Psalm 83:8
Assur also is joined with them: they have holpen the children of Lot. Selah.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(8) Assur.—For the more usual Ashur, Assyria. Some, however, think the Syria is here intended, that name being, in the view of the Greek writers, a corruption of Assyria. (“The Greeks call them Syrians, but the Barbarians Assyrians.”—Herod, vii., 63.) And even if etymologically incorrect, the error of the Greeks may have been consciously or unconsciously shared by the Jews, and the kingdom of the Seleucidæ be honoured by the name of the grander and more ancient power.

They have holpen.—See margin. And for the importance of the form of the statement see Introduction.

Children of Lot.—Ammon and Moab, who thus appear as the leaders of the confederacy.

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.Assur also is joined with them - Assyria. Assyria was on the northeast of Palestine. The conspirators had secured, it seems, the aid of this powerful kingdom, and they felt confident of success.

They have holpen the children of Lot - The sons, or the descendants of Lot. The margin is, as the Hebrew, "been an arm to." That is, they were an aid, or help; in other words, the sons of Lot were permitted, as it were, to make use of the arm of these powerful nations in accomplishing their purposes. The sons of Lot were Moab and Ammon, the ancestors of the Moabites and the Ammonites, Genesis 19:37-38. It would appear from this, that the purpose of destroying the Hebrew people had been originated by the Moabites and Ammonites, and that they had called in the aid of the surrounding nations to enable them to carry out their plan. The enumeration of those who had joined in the alliance shows that all the nations adjacent to Palestine, on every side, had entered into the agreement, so that the land was completely encompassed, or hemmed in, by enemies. In these circumstances, the conspirators felt secure; in these circumstances, the Hebrew people had no resource but to call upon God. Thus it often occurs that the people of God are so surrounded by enemies, or are so hemmed in by troubles and trials, that they have no other resource than this: they are shut up to the necessity of prayer. Often God so orders, or permits things to occur, as to cut off his people from every other dependence, and to make them feel that there is no help for them but in Him.

6-8. tabernacles—for people (Ps 78:67).

they—all these united with the children of Lot, or Ammonites and Moabites (compare 2Ch 20:1).

Is joined with them in their counsels, and possibly with some of their forces, though not so openly and powerfully as afterwards.

The children of Lot; Moab and Ammon, who were the principal parties in that war, 2 Chronicles 20, called here the children of Lot, to intimate their horrible degeneration from their pious progenitors.

Assur also is joined with them,.... Before mentioned, or Assyria, though at so great a distance from Israel, and unprovoked by them: according to R. Joseph Kimchi, the sense is, that the Assyrians joined them, continuing in their wickedness, though their army had been destroyed by an angel in Hezekiah's time, of which they were unmindful; but this, as his son observes, makes this confederacy and war to be after the times of Hezekiah; whereas it was long before it: the Targum is,

"Sennacherib, king of Syria, is joined with them;''

and so some refer this to his invasion of Judea, and besieging Jerusalem, with an army consisting of many nations, in Hezekiah's time; but he was the principal there, and not an auxiliary, as here:

they have holpen the children of Lot; or were "an arm" (h) unto them, assisted and strengthened them: these were the Moabites and Ammonites, who were the principals in the war, and the rest auxiliaries, as it appears they were in the times of Jehoshaphat, 2 Chronicles 20:1, here were ten different nations, which joined in confederacy against the people of Israel; to which answer the ten horns of the beast, or ten antichristian kings, who agreed to give their kingdom to the beast, and to make war with the Lamb and his followers, Revelation 17:12, and it may be observed, that these were on all sides of the land of Israel; the Edomites, Ishmaelites, and Amalekites, were on the south; the Moabites, Ammonites, and Hagarenes, were on the east; the Assyrians on the north; and the Philistines, Gebalites, and Tyrians, on the west: so that Israel was surrounded on all sides with enemies, as the Lord's people are troubled on every side, 2 Corinthians 4:8, and so the Gog and Magog army, of which some understand this, will encompass the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city, Revelation 20:9.

Selah. See Gill on Psalm 3:2.

(h) "fuerunt brachium", Pagniuus, Montanus; "sunt brachium", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, &c.

Assur also is joined with them: they have holpen the children {g} of Lot. Selah.

