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A verse by verse Bible Study


 A Preacher in his Study




I am amazed at the plainness of speech the Old Testament Psalmists often used, especially when speaking to the Lord.

For example, Psalm 83 opens with these words: "Keep not thou silence, O God: hold not thy peace, and be not still, O God."

That's pretty bold speech!

Of course we must realize that the Holy Spirit of God is the real Author of Scripture.  There is nothing wrong with these words in Psalm 83:1. We are being shown how we can come "boldly" before the throne of Grace, just like Hebrews 4:16 would later instruct us!

Let's examine these words: "Keep not thou silence, O God: hold not thy peace, and be not still, O God."

God's Names, as used here, are significant.  "Elohim" occurs first, followed by "El."  Both Proper Nouns have the same root, a word that means power or strength!  God is a mighty God!  He is omnipotent!

Lord, we need to "hear" from Thee!  Keep not silent!  This request involves the "ear!"

Lord, we need Thy "Word," speak to us we plead!  "Hold not Thy peace!" This involves the "mouth!"

Lord, we need to see Thee move!  "Be not still!" Now this request involves the "body!"

How thankful we should be that God, our great God, is One Who is willing to involve Himself with the daily issues of our earthly lives!

Lord, help us we pray!

Later in Psalm 83 it becomes evident why the Psalmist is crying for such intervention! Enemies have gathered all around Israel, seeking her very destruction.

Here's a key verse that explains the situation: "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 83:4

Now we can better understand the urgency and the insistence of this prayer!

Notice that Asaph, the Psalm's human writer, does not plead for some earthly leader or some new weapon of battle ... just the Lord's Presence and Help!

Furthermore, our Psalmist did not want the Lord God Almighty to be compared to the senseless gods of the false prophets, as back in the days of Elijah!  They failed miserably!  Let's listen to Elijah speak of Baal and his consorts. "And it came to pass at noon, that Elijah mocked them, and said, Cry aloud: for he is a god; either he is talking, or he is pursuing, or he is in a journey, or peradventure he sleepeth, and must be awaked." 1st Kings 18:27

Yes, "And they took the bullock which was given them, and they dressed it, and called on the name of Baal from morning even until noon, saying, O Baal, hear us. But there was no voice, nor any that answered." 1st Kings 18:26

With Baal, there was no hearing, no speaking and no doing!

With our powerful God there is ... or at least there can be ... intervention!

He cares!

People of God, cry unto Him when trials come!

Our only fear in this area should be any unconfessed sin in our lives!  Because, as Isaiah preached: "Behold, the LORD'S hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear: but your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear." Isaiah 59:1-2

What a God we serve!

                                                                               --- Dr. Mike Bagwell




The Lord Himself has enemies!

That's what Psalm 83 says.

"For, lo, thine enemies make a tumult: and they that hate thee have lifted up the head."  Psalm 83:2

The word "enemies" (in Hebrew = "oyeb") means those who hate!  Those who are hostile!  The word here is noticeably plural too.

The verb that is translated "make a tumult" is "hamah" and means to growl or to roar or to rage or to be loud and clamorous!  It's the same kind of sound that flood waters make (Psalm 46:3) and that an intense prayer warrior makes (Psalm 55:17) and a dog makes (Psalm 59:6) and large crowds at the town hall make (Proverbs 1:21) and the harlot makes (Proverbs 7:11) and the waves of the sea make (Isaiah 51:15) and bears make (Isaiah 59:11) and that flutes make (Jeremiah 48:36) and that mourning doves make (Ezekiel 7:16) and that a drunkard makes (Zechariah 9:15).

The action being described here is continuous, on-going and habitual.

The verb "hate" ("sane" in Hebrew) is in the Piel stem, signifying intensive action!  Bitterly and deeply felt animosity!

To "lift up one's head" means to be strengthened or to be encouraged in a matter!

God's enemies are growing stronger and more brazen!

Once the Psalmist David called God "the Lifter Up of mine head!"  He meant that the Lord God Almighty was his Comfort and Power!

