Tehillim / Psalms 83 | ספר תהילים פג, Part 2, Comments on the Necessity of the Silence of God

0
342

In this week’s study from Tehillim / Psalms 83:1-18, the Psalm opens saying, א שִׁיר מִזְמוֹר לְאָסָף: ב אֱלֹהִים אַל-דֳּמִי-לָךְ אַל-תֶּחֱרַשׁ וְאַל-תִּשְׁקֹט אֵל: A song. A psalm of Asaph. 83:1 O God, do not remain quiet; Do not be silent and, O God, do not be still. (NASB) Asaph asks three things, to not remain quiet, silent, or still. He continues with reasons for his request saying, ג כִּי-הִנֵּה אוֹיְבֶיךָ יֶהֱמָיוּן וּמְשַֹנְאֶיךָ נָשְֹאוּ רֹאשׁ: ד עַל-עַמְּךָ יַעֲרִימוּ סוֹד וְיִתְיָעֲצוּ עַל-צְפוּנֶיךָ: ה אָמְרוּ לְכוּ וְנַכְחִידֵם מִגּוֹי וְלֹא-יִזָּכֵר שֵׁם-יִשְֹרָאֵל עוֹד: 83:2 For behold, Your enemies make an uproar, And those who hate You have exalted themselves. 83:3 They make shrewd plans against Your people, And conspire together against Your treasured ones. 83:4 They have said, ‘Come, and let us wipe them out as a nation, That the name of Israel be remembered no more.’ (NASB) He says that the nations come together in agreement, ו כִּי נוֹעֲצוּ לֵב יַחְדָּו עָלֶיךָ בְּרִית יִכְרֹתוּ: 83:5 For they have conspired together with one mind; Against You they make a covenant: (NASB) He lists those who are coming against Israel saying, ז אָהֳלֵי אֱדוֹם וְיִשְׁמְעֵאלִים מוֹאָב וְהַגְרִים: ח גְּבָל וְעַמּוֹן וַעֲמָלֵק פְּלֶשֶׁת עִם-ישְׁבֵי צוֹר: ט גַּם-אַשּׁוּר נִלְוָה עִמָּם הָיוּ זְרוֹעַ לִבְנֵי-לוֹט סֶלָה: י עֲשֵֹה-לָהֶם כְּמִדְיָן כְּסִיסְרָא כְיָבִין בְּנַחַל קִישׁוֹן: יא נִשְׁמְדוּ בְעֵין-דֹּאר הָיוּ דֹּמֶן לָאֲדָמָה: 83:6 The tents of Edom and the Ishmaelites, Moab and the Hagrites; 83:7 Gebal and Ammon and Amalek, Philistia with the inhabitants of Tyre; 83:8 Assyria also has joined with them; They have become a help to the children of Lot. Selah. 83:9 Deal with them as with Midian, As with Sisera and Jabin at the torrent of Kishon, 83:10 Who were destroyed at En-dor, Who became as dung for the ground. (NASB) Asaph concludes his psalm saying, 83:11 Make their nobles like Oreb and Zeeb And all their princes like Zebah and Zalmunna, 83:12 Who said, ‘Let us possess for ourselves The pastures of God.’ 83:13 O my God, make them like the whirling dust, Like chaff before the wind. 83:14 Like fire that burns the forest And like a flame that sets the mountains on fire, 83:15 So pursue them with Your tempest And terrify them with Your storm. 83:16 Fill their faces with dishonor, That they may seek Your name, O Lord. יח יֵבשׁוּ וְיִבָּהֲלוּ עֲדֵי-עַד וְיַחְפְּרוּ וְיֹאבֵדוּ: יט וְיֵדְעוּ כִּי-אַתָּה שִׁמְךָ יְהֹוָה לְבַדֶּךָ עֶלְיוֹן עַל-כָּל-הָאָרֶץ: 83:17 Let them be ashamed and dismayed forever, And let them be humiliated and perish, 83:18 That they may know that You alone, whose name is the Lord, Are the Most High over all the earth. (NASB)

עברית Hebrew ארמי Aramaic ελληνικός Greek

ספר תהלים פרק פג

א שִׁיר מִזְמוֹר לְאָסָף: ב אֱלֹהִים אַל-דֳּמִי-לָךְ אַל-תֶּחֱרַשׁ וְאַל-תִּשְׁקֹט אֵל: ג כִּי-הִנֵּה אוֹיְבֶיךָ יֶהֱמָיוּן וּמְשַֹנְאֶיךָ נָשְֹאוּ רֹאשׁ: ד עַל-עַמְּךָ יַעֲרִימוּ סוֹד וְיִתְיָעֲצוּ עַל-צְפוּנֶיךָ: ה אָמְרוּ לְכוּ וְנַכְחִידֵם מִגּוֹי וְלֹא-יִזָּכֵר שֵׁם-יִשְֹרָאֵל עוֹד: ו כִּי נוֹעֲצוּ לֵב יַחְדָּו עָלֶיךָ בְּרִית יִכְרֹתוּ:

סםר טוביה פרק פג

א אשיר ושבחא תושבחתא על ידא דאסף׃ ב אלהים לא תשתוק לך לא תתרשל ולא תשדוך אלהא׃ ג ארום הא בעלי דבבך מתרגשין וסנאך זקיפו רישא׃ ד על עמך נכילו רזא ומתמלכין על דמתטשין דמיטטשין באוצריך׃ ה אמרין איתו ונכסינון מלמהוי עם ולא אדכר שמא דישראל תוב׃ ו ארום מתמלכין בכל לבא עלך כחדא ואמטולתך קיימא גזרין׃

ΨΑΛΜΟΙ 83

83:1 ᾠδὴ ψαλμοῦ τῷ Ασαφ ὁ θεός τίς ὁμοιωθήσεταί σοι μὴ σιγήσῃς μηδὲ καταπρανῃς ὁ θεός 83:2 ὅτι ἰδοὺ οἱ ἐχθροί σου ἤχησαν καὶ οἱ μισοῦντές σε ἦραν κεφαλήν 83:3 ἐπὶ τὸν λαόν σου κατεπανουργεύσαντο γνώμην καὶ ἐβουλεύσαντο κατὰ τῶν ἁγίων σου 83:4 εἶπαν δεῦτε καὶ ἐξολεθρεύσωμεν αὐτοὺς ἐξ ἔθνους καὶ οὐ μὴ μνησθῇ τὸ ὄνομα Ισραηλ ἔτι 83:5 ὅτι ἐβουλεύσαντο ἐν ὁμονοίᾳ ἐπὶ τὸ αὐτό κατὰ σοῦ διαθήκην διέθεντο 83:6 τὰ σκηνώματα τῶν Ιδουμαίων καὶ οἱ Ισμαηλῖται Μωαβ καὶ οἱ Αγαρηνοί

ז אָהֳלֵי אֱדוֹם וְיִשְׁמְעֵאלִים מוֹאָב וְהַגְרִים: ח גְּבָל וְעַמּוֹן וַעֲמָלֵק פְּלֶשֶׁת עִם-ישְׁבֵי צוֹר: ט גַּם-אַשּׁוּר נִלְוָה עִמָּם הָיוּ זְרוֹעַ לִבְנֵי-לוֹט סֶלָה: י עֲשֵֹה-לָהֶם כְּמִדְיָן כְּסִיסְרָא כְיָבִין בְּנַחַל קִישׁוֹן: יא נִשְׁמְדוּ בְעֵין-דֹּאר הָיוּ דֹּמֶן לָאֲדָמָה: יב שִׁיתֵמוֹ נְדִיבֵמוֹ כְּעֹרֵב וְכִזְאֵב וּכְזֶבַח וּכְצַלְמֻנָּע כָּל-נְסִיכֵמוֹ: יג אֲשֶׁר אָמְרוּ נִירֲשָׁה לָּנוּ אֵת נְאוֹת אֱלֹהִים: יד אֱלֹהַי שִׁיתֵמוֹ כַגַּלְגַּל כְּקַשׁ לִפְנֵי-רוּחַ: טו כְּאֵשׁ תִּבְעַר-יָעַר וּכְלֶהָבָה תְּלַהֵט הָרִים: טז כֵּן תִּרְדְּפֵם בְּסַעֲרֶךָ וּבְסוּפָתְךָ תְבַהֲלֵם: יז מַלֵּא פְנֵיהֶם קָלוֹן וִיבַקְשׁוּ שִׁמְךָ יְהֹוָה: יח יֵבשׁוּ וְיִבָּהֲלוּ עֲדֵי-עַד וְיַחְפְּרוּ וְיֹאבֵדוּ: יט וְיֵדְעוּ כִּי-אַתָּה שִׁמְךָ יְהֹוָה לְבַדֶּךָ עֶלְיוֹן עַל-כָּל-הָאָרֶץ:

ז משכני אדומאי וערבאי מואבאי והונגראי׃ ח גובלאי ועמונאי ועמלקאי פלישתאי עם יתבי צור׃ ט לחוד סנחריב מלכא דאתור איתחבר עימהון הוון לסעיד לבני לוט לעלמין׃ י עבד להון היך עבדתא במדין בסיסרא והיך עבדתא ליבין בנחלא דקישון׃ יא אישתיציאו בעינא דדאר הוון היך ריעיא דרמיס לארעא לעפרא יב שוי יתהון ורבניהון היך עורב והיך זאב והיך זבח וכצלמנע כל מלכיהון׃ יג די אמרו נירת לנא ית כל עידית אלהא אלהים׃ יד אלהי שוי יתהון היך גלגלא דמתגלגל ואזיל ולא ניח במודרון והיך קשא קדם זעפא׃ טו היך אשא די בעירא בחורשא והיך שלהוביתא דמצלהבא זרזי זרדי טוריא׃ טז היכנא תרדפינון בעלעולך ובזעפך תבהלינון׃ יז מלי אפיהון קלנא ויבעון שמך יהוה׃ יח יבהתון ויבהלון לעלמי עלמין ויחסדון ויהובדון ויאבדון׃ יט וינדעון ארום את שמך יהוה בלחודך עילאה על כל יתבי ארעא׃

