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Bible Commentaries

John Trapp Complete Commentary
Psalms 83



Verse 1

Psalms 83:1 « A Song [or] Psalm of Asaph. » Keep not thou silence, O God: hold not thy peace, and be not still, O God.

Ver. 1. Keep not thou silence, O God] Ter idem dicit ad vehementiam. He saith the same thing thrice, to show his earnestness. The Hebrew is, Be not silent to thee, that is, in thine own cause, as Psalms 83:5. The Septuagint and Vulgate have it, O God, who is like unto thee?

Verse 2

Psalms 83:2 For, lo, thine enemies make a tumult: and they that hate thee have lifted up the head.

Ver. 2. For, lo, thine enemies make a tumult] Concurrunt magno impetu, conatu, et ardore, Thine, because ours; for there is a league offensive and defensive between God and his people; the Church must, therefore, needs be invincible, because God is so.

Have lifted up the head] Being insolent and confident, they bear their noses high in the air, uttering loud and lofty language; as did Rabshakeh, sent by Sennacherib, 2 Kings 18:17, to which times some refer this psalm, as others to those of Jehoshaphat, 2 Chronicles 20:1-2 (Kimchi).

Verse 3

Psalms 83:3 They have taken crafty counsel against thy people, and consulted against thy hidden ones.

Ver. 3. They have taken crafty counsel, &c.] They have negotiated this league with much subtilty and solicitation, conferunt et captant consilia, they are cruel crafties. Malignaverunt consilium, saith the Vulgate.

And consulted against thy hidden ones] Hidden under the hollow of thy hand, under the shadow of thy wing; and therefore safe from strife of tongues or force of hands, Psalms 27:5; Psalms 31:21, Commodum instituto epithetum. The Greek rendereth it, Thy saints, such as whose life is hid with Christ in God, Colossians 3:3, 1 John 3:2. The same Hebrew word is used for the inward oracle of the temple, Ezekiel 7:22, a type of heaven, the saints’ country.

Verse 4

Psalms 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.

Ver. 4. They have said, Come, &c.] The wicked have their Come, Proverbs 1:11, as well as the saints, Isaiah 2:3; Isaiah 2:5, Zechariah 8:21, but for a worse purpose.

Let us cut them off] "Them," by way of contempt, as not worth naming, they were so base. The devil and his imps would utterly root out the Church; but that cannot be, Jeremiah 31:36, Matthew 16:18.

That the name of Israel, &c.] But Israel hath still a name, when Moab, Ammon, Edom, &c., live but by fame only. See Jeremiah 48:2.

Verse 5

Psalms 83:5 For they have consulted together with one consent: they are confederate against thee:

Ver. 5. They have consulted together with one consent] Heb. with one heart, concorditer, as if they had all but one heart. This was not unity, but conspiracy; such as is that of Papists, Revelation 17:13-14.

They are confederate against thee] Heb. They have stricken a covenant, viz. with oaths and solemn ceremonies, cutting the sacrifice in twain, and passing between the parts thereof, as Jeremiah 34:18. - caesa iungebant foedera porca (Virg. Æneid. 8).

Verse 6

Psalms 83:6 The tabernacles of Edom, and the Ishmaelites; of Moab, and the Hagarenes;

Ver. 6. The tabernacles of Edom, and the Ishmaelites, &c.] Exercitu ex variis gentibus conflato, at odds among themselves, and yet well agreed for a mischief to the Church, who might ever well say, as the hare in Martial,

In me omnis terraeque aviumque marisque rapina est;

Forsitan et coeli, si canis astra tenet.

As dogs, fighting and intertearing one another, can give over and join together to follow the harmless hare that passeth by them; so here. If Manasseh be against Ephraim, and Ephraim against Manasseh, yet they will be both against Judah.

And the Hagarenes] Who came also of Hagar, as well as the Ishmaelites; but were a distinct people, and would be called Saracens, from Sarah, the freewoman, for honour’ sake, as if the promises made to Abraham and Sarah had belonged to them (Saracens, in Arabic, is thieves). Ptolemy maketh mention of the Saracens, and placeth in Arabia, the seat of the Hagarenes, where there is also a city called Agra, of Hagar, likely. Aben Ezra saith they came of Hagar, by another husband. The Chaldee calleth them Hungarians.

Verse 7

Psalms 83:7 Gebal, and Ammon, and Amalek; the Philistines with the inhabitants of Tyre;

Ver. 7. Gebal, and Ammon, and Amalek] Sic enarrat et enumerat inimicos decem conglobatos, Ezekiel 27:9. Answerable whereunto were the ten kings of Christendom, who gave their power to the beast. Gebal might be the inhabitants of Gabel, a city of Phoenicia, saith Stephanus; or of Syria, saith Strabo, which Volateran saith was called Gibel in his time, but anciently Biblus. See Joshua 13:5.

Verse 8

Psalms 83:8 Assur also is joined with them: they have holpen the children of Lot. Selah.

Ver. 8. Assur also is joined with them] The Chaldee paraphraseth, Sennacherib, also the king of Asshur, &c. So doth the Turk, with the Church’s enemies; howbeit, Italy is the mark he shooteth at; and the Protestants have the happiness (as also America) to be farther out of his way, and no part of his present aim, for the greatest part of them.

