Psalm 83

Psalm 83:1–18                                  An Imprecatory Psalm Against the Enemies of Israel

Outline of Chapter 83



       vv.    1–8        The enemies of Israel and their evil intentions

       vv.    9–12       The psalmist calls on God to deal with Israel’s present enemies as He did with those of the past

       vv.   13–18      The psalmist seeks their hurt as well as their recognition of Jehovah God

Charts and Maps:


       Introduction    Barnes’ Outline of Psalm 83


       v.      6           The Abbreviated Doctrine of Moab and Ammon

       v.      7           A Summary of the Life of Lot

Chapter Outline


Charts, Maps and Short Doctrines


Exegetical Studies in the Psalms

I ntroduction: As before, we will cover some of the Psalms prior to their actually chronological order. Psalm 83 was written perhaps 200–300 years after the events of the book of Judges. However, we are going to cover it as it alludes in part to the book of Judges (particularly the first eight chapters). Psalm 83 is known as an imprecatory psalm; that is, the psalmist prays to God for the destruction of Israel’s enemies. Now, obviously, we need to square this with the New Testament. After all, it is the same God Who authored this psalm as said, “Love your enemies; pray for those who despitefully use you.” (Matt. 5:44). The first thing that we must do is to clarify what our Lord said on the sermon on the mount. Jesus Christ, in Matt. 5:17–48, began by saying, “Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish, but to fulfill.” (Matt. 5:17). Two things are to be understood here: (1) Jesus, in His teachings, always upheld and taught the Law. Nowhere in Scripture did He ever teach anything which was contrary to the Law and the Prophets (a two-fold designation of the Old Testament). Footnote What our Lord did in Matt. 5 was to clarify the meaning of various points of the Law—for instance, that murder in the heart was a sin as was pre-meditated murder; that sexual lust was a sin just as was adultery and fornication. He also explained the laws concerning divorce, which had become distorted by men seeking to move on to new partners (Matt. 5:31–32). What we are concerned with is this psalm and what our Lord taught. “You have heard that it was said, ‘You will love your neighbor, and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you in order that you may be sons of your Father Who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and [on the] good, and He sends rain on [the] righteous and [upon the] unrighteous.” (Matt. 5:43–45 Lev. 19:18). In the Old Testament, we are never told to love your neighbor and hate your enemy. However, this is what was being taught, incorrectly of course, by the theologians of that day. They did this through misinterpretations of psalms like this. An enemy of Israel, generally speaking, was an enemy of God. When their hatred of Israel was expressed, the underlying cause of this hatred was hatred towards God. When someone was lost and on negative volition and in a place where they would never be positive, it was appropriate to pray for their destruction. When you are persecuted for your beliefs or when we face our enemies and deal with them in prayer, we have two options we can either pray for their salvation and spiritual growth or we can pray for God to hurt them. There are times when we might pray for both in the same prayer. When this psalmist wrote, the enemies of Israel, in general, were the enemies of God. When Jesus spoke, however, the Romans were considered to be the enemies of Israel. Israel was negative towards Jesus Christ and the early church was filled by many Romans. Therefore, the immediate solution of the Israelites at the point in time was not to hate the Romans and to rebel against Rome’s authority. Their rebellion was against God’s authority. The second thing which our Lord meant was He would fulfill all the prophecies which pertained to the Messiah. What might help is the Doctrine of the Imprecatory Psalms.

We really do not know the occasion for this psalm, although many theologians have speculated, alleging that it was written during the first or second war against the Syrians (2Sam. 8 10 1Chron. 19) or to the war with the Ammonites and the Moabites (2Chron. 20). The NIV Study Bible suggests that it was written after the time of Solomon and prior to the Assyrian invasion, which is conservative and reasonable. Footnote Two theologians which Barnes names, claim this was written during the time of Psalm 47–48. The first, composed and sung on the field of battle; the second, on the triumphant return to Jerusalem; the third—the one before us—in confident anticipation of victory. Barnes quickly adds to this: This is...rather fanciful, and it certainly cannot be demonstrated that this is the correct opinion. It would seem, at least, to be hardly probably that a psalm would be composed and sung in a battle-field. Footnote It would make sense that the occasion of this psalm is a threatened or a recent invasion. The war against the coalition of Moab, Ammon and Edom, along with their allies (2Chron. 20), would be the mostly likely time that this psalm was written. Keil and Delitzsch mention that some have even suggested that Psalm 83 takes place during the time of I Maccabees 5, but I doubt that any of the canon of Scripture was written after the book of Malachi, which was written 450–400 b.c. (Events in the first chapter of 1Maccabees take place around 175–169 b.c.). Footnote Furthermore, 1Maccabees 5 lists several nations which go up against Israel, but not as an allied force. The primary mistake when people try to place this psalm is that they are trying to find a time when all of the peoples mentioned in vv. 6–8 joined forces against Israel. As minions of Satan, they have always been allies against Israel; however, they have never made a military alliance which takes in all of these peoples at once. The peoples named in these three verses essentially surround Israel. I am presenting this psalm now between chapters 8 and 9 of Judges since the defeated enemies of Israel from the book of Judges are named herein specifically, albeit historically.

Chapter Outline

Charts, Maps and Short Doctrines

Barnes breaks this psalm up differently than I do, and I will provide as a help to subdividing it in your own mind. Footnote

Barnes’ Outline of Psalm 83


Subject Matter


The first verse petitions God to no longer keep silent.


The psalmist names the occasion for the psalm, which is a conspiracy against Israel.


The enemies of Israel are enumerated.


The psalmist calls upon God to intercede into Israel’s history as He had before, and to destroy Israel’s enemies as He had done to the Midianites.


the psalm ends calling for Israel’s enemies to be totally confounded and overthrown and that God’s people might be secure and dwelling in happiness.


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The Enemies of Israel and Their Evil Intentions

Slavishly literal:


Moderately literal:

A Song: a Psalm to [or, for] Asaph:

Judges 83 Inscription

A Song: a Psalm of Asaph:

A Song: a Psalm by Asaph:

The NIV Study Bible refers to this line as a title; that is more of a convenience than an accurate statement. What is listed here is the author and sometimes a few words concerning what were the circumstances that the author was in while writing the psalm. Sometimes, there will be a dedication to someone; i.e., to whom the psalm is written. This might better be called a prologue, or a comment, or a document summary, rather than a title.

As we have seen in previous psalms, the lâmed preposition can be used to indicate authorship as well as to whom the psalm is dedicated; we have to allow the context to determine this. For instance, in Psalm 81:0, we have: To the Overseer, “On the Gittith” by Asaph. The words to and by are the same preposition lâmed. In the second instance, it can be rendered by, of, pertaining to, with reference to. That both David and Asaph are clearly authors of various psalms is borne out by 2Chron. 29:30. Strong’s #none BDB #510. For all intents and purposes, this is the title of the psalm and this is a portion of the Bible; it has not been added by way of explanation.

Next, we need to know who Asaph was, who is responsible for perhaps a dozen psalms (his name is found in the superscription of Psalms 50, 73–83). We first meet Asaph when David was overseeing putting a band together in 1Chron. 15:16–19. He was appointed chief over the other musicians, not unlike our conductor today (1Chron. 16:4–7). Asaph is often associated with David and the worship choir/band (1Chron. 15:16–17 16:2–5 2Chron. 29:30 Neh. 12:46). Because of this, it cannot be the same Asaph who wrote all of these psalms. For instance, Psalm 79 deals with the destruction of Jerusalem. This occurred a few centuries after David. Certainly, it could have been a prophetic psalm, but, it could have just as easily been a later Asaph, even a descendant of Asaph. This psalm would also fall into that same group of questionable psalms for the era of David, which was more marked by great military victory, which is not what this psalm celebrates. Asaph’s authorship is ascribed to Psalms 39, 42, 50, 73–83 (it is thought by the NIV Study Bible that Psalm 50 was actually a part of the last group of psalms which got separated out for some reason).

“God, No Silence for You”

You will not be silent

and You will not be inactive, God;



“O God, No Silence by You”

You will not be silent

and You will not be inactive, O God

“God, Be Not Silent”

Do not be silent;

actively participate in our lives, O God.

We have three negatives and what first appears to be three verbs. However, we first have a negative and the masculine singular noun dŏmîy (דֳּמִי) [pronounced dŏ-MEE], which means cessation, pause, quiet, rest. It is found only in Psalm 83:1 and Isa. 62:6 (and possibly Isa. 38:10*). Strong’s #1824 BDB #198. This is followed by the lâmed preposition and the 2nd person masculine singular suffix. Literally, this is God, no silence for You. It is variously rendered: O God, let there by no silence to Thee (Young); O God, Do not keep quiet (Rotherham); O God, do not remain quiet. Like everyone else, I wanted to have three verbs strung together and I didn’t like that this was a noun and that what follows is two verbs. However, this is a title. Now and again, a psalm will have a title (I’m not referring to the by line, but to the title), and that is what we have here. The key is the next verb and the general sentence structure.