As apostasy continues to grow and spiritually things become darker ... watch this carefully.  More and more outspoken enemies of God and His Word will arise!

It's happening today in the whole wide world.

Things are heading to a final battle, good versus evil!

And, of course, we all already know Who is the Victor!

Praise His Name!

                                                                             --- Dr. Mike Bagwell




The enemies of God have attacked the Almighty Himself!  Psalm 2:2 describes their ravings this way: "The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his Anointed."

Next, naturally, they will attack God's people!

"They have taken crafty counsel against thy people, and consulted against thy hidden ones." Psalm 83:3

The adjective "crafty" defines the Hebrew word "aram." It has come to mean "sneaky behavior" or "subtlety." It initially meant to be made "bare." This implies overt unashamed rebellion against God and His people.

The noun "counsel" (in Hebrew = "sod") means a company or assembly, but nine times in the King James Bible the word is translated "secret." The enemy plans his deadly maneuvers!

The noun "people" is "am" in Hebrew and means a congregated unit of people. A tribe or a flock of people.  God's people are "one" in Him, a holy assembly! The devil hates God's chosen people!

Then the verb "consulted" ("yaatzs") means to plan or propose or advise or even to determine something!  Their minds are set, "made up," resolved! The battle will be pursued!

Then the precious descriptive term "hidden ones" is derived from a verb that means "to lay up treasure!"  These are God's people ... but in His eyes they are precious! Valuable! Esteemed!  People with whom He shares "secrets!"  They are His jewels!  Listen to the Lord in Malachi 3:17. "And they shall be mine, saith the LORD of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him."

The "enemy" of our souls will pounce some day!  God will be the Target of their vicious plotting, but His people will bear the brunt of their hatred as well.

We are not ignorant of the devil's "devices" Paul said.  This third verse of Psalm 83 outlines them quite well.

Get ready, Christian friends!

Attacks are coming ... just because we love the Lord!

May we stand true to His Name, remaining faithful in these last days!

                                                                                      --- Dr. Mike Bagwell




Psalm 83 is both historical and prophetical in some ways!

For example, verse 4 reveals a deadly goal possessed by God's rebellious enemies: "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."

God's enemies also hate God's "chosen people," Israel!  They even want to destroy that little nation!

What a wicked goal this is!

There are several nations, specifically named in the next few verses of Psalm 83, who literally "hate" the nation of Israel.

To "cut off" ("kachad" in Hebrew) means literally "to conceal" or "to hide." It also can mean "to destroy," and that is the way our King James Bible uses it. 

The noun for "nation" is "goiy" and 143 times in the Bible is translated "heathen" and another 30 times "gentiles!"  It is obvious to see that Israel here is being slandered by her enemies!



What does that name mean?

The "el" at the end is God's Name!

El or Elohiym is used of God thousands of times in the Bible.

The "isr" root of Israel means the same thing as did Sarah's name, wife of Abraham.  Prince or Princess!

Literally Israel means "princed by God" ... or ... "ruled by God!"  Ideally, God was their Leader, their Guide, their Provider!

That's one reason the nations of the world hate her so!

And the word "remembrance" certainly means to call to mind ... but also to mention or to think upon or to record!  It is derived from a root word meaning "to mark" or "to distinguish" in some manner.

The goal of these anti-Semitic people is to "annihilate" Israel, to erase the Jews from memory!

Today's verse spews hatred for God's chosen people!

But, we had all best remember this.  God, in Genesis 12:1-3, promised Abraham: "Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will shew thee: and I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: and I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed."

Instead of cursing her, I just believe I will bless Israel!

God is pleased with such behavior!

                                                                               --- Dr. Mike Bagwell




We live in divisive times!

Whether one considers the world of politics or theology or science or nearly anything else, there is disagreement among the experts.

Yet occasionally, a strange and sometimes inexplicable unity develops in some unexpected places!

Psalm 83 gives us an example.

Ten heathen nations, all with varied backgrounds, join in one common trait ... hatred of Almighty God!

