Psalm 83:1
A Song or Psalm of Asaph. Keep not thou silence, O God: hold not thy peace, and be not still, O God.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(1) Keep not thou silence, O God.—Literally, God, not silence to thee. (Comp. Isaiah 62:7; and see Note, Psalm 28:1.)

Psalm 83:1-2. Keep not thou silence, O God — Plead for us, not by words, but by thy actions; hold not thy peace — Hebrew, אל תחרשׁ, al techeresh: be not deaf, to our prayers, and to the blasphemies of thine and our enemies. Be not still — That is, unactive and unconcerned for us. For lo, thine enemies — They who are not only enemies to us, thy people, but also to thy will, and name, and glory; make a tumult — יהמיון, jehemajun, rage and roar, like the waves of the sea, or, make a tumultuous noise, both with their tongues, reproaching thee and threatening us, and with their arms. And have lifted up the head — Are grown potent, and insolent, and scornful.

83:1-8 Sometimes God seems not to be concerned at the unjust treatment of his people. But then we may call upon him, as the psalmist here. All wicked people are God's enemies, especially wicked persecutors. The Lord's people are his hidden one; the world knows them not. He takes them under his special protection. Do the enemies of the church act with one consent to destroy it, and shall not the friends of the church be united? Wicked men wish that there might be no religion among mankind. They would gladly see all its restraints shaken off, and all that preach, profess, or practise it, cut off. This they would bring to pass if it were in their power. The enemies of God's church have always been many: this magnifies the power of the Lord in preserving to himself a church in the world.Keep not thou silence, O God - See the notes at Psalm 28:1. The prayer here is that in the existing emergency God would not seem to be indifferent to the needs and dangers of his people, and to the purposes of their enemies, but that he would speak with a voice of command, and break up their designs.

Hold not thy peace - That is, Speak. Give commaud. Disperse them by thine own authority.

And be not still, O God - Awake; arouse; be not indifferent to the needs and dangers of thy people. All this is the language of petition; not of command. Its rapidity, its repetition, its tone, all denote that the danger was imminent, and that the necessity for the divine interposition was urgent.

PSALM 83

Ps 83:1-18. Of Asaph—(See on [615]Ps 74:1, title). The historical occasion is probably that of 2Ch 20:1, 2 (compare Ps 47:1-9; 48:1-14). After a general petition, the craft and rage of the combined enemies are described, God's former dealings recited, and a like summary and speedy destruction on them is invoked.

1. God addressed as indifferent (compare Ps 35:22; 39:12).

be not still—literally, "not quiet," as opposed to action.

1 Keep not thou silence, O God: hold not thy peace, and be not still, O God.

2 For, lo, thine enemies make a tumult: and they that hate thee have lifted up the head.

3 They have taken crafty counsel against thy people, and consulted against thy hidden ones.

4 They have said, Come, and let us cut them off from being a nation; that the name of Israel may be no more in remembrance.

Psalm 83:1

"Keep not thou silence, O God." Man is clamorous, be not thou speechless. He rails and reviles, wilt not thou reply? One word of thine can deliver thy people; therefore, O Lord, break thy quiet and let thy voice be heard. "Hold not thy peace, and be not still, O God." Here the appeal is to El, the Mighty One. He is entreated to act and speak, because his nation suffers and is in great jeopardy. Now entirely the Psalmist looks to God; he asks not for "a leader bold and brave," or for any form of human force, but casts his burden upon the Lord, being well assured that his eternal power and Godhead could meet every difficulty of the case.

Psalm 83:2

"For, lo, thine enemies make a tumult." They are by no means sparing of their words, they are like a hungry pack of dogs, all giving tongue at once. So sure are they of devouring thy people that they already shout over the feast. "And they that hate thee have lifted up the head." Confident of conquest, they carry themselves proudly and exalt themselves as if their anticipated victories were already obtained. These enemies of Israel were also God's enemies, and are here described as such by way of adding intensity to the argument of the intercession. The adversaries of the church are usually a noisy and a boastful crew. Their pride is a brass which always sounds, a cymbal which is ever tinkling.

Psalm 83:3

"They have taken crafty counsel against thy people." Whatever we may do, our enemies use their wits and lay their heads together; in united conclave they discourse upon the demands and plans of the campaign, using much treachery and serpentine cunning in arranging their schemes. Malice is cold-blooded enough to plot with deliberation; and pride, though it be never wise, is often allied with craft. "And consulted against thy hidden ones." Hidden away from all harm are the Lord's chosen; their enemies think not so, but hope to smite them; they might as well attempt to destroy the angels before the throne of God.