83:7 Γεβαλ καὶ Αμμων καὶ Αμαληκ καὶ ἀλλόφυλοι μετὰ τῶν κατοικούντων Τύρον 83:8 καὶ γὰρ καὶ Ασσουρ συμπαρεγένετο μετ᾽ αὐτῶν ἐγενήθησαν εἰς ἀντίλημψιν τοῖς υἱοῖς Λωτ διάψαλμα 83:9 ποίησον αὐτοῖς ὡς τῇ Μαδιαμ καὶ τῷ Σισαρα ὡς ὁ Ιαβιν ἐν τῷ χειμάρρῳ Κισων 83:10 ἐξωλεθρεύθησαν ἐν Αενδωρ ἐγενήθησαν ὡσεὶ κόπρος τῇ γῇ 83:11 θοῦ τοὺς ἄρχοντας αὐτῶν ὡς τὸν Ωρηβ καὶ Ζηβ καὶ Ζεβεε καὶ Σαλμανα πάντας τοὺς ἄρχοντας αὐτῶν 83:12 οἵτινες εἶπαν κληρονομήσωμεν ἑαυτοῖς τὸ ἁγιαστήριον τοῦ θεοῦ 83:13 ὁ θεός μου θοῦ αὐτοὺς ὡς τροχόν ὡς καλάμην κατὰ πρόσωπον ἀνέμου 83:14 ὡσεὶ πῦρ ὃ διαφλέξει δρυμόν ὡς εἰ φλὸξ κατακαύσαι ὄρη 83:15 οὕτως καταδιώξεις αὐτοὺς ἐν τῇ καταιγίδι σου καὶ ἐν τῇ ὀργῇ σου ταράξεις αὐτούς 83:16 πλήρωσον τὰ πρόσωπα αὐτῶν ἀτιμίας καὶ ζητήσουσιν τὸ ὄνομά σου κύριε 83:17 αἰσχυνθήτωσαν καὶ ταραχθήτωσαν εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα τοῦ αἰῶνος καὶ ἐντραπήτωσαν καὶ ἀπολέσθωσαν 83:18 καὶ γνώτωσαν ὅτι ὄνομά σοι κύριος σὺ μόνος ὕψιστος ἐπὶ πᾶσαν τὴν γῆν

Tehillim / Psalms 83

A song. A psalm of Asaph. 83:1 O God, do not remain quiet; Do not be silent and, O God, do not be still. 83:2 For behold, Your enemies make an uproar, And those who hate You have exalted themselves. 83:3 They make shrewd plans against Your people, And conspire together against Your treasured ones. 83:4 They have said, ‘Come, and let us wipe them out as a nation, That the name of Israel be remembered no more.’ 83:5 For they have conspired together with one mind; Against You they make a covenant: 83:6 The tents of Edom and the Ishmaelites, Moab and the Hagrites; 83:7 Gebal and Ammon and Amalek, Philistia with the inhabitants of Tyre; 83:8 Assyria also has joined with them; They have become a help to the children of Lot. Selah. 83:9 Deal with them as with Midian, As with Sisera and Jabin at the torrent of Kishon, 83:10 Who were destroyed at En-dor, Who became as dung for the ground. 83:11 Make their nobles like Oreb and Zeeb And all their princes like Zebah and Zalmunna, 83:12 Who said, ‘Let us possess for ourselves The pastures of God.’ 83:13 O my God, make them like the whirling dust, Like chaff before the wind. 83:14 Like fire that burns the forest And like a flame that sets the mountains on fire, 83:15 So pursue them with Your tempest And terrify them with Your storm. 83:16 Fill their faces with dishonor, That they may seek Your name, O Lord. 83:17 Let them be ashamed and dismayed forever, And let them be humiliated and perish, 83:18 That they may know that You alone, whose name is the Lord, Are the Most High over all the earth. (NASB)

Toviyah / Psalms 83

83:1 A song and psalm composed by Asaph. 83:2 God, do not become silent; do not be uncaring, and do not be quiet, O God. 83:3 For, behold, your enemies are stirred up, and your foes have lifted their head. 83:4 Against your people they have contrived a secret plan, and they take counsel together against things hidden in your treasuries. 83:5 They say, “Come, let us conceal them from being a people, and the name of Israel will not be mentioned again.” 83:6 For they take counsel together against you with all their heart, and make a covenant on your account. 83:7 The tents of the Edomites and Arabs, the Moabites and Hungarites. 83:8 The Gublites and Ammonites and Amalekites, the Philistines with the inhabitants of Tyre. 83:9 Also Sennacherib, king of Assyria, allied himself with them; they became a support for the sons of Lot forever. 83:10 Do to them as you did to Midian, to Sisera, and as you did to Jabin at the stream of Kishon. 83:11 They were destroyed at the spring of Dor; they were as dung that is trampled on the earth. 83:12 Make them and their chiefs like Oreb and like Zeeb; and all their kings like Zeba and Zalmunna. 83:13 Who had said, “We will inherit for ourselves all the fields of the god Elohim.” 83:14 O my God, make them like a wheel that keeps on rolling and does not stop, down a slope; and like straw before a storm. 83:15 Like fire that burns in the forest, and like the flame that ignites the plants of the mountains. 83:16 Thus will you pursue them with your storm wind, and you will frighten them with your gale. 83:17 Fill their faces with shame, and they will seek your name, O Lord. 83:18 They will be ashamed and terrified for ages upon ages; and they will be disgraced and will perish. 83:19 And they will know that you, your name the Lord, are alone supreme over all the inhabitants of the earth. (EMC)

Psalmoi / Psalms 83

A Song of a Psalm for Asaph. 83:1 O God, who shall be compared to thee? be not silent, neither be still, O God. 83:2 For behold, thine enemies have made a noise; and they that hate thee have lifted up the head. 83:3 Against thy people they have craftily imagined a device, and have taken counsel against thy saints. 83:4 They have said, Come, and let us utterly destroy them out of the nation; and let the name of Israel be remembered no more at all. 83:5 For they have taken counsel together with one consent: they have made a confederacy against thee; 83:6 even the tents of the Idumeans, and the Ismaelites; Moab, and the Agarenes; 83:7 Gebal, and Ammon, and Amalec; the Philistines also, with them that dwell at Tyre. 83:8 Yea, Assur too is come with them: they have become a help to the children of Lot. Pause. 83:9 Do thou to them as to Madiam, and to Sisera; as to Jabin at the brook of Kison. 83:10 They were utterly destroyed at Aendor: they became as dung for the earth. 83:11 Make their princes as Oreb and Zeb, and Zebee and Salmana; even all their princes: 83:12 who said, let us take to ourselves the altar of God as an inheritance. 83:13 O my God, make them as a wheel; as stubble before the face of the wind. 83:14 As fire which shall burn up a wood, as the flame may consume the mountains; 83:15 so shalt thou persecute them with thy tempest, and trouble them in thine anger. 83:16 Fill their faces with dishonour; so shall they seek thy name, O Lord. 83:17 Let them be ashamed and troubled for evermore; yea, let them be confounded and destroyed. 83:18 And let them know that thy name is Lord; that thou alone art Most High over all the earth. (LXX)

In this week’s study from Tehillim / Psalms 83:1-18, the Psalm opens saying, א שִׁיר מִזְמוֹר לְאָסָף: ב אֱלֹהִים אַל-דֳּמִי-לָךְ אַל-תֶּחֱרַשׁ וְאַל-תִּשְׁקֹט אֵל: A song. A psalm of Asaph. 83:1 O God, do not remain quiet; Do not be silent and, O God, do not be still. (NASB) The Aramaic Targum states, א אשיר ושבחא תושבחתא על ידא דאסף׃ ב אלהים לא תשתוק לך לא תתרשל ולא תשדוך אלהא׃ 83:1 A song and psalm composed by Asaph. 83:2 God, do not become silent; do not be uncaring, and do not be quiet, O God. (EMC) The Septuagint states, 83:1 ᾠδὴ ψαλμοῦ τῷ Ασαφ ὁ θεός τίς ὁμοιωθήσεταί σοι μὴ σιγήσῃς μηδὲ καταπρανῃς ὁ θεός A Song of a Psalm for Asaph. 83:1 O God, who shall be compared to thee? be not silent, neither be still, O God. (LXX) Asaph asks three things, to not remain quiet, silent, or still. Lamentations 3:26 states, ט֤וֹב וְיָחִיל֙ וְדוּמָ֔ם לִתְשׁוּעַ֖ת יְהוָֽה׃ 3:26 It is good that a man should quietly wait For the salvation of the LORD. (NASB) It is believed that Jeremiah wrote the book of Lamentations. Jeremiah says that it is good for a man to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord. There appears to be a purpose behind the apparent quietness, silence, or stillness of God. The Jewish commentary Me’or Einayim 41:1 part 2 has the following to say regarding the silence of God.

Me’or Einayim 41:1, Part 2

The meaning is that when people sometimes afflict a certain person, it is because of the judgments against him Above; and [the judgments] clothe themselves in people Below to afflict him as is said about the verse, The LORD is on my side as my helper; I shall see through those who hate me (Ps. 118:7). The explanation: the fact that the judgments clothe themselves Below in people is helpful, since through this he can see what is also the case Above; which is to say, I shall see Above through those who hate me, meaning through the haters below. And the correction for this is to raise himself to the aspect of the world of Thought. For there [in the world of Thought] are no judgments, as is written, evil may not dwell with you (Ps. 5:5). And that means that through his remaining silent and accepting what comes to him, waiting quietly (Lam. 3:26) and elevating his thoughts as is written, Be still before the LORD etc. The explanation is that a person should elevate the silence, meaning the thought, to the LORD; and then they will fall like corpses, meaning the judgments will fall through the attachment of his thoughts to the LORD. And just as the roof is the essence of the house, similarly Thought is the essence of a person and shelters over him. For through Thought a person is preserved and knows how to settle himself as is known; and therefore Thought is called a “roof.”

The rabbinic commentary speaks of judgments being clothed in people below. The idea is that the Lord God brings judgment in the form of the nations, or other people, He uses men to work out His plan, and to cause us to repent and to seek Him. The things that happen to us here on earth are meant to cause us to look above, to the Lord God in heaven. We are supposed to recognize the purpose of God’s chastisements, and Me’or Einayim states this causes us to elevate ourselves in thought, which may suggest that we humble ourselves before God and men. To raise up one must first lower himself. This is a very rabbinic concept of which Yeshua himself used in Luke 14:7 and the parable of the wedding feast. The rabbinic concept here is to remain silent and accept what comes, waiting quietly (Lamentations 3:26). The rabbis conclude that ‘Thought is the essence of a person and shelters over him. For through Thought a person is preserved and knows how to settle himself as is known; and therefore Thought is called a “roof.”’ So the three things that Asaph asks, to not remain quiet, silent, or still, the Lord God tarrying in responding (answering) appear to be designed for the purpose of causing us to settle ourselves, to calm down, and to rest in the confidence that all things are in God’s hands. The silence of God is meant to cause us to pursue the Lord in prayer and to draw near, to repent, and seek for answers. In Me’or Einayim, these things are brought within the context of the Torah and the command in Devarim / Deuteronomy 22:8 When you build a new house, you shall make a parapet for your roof etc. (NASB) The rabbinic concept is that as the roof is over the house, so are our thoughts over the house of our hearts. This is why it is stated in the Talmud Bavli Gittin 7a, “He sent to Mar Ookva, ‘People are attacking…’ he drew lines and wrote to him, ‘Be still before the LORD and he will cast them down before you like so many corpses.’” (שלח ליה מר עוקבא …) To be still before the Lord God is another way of saying we are trusting in Him to work powerfully in our lives. The question then is “What if the Lord God is not quiet, silent, or still?” In some situations, the Lord God does not remain silent. In other situations, He does and the answer may be found in the following comments:

Comments on the Necessity of the Silence of God

  • Why is it that “absence makes the heart grow fonder” and “familiarity breeds contempt?”
  • Why is water so much more refreshing when we’re really thirsty?
  • Why am I almost never satisfied with what I have, but always longing for more?
  • Why does the thought of being denied a desire for marriage, or children, or freedom, or some other dream create in us a desperation we previously didn’t have?
  • Why is the pursuit of earthly achievement often more enjoyable than the achievement itself?
  • Why does deprivation, adversity, scarcity, and suffering often produce the best character qualities in us while prosperity, ease, and abundance often produce the worst?