Verse 9

Psalms 83:9 Do unto them as [unto] the Midianites; as [to] Sisera, as [to] Jabin, at the brook of Kison:

Ver. 9. Do unto them as unto the Midianites] And how that was, see 6:1-40; 7:1-25; 8:1-21. Preces sunt bombardae et instrumenta bellica Christianorum saith Luther.

Verse 10

Psalms 83:10 [Which] perished at Endor: they became [as] dung for the earth.

Ver. 10. Which perished at Endor] A place in the tribe of Manasseh near unto that ancient river, the river Kison, Joshua 17:11, 1 Samuel 28:7

They became as dunq] They lay unburied, rotted above ground, and were spread as compost upon soil.

Verse 11

Psalms 83:11 Make their nobles like Oreb, and like Zeeb: yea, all their princes as Zebah, and as Zalmunna:

Ver. 11. Make their nobles like Oreb, and like Zeeb] Oreb signifieth a crow, Zeeb a wolf. Zebah a cut-throat, Zalmunna a forbidder of shadow, or quiet, to his subjects; fit names for tyrants and persecutors of God’s people.

Verse 12

Psalms 83:12 Who said, Let us take to ourselves the houses of God in possession.

Ver. 12. Let us take to ourselves the houses of God] Covetous impropriators and oppressors have learned this language. Possidebant Papistae, possident Rapistae, saith one wittily.

Verse 13

Psalms 83:13 O my God, make them like a wheel; as the stubble before the wind.

Ver. 13. O my God, make them like a wheel] Heb. Like a rolling thing, such as is thistle down, saith R. Solomon, Capita carduorum. Gr. like a top, Torque illos in modum trochi, whirl them about as boys do their tops.

As the stubble] As before he had brought examples, so here similitudes, to show what he would have done to the enemy.

Verse 14

Psalms 83:14 As the fire burneth a wood, and as the flame setteth the mountains on fire;

Ver. 14. As the fire burneth a wood] Maxime quando a vento flabellatur , when blown up by a fierce wind it soon turneth a wood into a waste.

And as the flame setteth, the mountains on fire] Those sulphury mountains, such as Etna, Vesuvius, Peitra mala, a mountain in the highest part of the Apennines, which perpetually burneth, say travellers, Il Mercurio Italico, 178.

Verse 15

Psalms 83:15 So persecute them with thy tempest, and make them afraid with thy storm.

Ver. 15. So persecute them with thy tempest] Turbina eos , that they may stand or stay nowhere.

And make them afraid, &c.] So fright them with thy heavy judgments that all their wit and courage wherewith they should help themselves may be expectorated.

Verse 16

Psalms 83:16 Fill their faces with shame; that they may seek thy name, O LORD.

Ver. 16. Fill their faces with shame] By confounding their confidences, and blasting their designs. They promised themselves a triumph, but let them have the canvas.

That they may seek thy name, O Lord] Ut inviti cogantur quis sit tam potens Iehovah rogitare , that they may even in despite of their heads be compelled to inquire after thee. It is storied of Sennacherib, that, after the destruction of his huge army at Jerusalem, demanding of some about him what might be the reason that the irresistible God of heaven so favoured the Jewish nation, as he had found by sad experience? answer was given, that Abraham, from whom they descended, sacrificed unto him his only son, which purchased this protection to his posterity. If that will win him, saith he, I will spare him two of my sons, to procure him to be on my side; which Sharezer and Adrammelech, his sons, hearing of, prevented their own deaths by his (Bib. Castal. Tabul.).

Verse 17

Psalms 83:17 Let them be confounded and troubled for ever; yea, let them be put to shame, and perish:

Ver. 17. Let them be confounded, &c.] This and the following verse are an exposition of the former verse. The Rabbis have a saying, nulla est obiectio in Lege, quae non habet solutionem in latere , The Scripture is its own interpreter.

Verse 18

Psalms 83:18 That [men] may know that thou, whose name alone [is] JEHOVAH, [art] the most high over all the earth.

Ver. 18. That men may know that thou, whose name alone is Jehovah] The essentiator, Isaiah 44:6, with Acts 17:25, Revelation 1:4; Revelation 1:8. The Jews pronounce not this name at all, but use Adonai or Elohim for it. The first among the Christians that pronounced it was Petrus Galatinus, following the pronunciation of the Syriacs and Greeks. Genebrard will have it pronounced Jahue, and bitterly inveigheth against Beza and ethers as profaners of God’s name, who call God Jova, or Jehova; vocabulo novo , saith he, barbaro, fictitio, irreligioso et Iovem Gentilium redolente. It is very likely that of this holy and reverend name of God, the Gentiles called their greatest god Jove and Jupiter, that is, Jah-pater (Aug. do Consens. Evang. l. 1, c. 22). Pausanias also telleth us that the poets thus sang unto him, Zευν ην, Zευς εστι, Zευς εσσεται, ω μεγαλε Zευ. And Varro, the most learned of the Romans, thought Jove to be the God of the Jews. But he and all men should have known, as here, that Jehovah is God alone; and so have sought to the Jews (of whom alone was salvation, John 4:22) for better understanding in the things of God’s kingdom, acknowledging him to be the most High above all the earth, and contemning minutulos istos deos modo Iovem sibi propitium haberet , as another heathen said.


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

Bibliography Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Psalms 83:4". John Trapp Complete Commentary. 1865-1868.

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