Psalm 82:6
I have said, You are gods; and all of you are children of the most High.
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(6) I have said.—Again the Divine voice breaks the silence with an emphatic I. “From me comes your office and your honoured title, gods; now from me hear your doom. Princes though ye be, ye will die as other men: yea, altogether will ye princes perish.” (For the rendering “altogether,” literally, like one man, see Ezra 2:64; Ezra 3:9, &c.)

It is interesting to notice that Psalm 82:1; Psalm 82:6 were quoted by Constantine at the opening of the council of Nicæa, to remind the bishops that their high office should raise them above jealousy and party feeling. (For the interest gained by the passage from our Lord’s use of it to rebut the charge of blasphemy brought against Him by the scribes, see Note, New Testament Commentary, John 10:34.)

Psalm 82:6-7. I have said, Ye are gods — I have given you my name and power to rule your people in my stead; and all of you — Not only the rulers of Israel, but of all other nations; (for the powers that be are ordained of God, Romans 13:1;) are children of the Most High — Representing my person, and bearing both my name and lively characters of my majesty and authority, as children bear the name and image of their parents. But ye shall die like men — Like ordinary men. As if he had said, Let not either your honourable title or exalted station make you insolent or secure, for though you are gods by name and office, yet still you are mortal men; you must die, and give up your account to me your supreme Lord and Governor; and you shall die by the hands of my justice if you persist in your ungodly courses. And fall like one of the princes — Like every, or any of the princes; that is, as other unrighteous or tyrannical rulers have done in all former ages, and still do, your eyes seeing it. Or, as the Hebrew may be rendered, and you, O ye princes, (or you that are princes, before termed gods,) shall fall like one, or like every, or any of them, that is of the ordinary men last mentioned. It is well observed by Dr. Hammond, that when our Lord cites these words, John 10:34, they are introduced thus: Is it not written in your law? From whence it is necessarily concluded that this book of Psalms was looked upon among the Jews as part of the divine law, that is, of God’s word, declaring his will to mankind as truly and authoritatively as the books of Moses themselves. In which light we are to view the writings of the prophets and of all who were inspired by God. They all reveal his will with authority from him.82:6-8 It is hard for men to have honour put upon them, and not to be proud of it. But all the rulers of the earth shall die, and all their honour shall be laid in the dust. God governs the world. There is a righteous God to whom we may go, and on whom we may depend. This also has respect to the kingdom of the Messiah. Considering the state of affairs in the world, we have need to pray that the Lord Jesus would speedily rule over all nations, in truth, righteousness, and peace.I have said, Ye are gods - See the notes at Psalm 82:1. I have given you this title; I have conferred on you an appellation which indicates a greater nearness to God than any other which is bestowed on men - an appellation which implies that you are God's representatives on earth, and that your decision is, in an important sense, to be regarded as his.

And all of you are children of the Most High - Sons of God. That is, You occupy a rank which makes it proper that you should be regarded as his sons.

6, 7. Though God admitted their official dignity (Joh 10:34), He reminds them of their mortality. I have said, Ye are gods; I have given you my name and power to rule your people in my stead.

All of you; not only the rulers of Israel, but of all other nations; for all powers are ordained by God, Romans 13:1.

Children of the Most High; representing my person, and bearing both my name and lively characters of my majesty and authority, as children bear the name and image of their parents. I have said, ye are gods,.... In the law, Exodus 21:6 or they were so by his appointment and commission; he constituted them judges and magistrates, invested them with such an office, by which they came to have this title; see Romans 13:1, and so our Lord interprets these words, that they were gods "to whom" the word of God came, which gave them a commission and authority to exercise their office, John 10:35, or rather "against whom" it came, pronouncing the sentence of death on them, as in Psalm 82:7, to which the reference is; declaring, that though they were gods by office, yet were mortal men, and should die. The Targum is, "I said, as angels are ye accounted"; and so judges and civil magistrates had need to be as angels, and to have the wisdom of them; see 2 Samuel 14:20. Jarchi interprets it of angels, but magistrates are undoubtedly meant:

and all of you are children of the most High; the Targum here again renders it,

"the angels of the most High:''

and so Aben Ezra explains it of them who are called the sons of God, Job 38:7 but men in power are meant, who, because of their eminency and dignity, their high office, post, and place, are so called; see Genesis 6:2.

I have said, Ye are gods; and all of you are children of the most High.
6. I said, Te are gods,

And all of you sons of the Most High (R.V.).