Note the pattern that is forming here in the concept of “deprivation.” Physical or emotional (thought) deprivation draws out our desire. The absence of the particular thing also heightens our desire; and the heightened desire causes us to feel the satisfaction will be greater when this thing is achieved. Yeshua said that those who mourn will know the joy of comfort (Matthew 5:4) and the hungry and thirsty that will be satisfied (Matthew 5:6). Yeshua taught on this topic saying the following to his disciples:

Luke 11:5-10

11:5 Then He said to them, ‘Suppose one of you has a friend, and goes to him at midnight and says to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves; 11:6 for a friend of mine has come to me from a journey, and I have nothing to set before him’; 11:7 and from inside he answers and says, ‘Do not bother me; the door has already been shut and my children and I are in bed; I cannot get up and give you anything. 11:8 ‘I tell you, even though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his persistence he will get up and give him as much as he needs. 11:9 ‘So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 11:10 ‘For everyone who asks, receives; and he who seeks, finds; and to him who knocks, it will be opened. (NASB)

Our desires and our longings make us ask, emptiness makes us seek, and silence makes us knock. The Lord’s apparent quietness, silence, or stillness is meant to cause us to remain in anticipation and not gratification. The point is that what satisfies us most in this age is not what we receive, because if we always get what we desire we would not be a humble people. The idea then is that we hope for what is promised, and we are promised the Lord God will be with us, and that we will be satisfied with what he will give us in the world to come (Olam Haba).

Asaph continues providing reasons for his request for the Lord not to remain silent saying, ג כִּי-הִנֵּה אוֹיְבֶיךָ יֶהֱמָיוּן וּמְשַֹנְאֶיךָ נָשְֹאוּ רֹאשׁ: ד עַל-עַמְּךָ יַעֲרִימוּ סוֹד וְיִתְיָעֲצוּ עַל-צְפוּנֶיךָ: ה אָמְרוּ לְכוּ וְנַכְחִידֵם מִגּוֹי וְלֹא-יִזָּכֵר שֵׁם-יִשְֹרָאֵל עוֹד: 83:2 For behold, Your enemies make an uproar, And those who hate You have exalted themselves. 83:3 They make shrewd plans against Your people, And conspire together against Your treasured ones. 83:4 They have said, ‘Come, and let us wipe them out as a nation, That the name of Israel be remembered no more.’ (NASB) The common characteristic of the enemy is the one who hates the Lord God and His ways, and hates His people desiring to wipe out the children of God and even an entire nation because in Israel is the name of God remembered, and so the destruction of Israel is thought to bring about forgetting the name of God. The Aramaic Targum and the Septuagint state the following:

Aramaic Targum

Toviyah / Psalms 83

83:3 For, behold, your enemies are stirred up, and your foes have lifted their head. 83:4 Against your people they have contrived a secret plan, and they take counsel together against things hidden in your treasuries. 83:5 They say, “Come, let us conceal them from being a people, and the name of Israel will not be mentioned again.” (EMC)

ג ארום הא בעלי דבבך מתרגשין וסנאך זקיפו רישא׃ ד על עמך נכילו רזא ומתמלכין על דמתטשין דמיטטשין באוצריך׃ ה אמרין איתו ונכסינון מלמהוי עם ולא אדכר שמא דישראל תוב׃

Septuagint

Psalmoi / Psalms 83

83:2 For behold, thine enemies have made a noise; and they that hate thee have lifted up the head. 83:3 Against thy people they have craftily imagined a device, and have taken counsel against thy saints. 83:4 They have said, Come, and let us utterly destroy them out of the nation; and let the name of Israel be remembered no more at all. 83:5 For they have taken counsel together with one consent: they have made a confederacy against thee; (LXX)

83:2 ὅτι ἰδοὺ οἱ ἐχθροί σου ἤχησαν καὶ οἱ μισοῦντές σε ἦραν κεφαλήν 83:3 ἐπὶ τὸν λαόν σου κατεπανουργεύσαντο γνώμην καὶ ἐβουλεύσαντο κατὰ τῶν ἁγίων σου 83:4 εἶπαν δεῦτε καὶ ἐξολεθρεύσωμεν αὐτοὺς ἐξ ἔθνους καὶ οὐ μὴ μνησθῇ τὸ ὄνομα Ισραηλ ἔτι 83:5 ὅτι ἐβουλεύσαντο ἐν ὁμονοίᾳ ἐπὶ τὸ αὐτό κατὰ σοῦ διαθήκην διέθεντο

The enemy takes counsel amongst themselves to imagine a device, to contrive a secret plan against God’s people. Consider the way in which the psalm is written, the concept of “conspiring together,” the unity of the nations to come against God’s people. The Torah states that it was האדם, man, who was created as a single individual, proceeded to spread out over the earth, and the way in which the Scriptures describe this unity in conspiring together, calling a group of men as one האדם, man. We read in the Torah that it was כלבשר, “all flesh,” that had corrupted its way before the Flood.

Bereshit / Genesis 6:5 Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. (NASB, ה וַיַּרְא יְהֹוָה כִּי רַבָּה רָעַת הָאָדָם בָּאָרֶץ וְכָל-יֵצֶר מַחְשְׁבֹת לִבּוֹ רַק רַע כָּל-הַיּוֹם:)

Bereshit / Genesis 8:21 The LORD smelled the soothing aroma; and the LORD said to Himself, “I will never again curse the ground on account of man, for the intent of man’s heart is evil from his youth; and I will never again destroy every living thing, as I have done. (NASB, כא וַיָּרַח יְהוָֹה אֶת-רֵיחַ הַנִּיחֹחַ וַיֹּאמֶר יְהֹוָה אֶל-לִבּוֹ לֹא אֹסִף לְקַלֵּל עוֹד אֶת-הָאֲדָמָה בַּעֲבוּר הָאָדָם כִּי יֵצֶר לֵב הָאָדָם רַע מִנְּעֻרָיו וְלֹא-אֹסִף עוֹד לְהַכּוֹת אֶת-כָּל-חַי כַּאֲשֶׁר עָשִֹיתִי:)

Mankind as a whole is corrupt, and the Lord Himself said that man (all men) from birth have corrupted himself, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was evil continually. The idea here is that all men are given to the desire of sinfulness on account of his imagination. It is only by the power of God in the life of a man that he is able to overcome sin. This causes a problem for the nations who do not know God nor has the desire to draw near to get to know Him. This should also cause one to consider his ways before the Lord and to seek the Lord to be delivered from his wicked life. Matthew 15:19 states that the heart was evil, deceitful, and desperately wicked, the principles that are laid out by Yeshua (“For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, slanders.” NASB) are that man is corrupt and his habits are evil. The imagination (the heart) is biased toward sin, and that man is both careless and deliberate in his methodologies (devices) that he designs to harm God’s people. The commentary Ein Yaakov (Glick Edition) on Kiddushin 1:11 and Radak on Bereshit / Genesis 6:5 state the following:

Ein Yaakov on Kiddushin 1:11

Our Rabbis were taught : The evil inclination of a man is so wicked that it is called so even by its Creator (Gen. 8, 21) For the inclination of man’s heart is evil from his youth. R. Isaac said: “The [evil] inclination renews its fight upon man every day, as it is said (Gen. 6, 5) And that every inclination of the thought of his heart was only evil all day long.” (Ib. b) R. Simon b. Lakish said : “The evil inclination of man renews its fight upon man, and desires to slay him, as it is said (Ps. 37, 23) The wicked looketh out for the righteous, and seeketh to slay him; and were it not for the help of the Holy One, praised be He, man would not resist it, as it is said further: The Lord will not leave him in his hand, and will not condemn him when he is judged.” In the college of R. Ishmael it was taught: My son, if that ugly (the tempter) meet thee, drag it into the house of learning (overcome it through study) ; if it is of stone it will be shattered; and if it is of iron it will be melted, as it is said (Jer. 23, 29) Is not thus my words like the fire? Saith the Lord, and like a hammer that shattered the rock? (ת״ר קשה יצה״ר שאפילו יוצרו קראו רע שנאמר (בראשית ח כא) כי יצר לב האדם רע מנעוריו. א״ר יצחק יצרו של אדם מתחדש עליו בכל יום שנאמר (שם ו ה) רק רע כל היום. אמר ר״ל יצרו של אדם מתגבר עליו בכל יום ומבקש להמיתו שנאמר (תהלים לז כג) צופה רשע לצדיק ומבקש להמיתו ואלמלא הקב״ה עוזרו אינו יכול לו שנאמר (שם) ה׳ לא יעזבנו בידו. תנא דבי ר׳ ישמעאל בני אם פגע בך מנוול זה משכהו לבית המדרש אם אבן הוא נימוח ואם ברזל הוא מתפוצץ שנאמר (ירמי׳ כג כט) הלוא כה דברי כאש נאם ה׳ וכפטיש יפוצץ סלע. אם אבן הוא נימוח שנאמר (איוב יד יט) אבנים שחקו מים ואין מים אלא תורה שנאמר (ישעיה נה א) הוי כל צמא לכו למים:)

Radak on Genesis 6:5, Part 1

‘וירא ה, seeing that the time G’d had allocated to the people to improve their ways had elapsed, G’d saw that nothing had changed. רק רע כל היום, the words וכל יצר, refer to both man’s urges, the urge to do good, and the urge to do evil. The urge to do good had succumbed to the evil urge, completely. The Torah here calls the planning of wicked deeds based on impulses יצר לב, the urge of the heart. The reason is that the heart is perceived as the origin of all impulses be they good or be they evil in nature. The reason why G’d gave them 120 years extension, although He was well aware that they would not do teshuvah, was only in order for man to learn from G’d’s attributes, and to adopt this attribute for himself. Just as G’d allowed man plenty of time to improve his ways, so man, when dealing with his fellow, should also not be impatient, but allow enough time for people to rethink their evil attitudes. When G’d created the human race He wanted it to be good completely, or at least predominantly. If mankind would turn to be completely evil it could not endure, seeing that G’d had chosen the good. When He saw that the generation preceding the deluge was thoroughly evil, especially in their inter-personal relations, their use of violence as a legitimate tool to gain their ends, their deeds threatened to undermine the foundations upon which G’d had built His universe. He therefore decided to destroy all those who were evil and to save only the few good ones, so that these survivors could form the nucleus of a better human race after the deluge. G’d had found Noach, his sons, and their wives to be good and they were chosen to provide the seed for future generations. Lemech, Noach’s father had died already 5 years prior to the deluge, and Metushelach, Noach’s grandfather, another good man, had lived his life to the full before the onset of the deluge. As a result of these two men having died, there were no righteous people left on earth other than Noach and his family. (וירא ה’, כיון שהגיע הקץ שנהן להם מאה ועשרים שנה ראה כי לא הטיבו מעשיהם אבל הריעו אותם וכל יום היה קשה מתברו, זהו שאמר “רק רע כל היום”. ופירוש וכל יצר, משני יצרים שיש בלבו של אדם אחד טוב ואחד רע, כלו היה לרע ולא היה טוב בהם. ונקראת תאות מחשבת הלב, יצר, לפי שהלב יוצר ופועל בלבו הענינים הן לטוב והן לרע להוציאם לידי מעשה. וטעם מה שהאריך האל להם ק”כ שנה אם ישובו, והוא היה יודע שלא ישובו, עשה כן כדי שילמד אדם ממדותיו ויאריך אפו לחוטא ולא ינקום ממנו מיד אע”פ שהיכולת בידו אולי יתחרט בו וישוב. והנה האל ברא עולמו להיות טוב או כולו או רובו, ואם כולו רע לא יוכל לעמוד כי לא יבחר האל כי אם בטוב; והנה ראה דור המבול כולו רע בזנות וחמס שמפסידין סדר העולם והיו מעשיהם כנגד מעשיו, ואמר להשחית רת העולם השפל ולהשאיר ממנו הטוב שנמצא בו והיה שמץ מנהו כדי לקיימו לעתיד, והשאיר בו נח שמצא אותו טוב וכן בניו עם נשותיהן כדי לקיים זרע ולמך אביו כבר מת חמש שנים לפני המבול, ומתושלח שלמו שנותיו בבא המבול ומת, כי חמש שנים חי אחר למך בנו, הנה לא נשאר צדיק בעולם אלא נח ובניו: )

Ein Yaakov points out that the evil inclination of man is so wicked that it is called so even by his creator. The rabbinic understanding of the evil inclination is that this thing renews its fight upon man daily, and that it desires to destroy him. The evil inclination within the unrighteous causes one to look for the righteous for the purpose of slaying him, and that if it were not for the help of the Lord God in heaven (the Holy One blessed be He), man would be unable to resist the evil inclination. The rabbis say that the way to overcome the evil inclination is through the study of the Torah, to drag it into the house of Study (לבית המדרש). The idea is that the evil inclination seems like stone or iron, which are both able to kill and destroy, however, God’s words are as fire which are capable of melting iron, and as a hammer which is capable of shattering the rock.

Radak states that the Lord sought for the people to improve their ways and the time of his tarrying had passed. The Lord had seen how His tarrying did not cause man to reform his ways. The rabbis say that the Torah calls the planning of evil deeds is the result of the impulses of a man’s heart, whether they are good or evil in nature, and this is why it is necessary for the Lord Himself to work in a man’s heart to remove the Yetser Hara (Evil Inclination). The idea is that the Lord had created man, and due to the reduced number of righteous persons on the earth, he desired to destroy all of those who were wicked, and rebuild the world with those who would seek Him and walk in His ways, and teach their children to do the same. In Bereshit / Genesis 6, there were no righteous persons left on earth other than Noach and his family. Yeshua spoke two parables, one of the widow and the unrighteous judge, and then said in Luke 18:7 now, will not God bring about justice for His elect who cry to Him day and night, and will He delay long over them? 18:8 ‘I tell you that He will bring about justice for them quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?’ (NASB) Then then proceeded to speak of a parable for those who perceived themselves to be righteous and looked down on others, speaking of two men who went up to the temple, one who was proud and the other who was humble, and asked which one was justified?

There are two kinds of people in this world, one who is prideful, and the other who are willing to humble themselves before God. The nations are prideful in their ways, their false practices, all of which stand in opposition to the way of the Lord God Almighty. This is why the nations come together in agreement as we read in the psalms, ו כִּי נוֹעֲצוּ לֵב יַחְדָּו עָלֶיךָ בְּרִית יִכְרֹתוּ: 83:5 For they have conspired together with one mind; Against You they make a covenant: (NASB) Asaph lists those who are coming against Israel saying, ז אָהֳלֵי אֱדוֹם וְיִשְׁמְעֵאלִים מוֹאָב וְהַגְרִים: ח גְּבָל וְעַמּוֹן וַעֲמָלֵק פְּלֶשֶׁת עִם-ישְׁבֵי צוֹר: ט גַּם-אַשּׁוּר נִלְוָה עִמָּם הָיוּ זְרוֹעַ לִבְנֵי-לוֹט סֶלָה: י עֲשֵֹה-לָהֶם כְּמִדְיָן כְּסִיסְרָא כְיָבִין בְּנַחַל קִישׁוֹן: יא נִשְׁמְדוּ בְעֵין-דֹּאר הָיוּ דֹּמֶן לָאֲדָמָה: 83:6 The tents of Edom and the Ishmaelites, Moab and the Hagrites; 83:7 Gebal and Ammon and Amalek, Philistia with the inhabitants of Tyre; 83:8 Assyria also has joined with them; They have become a help to the children of Lot. Selah. 83:9 Deal with them as with Midian, As with Sisera and Jabin at the torrent of Kishon, 83:10 Who were destroyed at En-dor, Who became as dung for the ground. (NASB) Based upon this section of the psalm, the following list may be generated:

List of People against Israel

  1. Edom
  2. Moab
  3. Hagrites
  4. Gebal
  5. Ammon
  6. Amalek
  7. Philistia
  8. Tyre
  9. Assyria
  10. Midian
  11. Sisera
  12. Jabin
  13. Kishon

Edom (אֱדוֹם) is the name of a country and a people (the descendants of Esau) located initially in Transjordan, between Ammon to the north, the Dead Sea and the Arabah to the west, and the Arabian desert to the south and east.

Moab and Ammon were born to Lot and Lot’s two daughters, in the aftermath of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. The Torah refers to both the Moabites (older daughter) and Ammonites (younger duaghter) as Lot’s sons, born of incest with his daughters Bereshit / Genesis 19:37-38.

Hagrites were an offshoot of the Ishmaelites, and were the inhabitants of the regions of Jetur, Naphish and Nodab lying east of Gilead. Their name is understood to be derived from Hagar. According to 1 Chronicles 5:18-22, the Reubenites, Gadites, and the half of the tribe of Manasseh in Gilead, brought 44,760 to battle with the Hagrites and defeated them.

Gebal is an ancient Phoenician city, situated on a bluff of the foothills of Lebanon, overlooking the Mediterranean. It was one of the principal seaports of Phoenicia, and had a small but good harbor for small ships. Gebal was the center of quite an extensive district, and is mentioned in Joshua 13:5 as the land of the Gebalites, who are also mentioned in 1 Kings 5:18 as aiding in the construction of Solomon’s temple. The “elders” and the “wise men” of Gebal are among the workmen employed on Tyrian ships (Ezekiel 27:9).

Amalek (עֲמָלֵק) refer to the grandson of Esau, the descendant nation of Amalekites, and the territories of Amalek which they inhabited. According to the Torah and 1 Chronicles, Amalek was the son of Eliphaz and the concubine Timna. Timna was a Horite and sister of Lotan.

Philistia (פלשת) ruled major parts of southern Canaan at its peak and according to Joshua 13:3 and 1 Samuel 6:17 consisted of Ashkelon, Ashdod, Ekron, Gath, and Gaza.

Tyre is an ancient Phoenician city and is connected to Gebal. Yeshua visited the region of Tyre and Sidon and healed a Gentile (Matthew 15:21, Mark 7:24) and from this region many came forth to hear him preaching (Mark 3:8, Luke 6:17, Matthew 11:21–23).

Assyria, was a major Mesopotamian East Semitic kingdom and empire of the Ancient Near East. Geographically, Assyria was centered on the Upper Tigris river, in northern Mesopotamia, encompassing the modern regions of northern Iraq, north eastern Syria, south eastern Turkey and the north western fringes of Iran.

Midian was the fourth son of Abraham by Keturah (Abraham’s wife after Sarah’s death, Bereshit / Genesis 25:1-6). He had five brothers: Zimran, Jokshan, Medan, Ishbak, and Shuah (Bereshit / Genesis 25:2). Midian became the father of the Midianites (Bereshit / Genesis 25:2-4, 1 Chronicles 1:32).

Sisera (סִיסְרָא) was commander of the Canaanite army of King Jabin of Hazor, who is mentioned in Judges 4-5 of the Hebrew Bible. After being defeated by the forces of the Israelite tribes of Zebulun and Naphtali under the command of Barak and Deborah, Sisera was killed by Jael, who hammered a tent peg into his temple.

Jabin (יבין) a king of Hazor at the time of the entrance of Israel into Canaan (Joshua 11:1-14), was conquered by Joshua during the conquest of the Promised Land (Joshua 11:21-23). Possibly another king of Hazor, called “the king of Canaan,” who overpowered the Israelites of the north one hundred and sixty years after Joshua’s death. (Judges 5:6-11) Deborah and Barak gathered ten thousand men and defeated Jabin in the plain of Esdraelon (Judges 4:10-16).

Kishon River (נחל הקישון) is a river in Israel that flows into the Mediterranean Sea near the city of Haifa.

Asaph concludes his psalm saying, יב שִׁיתֵמוֹ נְדִיבֵמוֹ כְּעֹרֵב וְכִזְאֵב וּכְזֶבַח וּכְצַלְמֻנָּע כָּל-נְסִיכֵמוֹ: יג אֲשֶׁר אָמְרוּ נִירֲשָׁה לָּנוּ אֵת נְאוֹת אֱלֹהִים: יד אֱלֹהַי שִׁיתֵמוֹ כַגַּלְגַּל כְּקַשׁ לִפְנֵי-רוּחַ: טו כְּאֵשׁ תִּבְעַר-יָעַר וּכְלֶהָבָה תְּלַהֵט הָרִים: טז כֵּן תִּרְדְּפֵם בְּסַעֲרֶךָ וּבְסוּפָתְךָ תְבַהֲלֵם: יז מַלֵּא פְנֵיהֶם קָלוֹן וִיבַקְשׁוּ שִׁמְךָ יְהֹוָה: 83:11 Make their nobles like Oreb and Zeeb And all their princes like Zebah and Zalmunna, 83:12 Who said, ‘Let us possess for ourselves The pastures of God.’ 83:13 O my God, make them like the whirling dust, Like chaff before the wind. 83:14 Like fire that burns the forest And like a flame that sets the mountains on fire, 83:15 So pursue them with Your tempest And terrify them with Your storm. 83:16 Fill their faces with dishonor, That they may seek Your name, O Lord. יח יֵבשׁוּ וְיִבָּהֲלוּ עֲדֵי-עַד וְיַחְפְּרוּ וְיֹאבֵדוּ: יט וְיֵדְעוּ כִּי-אַתָּה שִׁמְךָ יְהֹוָה לְבַדֶּךָ עֶלְיוֹן עַל-כָּל-הָאָרֶץ: 83:17 Let them be ashamed and dismayed forever, And let them be humiliated and perish, 83:18 That they may know that You alone, whose name is the Lord, Are the Most High over all the earth. (NASB) By the time of the Judges, the Midianites, led by two princes Oreb (עֹרֵב) and Zeeb (זְאֵב) were raiding Israel riding camels, and were defeated by Gideon (Judges 7:20-25). Many of the Midianites perished along with Oreb (Tehillim / Psalm 83:12 and Isaiah 10:26). These victories reflect the importance ascribed to the power of the Lord God that was available through his chosen people. The place where Gideon slew Oreb after the defeat of the Midianites was called the Rock of Oreb. It is now a place called Orbo, on the east of Jordan, near Bethshean. Zeeb was killed at “the wine press of Zeeb”. The references to Zebah (זֶ֫בַח) and Zalmunna (צַלְמֻנָּע) were two kings who led the Midianites invading the land of Israel. Gideon again defeated these kings according to Judges 8. Zebah and Zalmunna had successfully escaped across the Jordan River but were overtaken at Karkor and routed by Gideon. The kings were taken alive and brought back across the Jordan; and confessing that they had personally taken part in the killing of Gideon’s brothers, and then they were put to death (1 Samuel 12:11, Isaiah 10:26, Tehillim / Psalms 83:11)

The Aramaic Targum and the Septuagint state the following:

Aramaic Targum

Toviyah / Psalms 83:13-19

83:13 Who had said, “We will inherit for ourselves all the fields of the god Elohim.” 83:14 O my God, make them like a wheel that keeps on rolling and does not stop, down a slope; and like straw before a storm. 83:15 Like fire that burns in the forest, and like the flame that ignites the plants of the mountains. 83:16 Thus will you pursue them with your storm wind, and you will frighten them with your gale. 83:17 Fill their faces with shame, and they will seek your name, O Lord. 83:18 They will be ashamed and terrified for ages upon ages; and they will be disgraced and will perish. 83:19 And they will know that you, your name the Lord, are alone supreme over all the inhabitants of the earth. (EMC)

יג די אמרו נירת לנא ית כל עידית אלהא אלהים׃ יד אלהי שוי יתהון היך גלגלא דמתגלגל ואזיל ולא ניח במודרון והיך קשא קדם זעפא׃ טו היך אשא די בעירא בחורשא והיך שלהוביתא דמצלהבא זרזי זרדי טוריא׃ טז היכנא תרדפינון בעלעולך ובזעפך תבהלינון׃ יז מלי אפיהון קלנא ויבעון שמך יהוה׃ יח יבהתון ויבהלון לעלמי עלמין ויחסדון ויהובדון ויאבדון׃ יט וינדעון ארום את שמך יהוה בלחודך עילאה על כל יתבי ארעא׃

Septuagint

Psalmoi / Psalms 83:12-18

83:12 who said, let us take to ourselves the altar of God as an inheritance. 83:13 O my God, make them as a wheel; as stubble before the face of the wind. 83:14 As fire which shall burn up a wood, as the flame may consume the mountains; 83:15 so shalt thou persecute them with thy tempest, and trouble them in thine anger. 83:16 Fill their faces with dishonour; so shall they seek thy name, O Lord. 83:17 Let them be ashamed and troubled for evermore; yea, let them be confounded and destroyed. 83:18 And let them know that thy name is Lord; that thou alone art Most High over all the earth. (LXX)

83:12 οἵτινες εἶπαν κληρονομήσωμεν ἑαυτοῖς τὸ ἁγιαστήριον τοῦ θεοῦ 83:13 ὁ θεός μου θοῦ αὐτοὺς ὡς τροχόν ὡς καλάμην κατὰ πρόσωπον ἀνέμου 83:14 ὡσεὶ πῦρ ὃ διαφλέξει δρυμόν ὡς εἰ φλὸξ κατακαύσαι ὄρη 83:15 οὕτως καταδιώξεις αὐτοὺς ἐν τῇ καταιγίδι σου καὶ ἐν τῇ ὀργῇ σου ταράξεις αὐτούς 83:16 πλήρωσον τὰ πρόσωπα αὐτῶν ἀτιμίας καὶ ζητήσουσιν τὸ ὄνομά σου κύριε 83:17 αἰσχυνθήτωσαν καὶ ταραχθήτωσαν εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα τοῦ αἰῶνος καὶ ἐντραπήτωσαν καὶ ἀπολέσθωσαν 83:18 καὶ γνώτωσαν ὅτι ὄνομά σοι κύριος σὺ μόνος ὕψιστος ἐπὶ πᾶσαν τὴν γῆν

Note how the Aramaic Targum completely removes references to Oreb (עֹרֵב), Zeeb (זְאֵב), Zebah (זֶ֫בַח), and Zalmunna (צַלְמֻנָּע), substituting these for a wheel that keeps on rolling, like straw, and the helplessness of a forest and plants that burn being driven by the wind. The hopelessness of these wicked men before the Lord, is paralleled to these things which have no hope of overcoming gravity or the flames. The point of being pursued and being put to shame is to cause one to seek the name of the Lord God in heaven, and know that the Lord is supreme over all. And truly based upon what we know historically and on how the Lord is working our lives, He is Most High over all the earth! Let’s Pray!

Rabbinic Commentary

The Rabbinic Commentary (Midrash) on Tehillim / Psalms 83 has 3 parts. Reading through the Midrash we will be looking at Part 1, 2, and 3. Let’s begin by outlining Midrash Tehillim Chapter 83, Parts 1, 2, and 3.

Outline of Midrash Tehillim / Psalms, Chapter 83, Part 1, 2, and 3

Part 1

  • The Midrash introduces the Psalm with the דיבור המתחיל (Dibur Hamathil) saying, “A song, a Psalm of Asaph. Do not keep silent, O God; do not hold Your peace, and do not be still, O God (Tehillim / Psalms 83:1-2).”
  • The פתיחתא (Petihta) the homiletic introduction to the midrash states, “These words are to be considered in the light of what Scripture says elsewhere, Where the word of a king is, there is power; and who may say unto him, What are you doing? (Ecclesiastes 8:4).
  • The משל (mashal) “the parable,” goes on to explain the פתיחתא (Petihta), the rabbis discuss the concept of the Lord God remaining silent.
  • The נמשל (Nimshal) “expansion on the parable” expands upon the משל (mashal), the rabbis comment upon the silence of the Lord in relation to His fulfilling the word of His messengers, His prophets, and He has placed watchman on the walls to warn Israel.
  • The Concluding phrase says, “Hence it is said, do not keep silent, O God. But You are silent now, and we too, are silent, as is said, The elders of the daughter of Zion sit upon the ground and keep silence (Lamentations 2:10). Having bidden us hold our peace, by saying The Lord will fight for you, and you will hold your peace (Shemot / Exodus 14:14), do not hold Your peace, and do not be still, O God (Tehillim / Psalms 83:2), until You have taken heed of the humiliation of Your children.”

Part 2

  • The Midrash introduces the Psalm with the דיבור המתחיל (Dibur Hamathil) saying, “For lo, Your enemies make a tumult, and they that hate You have lifted up the head (Tehillim / Psalms 83:3);”
  • The פתיחתא (Petihta) the homiletic introduction to the midrash states, “as Scripture says, Woe to the uproar of many peoples, which make a noise like the noise of the seas, and to the rushing of the nations that make a rushing like the rushing of mighty waters (Isaiah 17:12).
  • The משל (mashal) “the parable,” goes on to explain the פתיחתא (Petihta), the rabbis discuss how the nations counsel with one another to come against God’s children.
  • The נמשל (Nimshal) “expansion on the parable” expands upon the משל (mashal), the rabbis expand upon the mashal by discussion the thought process of the nations with the idea that if they destroy Israel they will destroy the memory of the Lord God of Israel because the Lord is known by the name of Israel.
  • The Concluding phrase says, “All their consulting and the tumult they raise against us is because of You, as it is said, Why do the nations tumultuously assemble? Against the Lord, and against His anointed (Tehillim / Psalms 2:2).”

Part 3

  • The Midrash introduces the Psalm with the דיבור המתחיל (Dibur Hamathil) saying, “The tents of Edom and the Ishmaelites; Moab and the Hagrites; Gebal and Ammon, and Amalek; Philistia with the inhabitants of Tyre; Assyria also is joined with them; they have been an arm to the children of Lord (Tehillim / Psalms 83:7-9).”
  • The פתיחתא (Petihta) the homiletic introduction to the midrash states, “Ten nations are mentioned in this passage in order to teach you that through the Holy Spirit David foresaw that wicked Edom in company with ten nations would destroy the Holy Temple.”
  • The משל (mashal) “the parable,” goes on to explain the פתיחתא (Petihta), the rabbis say that David continued to curse the nations that come against Israel.
  • The נמשל (Nimshal) “expansion on the parable” expands upon the משל (mashal), the rabbis expand upon the mashal speaking of the way the Aramaic Targum describes the nations.
  • The Concluding phrase says, “Let them be confounded and troubled forever (Tehillim / Psalms 83:18) on the day of judgment; Yes, let them be put to shame because of the idolatry which they cherished, and perish in Gehenna, that men may know that You whose name alone is Lord, are the Most High over all the earth (Tehillim / Psalms 83:19), as it is written And the Lord will be King over all the earth, in that day will the Lord be One, and His name one (Zechariah 14:9).”

Midrash Tehillim 83, Part 1 opens with the Dibur Hamathil (דיבור המתחיל) saying, “A song, a Psalm of Asaph. Do not keep silent, O God; do not hold Your peace, and do not be still, O God (Tehillim / Psalms 83:1-2).” The homiletic introduction to the midrash states, “These words are to be considered in the light of what Scripture says elsewhere, Where the word of a king is, there is power; and who may say unto him, What are you doing? (Ecclesiastes 8:4). The rabbis comment upon the presence of God using the passage from Ecclesiastes 8:4 saying that where the word of the King is, there is power. What kind of context does this provide us on having God’s word hidden in our hearts, or even to be diligent in studying God’s Word? Note the context of Ecclesiastes 8.

Ecclesiastes 8:4-5

8:4 Forasmuch as the king’s word hath power; and who may say unto him: ‘What doest thou? ’בַּאֲשֶׁ֥ר דְּבַר־מֶ֖לֶךְ שִׁלְט֑וֹן וּמִ֥י יֹֽאמַר־ל֖וֹ מַֽה־תַּעֲשֶֽׂה׃ 8:5 Whoso keepeth the commandment shall know no evil thing; And a wise man’s heart discerneth time and judgment. שׁוֹמֵ֣ר מִצְוָ֔ה לֹ֥א יֵדַ֖ע דָּבָ֣ר רָ֑ע וְעֵ֣ת וּמִשְׁפָּ֔ט יֵדַ֖ע לֵ֥ב חָכָֽם׃

The author or Ecclesiastes states “the king’s word has power,” and draws this into context of “Whoso keeps the commandment will know no evil thing,” and that “a wise man’s heart discerns time and judgment.” Note that these things are being used to interpret the Psalm, on the Lord God being silent, still, and holding His peace, while he remains present in the midst of the congregation. The point is that if the Lord is present in our midst, just as He promises in the Torah and elsewhere, why does he remain silent, still, and withhold his peace? The idea may be found in the comment “where the word of the king is, there is power.” The question is whether the word of the king is present? The rabbinic concept we find here is God’s presence being coupled to the presence of His word, the Study of His word, and to the keeping of the commandment. Ecclesiastes uses the phrase שׁוֹמֵ֣ר מִצְוָ֔ה referring to the one who keeps the mitzvot, לֹ֥א יֵדַ֖ע דָּבָ֣ר רָ֑ע will know no evil thing, suggesting that the presence of God’s word results in our remembering not to sin, and sin is what drives God’s presence away from our lives. The Jewish commentator Ein Yaakov has the following to say about Ecclesiastes 8.

Ein Yaakov (Glick Edition), Shabbat 6:4:

(Fol. 63a) R. Cahana said: “When I was about eighteen years old, I was well versed in the whole Talmud, and did not know until now that a (Biblical) passage cannot be taken out of its literal sense.” What does he intend to inform us by this statement? That a man must first study the whole Torah and then reason upon it.R. Jeremiah in the name of R. Elazar said: “The Holy One, praised be He! will cause to prosper two scholars who [argue the law in order to] sharpen each other’s mind in the law, as is said (Ps. 45, 45.) And thy majesty. Do not read it Vehadarcha (majesty) but read it Vechadadcha (thy sharpness). Moreover they will rise to distinction, for it is said further (Ib. ib.) Be prosperous ride long. One might say that this would be the case even if one studies the Torah, not for its own sake ; therefore the passage says further (Ib. ib. 5) For the cause of truth. One might say that this would include, even those who become arrogant and proud. It says further (Ib. ib. ib.) And meekness and righteousness. And if they do so, they will be privileged to [the clear knowledge of] the Torah. which was given with the right hand [of God], as it is stated (Ib. ib. ib.) And fearful things shall thy right hand teach. R. Nachman b. Isaac said. “They will be privileged to the things which were said [to be in the possession of] the right hand of the Torah; for Raba b. Shila, and according to some, R. Joseph b. Chama in the name of R. Shesheth said: “What is meant by that which is written (Pr. 3, 16.) Length of days is in her right hand; in her left are riches and honor. Is it possible that in her right hand is only length of days and not riches and honor? But it is intended thus: for those who study the Torah in the right way (for her sake) there is longevity and as a matter of course riches and honor, but for those who study the Torah in the wrong way (for their own sake) riches and honor may be given to them but not longevity.’” R. Jeremiah in the name of R. Simon b. Lakish said : “The Holy One, praised be He, hearken to two scholars who quietly discourse an Halacha (Law) between themselves, as it is said (Mal. 3, 10.) Then conversed (nidbcru) they that feared the Lord, one with the other, etc., and Dibbur applies to a modest conversation, for it is said (Ps. (47, 4.) He will lead (Yadber) people under us.” What means And for those who thought of His name (Mal. 3, 10)? R. Ami said: “When one only intended to fulfill a commandment, but was accidentally prevented and could not accomplish it, the Scripture credits him as if he had actually observed it.” R. Chanina b. Ide said: “Whoever executes a divine command as it has been ordained, will not be the recipient of bad tidings, for it is said (Ecc. 8, 5.) Whose keepeth the commandments will experience no evil things.” R. Assi, or, as some say, R. Chanina, said: “Even if the Holy One, praised be He ! has already decreed an evil dispensation [against such a man], He will annul it; as it is said (Ib. ib. 4.) Because the words of a king are powerful, and who may say unto Him ‘What doest thou do?’ And after it follows: Whoso keepeth the commandment will experience no evil thing.” R. Abba in the name of R. Simon b. Lakish said: “The Holy One, praised be He ! hearkeneth to the voices of two scholars who patiently listen to each other in discussions of the Halacha (Law), as it is said (Songs 8, 13.) Thou that dwelleth in the gardens, thy companions listen for thy voice; Oh, let me hear it. But if they do not do so, they will cause the Shechina to depart from Israel, as it is said (Ib. ib. 14.) Flee away my friend.” etc. R. Abba in name of R. Simon b. Lakish said : “Two scholars who discuss the Halacha (Law) with modesty will deserve the love of the Holy One, praised be He! as it is said (Ib. 2, 4.) And His banner of love is waving over me,” Raba said : This implies only when they possess some knowledge of the law and also when there is no teacher in the town from whom to learn.”’

Ein Yaakov states that the study of Torah is designed for two men to sharpen each others minds in the understanding of the Law. The concept here is not to study Torah for its own sake, there must be a purpose behind studying Torah and keeping the mitzvot (e.g. our love for the Lord). The commentary also speaks of studying the Torah “in the right way” suggesting there is a right and wrong way to study the Torah. The right way is for the purpose of our love for God, and obedience leads to the lengthening of our days. The wrong way is for personal gain, profit, and honor, which will not lead to length of days. The interpretation of Ecclesiastes 8:5 is that whosoever keeps the commandment will not experience evil things, whereas the Hebrew text states “not know” evil things. There is a difference between “experiencing” and “knowing” since the Hebrew concept of to know (יֵדַ֖ע) indicates a form of sexual intimacy. Shomer mitzvah (שׁוֹמֵ֣ר מִצְוָ֔ה) keeps one from knowing evil at an intimate level. This is the point of the discussion on the lengthening of days, since an intimate knowledge of evil effects one’s entire life and relationship with the Lord. Ein Yaakov points out that when two scholars discuss Torah, or Halacha, they are to do so in modesty, and not with anger or heightened voices. Those who discuss with peace of heart, will receive the love of God. So we are also being taught about not being arrogant in our understanding (knowledge) of the Scriptures. Drawing these things into the context of the Lord remaining silent, still, and withholding His peace, the Lord God desires for us to be humble, and to seek both Him and His ways.

The entire midrash states the following:

מדרש תהלים פרק פג סימן א

א שיר מזמור לאסף אלהים אל דמי לך אל תחרש [ואל תשקוט אל]. זהו שאמר הכתוב (שומר מצוה לא ידע דבר רע) באשר דבר מלך שלטון ומי יאמר לו מה תעשה (קהלת ח ד), והצדיקים אומרים להקב״ה מה תעשה, אומרים לו קום והוא קם, שוב והוא שב, שנאמר קומה ה׳ (במדבר י לה), שובה ה׳ (שם שם במדבר י׳ לו), אמרו לו אל תישן, שנאמר עורה למה תישן ה׳ [הקיצה אל תזנח לנצח] (תהלים מד כד), והוא מתעורר דכתיב ויקץ כישן ה׳, אל דמי לך, והוא שומע, שנאמר מקים דבר עבדו ועצת מלאכיו ישלים (ישעיה מד כו), וכן ישעיה אומר על חומותיך ירושלים הפקדתי שומרים [וגו׳] ואל תתנו דמי לו עד יכונן (שם ישעיהו סב ו ז), הוי אלהים אל דמי לך, ואתה דומם ואנו דוממים, שנאמר ישבו לארץ ידמו (איכה ב י), החרשתנו ה׳ ילחם לכם ואתם תחרישון (שמות יד יד), ולכך אל תחרש ואל תשקוט אל עד (שעושה) [שתעשה] עלבון בניך.

Midrash Tehillim 83, Part 1

1. A song, a Psalm of Asaph. Do not keep silent, O God; do not hold Your peace, and do not be still, O God (Tehillim / Psalms 83:1-2). These words are to be considered in the light of what Scripture says elsewhere, Where the word of a king is, there is power; and who may say unto him, What are you doing? (Ecclesiastes 8:4). Nevertheless, righteous men say to the Holy One blessed be He, what are you doing? They say to Him, Rise up, and He rises up; they say to Him, Return and He returns, as is said, Rise up O Lord, Return O Lord (Bamidbar / Numbers 10:35-36). They say to Him, Do not sleep, as is said, Awake, why do you sleep, O Lord? (Tehillim / Psalms 44:23), and the Lord awakes, for it is said Then the Lord awaked as one out of sleep (Tehillim / Psalms 78:65). They say to Him, do not keep silent, O God (Tehillim / Psalms 83:2), and He obeys, as is said, The Lord confirms the word of His servant, and performs the counsel of His messengers (Isaiah 44:26); and again Isaiah said, I have set watchmen upon your walls, O Jerusalem, which will never hold their peace day nor night, You that are the Lord’s remembrancers, do not keep silent. And give Him no silence, till He establish, and till He make Jerusalem a praise in the earth (Isaiah 62:6-7). Hence it is said, do not keep silent, O God. But You are silent now, and we too, are silent, as is said, The elders of the daughter of Zion sit upon the ground and keep silence (Lamentations 2:10). Having bidden us hold our peace, by saying The Lord will fight for you, and you will hold your peace (Shemot / Exodus 14:14), do not hold Your peace, and do not be still, O God (Tehillim / Psalms 83:2), until You have taken heed of the humiliation of Your children.

The midrash continues to comment upon the quietness of God, saying the righteous men continue to ask the Lord what He is doing? The rabbis use anthropomorphisms to describe the Lord God as either being awake or asleep, similar to a man who does not respond when he is asleep. The Psalms also describe the Lord God in this way, and by the Lord raising up and responding to the plea of the righteous for help, He confirms His word that was spoken through His messenger. The Lord delaying His response is meant to draw us near, and we will more readily recognize it was the Lord God who delivered us and not something of our own making. (see Devarim / Deuteronomy 8:11-20)

Midrash Tehillim 83, Part 1 concludes saying, “Hence it is said, do not keep silent, O God. But You are silent now, and we too, are silent, as is said, The elders of the daughter of Zion sit upon the ground and keep silence (Lamentations 2:10). Having bidden us hold our peace, by saying The Lord will fight for you, and you will hold your peace (Shemot / Exodus 14:14), do not hold Your peace, and do not be still, O God (Tehillim / Psalms 83:2), until You have taken heed of the humiliation of Your children. ” The point is to remain silent and trust in the Lord, and not complain. We receive the things that happen to us as having come from the Lord for the purpose of drawing us near. And so we are called to remain still, to be silent, and to trust in the Lord God in heaven for His will to be done.

