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Bible Commentaries

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable
Psalms 83



Verses 1-8

1. The danger of destruction83:1-8

The psalmist cried out to God to act for His people by expressing the alternatives negatively ( Psalm 83:1). He described how Israel"s enemies had conspired to oppose God by destroying His people. Asaph used a chiastic structure to connect God"s interests with those of His nation ( Psalm 83:2-5). He then listed Israel"s enemies ( Psalm 83:6-8). The Hagarites (Hagrites, NIV), or descendants of Hagar, were the Ishmaelites. Gebal is another name for Byblos, a strong town in Lebanon. Lot"s children were the Moabites and the Ammonites.

Verses 1-18

Psalm 83

Asaph prayed that God would destroy the enemies that threatened to overwhelm Israel, as He had done in the past. This is a psalm of national (communal) Lamentations , and it is the last of the psalms attributed to Asaph ( Psalm 50 , 73-83).

Verses 9-12

Asaph prayed that God would deliver His people, as He had in the past during the Judges Period. God had destroyed the Midianites with Gideon"s small band of soldiers ( Judges 7-8). Oreb and Zeeb were the Midianite commanders ( Judges 7:25), and Zebah and Zalmunna were the Midianite kings ( Judges 8:5-6; Judges 8:12; Judges 8:18). God defeated the Canaanite coalition near the Kishon River, and the town of Endor, through Deborah and Barak ( Judges 4). Sisera was the Canaanite commander and Jabin the Canaanite king. These were both powerful victories that ended the domination of these enemies of Israel.

Verses 9-18

2. The desire for deliverance83:9-18

Verses 13-16

The writer wanted God to drive Israel"s present enemies away as He had driven the Midianites in Gideon"s day. His reference to the mountains may recall that Barak gathered his army on Mt. Tabor at the east end of the Jezreel Valley. He saw them blowing away as tumbleweeds, unstable and driven by the divine wind of God"s judgment.

Verse 17-18

Asaph could legitimately ask God to shame Israel"s enemies in view of God"s promise to Abraham ( Genesis 12:3). However, his ultimate concern was God"s reputation ( Psalm 83:18).

Prayers based on God"s reputation, His promises, and His past faithfulness are petitions that God will answer. However, He reserves the right to decide the correct time to act.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.

Bibliography Information
Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Psalms 83:4". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". 2012.

Lectionary Calendar
Tuesday, September 17th, 2019
the Week of Proper 19 / Ordinary 24
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