The Psalmist writes, addressing God: "For they have consulted together with one consent: they are confederate against Thee." Psalm 83:5

The verb "have consulted" is "yaatzs," already used back in verse three. It means "to determine" or "to propose" as well as "to advise" or "to consult." These nations have held meetings dedicated to the destruction of Almighty God! They live at variance to His Will! They are rebellious! They are resolute!

The expression "one consent" is indicated in Hebrew by a single word, "leb." That means "heart!" They, those ungodly nations, have opposed and challenged the great God of Israel with all their "heart!" It is singular in the Text. Again, that's unity! Sinful unity, but unity nonetheless.

Furthermore, these nations whose leaders and armies have fought each other for centuries are now in perfect harmony about something! I should say Someone! 

They "are confederate" against our dear Lord!

This verbal term is translated from two Hebrew words which literally mean "to cut a covenant!" Yes, the verb "to cut" ("karath") and the noun "covenant" ("beriyth") are both used here.

This is a somber way to describe their united hatred for God.

They are religiously at war with Him!

They have vowed to oppose Him!

Entered into treaty to do so!

This is spiritual warfare that will spill over into physical military conflict as well!

I believe it is a foreshadowing of Armageddon itself!

By the way, this is not the first time some strange opponents, formerly enemies, gathered together as one against our Lord!

The day of Jesus' Crucifixion, Pilate and Herod became friends AGAINST Jesus! "And the same day Pilate and Herod were made friends together: for before they were at enmity between themselves." Luke 23:12

In 2006, in America at least, there has never been as much boldly expressed opposition to the Word of God! And to the Person of Christ Jesus! And to God's obvious Will.


Yet this must be said also.

While an ever growing segment of this sinful world hates the good God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob ... some still love Him!

I am among that number!

Some honor Him and adore Him and worship Him!

Some have even believed on His Son Jesus, trusting Him for salvation!

Some accept the fact that Christ is alive, sitting in Heaven today at His Father's Right Hand!

And that He will return to earth some day!

Then, when Jesus does come again ... Psalm 2 describes the scene ... "Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed, saying, let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us. He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision."

Then God the Father says to Jesus: "Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession. Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel."

And some final advice is given to the earth's wayward nations: "Be wise now therefore, O ye kings: be instructed, ye judges of the earth. Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him."

Sounds to me like God will have the last word!

The last laugh, according to Psalm 2:4!

Even so, come Lord Jesus!

Deal with this rebellious planet!

                                                                               --- Dr. Mike Bagwell




In the 83rd Psalm the little Nation of Israel is under attack!

Ten specific enemies have gathered all around her.

Their goal is plain: "Come, and let us cut them off from being a nation; that the name of Israel may be no more in remembrance." Psalm 83:4

Preacher Bagwell, did you really say "ten nations?"

Yes, I counted them.

"The tabernacles of Edom, and the Ishmaelites; of Moab, and the Hagarenes; Gebal, and Ammon, and Amalek; the Philistines with the inhabitants of Tyre; Assur also is joined with them: they have holpen the children of Lot. Selah." Psalm 83:6-8

Now this looks like 12 enemies, but the "children of Lot" are named twice.  Lot's children, by his two daughters in a wicked incestuous affair, led to the Ammonite and Moabite nations!

I learned something about these Jew-hating people.  If you consult a map, it is easily seen that they lived east of the Holy Land ... and south and north and even west!  All around!

Now, it's hard to live west of Israel.  That little Nation borders the Sea!  But two slivers of land, one belonging to the Philistines and the other to the Phoenicians ("inhabitants of Tyre"), were located to the west!

Obviously my point is ... Israel was surrounded by her enemies! In Psalm 27:6 David admits that "enemies" live "round about" him!

"Thou makest us a reproach to our neighbours, a scorn and a derision to them that are round about us." Psalm 44:13 also says so!

And "I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people, that have set themselves against me round about" thunders Psalm 3:6

Enemies all around!

I suspect someone reading here today feels the same way.

Enemies everywhere!

If not literally people who are opposing you ... then fears and worries and doubts and sins and problems encircle you!