Midrash Tehillim 83, Part 2 opens with the Dibur Hamathil (דיבור המתחיל) saying, “For lo, Your enemies make a tumult, and they that hate You have lifted up the head (Tehillim / Psalms 83:3);” The homiletic introduction to the midrash states, “as Scripture says, Woe to the uproar of many peoples, which make a noise like the noise of the seas, and to the rushing of the nations that make a rushing like the rushing of mighty waters (Isaiah 17:12). The rabbis speak of the enemies who raise themselves in an uproar. This is compared to Isaiah 17:12, יב הוֹי הֲמוֹן עַמִּים רַבִּים כַּהֲמוֹת יַמִּים יֶהֱמָיוּן וּשְׁאוֹן לְאֻמִּים כִּשְׁאוֹן מַיִם כַּבִּירִים יִשָּׁאוּן: 17:12 Alas, the uproar of many peoples Who roar like the roaring of the seas, And the rumbling of nations Who rush on like the rumbling of mighty waters! (NASB) The picture that is produced from these descriptions is paralleled to turbulent waters, chaotic behaviors, a lack of order and discipline in the lives of the unrighteous. Order and discipline are the ear marks of the righteous who seek to serve the Lord and order their lives for that purpose, such that the presence of God will remain in their midst. The Aramaic Targum on Tehillim / Psalms 2, states ב קיימין מלכי מלכוות ארעא ושלטוניא יתחברון כחדא למרדא קדם יהוה ולמינצי על משיחיה׃ 2:2 The kings of the earth arise and the rulers will join together to rebel in the Lord’s presence, and to strive against his Anointed. (EMC) The rage and force of the enemy would not only come against the Lord, but also against His people and His anointed one. These peoples resemble the mighty waters of the sea. Happy however are those who remember the Lord God as their salvation, and rely on his power for their help.

The entire midrash states the following:

מדרש תהלים פרק פג סימן ב

ב כי הנה אויביך יהמיון. וכן הוא אומר הוי המון עמים רבים (כהמון ים יהמו) [כהמות ימים יהמיון] (ישעיה יז יב). על עמך יערימו סוד. באין על עמך בשביל שאינן מקיימים את התורה, שנאמר סוד ה׳ ליראיו ובריתו להודיעם (תהלים כה יד). ויתיעצו על צפוניך. נטלו עצה על מזבח שלך לעקרו, הדא הוא דכתיב על ירך המזבח צפונה (ויקרא א יא), שלא נקריב לך קרבנות. אמרו לכו ונכחידם מגוי ולא יזכר שם ישראל עוד. כל זמן שישראל קיימין הוא נקרא אלהי ישראל, נעקר ישראל אלהי מי נקרא. כי נועצו לב יחדו עליך ברית יכרותו. כל מה שהן עושין ומרגישין עלינו בשבילך, שנאמר [למה רגשו גוים וגו׳] על ה׳ ועל משיחו (תהלים ב א ב).

Midrash Tehillim 83, Part 2

2. For lo, Your enemies make a tumult, and they that hate You have lifted up the head (Tehillim / Psalms 83:3); as Scripture says, Woe to the uproar of many peoples, which make a noise like the noise of the seas, and to the rushing of the nations that make a rushing like the rushing of mighty waters (Isaiah 17:12). They have taken crafty against Your people (Tehillim / Psalms 83:4); They take crafty counsel against Your people, because Israel, having ceased to observe the Torah, lost the counsel of the Lord, for it is said, The counsel of the Lord is with them that fear Him (Tehillim / Psalms 25:14). And consulted against that of Yours which is on the north (Tehillim / Psalms 83:4) that is, to keep us from bringing You offerings, of which it is written that they are to be made on the side of the altar northward before the Lord (Vayikra / Leviticus 1:11), Your enemies consulted against the altar to uproot it. 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 (Tehillim / Psalms 83:5). Your enemies said, As long as the nation of Israel abides, God will be named the God of Israel; but if Israel is uprooted, whose God will He be named? For they have consulted together with one consent, The are confederate against You (Tehillim / Psalms 83:6). All their consulting and the tumult they raise against us is because of You, as it is said, Why do the nations tumultuously assemble? Against the Lord, and against His anointed (Tehillim / Psalms 2:2).

The midrash goes on to speak of the craftiness of the unrighteous who act against God’s people. The rabis say the reason the nations take counsel against Israel is because God’s people have ceased to שׁוֹמֵ֣ר מִצְוָ֔ה and therefore have lost the counsel of the Lord God in heaven. The significance of the phrase שׁוֹמֵ֣ר מִצְוָ֔ה is in the idea of fearing God and then receiving the counsel of the Lord God in heaven. By studying God’s word we are taking counsel in the Lord. In addition, we are told according to Tehillim / Psalms 25:14, the counsel of the Lord is with those who fear Him! The Talmud Bavli Shabbat 30b has the following to say concerning שׁוֹמֵ֣ר מִצְוָ֔ה.

Talmud Bavli Shabbat 30b

Rav Yehudah son of Rav Shmuel bar Shilat said in Rav’s name: The Sages wished to hide the Book of Kohelet, because its words are contradictory. And why did they not hide it? Because it begins with words of Torah and it ends with words of Torah. It begins with words of Torah as it is written, What profit has man of all his labor that he labors under the sun (1:3)? And the School of R. Yannai commented: Under the sun he has none, but he has it [profit] before the sun. It ends with words of Torah, as it is written, Let us hear the conclusion of the matter, fear God, and keep his mitzvot: for this is the whole of man (12:13). (שבת ל׳ ב. כ אמר רב יהודה בריה דרב שמואל בר שילת משמיה דרב בקשו חכמים לגנוז ספר קהלת מפני שדבריו סותרין זה את זה ומפני מה לא גנזוהו מפני שתחילתו דברי תורה וסופו דברי תורה תחילתו דברי תורה דכתיב (קהלת א, ג) מה יתרון לאדם בכל עמלו שיעמול תחת השמש ואמרי דבי ר’ ינאי תחת השמש הוא דאין לו קודם שמש יש לו סופו דברי תורה דכתיב (קהלת יב, יג) סוף דבר הכל נשמע את האלהים ירא ואת מצותיו שמור כי זה כל האדם)

The Talmud Bavli Shabbat 30b speaks of Ecclesiastes (Kohelet) and why the rabbis wanted to hide the book but instead decided to include it within the canon of Scripture. The reason given for keeping this book was that the book opens and closes with the words of Torah. The opening words question the meaning of a man’s labor under the context of not laboring in the service of the Lord God in heaven. The closing words the rabbis say, סוף דבר הכל נשמע את האלהים ירא ואת מצותיו שמור כי זה כל האדם meaning that the ending words are to listen to the Lord, to hear Him, and keep His mitzvot, because this is the “all” of man. This is man’s created purpose! Are we not created for the purpose of serving and glorifying the Lord God in heaven?

The rabbis in the midrash continue, they speak of the nations raging in the context of preventing Israel from bringing her offerings before the Lord. The enemy consults against the altar. What does it mean the enemy consulted against the altar? Rashbam provides some insight into this question in his comments on Bereshit / Genesis 22:1, Part 2.

Rashbam on Genesis 22:1, Part 2

והאלוקים נסה את אברהם, G’d now subjected Avraham to a painful test, something which was bound to cause him grief. Whenever the root נסה occurs, such as in Job 4,2 or Exodus 17,7 or Psalms 26,2 the connotation is an unpleasant one for the one being subjected to it. In this instance, G’d, so to speak, indicated to Avraham that he had been foolish to think that he could guarantee’s Yitzchok’s and his descendants well being into the future, as he might have to terminate his life before he even had produced any offspring who would be called upon to honour his father’s deal with Avimelech. We find that the ark of the covenant spent seven months in Philistine captivity as a result of Avraham having made such an unauthorised pact with Avimelech (Samuel I 6,1). The seven months corresponded to the seven sheep Avraham had gratuitously given to Avimelech. G’d swore that as a result the Philistines would fight seven wars against the Israelites in which they would be victorious. These wars occurred during the time of Shimshon, Chofni, Pinchos, Sha-ul, and the three sons of Sha-ul who were killed. Another approach: as a result of Avraham’s high-handed act seven altars (public altars equivalent of temples) were destroyed by the enemies of the Jewish people after they entered the Holy Land Land, They were: Moses’ Tabernacle, Gilgal, Nov, Shiloh, Givon and the two Temples in Jesrusalem. (copied from Midrash Shemuel by the editor of Rash’bam) According to still another version G’d’s ark would repose in the land of the Philistines for 7 months.

Rashbam says that Abraham erected seven altars, and these seven altars are said to be equivalent to temples, all of which the enemy of the Jewish people destroyed. So the act of Abraham’s devotion to the Lord in offering sacrifices, and the enemy seeking to destroy the altars, as prophetic of a future event, the enemy consults against the altar, which is paralleled to taking counsel against the Temple of the Lord in Jerusalem. Note how this is connected to what the midrash says, “Your enemies consulted against the altar to uproot it. 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 (Tehillim / Psalms 83:5). Your enemies said, As long as the nation of Israel abides, God will be named the God of Israel; but if Israel is uprooted, whose God will He be named?” Thus, the enemy taking counsel against the altar, which is synonymous to the Temple, is for the purpose of its destruction, and the uprooting of Israel from the Land, causing men to forget the “God” of Israel. Midrash Tehillim 83, Part 2 concludes saying, “For they have consulted together with one consent, The are confederate against You (Tehillim / Psalms 83:6). All their consulting and the tumult they raise against us is because of You, as it is said, Why do the nations tumultuously assemble? Against the Lord, and against His anointed (Tehillim / Psalms 2:2). ” What is amazing, and miraculous is that the Lord God Almighty has worked a miracle over the centuries, and we have not forgotten Him, His people, or that Holy Place (המקום). Hallelujah!

