Matthew Poole's Commentary
A Song or Psalm of Asaph. Keep not thou silence, O God: hold not thy peace, and be not still, O God.THE ARGUMENT
The occasion of the Psalm is manifest from the body of it, and it seems to have been a dangerous attempt and conspiracy. of divers neighbouring nations against Israel or Judah. Probably it was that which is mentioned 2 Chronicles 20, wherein all the people here mentioned might be engaged, though all of them be not there expressed; this being usual in the sacred historians, for the latter to record some passages which the former omitted. Or it may belong to some other history. Or it may have a more general respect unto the several enterprises and combinations of all these people against them, some at one time, and some at another.
The church’s complaint to God of her enemies’ conspiracies, Psalm 83:1-8. Her prayer against oppressors, Psalm 83:9-15, that God would fill them with shame, and make them know that he alone is Jehovah, Psalm 83:16-18.
Keep not thou silence; plead for us, not by words, but by thine actions.
Hold not thy peace; or, be not deaf, to our prayers, and to the blasphemies of thine and our enemies.
Be not still, i.e. unactive and unconcerned for us.
For, lo, thine enemies make a tumult: and they that hate thee have lifted up the head.Thine enemies; they are not only enemies to us thy people, but also to thy will, and name, and glory.
Make a tumult; or, make a tumultuous noise, both with their tongues reproaching thee and threatening us, and with their arms.
Have lift up the head; are grown potent, and insolent, and scornful.
They have taken crafty counsel against thy people, and consulted against thy hidden ones.i.e. Thy people of Israel, as it is explained in the foregoing words, and in the next verse; who are called God’s hidden or secret ones, to intimate the singular care and respect which God hath to them, as to his peculiar treasure, as they are called, Exodus 19:5 Psalm 135:4, whom he will hide and preserve in the secret of his presence, and under the shadow of his wings; and withal, to note their folly in seeking the destruction of those whom God was engaged and resolved to protect.
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.Whereby they showed both their implacable rage and malice, and their great assurance of success.
For they have consulted together with one consent: they are confederate against thee:They have laid aside all their private quarrels and animosities, and agreed together against thee.
The tabernacles of Edom, and the Ishmaelites; of Moab, and the Hagarenes;The tabernacles, put for the people dwelling in them, as Job 12:6 Proverbs 14:11 Habakkuk 3:7.
Edom; called the children of Seir, 2 Chronicles 20. The Ishmaelites; some of the posterity of Ishmael, called by their father’s name, as others of them are supposed by divers to be called
Hagarenes, from their grandmother Hagar. See 1 Chronicles 5:10,20.
Gebal, and Ammon, and Amalek; the Philistines with the inhabitants of Tyre;Gebal; either,
1. The Giblites or Gebalites, dwelling near Zidon, of whom 1 Kings 5:18 Ezekiel 27:9. Or,
2. An Arabian people, so called by ancient writers, dwelling in the southern border of Canaan, where most of the people here mentioned had their abode. Yet some of these were in the northern parts, and not far from the other Gebal, as some of the Philistines and the Tyrians.
Assur also is joined with them: they have holpen the children of Lot. Selah.Is joined with them in their counsels, and possibly with some of their forces, though not so openly and powerfully as afterwards.
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 horrible degeneration from their pious progenitors.
Do unto them as unto the Midianites; as to Sisera, as to Jabin, at the brook of Kison:No text from Poole on this verse.
Which perished at Endor: they became as dung for the earth.Which perished at En-dor: either,
1. The Midianites. Or rather,
2. Jabin and Sisera, who were overthrown near Taanach and Megiddo, Judges 5:19, nigh unto which places was this En-dor, as appears from Joshua 17:11.
They became as dung for the earth; they were trodden under foot, and their carcasses left unburied. Compare 2 Kings 9:37 Jeremiah 8:2 16:4.
Make their nobles like Oreb, and like Zeeb: yea, all their princes as Zebah, and as Zalmunna:No text from Poole on this verse.
Who said, Let us take to ourselves the houses of God in possession.The houses of God; the houses and lands of the Israelites, which their God, as they pretend, gave them in Canaan, to which they have no rightful title; for that we see was formerly objected by the Ammonites, Judges 11:13, who were a chief party in this war. So they seem to call them houses of God, by way of irony and derision.
O my God, make them like a wheel; as the stubble before the wind.Whereas they promise to themselves a sure and firm possession in our land, let them be like
a wheel, or a round ball, which being once tumbled down from the top of a hill, runs down with great force and swiftness, and stays not till it comes to the bottom, and there also is very unstable, and soon removed.
As the fire burneth a wood, and as the flame setteth the mountains on fire;The mountains; understand by a metonymy the woods or forests upon the mountains, which in those hot countries, when they had once taken fire, either by lightning, or by the design of men, or by any accident, did burn with great speed and irresistible violence.
So persecute them with thy tempest, and make them afraid with thy storm.No text from Poole on this verse.
Fill their faces with shame; that they may seek thy name, O LORD.That being disappointed of their hopes, and discerning the impotency of their idols, they may own and worship thee as the only true God.
Let them be confounded and troubled for ever; yea, 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 that thou, whose name alone is JEHOVAH, art the most high over all the earth.That men may know, or that they may know, to wit, by costly 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 his people Israel, as the heathen fancied, and as their gods were confined to their particular and several territories, but the God and Governor of all the nations and parts of the earth.