The first line of the psalm has the negative and the 2nd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect of chârash (חָרַש) [pronounced chaw-RAHSH], which means to be silent, to exhibit silence. I should mention that this is the poetic use of this word; its use in prose is quite different (it means to cut in, to engrave, to plough). Strong’s #2790 BDB #361. If we think of this first verse as having three lines, then we end up saying the same thing twice in a row, first with a noun and then with a verb. Now, that is fine, if it is followed throughout; however, that does not set up a pattern; it just is. So, the first line is really the title of the psalm, and here we actually have the first line. Notice also that this line does not begin with a connective, but the next one does—that is because this line should not begin with a connective, since it is the first line of the psalm.

The first phrase is the title of this psalm. The psalmist is not looking to have God speak to him; he wants God to take down Israel’s enemies. Essentially, this is a metonym, where the words for silence, peace, still are the psalmist calling for God to take action against Israel’s enemies.

There are people who have difficulties with psalms like this, because Jesus said, "You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same?” (Matt. 5:43–47). First of all, given the context, Jesus is speaking on a personal level here, even though what was being taught was, for the Jews to hate the gentiles; particularly the Romans who controlled Judæa when Jesus walked the earth.

Douglas MacArthur, the great general out of WWII, walked this fine line. After we destroyed two cities in Japan with atomic weapons, MacArthur ruled over Japan, calling for missionaries and Bibles to be sent to them and other parts of the world which had been defeated in WWII. The idea was, we would restore these nations to their own sovereignty while simultaneously evangelizing them and teaching them the Word of God. This is exactly what our nation should have done. We conquered our enemies decisively, which is completely doctrinal; and then, instead of plundering them and taking all that we could from them, we gave them the gospel and the Word of God, as well as the laws of divine establishment. We could not have a more perfect example of how, in a world war, we are to love our enemies.

How we succeeded in Japan and South Korea is exactly how we failed in Iraq and Afghanistan. Leaving the people to wallow in their evil religion, thinking that democracy was the key rather than the Word of God, is why the United States will ultimately fail in Iraq and Afghanistan. What is even sadder is, these wars were originally presided over by a Christian president who knew history far more than most of the other presidents who preceded him, and yet this simple fact of history eluded him.

Our verse reads: “God, Be Not Silent” Do not be silent; actively participate in our lives, O God. The second line of the psalm has the wâw conjunction, the negative and the Qal imperfect of shâqaţ (שָקַט) [pronounced shaw-KAWT] and it means to be quiet, to be undisturbed, inactive. Strong’s #8252 BDB #1052. Israel has known God several times in her history as a God Who spoke to them and as a God Who was active in their affairs. Although this was an exclusive relationship (God had no relationship with any other country as He had with Israel), God’s miraculous and obvious participation in the destiny of Israel was actually much less than is generally perceived. We have intense activity at the forming and establishing of the nation Israel, but even that was accompanied by 38½ years of silence (Psalm 90—HTML PDF—testifies of this).

By the time of Gideon, Gideon was a deist. He felt as though, even if God played an active role in the establishment of the nation Israel, it is obvious that He was no longer involved. Gideon even argued this point with the Second Member of the Trinity, Jesus Christ in His pre-incarnate form. There were often long periods of time when there was no direct visual and verbal contact between God and Israel. God was there and God was in control of history, but He did not always manifest Himself in some spectacular way. From Joseph to Moses, God was silent to Israel; from 400 b.c. to the incarnation, God was silent to Israel. During the last few years as a nation, God manifested Himself primary via prophets—what was spectacular in the prophets was that they would tell Israel’s immediate and far future, often as a part of the same prophecy. However, we do not have a plethora of signs and wonders. “Of whom were you worried and fearful, when you lied, and did not remember Me, nor give a thought to Me. Was I not silent even for a long time?” (Isa. 5711). The author of this poem is asking God to manifest Himself to Israel—to speak to Israel—to be active in the life of Israel.

Our verse reads: “God, Be Not Silent” Do not be silent; actively participate in our lives, O God.


Barnes: All this is the language of petition; not of command. Its rapidity, its repetition, its tone, all denote that the danger was imminent, and that the necessity for the Divine interposition was urgent. Footnote

For lo, Your enemies are becoming boisterous

and the ones hating You have raised up their heads.



For, observe, You enemies are becoming boisterous

and the ones hating You have raised up their heads.

See how Your enemies rage

and how those who hate You proudly raise their heads;

The first verb is the Qal imperfect of hâmâh (הָמָה) [pronounced haw-MAW], which means to murmur, to growl, to roar, to be boisterous. Strong’s #1993 BDB #242. God’s enemies have become very active and loud. Why are the nations [the Gentiles] in an uproar, and why do the peoples plot a vain thing? (Psalm 2:1). Alas, the uproar of many peoples, who roar like the roaring of the seas, and the rumbling of nations who rush on like the rumbling of mighty waters! (Isa. 17:12). The loudness of Israel’s enemies is in direct contrast to the silence of God.


Barnes: [Israel’s enemies]...are excited; are aroused; are moving in a wild, furious, tumultuous manner, rushing on to the accomplishment of their designs. The come like rolling waves of the sea. Footnote

In the next line, these enemies are referred to with the Piel participle of sânê’ (שָׂנֵא) [pronounced saw-NAY] and this verb means to hate; in the participle, it is the ones hating. The explicit desire is to have no relationship with the other. Strong’s #8130 BDB #971. This is followed by the Qal perfect of the verb nâsâʾ (נָשָׂא) [pronounced naw-SAW], which means to lift up, to bear, to carry. Strong’s #5375 (and Strong’s #4984) BDB #669.

The enemies of Israel have begun to make loud, boisterous noises and the lifting up of their heads means they begin to look around and see that there is no God in Israel. Recall Judges 8:28: So Midian was subdued before the sons of Israel and they did not lift up their heads any more. And the land was undisturbed for forty years in the days of Gideon. The lifting of the head means that Israel’s enemies have become proud, bold, confident of success; pride lifts the head up, as opposed to fear, worry, reverence or grace orientation causes the head to be bowed. Footnote

So far, the first two verses read: “God, Be Not Silent” Do not be silent; actively participate in our lives, O God. See how Your enemies rage and how those who hate You proudly raise their heads;... The psalmist is calling upon God to be as vocal as the enemies of Israel. They are making all of this anti-Israel noise. The raising of their heads suggests that they are looking over at Israel and thinking about conquering this prime piece of real estate. For a time, their heads are down and they are engaged in their own business; but, suddenly, they lift up their heads and look over to the west, and there is Israel; and they begin to think about taking that which Israel has.

Against Your people they uncover counsel

and they [intensively] consult together against Your concealed ones



They reveal counsel against Your people

and they intensively consult together against Your protected ones.

They conspire against Your people

and plot against the ones You protect.

The first verb is the Hiphil imperfect of ʿârôm (עָרֹם) [pronounced aw-ROHM], which means to be shrewd, to be crafty, to be naked, to uncover. Strong’s #6191 BDB #791. What follows is the masculine singular noun çôwd (סד) [pronounced sohd], which means council, counsel. Strong’s #5475 BDB #691. This means that the enemies of Israel have uncovered counsel against Israel. Young renders this Against Thy people they take crafty counsel; Rotherham: Against they people they craftily devise a secret plot; and the NASB reads: They make shrewd plans against Thy people.


Barnes: They have made their counsel or their consultations crafty, cunning, artful, malignant. Instead of pursuing a course in their deliberations that would be just, true, honourable, they have followed the reverse. Footnote

The second verb is the Hithpael imperfect of yâʿats (יָעַץ) [pronounced yaw-AHTS], which means to advise, to counsel. The Hithpael is the reflexive of the Piel, which is the intensive stem. In other words, they work together intensively in counsel against the Israelites. Strong’s #3289 BDB #419. This is followed by the preposition against and the masculine plural, Qal passive participle of tsâphan (צָפַן) [pronounced tsaw-FAHN], and it means to hide, to conceal, to lay up (in storage), to store (as treasure), to treasure up. This is generally used in a very positive sense, and here it refers to those that God has protected, concealed, and hidden. For in the day of trouble, He will conceal me in His tent; in the secret place of His tent, He will hide me; [then], He will lift me up on a rock (Psalm 27:5). Hide me from the secret counsel of evildoers, and from the tumult of those who do iniquity (Psalm 64:2). Strong’s #6845 BDB #860. Again, note the contrast. Israel’s enemies are lifting up their heads; Israel is quietly protect by God. Israel’s enemies are becoming quite vocal; God appears to be silent with regards to Israel.

