corner graphic   Hi,    
Finding the new version too difficult to understand? Go to

Bible Commentaries

Matthew Poole's English Annotations
on the Holy Bible
Psalms 83



Verse 1



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 2Ch 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, Psalms 83:1-8. Her prayer against oppressors, Psalms 83:9-15, that God would fill them with shame, and make them know that he alone is Jehovah, Psalms 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.

Verse 2

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.

Verse 3

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 Psalms 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.

Verse 4

Whereby they showed both their implacable rage and malice, and their great assurance of success.

Verse 5

They have laid aside all their private quarrels and animosities, and agreed together against thee.

Verse 6

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, 2Ch 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.

Verse 7

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.

Verse 8

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, 2Ch 20, called here the children of Lot, to intimate their horrible degeneration from their pious progenitors.

Verse 10

Which perished at En-dor: either,

1. The Midianites. Or rather,

2. Jabin and Sisera, who were overthrown near Taanach and Megiddo, Jude 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.

Verse 12

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, Jude 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.

Verse 13

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.

Verse 14

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.

Verse 16

That being disappointed of their hopes, and discerning the impotency of their idols, they may own and worship thee as the only true God.

Verse 17

But those of them that will not humble themselves before thee, let them be utterly destroyed.

Verse 18

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.


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

Bibliography Information
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Psalms 83:4". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. 1685.

Lectionary Calendar
Monday, January 20th, 2020
the Second Week after Epiphany
Commentary Navigator
Search This Commentary
Enter query in the box below
To report dead links, typos, or html errors or suggestions about making these resources more useful use our convenient contact form
Powered by Lightspeed Technology