It's nearly depressing!

But, wait a minute, dear Child of God!

Not only can the enemy gather all around you ... much more so is your Great God everywhere ... omnipresent!

Read with me. "The angel of the LORD encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them." Psalm 34:3


Let me briefly try to be more precise. To His Believers, His Followers, His Children ... God is:

... underneath you: "The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms: and he shall thrust out the enemy from before thee; and shall say, Destroy them." Deuteronomy 33:27

And over you: "After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven ...." Matthew 6:9

Plus He's behind you: "For ye shall not go out with haste, nor go by flight: for the LORD will go before you; and the God of Israel will be your rereward." Read here our King James noun "rereward" as "rear" ward!  That's exactly what it means! God is behind us, protecting and guarding! Isaiah 52:12

And ahead you you: "He leadeth me ... beside the still waters! He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for His Name's sake." If He's leading, then he's up ahead of us! Psalm 23:2-3

And beside you too, both sides! "The LORD is thy keeper: the LORD is thy shade upon thy right hand." (Psalm 121:5) But I mean on the right hand and on the left! Paul, in 2nd Corinthians 6:7, speaks of "The armour of righteousness on the right hand and on the left." Amen!

Yes, there may be enemies!

But, more powerfully and more certainly and for all eternity, there is the Eternal God ... all around us!

Oh, did I say "within" you too?

Paul taught us in Colossians 1:17 of ... "Christ in you, the hope of glory." He is amazing!

So, fear not, dear friend!

Where the devil abounds, God much more abounds!

Where sins abounds, Grace much more abounds!

Praise the Lord this last Friday in March!

How safe we are "in" Jesus!

                                                                               --- Dr. Mike Bagwell




Now the Psalmist lists the enemies of Israel!

His doing so reminds one of Paul's naming of Alexander the Coppersmith! "Alexander the coppersmith did me much evil: the Lord reward him according to his works. Of whom be thou ware also; for he hath greatly withstood our words." 2nd Timothy 4:14-15

When we have finished the list given here, there will be a total of ten rogue nations!

Ten Jew hating nationalities!

Verse six names four of them. "The tabernacles of Edom, and the Ishmaelites; of Moab, and the Hagarenes." Psalm 83:6

The Edomites were descendants of Esau. Genesis 25:30 illustrates this point. "And Esau said to Jacob, Feed me, I pray thee, with that same red pottage; for I am faint: therefore was his name called Edom."

The Edomites refused to let Israel pass through their land! They refused their tired and weary relatives any hospitality at all!  You can read about this beginning in Numbers 20:14. In fact, the whole Book of Obadiah is dedicated to God's judgment upon the Edomites, mostly because of their hatred of Israel. They so hated the children of Abraham that they "rejoiced" when the Babylonians took them captive! What hatred!

The Ishmaelites were descendants of Ishmael, the fleshly son of Abraham by Hagar. Remember that Ishmael "mocked" Isaac even when they were lads. See Genesis 21:19.

The Moabites were named for their forefather Moab, a son of the incestuous relationship between Lot and his daughters. It was this nation that hired Balaam the false prophet to "curse" Israel back in Numbers 22-24.

The Hagarenes are harder to identify.  They are somehow related to Hagar it is believed. In the Old Testament they may also be known as the Hagarites or Hagrites. The tribes of Reuben, Gad and Manasseh made war against them according to 1st Chronicles 5:10, 19 and 20. Whatever their past, they definitely take part in this confederacy against Israel in Psalm 83.

It's discouraging to have one enemy!  But here are four enemies, nations, that hate Israel and are ready to attack her!

What can one little nation do ... except call upon the Lord?

                                                                              --- Dr. Mike Bagwell




More enemies?


"Gebal, and Ammon, and Amalek; the Philistines with the inhabitants of Tyre." Psalm 83:7

And they all hate God's people, the Israelites.

Gebal is a district southeast of the Dead Sea. Its name means "a mountain." Josephus says the area is part of the Biblical land of Idumaea. It was inhabited by the Edomites. Mountain folks hate Israel.  So do the coastal folks!