Israel has a lot of enemies; man by his very nature is the enemy of God. So it would make sense that men would band together and plot against that which God has made. This is what the psalmist is proclaiming. The enemies of God are busy plotting against Israel, as Israel is God’s.

V. 3 reads: They conspire against Your people and plot against the ones You protect. There are conspiracies and plots devised against Israel; these various nations band together to plot out Israel’s destruction. Israel has great riches and they desire to take these riches from Israel. Furthermore, this is Satanically inspired. If you are ever unsure about where a person is, philosophically and theologically speaking, then ask them their opinion of the nation Israel. Those who believe that Israel is as at fault as the Palestinians and those who surround Israel, are confused and anti-God. Israel is God’s jewel in the Middle East; and God will restore Israel in the Millennium (Jer. 16:14–15 Ezek. 36 Nahum 2:2 Acts 3:20–21 15:13–16 Rom. 11:1).

Now, the nation Israel today, wherein lives a few Jews, is in the same place as the Israel of the Millennium; but they occupy a much smaller space today. Modern Israel may remain until the end times, or it may be destroyed and brought back again. Just as you pray for your own country, you should pray for Israel and its inhabitants. Satan hates the Jews and wants to destroy them from this earth.

They have said, “Come and we will cause to remove them out from [being] a nation

and will not be remembered a name of Israel again.”



They have said, “Come, and we will cause them to be removed from [being] a nation

and the name of Israel will not be remembered again.”

They have been saying, “Come, let us annihilate them as a nation

so that the name of Israel will be remembered no longer.”

When the nations decide to band together, they said come and then used the Hiphil imperfect of kâchad (כָּחַד) [pronounced kaw-KHAHD] means to hide, to conceal, to remove. Strong’s #3582 BDB #470. This verb is somewhat of a poetic play with the first verb in the previous verse. In the previous verse, we had the verb which meant to uncover and here we have a verb which means to conceal.

The final adverb is ʿôwd (עוֹד) [pronounced ģohd] (it is also written עֹד), which means still, yet, again, besides, in addition to, even yet. Strong’s #5750 BDB #728. During the dispersion, in Esther, we still hear of plots against Israel. But he [Haman] disdained to lay hands on Mordecai alone, for they had told him who the people of Mordecai were; therefore Haman sought to destroy all the Jews, the people of Mordecai, who were throughout the whole kingdom of Ahasuerus (Esther 3:6). They have said in their heart, “Let us completely subdue them.” They have burned all the meeting places of God in the land (Psalm 74:8).


Barnes: 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. Or has been done to modern Israel. 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 past. 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 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. Footnote

Now, at that time, those nations had, ostensibly, a reason to desire the destruction of Israel. However, the fundamental reason was that man is in rebellion against God and Israel is God’s. We find the same anti-Semitism today in people who have no real reason to hate the Jew. Most Jews are assimilated into the nations where they live; they are successful and not a burden to that society. If you place a Jew in the midst of 20 nationals, one would be hard-pressed to pick the Jew out of the crowd. In other words, a person who is anti-Semitic today pretty much has to manufacture reasons for his hatred, as there is no real reason to hate the Jew apart from our inner rebellion against God. And, like it or not, God chose the Jews and they are His people and He has a specific plan for them as a nation which will go on forever. And, like it or not, the attitude of a nation and the attitude of individuals toward the Jewish race is often the basis of prosperity and blessing to that nation or to that individual.


Barnes continues: For the same reason, the world has often endeavoured 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 men. 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. Footnote

Satan attacks the church in a number of ways, but the greatest and most devastating attack is from the inside. Many a phenomenal church has been neutralized by the infiltration of Satan and his minions. Often, the church is destroyed by its own prosperity, a common destroyer of the nation Israel.

The word come indicates an alliance between several nations which hate Israel. It is Satan’s desire to destroy Israel completely and totally; which includes every Jew on this earth. If Satan does that, then God cannot fulfill His promises which He made to Abraham.

It is interesting that these nations said this thing: "Come, let us wipe them out as a nation; let the name of Israel be remembered no more!" We all know Jews; but we do not know the ancestors of any of the people who said these things. We do not know any Philistines, Moabites, Edomites, Assyrians or Ammonites. These people have faded from history. Even if some of their ancestors still remain, they cannot in any way trace themselves back to these people. The very people who said, "Come, let us wipe them out as a nation; let the name of Israel be remembered no more!" have been wiped out and they can no longer be found. It is as if they never existed. All we have is a few words here and there; mostly from the Bible.

For they conspire a heart together;

against You a covenant they make;



For they conspire together

and they make a covenant against You.

They conspire with one accord

and they form an alliance against You.

What they do is the Niphal perfect of yâʿats, again, (יָעַץ) [pronounced yaw-ĢAHTS], which means to advise, to counsel. The Niphal here does not act as a passive voice but as a reflexive—they do this counseling amongst themselves. In the Niphal, it means to conspire against, to consult with one another, to deliberate. Strong’s #3289 BDB #419. This is followed by the noun for heart and the adverb together. It means that they are deliberating in unison with one accord, with one heart—their thinking is the same. Most of the time when you get a variety of groups together, they have as many different positions as there are groups. Here, they all act as if they are of the same mind and of the same thinking. Their purpose is as though it came from just one person. And that is, Against You, a covenant they make. The final verb is the Qal imperfect of kârath (כָּרַת) [pronounced kaw-RAHTH], which means to cut off, to cut down. (Gen. 17:14 Lev. 17:10 Deut. 19:5 Judges 6:28, 30). However, the same word is used to make a covenant (Gen. 15:18 21:27 Ex.24:8 Deut. 4:23 9:9). Strong's #3772 BDB #503.

In the following verses we will have a list of many of Israel’s enemies at the time of Asaph. One of the things which did not occur to me while exegeting this, but I came across it in a commentary, is that there was no alliance with all of these enemies. The psalmist, when he says they conspire together does not mean that we are speaking of some great alliance of foes which had suddenly formed, causing the psalmist no little concern. The key is that these enemies of Israel behave as though they have one purpose; as though they have banded together against Israel to destroy Israel. We have to allow language and poetic expression to be what it is and poetry tends to be a bit less literal than, for instance, narrative.

The psalmist fully understands that the alliance against Israel is really an attack upon God. The enemy of Israel can name a dozen superficial reasons for their enmity with Israel, but the cold fact is that they are enemies of God and their hatred toward Israel is one of their many expressions. We have quoted the first verse of Psalm 2; let’s take it further: Why are the Gentiles in an uproar, and the peoples plotting a vain thing? The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers take counsel together against me and against His Messiah (Psalm 2:1–2).

V. 5 reads: They conspire with one accord and they form an alliance against You. An alliance means that these various nations make alliances with the intention of attacking and destroying Israel (not unlike today). This is how we know the heart of a country today: do they hate the Jews? Do they speak out about the Jews? Do they demonize the Jews? Do they band with other nations that want to do the same thing? These enemies of the Jews are also the enemies of God; and the psalmist prays to God to have them destroyed.

tents of Edom and Ishmaelites,

Moab and a Hagrites;



tents of Edom and the Ishmaelites,

Moab and the Hagrites;

i.e., those who live in Edom, as well as the Ishmaelites;

those who live in Moab as well as the Hagrites;

At this point, we have a list of Israel’s historic enemies. Since this psalm was written long after the time of the judges, there will be some groups of people with whom we have not dealt. The Midianites will be left out in this list, as they will be later held up as an example of what God can do against the enemies of Israel.

Edom refers to the descendants of Esau, the twin brother of Jacob. Recall that Jacob was a Jew through faith in Jesus Christ and Esau was not, as he chose not to believe in Jesus Christ. Also, recall that as human beings, Esau was the most straightforward and the most forgiving. Based upon the way these two behaved, the fundamentalist believer would have assumed that Esau was the Christian and that Jacob was the unbeliever. We covered the Doctrine of Edom (HTML) (PDF) in Gen. 21:21. The reference to tents does not means that the Edomites were nomadic; in fact, it was quite the opposite—they occupied a land with very specific boundaries. However, early on, many ancient peoples lived in tents. Edom’s days were numbered: For My sword is satiated in heaven. Observe, it will descend for judgment upon Edom and upon the people whom I have devoted to destruction (Isa. 34:5).

