1. The Psalm is Written by Asaph OR the sons of Asaph. Asaph, who became
prominent during the reign of David, became the official "choir director" of
Israel, and his descendants carried on the office. He/they were thus used by
God to provide inspired guidance and prophecy to the people through the
various psalms that carry his name.
2. The time of writing is to be identified by the geographical locations
mentioned at verses 6-8, and specifically that they are joined to Assyria.
The time period is the reign of Hezekiah, king of Judah from 724 to 696 BCE,
and after the Hezekiah revival. 2Chron. 32:1. Specifically year 14 of
Hezekiah which is 711 BCE (3414 AH).
3. Although the title is "a psalm of Asaph," it is more likely that this was
written by "the sons of Asaph" AT THE TIME of the crisis. With several
psalms only the name Asaph is used although it is one of his descendants who
actually penned them.
4. The sons of Asaph are mentioned at 2Chron. 29:13-28 as being part of the
Hezekiah revival celebrations.
THE HUMAN THREAT (711 BCE; 3414 AH)
1. That historical crisis is the invasion of Assyria under Sennacherib after
the Hezekiah revival of 2 Chron. 29:1-31:21, in the 14th year of Hezekiah
(Is. 36:1). He had taken control of the entire geographical region (2 Kings
19:17) the armies from the areas mentioned at Psalm 83:5-8. The peoples of
that area had long been covenanted together to bring down Judah and gladly
joined with Assyria.
2. The various peoples of the middle east had been harassing the kingdom of
Judah since the days of Hezekiah's predecessor, Ahaz, as seen at 2 Chron.
28:17-18. And even before that as seen at 2 Chron. 20:1-3.
Psalm 83:6-8 gives the locations of these invading people.
The historical record is 2Kings 18-19 and Isaiah 36-37.
THE SATANIC THREAT
The Psalm describes a satanic attack on the character and plan of God and is
an attempt to destroy the Messianic people in order to prevent the
fulfillment of the Messianic promise of Gen. 3:15, which will be fulfilled
by the Seed of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and David.
Verse 2, "Your enemies."
Verse 5, "Against you."
Verse 4, "wipe them out as a nation . . . that they be remembered no more."
THE PURPOSE OF THE PSALM
1. The content of the Psalm is a prayer of imprecation directed against the
enemies of Yahweh. Verses 2, 5.
2. And after the prayers of 2Chron. 32:20 and of this Psalm, God answered
and Sennacherib's army was destroyed by the angel of Yahweh, Sennacherib
then went home, and was killed by his own children. 2Chron. 32:21; Isaiah
1. O Elohim do not remain quiet.
2. Do not be silent and do not be still O God (al).
3. 2Chron. 32:20; 2 Kings 19:15-19; Isaiah 37:14-20
For behold, Your enemies make an uproar,
And those who hate You have exalted themselves.
This is the same creature arrogance and rebellion as stated at Psalm 2:2-3.
It is primarily an attack against the character and plan of God.
This in itself shows the Satanic influence on the people.
It is not the nations that are aware of God's plan of the ages that revolves
around the person and work of the Messiah (the seed of the woman promise of
Gen. 3:15). It is Satan who is aware of that plan. And it is Satan who needs
to derail that plan in order to escape the divine judgment against him,
which is eternity in the lake of fire.
The attack of Sennacherib at Isaiah 37:29, "because of your raging against
Me and because your arrogance has come up to My ears."
They make shrewd plans against Your people,
And conspire together against Your treasured ones.
They have said, “Come, and let us wipe them out as a nation,
That the name of Israel be remembered no more.”
The specific attack is against God's chosen people, Israel.
This is Satanically motivated in order to prevent the seed promise of Gen.
3:15 from being fulfilled. If God can destroy the people from whom the
Messiah comes, then God's plan of the ages (Eph. 3:11), which revolves
around the person and work of the Messiah will be derailed.
For they have conspired together with one mind;
Against You they make a covenant.
This is the general and age-old attack from Satan against God, using the
unbelieving nations of the world.
"the kings of the earth take their stand, and the rulers take counsel
together against Yahweh and against His anointed one."
In this particular instance it is the specific attempt by Satan to use
Assyria and allies in 711 BCE (3414 AH).
THE ATTACKERS: The peoples around Israel
(2 Chron. 32:22, "Assyria and from the hand of all the others")
The tents of Edom: South of the Dead Sea
and the Ishmaelites: General tribes of caravan traders
Moab: East of the Dead Sea
and the Hagrites: a small nomadic tribe with a grudge against Israel because
of 1 Chron. 5:10.
Gebal: SE of Dead Sea in Edom
and Ammon: East of Jerusalem
and Amalek: SW of Dead Sea
Philistia with the inhabitants of Tyre: NW of Jerusalem
Assyria also has joined with them: The world power at the time.
Actually, Assyria is the major antagonist here having basically conquered
the other nations and is now using them to further his devices against
They have become a help to the children of Lot. Selah.
In general, Moab and Ammon (Gen. 19:37-38).
Hezekiah and Isaiah pray: 2 Chron. 32:20
Isaiah 37:20, "And now O Yahweh our God, deliver us from his hand."
Basically, destroy the invaders with Your power just like you did to other
nations that attacked Israel in the past.
The word "princes" should be kept in the context of earthly rulers of these
nations as it is a synonymous poetic repetition of the previous line'
"Make their NOBLES like Oreb and Zeeb;
and all their princes like Zeba and Zalmunna."
THE GLORIFICATION OF GOD
This is accomplished through the defeat of the Assyrian coalition in 711
Two categories of people who encounter defeat at the hands of the Angel of
(1) Those who will be humbled, shamed, convicted - and turn to Him.
(2) Those who do not who will be shamed, humiliated, and in sorrow FOREVER;
they will perish from the face of the earth and go to Sheol as unbelievers.
Verses 16, category one - become a believer
"Fill their faces with dishonor."
Expose their human viewpoint and evil so that they might turn to Yahweh
and be saved.
"That they may seek Your name, O Lord."
Even though they are in the seeking the ruin of God and the destruction of
God's people, there is still hope for those who will turn to Him.
Vs. 17, category two - remain an unbeliever
OR - let them perish for all eternity.
"Let them be ashamed and dismayed forever
And let them be humiliated and perish."
V. 18, The ULTIMATE glorification of God
"That they may know that You alone, whose name is the Lord,
Are the Most High over all the earth."
Hezekiah's prayer at Isaiah 37:20, "so that all the kingdoms of the earth
may know that You alone, Yahweh are God."
For BOTH those who seek Yahweh and for those who continue to rebel and
reject Him, HE WILL BE GLORIFIED.
Those who trust in Him will be saved and KNOW from a relationship standpoint
that Yahweh is indeed the MOST HIGH.
Those who reject Him will KNOW from the experience of physical death and
their placement in Torments of Sheol that Yahweh is the MOST HIGH.
THE ANSWER TO THE PRAYER: Isaiah 37:36-38
Then the angel of the Lord went out and struck 185,000 in the camp of the
Assyrians; and when men arose early in the morning, behold, all of these
were dead. So Sennacherib king of Assyria departed and returned home and
lived at Nineveh. It came about as he was worshiping in the house of Nisroch
his god, that Adrammelech and Sharezer his sons killed him with the sword;
and they escaped into the land of Ararat. And Esarhaddon his son became king
in his place.