Psalm 83:4

"They have said, Come, and let us cut them off from being a nation." Easier said than done. Yet it shows how thorough-going are the foes of the church. Theirs was the policy of extermination. They laid the axe at the root of the matter. Rome has always loved this method of warfare, and hence she has gloated over the massacre of Bartholomew, and the murders of the Inquisition. "That the name of Israel may be no more in remembrance." They would blot them out of history as well as out of existence. Evil is intolerant of good. If Israel would let Edom alone yet Edom cannot be quiet, but seeks like its ancestor to kill the chosen of the Lord. Men would be glad to cast the church out of the world because it rebukes them, and is thus a standing menace to their sinful peace. THE ARGUMENT

The occasion of the Psalm is manifest from the body of it, and it seems to have been a dangerous attempt and conspiracy. of divers neighbouring nations against Israel or Judah. Probably it was that which is mentioned 2 Chronicles 20, wherein all the people here mentioned might be engaged, though all of them be not there expressed; this being usual in the sacred historians, for the latter to record some passages which the former omitted. Or it may belong to some other history. Or it may have a more general respect unto the several enterprises and combinations of all these people against them, some at one time, and some at another.

The church’s complaint to God of her enemies’ conspiracies, Psalm 83:1-8. Her prayer against oppressors, Psalm 83:9-15, that God would fill them with shame, and make them know that he alone is Jehovah, Psalm 83:16-18.

Keep not thou silence; plead for us, not by words, but by thine actions.

Hold not thy peace; or, be not deaf, to our prayers, and to the blasphemies of thine and our enemies.

Be not still, i.e. unactive and unconcerned for us.

Keep not thou silence, O God,.... Which he is thought and said to do, when he does not answer the prayers of his people, nor plead their cause, nor rebuke their enemies; when he does not speak a good word to them, or one for them, or one against those that hate and persecute them;

hold not thy peace; or "be not deaf" (b) to the cries and tears of his people, and to the reproaches, menaces, and blasphemies of wicked men:

and be not still, O God; or "quiet" (c), at rest and ease, inactive and unconcerned, as if he cared not how things went; the reason follows.

(b) "ne obsurdescas", Vatablus; "ne surdum agas", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator; "ne quasi surdus et mutus sis", Michaelis. (c) "ne quiescas", Pagninus, Montanus, Musculus, Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Gejerus; "neque quietus sis", Michaelis.

<or Psalm of Asaph.>> Keep {a} not thou silence, O God: hold not thy peace, and be not still, O God.

(a) This psalm seems to have been composed as a form of prayer against the dangers that the Church was in, in the days of Jehoshaphat.

1. Keep not &c.] O God (Elôhîm), keep not still, lit. let there be no rest to thee. hold not thy peace] Or, be not silent. Cp. Psalm 28:1; Psalm 35:22; Psalm 39:12.

be not still] Neither take thou rest, O God (El). For the phrases of this verse cp. Isaiah 62:1; Isaiah 62:6-7. God seems to be indifferent to the danger of His people: their enemies are mustering unrebuked: but He has only to speak the word, and their schemes will be utterly frustrated (Psalm 76:6 ff.).

1–4. An urgent prayer that God will come to the rescue of His people, whom their enemies are conspiring to annihilate.

Verse 1. - Keep not thou silence, O God: hold not thy peace, and be not still, O God. A crisis has come which calls for the Divine interference. If his people are to be saved, God must no longer sit still. Compare the frequent calls on God to "arise" (Psalm 3:7; Psalm 7:6; Psalm 44:26; Psalm 68:1, etc.). Psalm 83:1The poet prays, may God not remain an inactive looker-on in connection with the danger of destruction that threatens His people. דּמי (with which יהי is to be supplied) is the opposite of alertness; חרשׁ the opposite of speaking (in connection with which it is assumed that God's word is at the same time deed); שׁקט the opposite of being agitated and activity. The energetic future jehemajûn gives outward emphasis to the confirmation of the petition, and the fact that Israel's foes are the foes of God gives inward emphasis to it. On נשׂא ראשׁ, cf. Psalm 110:7. סוד is here a secret agreement; and יערימוּ, elsewhere to deal craftily, here signifies to craftily plot, devise, bring a thing about. צפוּניך is to be understood according to Psalm 27:5; Psalm 31:21. The Hithpa. התיעץ alternates here with the more ancient Niph. (Psalm 83:6). The design of the enemies in this instance has reference to the total extirpation of Israel, of the separatist-people who exclude themselves from the life of the world and condemn it. מגּוי, from being a people equals so that it may no longer be a people or nation, as in Isaiah 7:8; Isaiah 17:1; Isaiah 25:2; Jeremiah 48:42. In the borrowed passage, Jeremiah 48:2, by an interchange of a letter it is נכריתנּה. This Asaph Psalm is to be discerned in not a few passages of the prophets; cf. Isaiah 62:6. with Psalm 83:2, Isaiah 17:12 with Psalm 83:3.
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