Psalm 83:4
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.
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(4) For this attack against, not only the independence, but even the continued existence of Israel as a nation, compare Esther 3:6; Esther 3:9; Jeremiah 11:19; Jeremiah 31:36; Jeremiah 48:2; Isaiah 7:8.

83:1-8 Sometimes God seems not to be concerned at the unjust treatment of his people. But then we may call upon him, as the psalmist here. All wicked people are God's enemies, especially wicked persecutors. The Lord's people are his hidden one; the world knows them not. He takes them under his special protection. Do the enemies of the church act with one consent to destroy it, and shall not the friends of the church be united? Wicked men wish that there might be no religion among mankind. They would gladly see all its restraints shaken off, and all that preach, profess, or practise it, cut off. This they would bring to pass if it were in their power. The enemies of God's church have always been many: this magnifies the power of the Lord in preserving to himself a church in the world.They have said, Come, and let us cut them off ... - Let us utterly destroy them, and root them out from among the nations. Let us combine against them, and overpower them; let us divide their land among ourselves, attaching it to our own. The nations referred to Psalm 83:6-8 were those which surrounded the land of Israel; and the proposal seems to have been to partition the land of the Hebrews among themselves, as has been done in modern times in regard to Poland. On what principles, and in what proportions, they proposed thus to divide the land is not intimated, nor is it said that the project had gone so far that they had agreed on the terms of such a division. The formation of such a purpose, however, was in itself by no means improbable. The Hebrew people were offensive to all the surrounding nations by their religion, their prosperity, and the constant rebuke of tyranny and idolatry by their religious and their social institutions. There had been enough, also, in their past history - in the remembrance of the successful wars of the Hebrews with those very nations - to keep up a constant irritation on their part. We are not to be surprised, therefore, that there was a deeply-cherished desire to blot out the name and the nation altogether.

That the name of Israel may be no more in remembrance - That the nation as such may be utterly extinct and forgotten; that the former triumphs of that nation over us may be avenged; that we may no longer have in our very midst this painful memorial of the existence of one God, and of the demands of his law; that we may pursue our own plans without the silent or the open admonition derived from a religion so pure and holy. For the same reason the world has often endeavored to destroy the church; to cause it to be extinct; to blot out its name; to make the very names Christ and Christian forgotten among mankind. Hence, the fiery persecutions under the Roman government in the time of the Emperors; and hence, in every age, and in every land, the church has been exposed to persecution - originated with a purpose to destroy it as long as there was any hope of accomplishing that end. That purpose has been abandoned by Satan and his friends only because the result has shown that the persecution of the church served but to spread its principles and doctrines, and to fix it more firmly in the affections and confidence of mankind, so that the tendency of persecution is rather to overthrow the persecutor than the persecuted. Whether it can be destroyed by prosperity and corruption - by science - by error - seems now to be the great problem before the mind of Satan.

4. from being a nation—utter destruction (Isa 7:8; 23:1).

Israel—here used for Judah, having been the common name.

Whereby they showed both their implacable rage and malice, and their great assurance of success. They have said,.... Secretly in their hearts, or openly to one another, and gave it out in the most public manner, as what they had consulted and determined upon; see Psalm 74:8,

come, and let us cut them off from being a nation; they were not content to invade their country, take their cities, plunder them of their substance, and carry them captives, but utterly to destroy them, root and branch; so that they might be no more a body politic, under rule and government, in their own land, nor have so much as a name and place in others; this was Haman's scheme, Esther 3:8.

that the name of Israel may be no more in remembrance; but this desperate and dreadful scheme, and wretched design of theirs, took not effect; but, on the contrary, the several nations hereafter mentioned, who were in this conspiracy, are no more, and have not had a name in the world for many hundreds of years; while the Jews are still a people, and are preserved, in order to be called and saved, as all Israel will be in the latter day, Romans 11:25. So Dioclesian thought to have rooted the Christian name out of the world; but in vain: the name of Christ, the name of Christianity, the name of a Christian church, will endure to the end of the world; see Psalm 72:17. Compare with this Jeremiah 11:19.

They have said, Come, and let us {d} cut them off from being a nation; that the name of Israel may be no more in remembrance.

(d) They were not content to take the Church as prisoner: but sought to utterly destroy it.

4. from being a nation] Their aim is to obliterate the name of Israel from the map of the world. For the phrase cp. Jeremiah 48:2; and see Psalm 74:8; 1Ma 5:2. that the name &c.] More accurately, and so the name of Israel shall be remembered no more.Verse 4. - They have said, Come, and let us cut them off from being a nation. This was the general object of Israel's enemies at all times (2 Kings 24:2; 2 Chronicles 20:11; Psalm 138:7; 1 Macc. 3:35 1 Macc. 5:2), and thus does not help much towards determining the date of the occasion here spoken cf. That the name of Israel may be no more in remembrance (comp. Exodus 17:14; Deuteronomy 32:26; Psalm 34:16; Psalm 109:13). What now follows in Psalm 82:5 is not a parenthetical assertion of the inefficiency with which the divine correction rebounds from the judges and rulers. In connection with this way of taking Psalm 82:5, the manner in which the divine language is continued in Psalm 82:6 is harsh and unadjusted. God Himself speaks in Psalm 82:5 of the judges, but reluctantly alienated from them; and confident of the futility of all attempts to make them better, He tells them their sentence in Psalm 82:6. The verbs in Psalm 82:5 are designedly without any object: complaint of the widest compass is made over their want of reason and understanding; and ידעו takes the perfect form in like manner to ἐγνώκασι, noverunt, cf. Psalm 14:1; Isaiah 44:18. Thus, then, no result is to be expected from the divine admonition: they still go their ways in this state of mental darkness, and that, as the Hithpa. implies, stalking on in carnal security and self-complacency. The commands, however, which they transgress are the foundations (cf. Psalm 11:3), as it were the shafts and pillars (Psalm 75:4, cf. Proverbs 29:4), upon which rests the permanence of all earthly relationships with are appointed by creation and regulated by the Tτra. Their transgression makes the land, the earth, to totter physically and morally, and is the prelude of its overthrow. When the celestial Lord of the domain thinks upon this destruction which injustice and tyranny are bringing upon the earth, His wrath kindles, and He reminds the judges and rulers that it is His own free declaratory act which has clothed them with the god-like dignity which they bear. They are actually elohim, but not possessed of the right of self-government; there is a Most High (עליון) to whom they as sons are responsible. The idea that the appellation elohim, which they have given to themselves, is only sarcastically given back to them in Psalm 82:1 (Ewald, Olshausen), is refuted by Psalm 82:6, according to which they are really elohim by the grace of God. But if their practice is not an Amen to this name, then they shall be divested of the majesty which they have forfeited; they shall be divested of the prerogative of Israel, whose vocation and destiny they have belied. They shall die off כּאדם, like common men not rising in any degree above the mass (cf. בּני אדם, opp. בּני אישׁ, Psalm 4:3; Psalm 49:3); they shall fall like any one (Judges 16:7, Obadiah 1:11) of the princes who in the course of history have been cast down by the judgment of God (Hosea 7:7). Their divine office will not protect them. For although justitia civilis is far from being the righteousness that avails before God, yet injustitia civilis is in His sight the vilest abomination.
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