PSALM 82  


Psalm 82

Verse 1

1. Elohim takes his stand in the congregation of God (al).
The congregation of God is the assembly of Israel’s population.
Within this congregation of God are the priests and the elders
who carry the authority of God and are thus designated as
THE elohim.
At Numbers 27:17, it is called the congregation of Yahweh.
Likewise at Numbers 31:16 and Joshua 22:16ff.
At Psalm 74:2, it is “Your congregation that You have purchased
of old, which You have redeemed to be the tribe of Your

These judges have been given the authority to render justice
in the place of God as His representatives on the earth.

As such, they are designated by the term elohim.

Exodus 22:8, “and if the thief is not caught, then the owner
of the house shall appear before the judges
(before haelohim – THE elohim) to determine whether
he laid hands on his neighbor’s property.”
Exodus 21:6, “then his master shall bring him before
the judges (haelohim –THE elohim), then he shall bring
him to the door or the doorpost.”
Exodus 22:9, “the case of both parties shall come before the
judges (ha (THE) elohim); he whom the judges (ha elohim)
condemn shall pay double to his neighbor.”
At Deut. 17:8-11, it is clarified that those who adjudicate
among the people are the priests and judges (verse 9).
At Deut. 19:17, this process of adjudication is described as
appearing “before the LORD; before the priests and the judges.”
Notice the idea that the rulers stand in the place of Elohim
and share equal honor. Exodus
22:28, “You shall not revile
elohim, nor curse a ruler of your people.”
This kind of representation is seen first with Moses at
Exodus 4:16, Aaron “shall be as a mouth for you and you
shall be as elohim to him.” That is, Moses will represent God
to Aaron. Later, the priests and judges will represent God to
the people.

Deuteronomy 25:1 describes the same thing but without
the reference to “the elohim” (judges). 
“they go to the court (judgment) and they judge them . . .”

2. “God  judges in the midst of the elohim (the judges).”
These are the human rulers – the priests and the judges who are
 appointed as representatives of God. Thus, at verse 6, they
are called elohim; “I have said, you are elohim, and all of you
are sons of the Most High.”
These are terms that indicate that the rulers stand in the
place of God to adjudicate among the people.

Here, the term “sons of the Most High” indicates that they
have the unique position of representing God in the same way
that a son of a human father would quite often “speak” for
his father or stand in the place of his father.

Jesus recognizes that this is a proper designation for the
rulers when he defends His title of “son of God” at John 10:34,
“Has it not been written in your law, I said you are gods?”
And then at John 10:35, it is clear that the term “gods” refers
to those who were given the word of God, and the responsibility
to uphold it in the midst of the people as established in the Law.
 Ex.21:6; 22:8-9; Deut. 17, 19.

At Psalm 82:2-4 the “practical” failure of these elohim is stated.
They have failed to properly administer justice to the people.
So Asaph echoes the voice of God as He evaluates and judges
the failures of these divinely appointed leaders (elohim).
Isaiah expresses the same thing at Isaiah 3:13-15.
“Yahweh enters into judgment with the elders and
princes of His people.”
The prerogative of dispensing justice is ultimately in the hands
of God, especially in the matters of life and death. But as of
Genesis 9:6, God has delegated such authority to man, who
hopefully will use “righteous standards” in all adjudications.
How appropriate then, that when God establishes His unique
“holy” nation, He designates the administrators of justice as
THE elohim – representatives of elohim.

But they have failed to “imitate” their father; they have failed
to act like elohim. Instead, they have perverted justice and
dishonored the appellation (elohim) that they carry.

In Psalm 82:5a, the general “spiritual” failure of the rulers
is stated. “they do not know nor understand.”
They have no divine viewpoint standards in their soul –
they do not KNOW the law.

“They walk in darkness.”
They are blind to truth. As at Isaiah 5:20 they “call evil good
and good evil; who substitute darkness for light and light
for darkness; who substitute bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.”

Psalm 82:5b, “and the foundations of the earth are shaken.”
The foundations are the moral standards that God designed
for the orderly function of the human race in order to preserve
and protect human freedom. “If the foundations are destroyed,
what can the righteous do?” Psalm 11:3.
“The king gives stability to the land by justice.” Proverbs 29:4.
“The execution of justice is joy for the righteous.” Prov. 21:15

Proverbs 30:21-23
When the moral “authority” structures of a society collapse, the foundations of the earth are shaken.
“Under three things the earth quakes,
And under four, it cannot bear up:
Under a slave when he becomes king,
And a fool when he is satisfied with food,
Under an unloved woman when she gets a husband,
And a maidservant when she supplants her mistress.”