The Ammonites, relatives of the Jews through Lot, hated the Jews too! During the days of the Judges, Jephthah particularly, the Ammonites oppressed the Israelites. They still opposed them in the days of Saul (1st Samuel 10) and David (2nd Samuel 11). They are still around and fighting in the days of Nehemiah too! Their chief god was Molech, the fire god, to whom they sacrificed human beings. Even babies and children!

The people of Amalek were also permanent enemies of God's people. Amalek himself was the grandson of Esau. They fought Israel again and again. See passages like Exodus 17:8-13 and Numbers 14:39-45.

Then the Philistines, dwellers on the west coast, lived by the Mediterranean Sea. Goliath of Gath belonged to this crowd. These were sea-going people and perennial haters of Israel.

The people of Tyre lived on up the western coast of Israel. The Phoenicians lived there. While at times linked to the Jews in commerce and business, it seems that Psalm 83 prophetically gives us some bad news. These people will eventually attack God's Holy Land and its people! The name means a "rock."

Five more antagonists of the Nation!

Still it is true ... "If God be for us, who can be against us?" So says Paul in Romans 8:31.

What a battle is coming!

And the winner is ... Israel!

With God's direct intervention!

                                                                                --- Dr. Mike Bagwell




The list of enemies continues! These are people who oppose Israel.

"Assur also is joined with them: they have holpen the children of Lot. Selah." Psalm 83:8

The name Assur is identical to Assyria. This is the giant empire that virtually ruled the world for nearly two centuries.

Their armies were ruthless. They by nature seemed to be fighters. Their capital city was Nineveh.

Once Assyria with all her might joined this anti-Semitic coalition, things worsened drastically for Israel.

The verb "joined" is derived from the Hebrew root that gives us the name "Levi." It also can mean "to lend" to someone. Assyria lent her power ... against the Jewish people.

The verb "holpen" translates "zeroa" and means one's arm or shoulder (as a symbol of strength) and in the King James Bible is translated "power" occasionally.

Lot, Abraham's nephew, fathered two children by his own daughters. Shame! Those boys grew and became the fathers of two nations, the Moabites and the Ammonites. They have already been mentioned here in Psalm 83 as enemies of godliness.

But, now, the verse closes very strangely!


Why a "selah" at the end of a list of enemies?

The word, a "loan word" from Hebrew, means "to lift up" or "to exalt" something! It is used 74 times in the King James Bible but is never translated. It's always rendered "selah."

It is thought to be a musical indicator of some kind. Some teachers say it means a pause is needed, a pause to reflect upon some truth! Others say it indicates the singers are to go to a higher note as they continue the Psalm's message. A few even say that it just divides sections of a musical piece.

Why can't we just go by its definition and believe that it is there "to exalt" someone or something?

But, what could one's enemies possibly exalt?

I'll tell you what!

The defeat of one's enemies will exalt the God of the victorious Nation!

Any God Who can handle such a wicked confederacy of heathen nations could do anything!

Paul used his trials to exalt our mighty God!

Praising God ... after all that!

What proof of the reality of our Faith that presents!

Praise the Lord!

I mean, Selah!

                                                                                 --- Dr. Mike Bagwell




The Text reads: "Do unto them as unto the Midianites; as to Sisera, as to Jabin, at the brook of Kison: which perished at Endor: they became as dung for the earth." Psalm 83:9-10

Obviously the Psalmist is praying.

He is asking God to judge the rebellious and murderous enemies of Israel!

The Midianites were constant enemies of God's people. Israel fought them again and again!