Ishmael is the older brother of Isaac, born of Abraham and Sarah’s personal maid-servant, Hagar. Hagar and he were sent away by Abraham to live in the eastern desert. Moab was one of the sons of Lot, Abraham’s nephew, born out of incest. Moab, the nation, was located east of the Dead Sea on the plateau which was 4300 ft. above the level of the Dead Sea. We covered the Doctrine of Moab in Gen. 19:38, and, below, we have the abbreviated doctrine of Moab and Ammon (or you may choose to examine the more complete Doctrine of Moab and Ammon (HTML) (PDF).

Here are a few points from the Doctrine of Moab and Ammon:

The Abbreviated Doctrine of Moab and Ammon

1.    Lot was Abraham’s nephew. Although they went to the Land of Promise together, they eventually split up. Lot ended up in Sodom and Gomorrah. He was rescued from there by Abraham before God rained down fire and brimstone, destroying this degenerate people. He moved to a cave with his two daughters (his wife turned to a pillar of salt when she looked back upon this city), and these women decided that their prospects for husbands were poor. They moved from a vibrant and degenerate pair of cities off to no man’s land, and they were concerned that they would never have children. Today, they would have gone to a fertility clinic. However, what they did was, on two consecutive nights, they got their father drunk and had sex with him, and each bore a son, one’s name was Moab and the other was Benammi (son of Ammi). These two became the progenitors of the nations of Moab and Ammon. Gen. 19:30–38

       1)    It is important to recognize what is going on here. These women have either rejected the doctrine of right man/right woman or they do not know enough basic doctrine to even know this.

       2)    What these women did here was not only a degenerate mistake, but a complete rejection of what God is able to provide.

       3)    They looked at their situation—they used to live in this great and wonderful city with lots of men (this is from their viewpoint) and now they live in a cave with their father.

       4)    God is able to provide.

       5)    The focus of these women needs to be upon their own souls, not upon their immediate circumstances.

       6)    And example of such faith will be Ruth, a Moabite, whom we will study in this doctrine.

2.    Fausset contrasts the people of Moab with the people of Ammon: Moab was probably the more civilized half of Lot's descendants; whence we read of the plentiful fields, hay, summer fruits, vineyards, presses, songs of those who tread grapes, of Moab (Isaiah 15 16 Jeremiah 48): Ammon the more fierce, plundering, predatory Bedouin–like half; whence we read of their threat of thrusting out the right eye of all in Jabesh Gilead (1Sam. 11:2), ripping up pregnant women in Gilead (Amos 1:13), treacherously murdering, as Ishmael, Baalis' agent, did (Jer. 40:14 41:5–7), suspecting and insulting their ally David to their own ruin (2Sam. 10:1–5 12:31).1

3.    Although Moab and Ammon had been kept from easily intermixing with the Jews for 10 generations (because of their treatment of the Jews when the Jews were going through the desert), this did not mean that a Moabite or an Ammonite could not come into Israel as a convert to worshiping Jesus Christ, the God of Israel. Deut. 23:2, 46 Neh. 13:2

4.    After the Israelites had spend nearly 40 years in the desert wilderness, the began to move north along the King’s Highway east of the Dead Sea. Part of this involved going through the territories of Moab and Ammon. Num. 21:11–24

       1)    The King of the Moabites, Balak, became quite concerned about the Israelites moving through his territory (particularly since they had just conquered the Amorites), and he hired Balaam, who apparently was a believer in Jesus Christ and a prophet, to curse the Israelites. Balaam ended up blessing the Israelites instead. Num. 22–24 Joshua 24:8–10

       2)    God said that the people of Moab and Ammon should have met Israel with bread and water instead of with hostility. For this reason, Moab and Ammon would not enjoy a spiritual relationship with God side-by-side with the Jews. Deut. 23:2–5

       3)    When the Jews marched northward along the east side of the Dead Sea, they fought against the enemies of Moab and Ammon, and this should have engendered some good will from Moab and Ammon. However, overall, it did not.

       4)    However, the real problem was when the Israelite men became interested in the daughters (women) of Moab, and got involved in idolatry because of their desire for these women. Num. 25:1–9

       5)    Although there were wars with Moab and Ammon, God did not want Israel to take from them their land. Deut. 2:9, 19, 37

       6)    Because they are first cousins, Moab and Ammon should have been natural allies of the Jews. Furthermore, since God gave them plots of land and forbade Israel to take it, there should have been mutual respect between Israel, Moab and Ammon, if not an alliance. However, from the very beginning, Moab and Ammon treated Israel with contempt.

5.    Because of Moses’ sin in the desert wilderness, he was not allowed to go into the land. However, God took him to a high mountain in Moab to see the land that God would give to Israel. He died there and was buried in a valley in Moab. Deut. 32:49–50 34:1, 5–6

6.    There were hostilities between Israel and Moab and Ammon during the time of the Judges. The greatest problem of Israel was chasing after their gods. Judges 3 10–11

7.    During the time of the Judges, an Israelite named Elimelech moved his family to Moab because of a famine in Israel. His two sons took for themselves Moabite women as wives. The father and his two sons died, and one of the wives, Ruth, went to Israel with her mother-in-law Naomi. Ruth the Moabite eventually married a relative of Naomi’s, which paints a picture of Jesus Christ as our kinsman-redeemer (and, in this case, redeeming a Gentile). The Book of Ruth.

       1)    Ruth may have seen herself as in a hopeless situation.

       2)    She could have written off her mother-in-law, Naomi, as just some woman, because Ruth’s husband was dead.

       3)    However, Ruth believed in the God of Naomi, the God of the Jews, Jesus Christ.

       4)    She had faith to come with Naomi back to the Land of Promise.

       5)    Even though Ruth came to the Land of Promise as a foreigner (in the eyes of some) and as poor, God looked out for her.

       6)    God saw to it that she met and married her right man, a man that she probably loved more than Naomi’s son.

       7)    Ruth made man correct choices in her life, and these choices led her to a wonderful marriage with a noble man. Two of the choices were (1) she worshiped the God of Naomi and (2) she looked after her mother-in-law.

       8)    Ruth stands in stark contrast to the daughter of Lot, who believed that she needed to shortcut God’s plan. Lot’s eldest daughter rejected the God of Abraham, she rejected the doctrine of right man/right woman, and she had sex with her father in order to have a child. This is a woman out of control, without authority over her, and without a clear value system. Ruth, on the other hand, trusted in the God of Naomi, the God of Abraham, and God took care of her.


       9)    In the end, we do not even know the name of Lot’s daughter. However, we know who Ruth is and that she is in the line of Jesus Christ.

8.    Saul developed a life-long fan club in Jabesh- Gilead by defeating Nahash the Ammonite, who threatened to not only enslave these people, but to gouge out their right eyes. 1Sam. 11

9.    Saul faced many enemies early on, including wars with Ammon and Edom. He was a very successful warrior. 1Sam. 14:47–49

10.  David and the Moabites and the Ammonites:

       1)    David, when being pursued by Saul, took his parents to the King of Moab for safekeeping. It is possible that the King of Moab did this because he was enemies with Saul; however, it is just as reasonable that, because he had been defeated by Saul, that he was more open to normalized relations with Israel. 1Sam. 22:3–4

       2)    David had to go to war against Moab and soundly defeated them. He killed some of their soldiers and made the others pay tribute. 2Sam. 8:2 1Chron. 18:2

       3)    David had an early run-in with the new King of Ammon, a son of Nahash, whose nobles turned him against David. Ammon brought in Syria as an ally so that Israel would have to fight on two fronts. David sent his two top generals to fight against Ammon and Syria and Israel was victorious. 2Sam. 10 1Chron. 19

       4)    While being disciplined for the Bathsheba incident (the wife of the soldier mentioned above), David’s army was still victorious over Ammon. The Ammonites were made slaves of David’s. 2Sam. 12:26–31 1Chron. 20:1–3

       5)    Interestingly enough, when David was on the run from Absalom (his son, as a part of the discipline for his affair with Bathsheba), Shobi, the son of Nahash the Ammonite (see 1Sam. 11), brought food and supplies to David and his army. 2Sam. 17:26–29

11.  Some of the women who Solomon married or kept as mistresses were Moabite and Ammonite women. Such foreign women turned his heart away from God toward their heathen gods. Solomon build sanctuaries to Chemosh, a god of Moab and to Molech, a god of Ammon. Worship of these gods included human and even child sacrifice (although it is unclear whether it went that far with Solomon’s wives). 1Kings 11:1–3, 5–7

12.  Solomon’s son Rehoboam, who reigned over the southern kingdom circa 931–913 b.c., was half-Ammonite. 1Kings 14:21, 31 2Chron. 12:13

13.  There continued to be conflicts between Kings of Judah [Jehoshaphat (870–848 b.c.), King Joash (835–796 b.c.), King Uzziah (circa 767–740 b.c.), Josiah (640–608 b.c.), Jehoiakim (608–697 b.c.)] and Moab and Ammon. 2Chron. 20 24:23–27 26:8 27:5 2Kings 23:3–15 24:1–3

14.  After Zedekiah (597–586 b.c.) rebelled against Nebuchadnezzar, Nebuchadnezzar put Gedeliah in charge as governor of the few people who remained in the land. Several Jews who ran for their lives began to return from places like Moab and Ammon. The King of the Ammonites successfully plotted against Gedeliah. Jer. 40–41

15.  The Prophets and Moab and Ammon:

       1)    Amos prophesies against Moab and Ammon. Amos 1:13–15 2:1–2

       2)    Isaiah prophesies about the destruction of Moab. This apparently would be fulfilled by Nebuchadnezzar. Isa.  11:10–14 15–16 25:10

       3)    Zephaniah prophesies against Moab and Ammon, promising that they will be like Sodom and Gomorrah. Zeph. 2:8–9

       4)    Jeremiah prophesies against nations which have been against Israel, which includes Moab and Ammon. This appears to refer to the coming of Nebuchadnezzar as well as to the final judgment against Moab and Ammon in the end times (not to those nations in particular, but to nations which occupy those areas today and which nations display unrelenting hatred for Israel). Jer. 9:25–26 25:17–38 27:1–9 48 49:1–6

       5)    Ezekiel prophesies about the sword of Babylon coming into Jerusalem and Ammon. Ezek. 21:19–32 25:1–12

       6)    Daniel predicts the destruction of Moab and parts of Ammon. Dan. 11:41

16.  A partial history of one Moabite King, Mesha, is found on what is called the Moabite Stone, which dates back to approximately 900 b.c.

The complete doctrine can be found at

1 Andrew Robert Fausset, Fausset’s Bible Dictionary; from e-Sword, topic: Ammon (some slight editing).

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Although the Hagrites are only mentioned a few times in Scripture, and, apart from this reference, are only found in the Chronicles (1Chron. 5:10 19–22 27:30–31). ZPEB and others guess that these are other descendants of Hagar. The NIV Study Bible suggests in the alternative that they are a different group of people who are mentioned in Assyrian inscriptions. Now so far, the psalmist has worked the line opposite Abraham, Isaac and Jacob backwards. However, that will change in the next verse, which is perhaps why the division of these two verses was originally made.

Gebal and Ammon and Amalek;

Philistia with those inhabiting Tyre;



Gebal, Ammon and Amalek,

Philistia and those [who] inhabit Tyre;

Gebal, Ammon and Amalek; Philistia and those living in Tyre;

Gebal is a Phœnician city along the coast of the Mediterranean which is called, by the Greeks, Byblos. At one time, this was one of the most prosperous cities of the mid-East, functioning as an active sea port and trading center. The Gebalites are mentioned remarkably few times (Joshua 13:5 1Kings 5:18 Psalm 83:7 Ezek. 27:9). Because of where Gebal is placed in this psalm, ZPEB considers it to be an area south of the Dead Sea, near Petra and distinguishes it from Byblos and the other passages. Barnes concurs, calling it equivalent to Gebalene, which was a mountainous tract inhabited by the Edomites. Footnote By where this city is found in the psalm (there is no manuscript reason to place it elsewhere), it would fit more to the south of Israel; however, that is not cut in stone. Insofar as we are concerned, we will do fine understanding that this is simply a reference to more enemies of Israel.

Ammon, of course, is the other incestuous son of Lot, Abraham’s nephew. Amalek was the son of Eliphaz through a mistress; he was the grandson of Esau (Gen. 36:12, 15–16 1Chron. 1:36).


We examined the Amalekites in great detail in Num. 24:20. However, let me give you Barnes’ brief description: The Amalekites were a very ancient people. In the traditions of the Arabians they are reckoned among the aboriginal inhaitants of that country. They inhabited the regions on the south of Palestine, between Idumea and Egypt. Compare Ex. xvii. 8–16; Num. xiii. 29; 1Sam. xv. 7. They also extended eastward of the Dead Sea and Mount Seir (Num. xxiv. 20; Judges iii. 13; vi. 3, 33); and they appear also to have settled down in Palestine itself, whence the name of the Mount of the Amalekites, in the territory of Ephraim, Judges xii. 15. Footnote

Philistia is a narrow range of land along the southwestern coast of Israel, which goes from Joppa to Gaza. However, it is from Philistia that we get the name Palestine. The word is supposed to mean the land of sojourners or strangers; hence in the Septuagint they are uniformly called ἀλλόφυλοι, those of another tribe, strangers, and their country is called γ ἀλλοφύλων. They were constant enemies of the Hebrews, and it was natural that they should be engaged in such an alliance as this. Footnote We will cover them in more detail in Judges 13 and following.

Tyre is further up the coast in the land of the Phœnicians, who occupied the northwestern coast of Israel. Including Tyre in this grouping does not mean that there was a literal alliance between all of the peoples at some time, but it gives the feeling that Israel was surrounded by her enemies, which was the case; and that they behaved as if they were in alliance. We will likely cover Tyre in great detail in Ezek. 26, which has the great prophecies concerning Tyre.

Psalm 83:6–7 reads: ...the tents of Edom and the Ishmaelites, Moab and the Hagrites, Gebal and Ammon and Amalek, Philistia with the inhabitants of Tyre;...

At this point, the psalmist names some of those who have allied together against Israel. Some of the alliances are named: Edom (the descendants of Esau) and the Ishmaelites (the descendants of Ishmael). Moab allies with the Hagrites; there is a 3-way alliance between Gebal, Ammon and Amalek. Moab and Ammon are the descendants of Lot, who have, on several occasions, plotted against the Jews in order to harm them.

Moab and Ammon occur elsewhere in the Bible, but these are the places where they are specifically related to Lot.

This chapter is the last time we will hear of Lot except in retrospect. Here is the Doctrine of Lot.

A Summary of the Life of Lot

1.    Lot was Abraham’s nephew. Gen. 11:27

2.    Lot’s life will be contrasted with Abraham’s throughout Gen. 11–19. They are both clearly believers, but God will differentiate between these two men. The idea is, not all believers are equal. Lot has every bit the potential that Abraham has, in the spiritual realm, but he will never really act on it.

3.    Lot originally moved up the Euphrates river with Abraham’s family, and then went with Abraham to the Land of Promise. It is not clear how much Lot or Abraham really understood about moving to this land that God had promised Abraham. Gen. 11:31 12:4

4.    Given that Abraham was 75, Lot was probably anywhere from 20–40 when he moved with Abraham. This is based upon the fact that, when Abraham is fathering Isaac (past when he ought to be able to, at age 99), Lot is normally capable of fathering children. The Bible is quite careful about documenting the age of Abraham. However, Lot’s age can only be deduced or guessed at. Gen. 18 compared to 19:31–38

5.    Lot did acquire a wife, and had two daughters and probably sons, but we know most of that from Gen. 19. Nothing is said about Lot’s wife in Gen. 12:4–5 13:1 when he moved to the Land of Promise with Abraham; so he probably acquired a wife later.

6.    At some point in time, Lot developed his own business as a rancher right along side Abraham. Gen. 13:5

7.    Essentially, Lot was blessed by his association with Abraham. Gen. 12:3 13:5

8.    However, at some point, Lot’s and Abraham’s possessions became so great that, they went their separate ways because they could not keep the overflow of their wealth separated. Gen. 13:5–12

9.    Lot chose to live among the people of Sodom (Gen. 13:10–12), whom God saw as being very sinful (Gen. 13:13) and Abraham lived at times among the Canaanites and others who were quite respectable (example: Gen. 20).

10.  Similarly, Abraham’s relationship with those that he interacted with was usually quite good (example Gen. 14) where Lot’s could be strained (Gen. 19:9—which is not necessarily a negative reflection on Lot).

11.  The people of Sodom and that general area were apparently under the threat of discipline from God, and they had been under the 4th stage of national discipline (controlled or taxed by an outside power) and were going into the 5th stage of national discipline (where they would be removed from their land and put into slavery). Gen. 14:1–12

12.  When Abraham heard about this, he rescued Lot, the people of Sodom, and was blessed by developing a relationship with Melchizedek, the priest of Salem. Gen. 14:13–24

13.  This rescue by Abraham of those which did not deserve it, sets him up as a type of Christ, delivering those who are undeserving of salvation, and then entering into the throne room of God. Gen. 14

14.  When God and two angels come to Abraham, they promise him that he would have a child by Sarah in the coming year, and they also tell him of the destruction of Sodom, where Lot and his family live. Abraham prays that God will preserve the city if there are 10 believers there. However, Abraham miscalculated the number of believers there, and God destroyed the city. However, God delivers Lot and his family from this destruction, answering yes to the desire of Abraham’s prayer. Gen. 19:1–29

15.  The last that we here of Lot directly, in his historic context, is, his daughters will get him drunk, have sex with him, and raise up sons gotten by incest with their father Lot. Gen. 19:30–37

16.  However, so that Lot gets some credit, when the angels came to Lot, he did go out of his way to protect them, and, when the angels told Lot that he had to grab a few things and leave, he did. Gen. 19:1–17

17.  Lot is essentially mentioned two more times in the Old Testament and twice more in the New Testament. His sons/grandsons, by his daughters (that sounds icky just to type that) were given a piece of property and God told Israel that they could not take it from them. Deut. 2:9, 18–19

18.  Interestingly enough, Lot is not included in the genealogies of 1Chron. 1–9.

19.  However, the psalms speak of Lot’s progeny developing alliances with other countries to fight against Israel. Psalm 83:2–8

20.  Jesus refers to the times of Lot in Sodom, where people are marrying and giving in marriage, which simply indicates that, the men of that area were simply living from day to day without a relationship with God. He also warns us to remember Lot’s wife, and her choice to look longingly back to Sodom. Luke 17:28–32

21.  Peter acknowledges that the sins of the Sodomites weighed heavily on Lot (which may have explained another reason why he watched the city gates for strangers coming into that city). 2Peter 2:7

One might say that Lot lived somewhat of a mediocre Christian life; he often zigged when he should have zagged, and it was apparent, from the actions of his daughters that, although they feared God, they did not really take the time to understand Who God is; and it appears that Lot did nothing to encourage their learning about the character of God.

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Also Assyria has joined them;

they are an arm to sons of Lot.




Assyria also has joined them;

they are an arm to the sons of Lot.


Assyria has also joined them; they appear to be an extension of the sons of Lot. Selah

Assyria is located immediately north of the Euphrates River (often called the River in the Bible), along the fertile crescent northwest of the Persian Gulf. Assyria and Babylon are perhaps the two most famous kingdoms from the Mesopotamian area. We will examine Assyrian in greater detail at the end of Chronicles or Kings. Apart from the questionable Gebal, we have gone in sort of a clockwise whirlpool around Israel, beginning with the enemy countries to the east and south east of Israel, then to the south west, and then to the west, and then we loop around to Assyria to the northeast of Israel. Adding Assyria into the mix surrounds Israel completely with enemies. Being called an arm to the sons of Lot means that they acted as though they were an extension of Ammon and Moab; they behaved as though they were a help or an aide to the errant sons of Lot. With this, the author sees the sons of Lot as being the original enemies of Israel; the primary enemies of Israel. Certainly, the chief difference is that Israel was saved and they were not, which is the most essential difference between all peoples.

Again, these countries did not all literally gather together to make war against Israel; however, their behavior toward Israel made it seem as though they did. What Asaph is saying is that even Assyria from so far away appears to act as an arm of the sons of Lot; i.e., Assyria appears to act in conjunction with the historic enemies of Israel.


Barnes: Often God so orders, or permits things to occur, as to cut off his people from every other dependence, and to make them feel that there is not help for them but in Him. Footnote

Now, there is a great deal of speculation as to when this psalm was written and who actually wrote it. As we have noted, this is not some historic situation which has already occurred. The enemies herein mentioned did not combine into one force against Israel at any time in the past that we are aware of. However, their souls were often against Israel. What McGee suggests is that this looks forward to the war of Armageddon when all of the nations surrounding Israel will maneuver in the valley of Esdraelon; all nations will be allied in several ways, but all will be against Israel and the True God of Israel, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Selah is either the end of a thought or a call for a musical interlude (which I will not provide at this time).

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The Psalmist Calls on God to Deal with Israel’s Present Enemies as He Did with Those of the Past

Do to them as Midian—

as Sisera, as Jabin in River Kishon,



Do to them as [You did to] Midian—

as [to] Sisera, as [to] Jabin at the River Kishon.

Do to them as You did to Midian; specifically, as you did to Sisera and to Jabin at the River Kishon.


The NIV Study Bible: [In the next few verses, we have] a pleas for God to destroy his enemies as he did of old in the time of the Judges. Those who hurl themselves against the kingdom of God to destroy it from the earth—so that the godless powers are left to shape the destiny of the world as they will—must be crushed if God’s kingdom of righteousness and peace is to come and be at rest. Footnote

The verb is the very common ʿâsâh (עָשָֹה) [pronounced ģaw-SAWH] which means to do, to make, to construct, to fashion, to form, to prepare. Strong's #6213 BDB #793. The psalmist refers to two great victories in Israel which we have just studied—the utter and total defeat of Midian at the hands of Gideon (Judges 6–8) and the destruction of Jabin, a Canaanite king, and his Secretary of Defense, Sisera—both at the hands of Barak and Deborah (Judges 4–5). Also, if you will recall, Israel went to war with Midian way back in Num. 31, at which time Israel soundly defeated the Midianites. However, there were enough of them remaining to grow into a population which later threatened Israel in the book of the Judges.

The river Kishon is a stream which rises near Mount Tabor, and empties itself into the Bay of Ptolemais. Footnote

They were destroyed at En-dor;

they were dung for the ground.



They were destroyed at En-dor;

they became dung for the ground.

They were destroyed at En-dor, ground into the dirt like dung.

The city of En-dor is not mentioned in the book of the Judges. The NIV Study Bible does not even place it on a map and the NASB places it in Issachar not far from the southern foot of Mount Tabor. The first sweep of the troops of Barak and Deborah coming down from Mount Tabor would have forced Sisera past En-dor. Gideon’s attack on Midian forced them in two directions at least; and this would have sent some of them south through En-dor. The NIV Study Bible places it further northeast of the main battle, and suggests that this is where much of the fleeing army was overtaken and decimated. Footnote The final sentence tells us that their bodies were scattered along the ground. Barnes’ comment: The land was enriched or made fertile by their flesh, their blood, and their bones, as the field of Waterloo was by that of the slain. Footnote The Bible is fertile with such references. “And the corpse of Jezebel will be like dung on the face of the field in the property of Jezreel, so they cannot say, ‘This is Jezebel.’ ” (2Kings 9:37). On this account the anger of Jehovah has burned against His people and He has stretch out His hand against them and He has struck them down, and the mountains quaked and their corpses lay like refuse in the middle of the streets (Isa. 5:25). This was a favorite theme of Jeremiah. “They will die of deadly diseases, they will not be lamented or buried; they will be as dung on the surface of the ground and come to an end by sword and famine, and their carcasses will become food for the birds of the sky and for the beasts of the earth.” (Jer. 16:4). “And those slain by Jehovah on that day will be from one end of the earth to the other. They will not be lamented, gathered, or buried; they will be like dung on the face of the ground.” (Jer. 25:33; see also Jer. 8:1–2 9:22). And since we rarely hear from Zephaniah: “And I will bring distress upon men, so that they will walk like the blind, because they have sinned against Jehovah. Furthermore, their blood will be poured out like dust, and their flesh like dung.” (Zeph. 1:17).

Make them their nobles like Oreb and like Zeeb;

and like Zebah, and like Zalmunna, all their appointed ones,



Make their nobles like Oreb and Zeeb,

and all their appointed one like Zebah and Zalmunna,

Make their nobles like Oreb and Zeeb, and all of their princes like Zebah and Zalmunna,


The final noun in this verse is the masculine plural noun nâcîyke (י.סָנ) [pronounced naw-SEEKe], which could be rendered prince, although this is not the normal word that we use for prince (it is found only in Deut. 32:38 Joshua 13:21 Psalm 83:11 Ezek. 32:30 Daniel 11:8 Micah 5:4). It is that first passage which is troubling, as it is often rendered drink-offering. In the book of Daniel, it is rendered molten image. The key is the verb, which, although BDB says that it means to set, to install; it really means to appoint and the noun means appointed one. Strong’s #5257 BDB #651.

Gideon had routed two of the military leaders of Midian—Oreb and Zeeb (Judges 7:24–25 8:1–3). It was Ephraim which actually captured and killed these two leaders. Gideon continued in hot pursuit of two other military leaders—Zebah and Zalmunna, which we just studied from Judges 8:4–21. All four men were soundly defeated and executed. In fact, this was one of the cleanest and best executed military operations in the history of Israel. Israel followed God’s orders; their leader, Gideon, once he committed himself, remained committed in all things—even when faced with the complete lack of support from the cities of Succoth and Penuel (Judges 8:4–9). And Gideon did something which few Israelites military leaders have ever done—he completely annihilated the enemy. Midian was never a threat to Israel ever again. The psalmist asks this of God for the remaining enemies of Israel. The next verse tells us what was in the heart of these four military leaders when they attacked Israel.

who said, “We will possess for ourselves pastures of God”



who said, “We will possess the pastures of God for ourselves.”

who vowed, “We will possess the pastures of God for ourselves.”

God gave the Land of Promise to Israel. He took Israel from being slaves in Egypt to the Land of Promise and gave this land to them. Their enemies were fully aware of what took place. When they attempted to take this land from Israel, they were expressing their negative volition towards God. The verb they use is the Qal imperfect of yârash (שיָרַ) [pronounced yaw-RAHSH], which means to possess, to take possession of, to occupy [all] geographical area—by driving out the previous occupants], to inherit, to dispossess. Strong’s #3423 BDB #439.

What they would like to possess is the feminine plural construct of nâʾâh (נָאָה) [pronounced naw-AW], and it means pastures, meadows; obviously a pleasant piece of land. BDB considers this word to be equivalent to Strong’s #5116 and the New Englishman’s Hebrew Concordance, Gesenius and Strong consider them to be different words. Strong’s #4999 BDB #627.

One of the things which we fail to appreciate is the historic beauty of Israel. It had a beauty which was unsurpassed in the ancient world. We see it as a war-torn desert area, but the land of Israel is under discipline at this time and is not even a shadow of its former self. It was a beautiful, well-watered, fertile land of great abundance and many nations desired to possess it. Certainly, there are many nations today who desire to possess this land, but that is because they are messtup. Apart from its historical import, it is just not the land that a normal person would want to live in. Jews who desire to move there have these strong, almost inexplicable historical feelings for that land, as it was given to them many millenniums back and God will restore that land and their ownership of—but that won’t be until after the Tribulation, which will occur after the Church Age. Psalm 132:13–15: For Jehovah has chosen Zion; He has desired it for His habitation. “This is My resting place forever. Here I will dwell, for I have desired it. I will abundantly bless her provision; I will satisfy her needy with bread.”

Chapter Outline

Charts, Maps and Short Doctrines


The Psalmist Seeks Their Hurt as Well as Their Recognition of Jehovah God

My God, appoint them like the whirlwind, like chaff for faces of wind.



My God, make them like the whirling dust and like chaff before the wind.

My God, please make them like whirling dust and like wheat chaff caught by a wind.

The verb is the Qal imperative of shîyth (שִית) [pronounced sheeth], which means, according to BDB, to put, to set, to appoint, to station, to make. Strong’s #7896 BDB #1011. What they are to be made into or appointed as is the masculine singular noun galegal (גַּלְגַל) [pronounced gahl-GAHL], which means wheel, whirl, whirlwind. According to Keil and Delitzsch: [galegal] ...signifies a wheel and a whirling motion, such as usually arises when the wind changes suddenly , then also whatever is driven about in the whirling. Footnote It is also used of anything which the wind takes a hold of and carries along. The wind could take something round and cause it to roll; it would not take a stone cube and move it; therefore, this word has come to mean wheel. Strong’s #1534 BDB #165. They are to blow in and blow out again, just as a whirlwind might. There might be some destruction left in their paths, but nothing else remains behind. This is what the psalmist asks for. McGee suggests Footnote that this is the big wheel that the oxen turned, which beat out the grain and crushed the stubble. Then the wind would pick up the stubble and carry it away. This is what the psalmist was asking the Lord to do.

The psalmist is being rather cleaver here, by the way. The previous portion of the psalm looked back at the great victory of Gideon—do you recall what he was doing when God called him? He was at the bottom of a hill, in a wine press, throwing wheat up into the air, waiting for the tiniest gust of wind to grab the chaff and take it away. The psalmist asks for the enemies of Israel to be taken away as that chaff. This is also a metaphor which David uses: Let them be like chaff before the wind, with the Angel of Jehovah driving them on (Psalm 35:5). Isaiah employs a similar imagery himself: The nations rumble on like the rumbling of many waters, but He will rebuke them and they will flee far away, and they will be chased like chaff in the mountains before the wind, or like whirling dust before a gale (Isa. 17:13; see also Job 13:25 21:18 Isa. 40:24 Jer. 13:24). Footnote

As a fire burns a forest;

and as a flame set ablaze mountains,



As a fire burns a forest

and as a flame set ablaze the mountains,

Just like a fire completely destroys a forest, and just as a flame will set a mountain ablaze,

The first verb is the Qal imperfect of bâʿar (בָּעַר) [pronounced baw-ĢYAHR], which means to burn. Strong’s #1197 BDB #128. The second verb is the Piel imperfect of lâhaţ (לָהַט) [pronounced law-HAHT], which means to set ablaze, to set on fire, to burn. Strong’s #3857 BDB #529. The psalmist asks for God to send complete destruction to the enemies, as if they were a forest taken out by a fire. Recall that Moses used a similar analogy in his song. For a fire is kindled in My anger and it burns to the lowest part of Sheol. Furthermore, it consumes the earth with its yield and sets on fire the foundations of the mountains (Deut. 32:22).


Barnes: No image of desolation is more fearful than that of fire raging in a forest; or of fire on the mountains. As trees and shrubs and grass fall before such a flame, so the prayer is, that they who had combined against the people of God might be swept away by his just displeasure. Footnote

It is interesting—there is a surprising lack of mention of natural disasters in the Bible in the early history of Israel, although from this passage, it was clear that the author of this psalm was fully aware of such events. The destruction of a forest fire is not fully appreciated by some parts of the country—however, most people in the southern two-thirds of California has seen a fairly large fire. And, even with the great advances that we have made in technology, these forest fires can rage out of control. My personal memory is seeing a several acre fire roughly once every couple years when most of the land around my childhood house was field. My thinking is that this generation had seen several natural disasters such as the ones presented in this psalm, and therefore the analogies would be apt. Now, such events consume a great deal of air time during our time, and they make great public fodder—however, they receive little attention in the Bible, even though many of the various writers of Scripture could have waxed poetically about such events.

so You will pursue them in Your tempest

and in Your hurricane, You will terrify them.



so You will pursue them with Your storm

and You will terrify them with Your hurricane.

similarly, in this way, pursue them with Your storm and terrify them with Your hurricane.


How or why vv. 14 and 15 got separated, I will never know. V. 15 is the natural conclusion of v. 14; the only intervening piece of punctuation should be a comma or a semi-colon. The beginning adverb is kên (כֵּן) [pronounced kane], which means so. Strong's #3651 BDB #485. What God will pursue them with is His çeʿârâh (ר-ע-ס) [pronounced se-gaw-RAW], which means tempest, storm. This word has several different spellings and the difference in meaning are hard to determine. Strong’s #5591 BDB #704.


The second verb is the Piel imperfect of bâchal (בָּחַל) [pronounced baw-KHAHL], which means, in the Piel, to disquiet, to disturb, to terrify. Strong’s #926 BDB #96. What God is asked to terrify them with is the feminine singular of çûwphâh (הָפס) [pronounced soo-FAW], which means hurricane, storm-wind, whirlwind, tempest. Since Young and Owen both have hurricane, I will go with hurricane. Strong’s #5492 BDB #693. You will notice that we have a plethora of synonyms here.

The two storms which stand out in my mind from Scripture is the great flood of Noah’s day (Gen. 7) and the great storm which routed Sisera’s army (Judges 5:4, 19–22). Footnote There was also quite a hail storm during the days of Joshua (Joshua 10:11). Such storms are mentioned elsewhere, e.g., 1Sam. 7:10 Psalm 18:7–15 77:16–19 Isa. 29:5–6. Again, where it would be human nature to report such events with great descriptions in narrative, we find such things occurring in poetry primarily, and the emphasis is always upon the power of God.


Barnes is aware that some people might be confused when attacked by the enemy and think that they need to turn the other cheek. As all that is here sought by prayer is what men endeavour to do when an enemy invades their country,—as they make arrangements for repelling those enemies, and overthrowing them, and as they feel that it is right to do so,—there is no impropriety in making this the subject of prayer to God. What it is right for men to attempt, it is right to pray for; what it would be right for them to do if they had the power, it is right to ask God to accomplish; what is free from malignity in the act,, and in the design, may be free from malignity in the desire and the prayer; and if men can carry with them the idea that what they are endeavouring to do is right, whether as magistrates, judges, rulers, defenders of their country, or as private men, they will have very little difficulty in regard to the so-called imprecatory psalms. Footnote

Fill their faces shame

and they will seek Your name Yehowah.