(g) The wickedness of the Ammonites and Moabites is described in that they provoked these other nations to fight against the Israelites.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
8. Assur] Assyria. The mention of Assyria as an auxiliary of Moab and Ammon seems to imply that it was not yet a leading power, which would fall in with an early date for the Psalm. Assyria is not known to have come in contact with Israel until the reign of Jehu, who paid tribute to Shalmaneser II in b.c. 842. Still in the time of Jehoshaphat the Assyrians appear to have made conquests in Phoenicia and Syria, and the Ammonites might have procured help from them as they did from Syria at an earlier date (2 Samuel 10:6).

If the Psalm belongs to the Persian or Maccabaean age, Assyria must stand for Persia or Syria. Theodoret suggests that the Samaritans, as Assyrian colonists, are meant. Lagarde, followed by Cheyne, cuts the knot by reading Geshur for Asshur (see 2 Samuel 3:3); but this petty Syrian kingdom would hardly be mentioned as an important ally.

they have holpen] Lit. they have been an arm, i.e. a help. Cp. Isaiah 33:2.

the children of Lot] The Moabites and Ammonites, who seem to be singled out as the leaders of the confederacy. Cp. 2 Chronicles 20:1. The phrase occurs in Deuteronomy 2:9; Deuteronomy 2:19, the only other passages in O.T. outside of Genesis where Lot is mentioned. It points to the unbrotherly character of the hostility of these nations by recalling their common descent.

Verse 8. - Assur also is joined with them. This is the climax. Assyria - the great empire - the most important of all the kingdoms of the earth - has joined the petty nations upon Israel's border, and holds a place in the great confederacy. From the historical books it would appear that this occurred but once, viz. in David's great war with the Ammonites and their allies (see the Introduction). They have holpen the children of Lot; i.e. the Moabites and Ammonites (comp. Genesis 19:37, 38; Deuteronomy 2:9, 19). Moab and Ammon would seem to have been the principal powers engaged in the confederacy. The others were their helpers. Psalm 83:8Instead of לב אחד, 1 Chronicles 12:38, it is deliberant corde unâ, inasmuch as יחדּו on the one hand gives intensity to the reciprocal signification of the verb, and on the other lends the adjectival notion to לב. Of the confederate peoples the chronicler (2 Chronicles 20) mentions the Moabites, the Ammonites, the inhabitants of Mount Ser, and the Me(unim, instead of which Josephus, Antiq. ix. 1. 2, says: a great body of Arabians. This crowd of peoples comes from the other side of the Dead Sea, מאדם (as it is to be read in Psalm 83:2 in the chronicler instead of מארם, cf. on Psalm 60:2); the territory of Edom, which is mentioned first by the poet, was therefore the rendezvous. The tents of Edom and of the Ishmaelites are (cf. Arab. ahl, people) the people themselves who live in tents. Moreover, too, the poet ranges the hostile nations according to their geographical position. The seven first named from Edom to Amalek, which still existed at the time of the psalmist (for the final destruction of the Amalekites by the Simeonites, 1 Chronicles 4:42., falls at an indeterminate period prior to the Exile), are those out of the regions east and south-east of the Dead Sea. According to Genesis 25:18, the Ishmaelites had spread from Higz through the peninsula of Sinai beyond the eastern and southern deserts as far up as the countries under the dominion of Assyria. The Hagarenes dwelt in tents from the Persian Gulf as far as the east of Gilead (1 Chronicles 5:10) towards the Euphrates. גּבל, Arab. jbâl, is the name of the people inhabiting the mountains situated in the south of the Dead Sea, that is to say, the northern Seritish mountains. Both Gebl and also, as it appears, the Amalek intended here according to Genesis 36:12 (cf. Josephus, Antiq. ii. 1. 2: Ἀμαληκῖτις, a part of Idumaea), belong to the wide circuit of Edom. Then follow the Philistines and Phoenicians, the two nations of the coast of the Mediterranean, which also appear in Amos 1:1-15 (cf. Joel 3) as making common cause with the Edomites against Israel. Finally Asshur, the nation of the distant north-east, here not as yet appearing as a principal power, but strengthening (vid., concerning זרוע, an arm equals assistance, succour, Gesenius, Thesaurus, p. 433b) the sons of Lot, i.e., the Moabites and Ammonites, with whom the enterprise started, and forming a powerful reserve for them. The music bursts forth angrily at the close of this enumeration, and imprecations discharge themselves in the following strophe.
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