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New American Bible

2002 11 11
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Chapter 82


A psalm of Asaph. 1 God rises in the divine council, gives judgment in the midst of the gods.


"How long will you judge unjustly and favor the cause of the wicked? Selah


Defend the lowly and fatherless; render justice to the afflicted and needy.


Rescue the lowly and poor; deliver them from the hand of the wicked."


2 The gods neither know nor understand, wandering about in darkness, and all the world's foundations shake.


3 I declare: "Gods though you be, offspring of the Most High all of you,


Yet like any mortal you shall die; like any prince you shall fall."


4 Arise, O God, judge the earth, for yours are all the nations.



1 [Psalm 82] As in Psalm 58, the pagan gods are seen as subordinate divine beings to whom Israel's God had delegated oversight of the foreign countries in the beginning ( Deut 32:8-9). Now God arises in the heavenly assembly ( Psalm 82:1) to rebuke the unjust "gods" ( Psalm 82:2-4), who are stripped of divine status and reduced in rank to mortals ( Psalm 82:5-7). They are accused of misruling the earth by not upholding the poor. A short prayer for universal justice concludes the psalm ( Psalm 82:8).

2 [5] The gods are blind and unable to declare what is right. Their misrule shakes earth's foundations (cf Psalm 11:3; 75:4), which God made firm in creation ( Psalm 96:10).

3 [6] I declare: "Gods though you be": in John 10:34 Jesus uses the verse to prove that those to whom the word of God is addressed can fittingly be called "gods."

4 [8] Judge the earth: according to Deut 32:8-9, Israel's God had originally assigned jurisdiction over the foreign nations to the subordinate deities, keeping Israel as a personal possession. Now God will directly take over the rulership of the whole world.

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