like men you shall die,
    and fall like any prince.”
  Arise, O God, judge the earth;
    for you shall inherit all the nations!


Psalm 82 Commentary

by Brad Boyles

Psalm 81 is one of those chapters that is difficult to understand without digging deeper into the context. At a glance, it may seem confusing that God refers to magistrates, judges, and other people of authority as “gods.” Verse 1 and 6 both use this term.

A psalm of Asaph. God has taken His place in the divine assembly; He judges among the gods

Psalms 82:1 HCSB

I said, “You are gods; you are all sons of the Most High.

Psalms 82:6 HCSB

The main point of Psalm 82 is that earthly judges are held to a high standard of morality because they will one day stand before the Judge. The psalmist is crying out for justice from human authorities who seem like gods among the other people. They must remember that the only reason they are in such a position is because God allowed it. provides a solid explanation for why the term “gods” was used.

“Calling a human magistrate a “god” indicates three things: 1) he has authority over other human beings, 2) the power he wields as a civil authority is to be feared, and 3) he derives his power and authority from God Himself, who is pictured as judging the whole earth in verse 8.”

They are still only mortal and will have to give a full account for how they lived their life in the end.

However, you will die like men and fall like any other ruler.”

Psalms 82:7 HCSB

In John 10, Jesus quotes this psalm while replying to the accusations of hostile Jews.

“The Father and I are one.”  31  Again the Jews picked up rocks to stone Him.  32  Jesus replied, “I have shown you many good works from the Father. Which of these works are you stoning Me for?”  33  “We aren’t stoning You for a good work,” the Jews answered, “but for blasphemy, because You—being a man—make Yourself God.”  34  Jesus answered them, “Isn’t it written in your scripture, I said, you are gods?  35  If He called those whom the word of God came to ‘gods’—and the Scripture cannot be broken—  36  do you say, ‘You are blaspheming’ to the One the Father set apart and sent into the world, because I said: I am the Son of God?

John 10:30-36 HCSB

Again, it is difficult to understand Jesus’ words without first knowing the context of Psalm 81. Jesus is pointing out their hypocrisy. He is asking the Jews why they are fine with referring to those with earthly authority as “gods” but refuse to consider that He is God based on His good and miraculous works. This is an interesting comparison knowing that the human judges in Psalm 81 were not considered “gods” based on their good works. The psalm cries out for them to remember the poor and provide justice to the needy. In a stark contrast, Jesus had a laundry list of miracles that were done in the presence of many witnesses, yet, the Jews were outraged at His proclamation of being God in the flesh.

The application for us today is to consider that everyone in a position of earthly authority was put there by God. More importantly, those in such positions will be judged accordingly. This is why we must pray for our leaders and those in positions of authority.

First of all, then, I urge that petitions, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for everyone,  2  for kings and all those who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity.

1 Timothy 2:1-2 HCSB

Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments