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Bible Commentaries
Psalms 83

Scott's Explanatory Notes, Practical Observations on the book PsalmsScott on the Psalms

Verses 1-18

Psalms 83:1-18

V. 1-5. It is generally and with probability conjectured, that this psalm was written, (perhaps by some of Asaph’s descendants,) in the reign of Jehoshaphat, when a most formidable confederacy was formed against him ; and when Judah was invaded by a very large army composed of many nations, of whom the Moabites and Ammonites seem to have been the principal, and the others their allies : and it appears, that enmity to God and religion, stirred up by Jehoshaphat’s zeal for reformation, had a considerable effect in exciting them against him. (Notes, 2 Chronicles 20:1-4.) So that it was, in fact, the cause of God which they opposed ; uniting crafty policy with powerful exertions, entirely to destroy liis people, and to blot out the memorial of them from the earth.

(Notes, Esther 3:6-15.) The term " hidden ones" seems to denote the Lord’s peculiar people, who were hidden under his immediate protection from the devices of their enemies. (Marg. Ref. g.) Some render the words, " hid" den things," understanding them of the treasures reposited in the treasuries of the temple.

V. 6- 8. (Marg. Ref.) Assur (or the Assyrians,) was called in by the other confederates, as a powerful ally, to ensure the destruction of the hated nation. (Note, 2 Kings 15:19-20.) v. 9- 11. (Notes, Judges 4:8:) Endor lay in the north of Canaan, near the place in which Sisera’s army was destroyed. (Marg. Ref.)

V. 12. " The houses of God" seem to denote, not only the temple and its out-buildings, but also the palaces and houses, in which the princes, priests, and chief persons of God’s people dwelt. It is not certain, that any buildings for the publick worship of God (like the synagogues of later ages,) were at this time erected. (Note,Psalms 74:7-8.) But perhaps these idolaters might consider the high places as houses of God, especially such as were not used in idolatry. (Note, 2 Kings 18:22.)

V. 13- 18. These verses must be interpreted as a prayer, and not merely as a prediction : but it should be observed, that the persons prayed against were the enemies and haters of God, who sought with implacable malice to extirpate his people, and destroy true religion ; and that the honour of God, and the interests of truth and righteousness, as well as the preservation of Israel, required this example of severity. The images employed are very striking, and are best explained by the marginal references. The expression " that they may seek thy name " implies, that the imprecation was only meant, in the strongest sense, on the supposition that the invaders remained incorrigible in enmity to God, in which case, " let them be " confounded and troubled for ever," that men of other nations may take warning, and learn by their doom, that JEHOVAH, the God of Israel, is alone the almighty Lord and Sovereign of the whole earth, and not merely the local Deity of one nation.


Enmity to the holiness and authority of God is the real cause of the hatred borne to his people. Men of different nations, interests, parties, humours, and sentiments, readily unite aguinst the church. The formal self-righteous Pharisee, the time-serving Herodian, and the infidel Sadducee, agreed to hate and oppose Christ : Herod and Pilate, though before at enmity, were made friends, as being of one mind to treat Jesus with contempt : (Notes, Matthew 16:1-4 V6. 1. Psalms 22:15-31. Luke 23:6-12:) and hypocrisy and profaneness, superstition and scepticism, and even enthusiasm and atheism often confederate against his humbling doctrine and holy cause. For the consultation has been from the beginning, how to extirpate the church, that neither preacher nor professor of the truth should be left, and " that the name of Israel should be had no more " in remembrance." (Notes, Acts 5:17-28.) But whatever arrogance, tumult, subtlety, or resolution, may be found among those who hale the Lord, and would lay hands on his worshippers, and " take to themselves his " houses in possession ; " their intentions must ultimately be frustrated. His people, whose " life is hid with Christ in " God," and whose excellency is equally hidden from the carnal eye, are safe under his protection. (Note, Colossians 3:1-4.) While the Lord is still and keeps silence, and persecutors insult and triumph, the apparent danger often excites believers to great fervency in prayer ; and then in due time he arises to plead their cause : so that the doom of the ancient enemies of the church, or one even more dreadful, will be that of all others to the end of the world. For such are " vessels of wrath fitted for destruction," even as a bowl is fitted to roll impetuously down a declivity ; as stubble to be driven before a vehement wind ; or as the dry wood, thorns, and brambles upon the mountains are fitted to be consumed by the flames. (Note, Luke 23:26-31 , v. 31.) Thus the stormy tempest of divine vengeance will persecute them with dreadful consternation into " the fire prepared for the devil and his angels ; " unless they be so humbled, and ashamed of their sins, as to repent and seek the pardoning mercy of their offended Lord : for assuredly all impenitent sinners shall be troubled, and ashamed, and perish for ever. The Lord will be glorified in the punishments which he inflicts : if present judgments fail of bringing those who suffer them to repentance, they are often so evidential of his power and justice, as to warn others to flee from his wrath and seek his favour : and doubtless the final punishment of the wicked will answer most important purposes, throughout the universal and everlasting kingdom of God. But may we so know, that " he whose name is JEHOVAH, is most high over all the " earth," as to fear his powerful wrath, seek his inestimable favour, trust his mercy and grace, and yield ourselves to be his willing and devoted worshippers and servants : and may we chiefly seek the destruction of those tumultuous and confederated enemies, our " fleshly lusts, which " war against the soul."

Bibliographical Information
Scott, Thomas. "Commentary on Psalms 83". Scott's Explanatory Notes, Practical Observations on the book Psalms. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/tsp/psalms-83.html. 1804.
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