Fill their faces [with] shame

and they will seek Your name Yehowah.

Fill their faces with shame so that they will seek Your name, O Jehovah.

The first verb is the Piel imperative of mâlêʾ (מָלֵא) [pronounced maw-LAY], which means to fill, to make full, to be full. Strong's #4390 BDB #569. We don’t have a preposition, but we do have the word for faces (with the 3rd person masculine plural suffix). What they are to fill their faces with is the masculine singular noun qâlôwn (קָלוֹן) [pronounced kaw-LOHN], which means shame, disgrace. Strong’s #7036 BDB #885. The result of filling their faces with shame is that they will seek the name of Jehovah. So, even though this is an imprecatory psalm, the psalmist in the very end asks for God to do whatever it takes so that their mutual enemies seek Him, the Creator of all things. Many times, we have to be taken to the point of shame and disgrace in order to seek Him. We have to realize what we are in our souls, which is evil; we are innately against the Lord Who bought us and we should be filled with shame because of it.


Barnes elaborates on the final line of this verse: This explains the drift and design of the whole prayer in the psalm. It is not a malignant prayer for the destruction of their enemies; it is not a wish that they might be made to suffer; but it is a prayer that the Divine dealing might be such as to lead them to the acknowledgment of the true God. It is a benevolent thing to desire that men maybe brought to the knowledge of the true God, though it be through the discomfiture of their own plans, by defeat, or by suffering. Anything that leads men to an acquaintance with God, and results in securing his friendship and favour, is a gain and will be the cause of thankfulness in the end. Footnote

They will be disconcerted [or, discouraged] and dismayed [or, terrified] until [and] until;

and they will be ashamed and they will perish.



They will be disconcerted and dismayed forever;

and they will be ashamed and they will perish.

Otherwise, they will be disconcerted and dismayed forever;

furthermore, they will be ashamed and they will perish in this state.

What might help is if we see this last three verses of this psalm as translated by others:


The Emphasized Bible   Fill thou their faces with dishonour, That men may seek they Name, O Yahweh; Let them turn pale and be terrified to futurity, Yea let them blush and perish: That men may know that thou Whose Name alone is Yahweh art Most High over all the earth.

NASB                             Fill their faces with dishonor, That they may seek Thy name, O Lord. Let them be ashamed and dismayed forever; And let them be humiliated and perish, That they may know that Thou alone, whose name is the Lord, art the Most High over all the earth.

NEB                               Heap shame upon their heads, O Lord, until they confess the greatness of thy name. Let them be abashed, and live in perpetual dismay; let them feel their shame and perish. So let them learn that thou alone art Lord, God Most High over all the earth.

NIV                                 Cover their faces with shame so that men will seek your name, O Lord. May they ever be ashamed and dismayed; may they perish in disgrace. Let them know that you, whose name is the Lord— that you alone are the Most High over all the earth.

Young's Lit. Translation Fill their faces with shame, And they seek Thy name, O Jehovah. They are ashamed and troubled forever, Yeah, they are confounded and lost. And they know that Thou— (Thy name is Jehovah—by Thyself,) Art the Most High over all the earth!

We begin this verse with the Qal imperfect of bôwsh (בּוֹש) [pronounced bôsh], which means anxious, ashamed, disconcerted, discouraged. Strong’s #954 BDB #101. The second verb is the Niphal imperfect of bâchal, again (בָּחַל) [pronounced baw-KHAHL], which means, in the Niphal, dismayed, disquieted, disturbed, terrified. Strong’s #926 BDB #96.

After this, we have the doubling of the preposition ʿad (עַד) [pronounced ģahd ] which means as far as, even to, up to, until. Here, it is doubled and, surprisingly enough, I was unable to document its meaning in Gesenius or in BDB. We will go with forever. Strong’s #5704 BDB #723.

The third verb is the Qal imperfect of châphêr (חָפֵר) [pronounced khaw-FAIR], which means to be ashamed, to be bashful, to blush. The idea is that you blush because you are ashamed of yourself. Strong’s #2659 BDB #344. The final verb is the Qal imperfect of ʾâbvad (אָבַד) [pronounced awb-VAHD], which means to perish. Strong's #6 BDB #1. In one of David’s psalms, he wrote: Let those be ashamed and humiliated who seek my life; let those be turned back and dishonored who delighted in my hurt (Psalm 70:2–3). This verse gives the other side of the coin—that they might be ashamed and perish forever. We all will at some point in time see ourselves for what we really are and we will be shamed because of it. We have many times transgressed the clear teaching of God. There are many times that we have faced right and wrong and have chosen the wrong. The realization of this can lead us to salvation (v. 16) or be the result of dying and never being saved (v. 17).

Actually, to more properly interpret this verse, the perishing is to apply to the people who trouble Israel—to the alliances made up from various subsets of the people named. The psalmist asks that these people perish and perish in shame for opposing the God of this Universe. David wrote: Destroy them [his enemies and God’s enemies] in wrath, destroy them, that they may be no more, that men may know that God rules in Jacob to the ends of the earth (Psalm 59:13).

And they will know that You [are]

(Your name [is] Yehowah to Your separation),

Most High over all the earth.



And they will know that You [are]

(You name [is] Yehowah—[it is] Yours alone)

the Most High over all the earth

And then they will know that You are the Most High over all the earth

and that Your name is Jehovah—that is Your name alone.

This last verse is difficult even when it comes to separating it into lines. It begins with the wâw conjunction and then we have the 3rd person masculine plural, Qal imperfect of yâdaʿ (יָדַע) [pronounced yaw-DAHĢ], which means to know. Strong’s #3045 BDB #393. This is followed by the conjunction kîy (כִּי) [pronounced kee], which means when, that, for, because. Strong's #3588 BDB #471. Then we have the 2nd person masculine plural pronoun, which often carries with it to implied verb to be. So far, we have the very simple: And they know that You [are]...


Barnes: That all men may be impressed with the belief that thou art the true and only God. This was the design and aim of the prayer in the psalm. It was that there might be such a manifestation of the power of God; that it might be so evident that the events which had occurred could be traced to no other source than God himself, that all men might be led to honour him. Footnote

Then we have the masculine singular noun shêm (שֵם) [pronounced shame], which means name, reputation, character. Strong’s #8034 BDB #1027. This is separate from the running thought and introduces a parenthetical statement. This is followed by the proper name for God and we may insert, by implication, the verb to be again. This is followed by the lâmed prefixed preposition and the masculine singular noun bad (בַּד) [pronounced bahd ] and it means separation, by itself, alone. Most translators ignore the lâmed preposition, as it is difficult to translate into something which makes sense in the English. Strong’s #905 BDB #94. With this noun is the 2nd person masculine singular suffix again. The second parenthetical line is: (Your name [is] Yehowah to Your separation); or, (Your name [is] Yehowah—[it is] Your [name] alone); or, (Your name [is] Yehowah—[it is] Yours alone). Many times we have discussed the exclusivity of the God of Israel, which corresponds to the exclusivity of the Lord Jesus Christ.

With this, the third line finishes the sentence, telling who Jehovah is. He [is the] Most High over all the earth. This separates Jehovah from all other heathen gods, who were local in their nature. There was no religious tolerance in Israel and all roads did not lead to Rome. There were heathen gods and there was the God of Israel, the Creator of all things, the Most High over all the earth. For You are great and you do incredible things; You alone are God (Psalm 86:10). For you are Jehovah, Most High over all the earth. You are exalted far above all gods (Psalm 97:9). “Declare and set forth your case. Indeed, let them consult together. Who has announced this from of old? Who has long since declared it? Is it not I, Jehovah? And there is no other God besides Me. There is no righteous God and a Savior; there is none except Me.” (Isa. 45:21).


The NIV Study Bible: The ultimate goal of God’s warfare is not merely the security of Israel and the destruction of Israel’s (and god’s) enemies but the worldwide acknowledgment of the true God and of his rule, even to the point of seeking him as his people do. Footnote


McGee: I am convinced that the only way this world is going to know that god is God is for Him to move in judgment. The goodness of God ought to lead men to repentance, but it doesn’t. If men were at all sensitive to the presence and person of God, it would lead them to His presence, but it actually drives them farther away from God. We are an affluent nation now. When we were a frontier nation, pioneering, fighting our way across to the West, we depended on God, but today we think we don’t need Him. Footnote

Chapter Outline


Charts, Maps and Short Doctrines


Exegetical Studies in the Psalms

At this point, we return to Judges 9 (HTML) (PDF).