I is emphatic. It is by God’s appointment that they have been invested with divine authority to execute judgement in His name. Cp. the language used of the king, Psalm 2:7; Psalm 89:27.

To the words of this verse our Lord appealed (John 10:34 ff.), when the Jews accused Him of blasphemy because He claimed to be one with God. In virtue of their call to a sacred office as representatives of God the judges of old time were called gods and sons of the Most High, and this in spite of their unworthiness. Was it then blasphemy, He asked, for one who had received a special consecration and commission as God’s representative, one whose life and work bore witness to that consecration, to call Himself the Son of God?

On the surface this may seem to be a verbal argument such as the Jews themselves would have used; but the real significance of the quotation lies deeper. The fact that it was possible for men so to represent God as to be called gods or divine was a foreshadowing of the Incarnation. “There lay already in the Law the germ of the truth which Christ announced, the union of God and man.” Bp Westcott.Verse 6. - I have said, Ye are gods; i.e. "in my Law I have called you gods" - I have given you this lofty name (see Exodus 21:6; Exodus 22:8, 9), since ye judge on my behalf, "as my representatives" (Deuteronomy 1:17; 2 Chronicles 19:6; Romans 13:1, 2). And all of you are children of the Most High. Not therefore "gods" in the strictest sense, but possessing a derived, and so a qualified, divinity. The Passover discourse now takes a sorrowful and awful turn: Israel's disobedience and self-will frustrated the gracious purpose of the commandments and promises of its God. "My people" and "Israel" alternate as in the complaint in Isaiah 1:3. לא־אבה followed by the dative, as in Deuteronomy 13:9 ([8], ου ̓ συνθελήσεις αὐτῷ). Then God made their sin their punishment, by giving them over judicially (שׁלּח as in Job 8:4) into the obduracy of their heart, which rudely shuts itself up against His mercy (from שׁרר, Aramaic שׁרר, Arabic sarra, to make firm equals to cheer, make glad), so that they went on (cf. on the sequence of tense, Psalm 61:8) in their, i.e., their own, egotistical, God-estranged determinations; the suffix is thus accented, as e.g., in Isaiah 65:2, cf. the borrowed passage Jeremiah 7:24, and the same phrase in Micah 6:16. And now, because this state of unfaithfulness in comparison with God's faithfulness has remained essentially the same even to to-day, the exalted Orator of the festival passes over forthwith to the generation of the present, and that, as is in accordance with the cheerful character of the feast, in a charmingly alluring manner. Whether we take לוּ in the signification of si (followed by the participle, as in 2 Samuel 18:12), or like אם above in Psalm 81:9 as expressing a wish, o si (if but!), Psalm 81:15. at any rate have the relation of the apodosis to it. From כּמעט (for a little, easily) it may be conjectured that the relation of Israel at that time to the nations did not correspond to the dignity of the nation of God which is called to subdue and rule the world in the strength of God. השׁיב signifies in this passage only to turn, not: to again lay upon. The meaning is, that He would turn the hand which is now chastening His people against those by whom He is chastening them (cf. on the usual meaning of the phrase, Isaiah 1:25; Amos 1:8; Jeremiah 6:9; Ezekiel 38:12). The promise in Psalm 81:16 relates to Israel and all the members of the nation. The haters of Jahve would be compelled reluctantly to submit themselves to Him, and their time would endure for ever. "Time" is equivalent to duration, and in this instance with the collateral notion of Prosperity, as elsewhere (Isaiah 13:22) of the term of punishment. One now expects that it should continue with ואאכילהוּ, in the tone of a promise. The Psalm, however, closes with an historical statement. For ויּאכילהו cannot signify et cibaret eum; it ought to be pronounced ויאכילהו. The pointing, like the lxx, Syriac, and Vulgate, takes v. 17a (cf. Deuteronomy 32:13.) as a retrospect, and apparently rightly so. For even the Asaphic Psalm 77 and 78 break off with historical pictures. V. 17b is, accordingly, also to be taken as retrospective. The words of the poet in conclusion once more change into the words of God. The closing word runs אשׂבּיעך, as in Psalm 50:8, Deuteronomy 4:31, and (with the exception of the futt. Hiph. of Lamed He verbs ending with ekka) usually. The Babylonian system of pointing nowhere recognises the suffix-form ekka. If the Israel of the present would hearken to the Lawgiver of Sinai, says v. 17, then would He renew to it the miraculous gifts of the time of the redemption under Moses.
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