Psalm 83
Benson Commentary
A Song or Psalm of Asaph. Keep not thou silence, O God: hold not thy peace, and be not still, O God.
Psalm 83:1-2. Keep not thou silence, O God — Plead for us, not by words, but by thy actions; hold not thy peace — Hebrew, אל תחרשׁ, al techeresh: be not deaf, to our prayers, and to the blasphemies of thine and our enemies. Be not still — That is, unactive and unconcerned for us. For lo, thine enemies — They who are not only enemies to us, thy people, but also to thy will, and name, and glory; make a tumult — יהמיון, jehemajun, rage and roar, like the waves of the sea, or, make a tumultuous noise, both with their tongues, reproaching thee and threatening us, and with their arms. And have lifted up the head — Are grown potent, and insolent, and scornful.

For, lo, thine enemies make a tumult: and they that hate thee have lifted up the head.
They have taken crafty counsel against thy people, and consulted against thy hidden ones.
Psalm 83:3-5. They have consulted against thy hidden ones — That is, against thy people Israel, as it is explained in the foregoing words, and in the next verse. They are called God’s hidden, or secret ones, צפוניךְ, tzepunecha, abditos tuos, to intimate the singular care and respect which God had to them, as his peculiar treasure, (as they are called, Exodus 19:5; Psalm 135:3,) whom he would hide and preserve in the secret of his presence, and under the shadow of his wings; and withal to denote the folly of Israel’s enemies in seeking the destruction of those whom God was engaged and resolved to protect. They have said, Come, let us cut them off, &c. — Whereby they have showed both their implacable rage and malice, and their great assurance of success. They are confederate against thee — They have laid aside all their private quarrels and animosities, and agreed together against thee.

They have said, Come, and let us cut them off from being a nation; that the name of Israel may be no more in remembrance.
For they have consulted together with one consent: they are confederate against thee:
The tabernacles of Edom, and the Ishmaelites; of Moab, and the Hagarenes;
Psalm 83:6-8. The tabernacles of Edom — Called the children of Seir, 2 Chronicles 20. He says the tabernacles of Edom, from the custom of these Arabians to live in tents all the year long; encamping sometimes in one place and sometimes in another, as they found convenience for themselves and their cattle, a custom retained by their descendants even to this day. And the Ishmaelites — Some of the posterity of Ishmael, called by their father’s name, as others of them are supposed by many to be called Hagarenes, from their grandmother Hagar. Gebal — The Giblites, or Gebalites, dwelling near Zidon, of whom see Ezekiel 27:9. “Gebal was once a place of renown: the country of the Giblites is mentioned as left by Joshua to be conquered after his death, Joshua 13:5. And the people of this place were of service to Hiram, king of Tyre, in preparing materials for Solomon’s temple, 1 Kings 5:18. At present this city has lost all its ancient grandeur, which appears to have been considerable by the remaining ruins of it. But it still retains its name, with very little alteration, which is Gibyle. It is situated upon the Mediterranean sea, between Tripoli and Sidon.” Assur also is joined with them — In their counsels, and possibly also with some of their forces, though not so openly and powerfully as afterward. They have holpen the children of Lot — Moab and Ammon, who were the principal parties in that war, (2 Chronicles 20.,) called here the children of Lot, to intimate their great degeneracy from the example of their pious progenitors.

Gebal, and Ammon, and Amalek; the Philistines with the inhabitants of Tyre;
Assur also is joined with them: they have holpen the children of Lot. Selah.
Do unto them as unto the Midianites; as to Sisera, as to Jabin, at the brook of Kison:
Which perished at Endor: they became as dung for the earth.
Psalm 83:10-12. Which perished at En-dor — Either, 1st, The Midianites; or rather, Jabin and Sisera, who were overthrown at Taanach and Megiddo, (Jdg 5:19,) nigh unto which places was this En-dor, as appears from Joshua 17:11. They became as dung upon the earth — They were trodden under foot, and their carcasses left unburied. Who said, Let us take to ourselves the houses of God — The houses and lands of the Israelites, which their God, as they say, gave them in Canaan; but to which they have no rightful title. This was formerly objected by the Ammonites, as we see Jdg 11:13, and the Ammonites were a chief party in this war. So they seem to call them houses of God by way of irony and derision.

Make their nobles like Oreb, and like Zeeb: yea, all their princes as Zebah, and as Zalmunna:
Who said, Let us take to ourselves the houses of God in possession.
O my God, make them like a wheel; as the stubble before the wind.
Psalm 83:13-14. O my God, make them like a wheel — Whereas they promise themselves a sure possession, let them be like a wheel, or a round ball, which is very unstable, and soon removed, and which, when once tumbled down from the top of a hill, runs with great force and swiftness, and stays not till it comes to the bottom. Bishop Patrick interprets the clause thus: “Let them not be able to stand their ground, but put them to flight, and make them run as swiftly as a ball down a hill.” As the stubble before the wind — “Disperse all their forces like the chaff when it is blown about with a furious wind.” Some think that in this and the following verse the psalmist alludes to the manner of thrashing in Judea; which was generally performed on a mountain, where the corn was thrashed by means of a wheel which run over the stalks. The chaff, on account of this situation, was easily blown about by the wind; and, it being customary likewise to burn what remained, it is with great propriety that the psalmist concludes the description with these words, As the flame setteth the mountains on fire, Psalm 83:14. Where Dr. Waterland, instead of a wood, reads a forest. And it must be observed, that the woods or forests upon the mountains, in those hot countries, when they have once taken fire, either by lightning, or by the design of men, or by any accident, are wont to burn with great swiftness and irresistible violence.

As the fire burneth a wood, and as the flame setteth the mountains on fire;
So persecute them with thy tempest, and make them afraid with thy storm.
Fill their faces with shame; that they may seek thy name, O LORD.
Psalm 83:16-18. Fill, &c., that they may seek thy name — That, being disappointed of their hopes, and discerning the impotence of their idols, they may own and worship thee as the only true God. Let them be put to shame and perish — But those of them that will not humble themselves before thee, let them be utterly destroyed. That men may know — Or, that they may know, namely, by dear-bought experience, even by their own ruin, what they would not know by information for their own good; that thou art the Most High — The most high God, and the God, not only of thy people Israel, as the heathen fancy, and as their gods are supposed to be confined to their particular and several territories, but the God and governor of all the nations and parts of the earth.

Let them be confounded and troubled for ever; yea, let them be put to shame, and perish:
That men may know that thou, whose name alone is JEHOVAH, art the most high over all the earth.
Benson Commentary on the Old and New Testaments

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