Midrash Tehillim 83, Part 3 opens with the Dibur Hamathil (דיבור המתחיל) saying, “The tents of Edom and the Ishmaelites; Moab and the Hagrites; Gebal and Ammon, and Amalek; Philistia with the inhabitants of Tyre; Assyria also is joined with them; they have been an arm to the children of Lord (Tehillim / Psalms 83:7-9).” Thie midrash opens by mentioning the nations that come against Israel. The homiletic introduction to the midrash states, “Ten nations are mentioned in this passage in order to teach you that through the Holy Spirit David foresaw that wicked Edom in company with ten nations would destroy the Holy Temple.” The interpretation is on who it was that destroyed the Temple in Jerusalem. The rabbis refer to Edom and ten nations. The historical account of the events on the destruction of the 1st Temple was at the hand of the Babylonians, and the destruction of the 2nd temple was at the hands of Rome. Why then do the rabbis interpret that the ten nations are mentioned for the purpose of teaching us that Edom with ten nations would destroy the Holy Temple? One way of looking at this may be, according to Parashat Lech Lecha, we read according to Bereshit / Genesis 15:18-20, “On that day the Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying, ‘To your offspring I assign this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the river Euphrates: the Kenites, the Kenizzites and the Kadmonites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Rephaim, the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Girgashites and the Jebusites.’” Ten nations are listed here: six of the seven Canaanite nations (only the Hivvites are missing) and an additional four, the Kenites, the Kenizzites and the Kadmonites, and the Rephaim. According to Parashat Devarim, and in the story of the war between the four kings and the five kings in Bereshit / Genesis 14, there is one region that is considered Rephaim country, which is something that was mentioned by the spies in sefer Bamidbar, which consists of the northern region, Ashtaroth and Bashan, the land of King Og (who was himself one of the last surviving Rephaim, despite the fact that his subjects were Amorites). In describing this region, the Torah states that it “is called (יִקָּרֵא) Rephaim country” (Devarim / Deuteronomy 3:13, יג וְיֶתֶר הַגִּלְעָד וְכָל-הַבָּשָׁן מַמְלֶכֶת עוֹג נָתַתִּי לַחֲצִי שֵׁבֶט הַמְנַשֶּׁה כֹּל חֶבֶל הָאַרְגֹּב לְכָל-הַבָּשָׁן הַהוּא יִקָּרֵא אֶרֶץ רְפָאִים:). Gilead, the area south of Bashan, was the land of the Zuzim in Bereshit / Genesis 14, its eastern part later became Ammonite land and its central and western part became Amorite land under the rule of King Sihon of Heshbon. The next area to the south, east of the Dead Sea, is according to Bereshit / Genesis 14 the land of the Emim. The Emim were dispossessed by the Moabites, but shortly before the arrival of the people of Israel Sihon gained control over the northern half of this land, the area north of the Arnon River. The Torah stresses here that despite the fact that these two lands had been known since ancient times as the land of the Zuzim and the land of the Emim, these are merely the names that the Ammonites and Moabites use to refer to the lands. The point is that the Torah is emphasizing the large region of the members of these nations. Note the characteristic trait of the Rephaim which consists of many peoples or varying cultures. The Torah is pointing to the idea that all these nations share a common ethnic background. Now with that in mind, based upon what the rabbis are saying in Midrash Tehillim 83, Part 3, “Ten nations are mentioned in this passage in order to teach you that through the Holy Spirit David foresaw that wicked Edom in company with ten nations would destroy the Holy Temple.” The point is these nations that are enumerated are used as descriptive standard for what it means to be a “wicked” or “unrighteous” nation. The fact that historically it was Babylon and Rome that destroyed the temple, These two cultures (people groups) may also be represented by the characteristic unrighteousness which is common to these biblical nations that are described as Edom with ten nations referring to the nations of Babylon and Rome.

The entire midrash states the following:

מדרש תהלים פרק פג סימן ג

ג אהלי אדום וישמעאלים [מואב והגרים נבל ועמון ועמלק פלשת עם יושבי צור גם אשור]. עשרה אומות נאמרו בפרשה זו, ללמדך שצפה דוד ברוח הקודש שאדום הרשעה עתידה להחריב את בית המקדש בכלל עשרה אומות, וקידם וקיללם בקללת מדינים וסיסרא ועורב וזאב וזבח וצלמונע שבאו לירש ארץ ישראל ואבדו, שנאמר אשר אמרו נירשה לנו את נאות אלהים, ועמד עוד וקללם בעשר קללות אחרות, אלהי שיתמו כגלגל, כדבר המתגלגל ממקום גבוה, כקש לפני רוח, שאין לו מעמד, כאש תבער יער, שהוא מוצא עצים לשרוף, וכלהבה תלהט הרים, בזמן הקציר, כן תרדפם בסערך ובסופתך תבהלם, כסערה בלב ים וכסופה במדבר, מלא פניהם קלון, כמי שמתבייש ברבים על עבירות משוקעות שבידו, ויבקשו שמך ה׳ ולא תמצא להם, כדכתיב ישועו ואין מושיע (אל) [על] ה׳ ולא ענם (תהלים יח מב), יבושו ויבהלו עד עד, ביום הדין, ויחפרו מעבודה זרה שבידם, ויאבדו בגיהנם, וידעו כי אתה שמך ה׳ לבדך, כדכתיב ביום ההוא יהיה ה׳ אחד ושמו אחד (זכריה יד ט).

Midrash Tehillim 83, Part 3

3. The tents of Edom and the Ishmaelites; Moab and the Hagrites; Gebal and Ammon, and Amalek; Philistia with the inhabitants of Tyre; Assyria also is joined with them; they have been an arm to the children of Lord (Tehillim / Psalms 83:7-9). Ten nations are mentioned in this passage in order to teach you that through the Holy Spirit David foresaw that wicked Edom in company with ten nations would destroy the Holy Temple. And so, in his foreknowledge, he cursed them with the curse that befell the Midianites, Sisera, Oreb, Zeeb, and Zlmunna, who had said, Let us take to ourselves in possession the habitations of God (Tehillim / Psalms 83:13), and who had perished when they sought to take possessions of the Land of Israel. David continued to curse Edom and its company of ten nations with ten other curses, saying, O my God, make them like a wheel (Tehillim / Psalms 83:14), like a thing which rolls down from a high place; make them as straw before the wind, as straw which finds no place to stay; as the fire that burns the forest (Tehillim / Psalms 83:15), seeking out trees that are quick to burn; and as the flame that sets the mountains on fire during the harvest season. So pursue them with Your tempest and terrify them with Your storm (Tehillim / Psalms 83:16) as a tempest in the midst of the sea, and as a storm in the desert. Fill their faces with shame (Tehillim / Psalms 83:17) like one who is put to shame in public for furtive transgressions which he has been concealing, that they may seek Your name, O Lord. But You will not be found by them, for it is said of them, They cried, but there was none to save them; even unto the Lord, but He answered them not (Tehillim / Psalms 18:42). Let them be confounded and troubled forever (Tehillim / Psalms 83:18) on the day of judgment; Yes, let them be put to shame because of the idolatry which they cherished, and perish in Gehenna, that men may know that You whose name alone is Lord, are the Most High over all the earth (Tehillim / Psalms 83:19), as it is written And the Lord will be King over all the earth, in that day will the Lord be One, and His name one (Zechariah 14:9).

The rabbis comment upon those who perish by reason of their raging against God and against His people. Those who seek to destroy others by taking what they have, they perish by the hand of the Lord God Almighty by reason of their sins. The rabbis interpret Asaph’s words as to those of David who continued to curse these nations asking the Lord God to treat them like a wheel that rolls down from a high place being unable to stop due to the effect of gravity and will come crashing down, stopping abruptly and to their own destruction. Note how the way seems easy, going down hill, but one day the Lord will cause His enemies to come to an end, and their end will be sudden. The parallel to this is as one who is on fire, where the fire is driven by the wind, and is not quenched. The Lord God is the One who lights the fire, and it is only the Lord God who is able to quench the fire. Therefore, unrighteousness is to be avoided, as the Mishnah Yoma 3:11 states “… Concerning the former [mentioned in the previous Mishnah] it is said: ‘The memory of the righteous shall be for a blessing” (Proverbs 10:7); concerning the others it is said: “But the name of the wicked shall rot’”

Midrash Tehillim 83, Part 3 concludes saying, “Let them be confounded and troubled forever (Tehillim / Psalms 83:18) on the day of judgment; Yes, let them be put to shame because of the idolatry which they cherished, and perish in Gehenna, that men may know that You whose name alone is Lord, are the Most High over all the earth (Tehillim / Psalms 83:19), as it is written And the Lord will be King over all the earth, in that day will the Lord be One, and His name one (Zechariah 14:9).” The Aramaic Targum states, יח יבהתון ויבהלון לעלמי עלמין ויחסדון ויהובדון ויאבדון׃ יט וינדעון ארום את שמך יהוה בלחודך עילאה על כל יתבי ארעא׃ 83:18 They will be ashamed and terrified for ages upon ages; and they will be disgraced and will perish. 83:19 And they will know that you, your name the Lord, are alone supreme over all the inhabitants of the earth. (EMC) Being terrified for “ages upon ages,” draws with it the concept of a lasting duration, something that is for a very long time. To let them be confounded, or letting them (the enemy) be ashamed for ages upon ages, suggests that their shame (due to their sins) and their confusion is a lasting thing, that these things continue onward for a very long time. On the other hand, the Lord God is causing these things for the purpose of repentance, but sincere repentance and not simply a simulated repentance for outward show. The reason for their shame was “because of the idolatry which they cherished.” For this reason they will perish in Gehenna (Hell). By this men may know that the Lord is God over all. The point is that in both the deeds of the wicked and the righteous, the Lord is known for who He is, the God of Israel, a righteous, holy, loving, and merciful God. All people will see, know, and understand that the Lord in heaven is righteous, and that he truly is the only God. In this way, all people will know that it is evident, the events which have occurred could have no other source than the Lord God Himself, and in this way the people are led to honor the God of heaven.

Tehillim 83-Part1-and-2

Previous articleBits of Torah Truths, Parashat Va’era, The Revelation of the Name
Next articleBits of Torah Truths, Parashat Bo (פרשת בא), What does it mean to “Seek First the Kingdom of Heaven?”
Duane D. Miller received his Ph.D., M.S., and B.S. Degree in Chemical Engineering from The University of Akron Ohio. He is currently a Chemical Engineering Researcher. Duane’s research expertise has focused upon functional materials development for the control, conversion, and release of process gases in Energy production technologies. His R&D interests include computational chemistry, developing novel technologies for converting biomass to fuels and studying their fundamental interactions during the chemical conversion process. His past experience includes sorbent development for pre- and post-combustion CO2 and SO2 capture, selective absorption of H2S from methane streams, O2 capture for oxy-fuel combustion, photocatalytic reduction of alcohols, NOx reduction catalysis, the development of oxygen carriers to combust fossil fuels (CH4 and coal) for the chemical looping combustion processes, and the extraction of rare earth elements using patent pending sorbents. His research expertise has focused on operando-characterization using Infrared, Raman, and UV-Vis spectroscopy to observe the nature of the catalytic active sites and reaction intermediates under realistic reaction conditions, allowing direct correlation of molecular/electronic structures with catalyst performance during Gas-Solid / Liquid-Solid Adsorption and Photocatalytic Processes with real time online analysis of reaction products using ICP-MS and mass spectrometry. His current work involves a multi-disciplinary approach to developing, understanding, and improving the catalytic gasification of coal and methane, high temperature chemical looping combustion, and the catalytic decomposition and gasification of biomass and coal using novel microwave reactor.​ He has been studying the Hebrew Scriptures and the Torah for 20+ years and sharing what he has learned. The studies developed for MATSATI.COM are freely to be used by everyone, to God be the Glory!