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Psalm 82

A Plea for Justice

A Psalm of Asaph.


God has taken his place in the divine council;

in the midst of the gods he holds judgment:


“How long will you judge unjustly

and show partiality to the wicked? Selah


Give justice to the weak and the orphan;

maintain the right of the lowly and the destitute.


Rescue the weak and the needy;

deliver them from the hand of the wicked.”



They have neither knowledge nor understanding,

they walk around in darkness;

all the foundations of the earth are shaken.



I say, “You are gods,

children of the Most High, all of you;


nevertheless, you shall die like mortals,

and fall like any prince.”



Rise up, O God, judge the earth;

for all the nations belong to you!

8 Arise, O God! judge the earth. The reason why this psalm concludes with a prayer has been already stated at the commencement. The prophet, finding that his admonitions and remonstrances were ineffectual, and that princes, inflated with pride, treated with contempt all instruction on the principles of equity, addresses himself to God, and calls upon Him to repress their insolence. By this means, the Holy Spirit furnishes us with ground of comfort whenever we are cruelly treated by tyrants. We may perceive no power on earth to restrain their excesses; but it becomes us to lift up our eyes to heaven, and to seek redress from Him whose office it is to judge the world, and who does not claim this office to himself in vain. It is therefore our bounden duty to beseech him to restore to order what is embroiled in confusion. The reason of this which immediately follows — for thou shalt inherit all nations — is understood by some as a prophecy concerning the kingdom of Christ, by whom God has brought all nations in subjection to himself. But it is to be viewed in a more extensive sense, as implying that God has a rightful claim to the obedience of all nations, and that tyrants are chargeable with wickedly and unjustly wresting from him his prerogative of bearing rule, when they set at nought his authority, and confound good and evil, right and wrong. We ought therefore to beseech him to restore to order the confusions of the world, and thus to recover the rightful dominion which he has over it.

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