Psalm 83

Psalm 83 is all about God’s enemies.  The psalmist tells us that this is “a song for Asaph”. A psalm is words with music, or a song. Asaph was the name of a group of singers.  The writer calls for God not to let it continue.  “O God, do not keep silence; do not hold your peace or be still”.  The writer is pleading for God to take action and protect His people.  These enemies want to wipe out God’s people.  “They say, Come, let us wipe them out as a nation; let the name of Israel be remembered no more!”

So who are these enemies?  They are on all sides of God’s people:

  • the tents of Edom and the Ishmaelites
  • Moab and the Hagrites
  • Gebal
  • Ammon
  • Amalek
  • Philistia with the inhabitants of Tyre
  • Asshur

The writer asks God to “Do to them as you did to Midian, as to Sisera and Jabin at the river Kishon, who were destroyed at En-dor, who became dung for the ground”.

No beating around the bush there.  Reduce them to a pile of dung.  That’s pretty much a complete wipe out of the enemy.  But the writer goes further. “Make them like whirling dust, like chaff before the wind. As fire consumes the forest, as the flame sets the mountains ablaze, so may you pursue them with your tempest and terrify them with your hurricane”.  But beyond the sweeping request for God to take action, the writer reminds God of how He has taken up their situation and protected them from enemies in the past.

The commentaries teach that in verses 9 – 12,we read about people that God destroyed. Gideon destroyed Midian. (The story is in Judges 6-8). Oreb and Zeeb were princes of Midian. People from Ephraim killed them.  (The story is in Judges 7:24-25). Ephraim was one of the tribes of Israel. Gideon killed Zebah and Zalmunna in Judges 8:21. They were kings of Midian. Sisera and Jabin come from another story. (In Judges 4:1-24). Jabin was king of Hazor. Sisera was the leader of his army. A woman (Jael) killed Sisera as he hid in her tent. Two judges (leaders) of Israel destroyed Jabin’s army at the River Kishon.  God has always taken care of His people.

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