The divine morality structure is designed to be preserved by righteous leaders in the society. After being delivered from Egypt, the newly created theocratic nation of Israel became the model of morality for the rest of the world.

Those moral standards were highlighted in the ten commandments and then amplified later through details given to Moses.

When the rulers uphold those standards in the various adjudications, they show forth the character of God – they “act” like elohim. They are sons who showcase and represent their divine Father. Through this, the stability and freedoms of society are preserved – the foundations of the earth are maintained. But when these rulers fail to ACT like elohim; fail to act like “sons of the Most High,” moral stability and human freedom are undermined – and “the foundations of the earth are shaken.

Psalm 82:6-7
Even though you rulers of Israel are designated as elohim and sons of the Most High, you have failed and will be judged LIKE those who are NOT elohim or sons.

“You will die like (mere) men.”

Those who have no divinely commissioned status within society. They will die just like everyone else.

“and fall like any of the princes.”
Just as human rulers have come and gone throughout history – mere breath that is exhaled and gone or like a flower that fades and drops off the stem – so these failures at properly representing Elohim will be judged and removed according to the wisdom and timing of the God Whom they have dishonored.

Psalm 82:8
Asaph then moves from being the “voice” of God, to his own appeal and plea to God for a proper judgment upon all the failed rulers of the world.

The mention of “all the nations” confirms that God’s moral design for Israel is to extend to the rest of the world.

God places them in their position of authority and He holds them accountable.
Daniel 4:17, “The Most High is ruler of the realm of mankind, and bestows on it whom He wishes, and sets over it the lowliest of men.”

Romans 13:4, “for it is a minister of God.”

1. There exists the divine convocations where the angels
would appear before God for various reasons. Job 1-2 is
clear about this.

Psalm 89:5-7 refers to the assembly of the angelic creation,
using the noun Qahal for assembly and qadosh (holy) for
the angels.

And at verse 7, “the council of the holy ones,” using sod
for council.

However, that does not require that Psalm 82
refer to that same assembly.

2. The context indicates that it is in fact describing something
entirely different.
A. First, the noun for congregation at Psalm 82 is different.
It is the noun edah.
B. This noun is used 148 times and all but about 20 are used
for the congregation of
Israel. At no time is it used for the
 congregation of angels.
Three times for “the congregation of the LORD”
and one time for “YOUR congregation.” And then,
at Psalm 82:1 for “the congregation of God,” which is clearly
 identified in verses 2-5 as referring to the human rulers who
have failed to properly administer justice to the people.
C. “The congregation of elohim” is perfectly consistent with
“the congregation of Yahweh” and “Your congregation.”

D. Second, God taking His stand among or within His human
 congregation to evaluate and judge them is exactly what is
described at Isaiah 3:13-15, using the very same verb – natsabh.
E. There is no transition from a heavenly congregation to a
human congregation. It is a smooth progression.
   1. Taking his stand among the human rulers in v.1
   2. evaluating and judging those human rulers in vs. 2ff.

3. RE: John 10: I think the Greek of John 10:34-35 is pretty
clear without any attempt to explain it away.
A. The quote: “You (plural) are gods.”

“if He called THEM gods.” It seems that the “them”
corresponds with the “you.”

B. And then the prepositional phrase, “to whom the word of
God came,” is referring to the same PLURAL “you” and “them.”

C. Now as far as the significance of what Jesus said, I don’t
think he makes this reference to establish His deity –
He has already established that. It could very easily be that
He is challenging their hypocrisy. He has already affirmed
His deity. He is not going to change their minds. He is simply
doing what He has done consistently – challenged the
hypocrisy of their religion.

They “did not listen, they’re not listening still.
Perhaps they never will.”

D. When someone claims that this does not “make sense,”
what standard do they use to establish such “sensibility?”

These religious rebels simply ignored what He said and
ontinued in their antagonism. Jesus speaks; quotes scripture
and teaches as one in authority so that those who ignore Him
stand self condemned.

But if the ruler fails to promote divine morality, he fails to function as a minister of God. Such a one will be judged according to the wisdom and timing of God.


Questions and comments are always welcome

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