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Psalm 82 by Alexander Maclaren

Psalm 82 by Alexander Maclaren

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Published by glennpease

PSALM LXXXII.

I God stands in the congregation of God,
In the midst of the gods He judges.

PSALM LXXXII.

I God stands in the congregation of God,
In the midst of the gods He judges.

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Published by: glennpease on Sep 20, 2013
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04/13/2014

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PSALM 82 BY ALEXADER MACLAREPSALM LXXXII.I God stands in the congregation of God,In the midst of the gods He judges.8 How long will ye judge injustice,And accept the persons of wicked men ? Selah,3 Right the weak and the orphan,Vindicate the afflicted and the poor.4 Rescue the weak and needy,From the hand of the wicked deliver [them].5 They know not, they understand not,In darkness they walk to and fro,All the foundations of the earth totter.6 I myself have said, Ye are gods,And sons of the Most High are ye alL7 Surely like men shall ye die,And like one of the princes shall ye falL8 Arise, O God, judge the earth,For Thou, Thou shalt inherit all the nations.I Psalm 1. God is represented as gathering Hispeople together to be judged ; in this psalm Hehas gathered them together for His judgment on judges.The former psalm begins at an earlier point of thegreat Cause than this one does. In it, unnamed
 
messengers go forth to summons the nation ; in this,the first verse shows us the assembled congregation,the accused, and the Divine Judge standing in "themidst ' in statuesque immobility. An awe-inspiring425426 THE PSALMSpause intervenes, and then the silence is broken bya mighty voice of reproof and admonition (w. 2-4).The speaker may be the psalmist, but the grand imageof God as judging loses much of its solemnity andappropriateness, unless these stern rebukes and thefollowing verses till the end of ver. 7 are regardedas His voice of judgment. Ver. 5 follows these rebukeswith " an indignant aside from the Judge " (Cheyne),evoked by obstinate deafness to His words; andvv. 6, 7, pronounce the fatal sentence on the accused,who are condemned by their own refusal to hearkento Divine remonstrances. Then, in ver. 8, after a pauselike that which preceded God's voice, the psalmist,who has been a silent spectator, prays that what hehas heard in the inward ear, and seen with the inwardeye, may be done before the nations of the world, sinceit all belongs to Him by right.The scene pictured in ver. 1 has been variouslyinterpreted. " The congregation of God " is mostnaturally understood according to the parallel inPsalm 1., and the familiar phrase "the congregationof Israel " as being the assembled nation. Its inter-pretation and that of the " gods " who are judged hangtogether. If the assembly is the nation, the personsat the bar can scarcely be other than those who haveexercised injustice on the nation. If, on the other
 
hand, the " gods " are ideal or real angelic beings, theassembly will necessarily be a heavenly one. The use of the expressions " The congregation of Jehovah " (umb.xxvii. 17, xxxi. 16; Josh. xxii. 16, 17) and "Thycongregation " (Psalm lxxiv. 2) makes the former inter-pretation the more natural, and therefore exercises someinfluence in determining the meaning of the otherdisputed word. The interpretation of " gods " asbcxxii.] THE PSALMS 427angels is maintained by Hupfeld ; and Bleek, followedby Cheyne, goes the full length of regarding themas patron angels of the nations. But, as Baethgensays, "that angels should be punished with deathis a thought which lies utterly beyond the Old Testa-ment sphere of representation," and the incongruitycan hardly be reckoned to be removed by Cheyne'sremark, that, since angels are in other places repre-sented as punished, " it is only a step further " to saythat they are punished with death. If, however, these"gods" are earthly rulers, the question still remainswhether they are Jewish or foreign judges ? Thelatter opinion is adopted chiefly on the ground of thereference in ver. 8 to a world-embracing judicial act,which, however, by no means compels its acceptance,since it is entirely in accordance with the manner otpsalmists to recognise in partial acts of Divine retri-bution the operation in miniature of the same Divinepower, which will one day set right all wrongs, and,on occasion of the smaller manifestation of Divinerighteousness, to pray for a universal judgment. Therewould be little propriety in summoning the nationalassembly to behold judgments wrought on foreignrulers, unless these alien oppressors were afflictingIsrael, of which there is no sure indications in thepsalm. The various expressions for the afflicted invv. 3, 4, are taken, by the supporters of the view that

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