It was the Midianites who bought Joseph as a slave, transporting him to Egypt and selling him again, no doubt for a tidy profit!  Genesis 37:28 and 36

And during the days of Gideon war again had to be declared on this hateful tribe! Judges chapter six provides us the details. God gave a great victory too! In fact, he confused the Midianites and they began to fight each other! "And the three hundred blew the trumpets, and the LORD set every man's sword against his fellow, even throughout all the host: and the host fled to Bethshittah in Zererath, and to the border of Abelmeholah, unto Tabbath."  Judges 7:22

Then our Psalmist mentions Sisera, whose name perhaps means "battle array." Now he was a professional fighter! He was the General of the army of Jabin King of Canaan. He fought Israel in the days of Deborah and Barak.  He too was defeated. This time by means of a tremendous rain storm sent by God. Then, as he fled the battlefield, he rested in the tent of a Jewish woman named Jael, who drove a nail through his head as he slept! Judges 4:21

The particular word used here for "dung" is "domen" and in the Bible is only used of human remains! People who died under God's mighty Hand of judgment!

And the verb "perished" is translated "destroyed" 92% of the times it appears in the King James Bible.  It means "to exterminate" something!

This is pretty strong praying!

Deadly confusion!

Nails through people's heads!

Soldiers drowning!

Humans perishing

Their bones being used as fertilizer for pastures of the land!

Yet is this any different that some of the prayers Paul prayed?

"But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed." Galatains 1:8-9

Could any prayer be stronger than that, that someone be accursed?

This form of petition is called imprecatory praying.

Yet in reality it is only asking God to do what He has already promised to do to the reprobate wicked!


                                                                                   --- Dr. Mike Bagwell




The two verses in focus here continue Asaph's astounding prayer of imprecation against the enemies of Israel.

"Make their nobles like Oreb, and like Zeeb: yea, all their princes as Zebah, and as Zalmunna: who said, Let us take to ourselves the houses of God in possession."  Psalm 83:11-12

Obviously the Psalmist is drawing on his knowledge of Bible history.

He is familiar even with some rather incidental characters of Scripture.

The word "nobles" ("nadiyb in Hebrew) means "free or generous or willing!" The term actually reflects the kind disposition a true leader should have! Its first Bible occurrence describes those who gave so lavishly to build the Tabernacle of Israel. "Take ye from among you an offering unto the LORD: whosoever is of a willing heart, let him bring it, an offering of the LORD; gold, and silver, and brass ..." Exodus 35:5

But Oreb, whose name means "raven," and Zeeb, meaning "wolf," were two princes of the Midianites. This heathen nation was first mentioned in verse nine of our Psalm. By the way, both the animals these names typify were "unclean" and unfit for consumption by God's people the Jews.

Here's what Gideon's men did to these enemy princes. "And they took two princes of the Midianites, Oreb and Zeeb; and they slew Oreb upon the rock Oreb, and Zeeb they slew at the winepress of Zeeb, and pursued Midian, and brought the heads of Oreb and Zeeb to Gideon on the other side Jordan." Judges 7:25

And the names Zebah, which means "a slaughter," and Zalmunna, which means "the shade has been removed," both have significance in this Text. Incidentally, a removed shade area implies that one's protection has been taken away from him!  And "slaughter" here implies a sacrifice, as unto God!

These two men, both Midianite Kings, were also pursued and slain by Gideon, one of the Judges of Israel. "And Gideon arose, and slew Zebah and Zalmunna, and took away the ornaments that were on their camels' necks." Judges 8:21

As far as I can tell, every time Zebah is mentioned in Scripture, so is Zalmunna. What a wicked pair they were!

But what did they say specifically, these four Midianite haters of Israel?

We know exactly.

"Who said, Let us take to ourselves the houses of God in possession." Psalm 83:11

They wanted the houses and dwellings of the Jews ... for themselves! Just like Hitler's Nazis took the Jews' possessions greedily! Just like Israel's enemies, all fanatics, yet today want her land and her money and her homes and her very identity!  "No more Israel," they cry!

The verb "take" translates "yarash" and means to occupy, to seize, to rob or to expel! Sounds familiar, doesn't it?  In our King James Bibles "yarash" is rendered "take in possession."

It's first Bible use: to be an "heir!" Read it with me in Genesis 15:3. "And Abram said, Behold, to me thou hast given no seed: and, lo, one born in my house is mine heir."

The noun "houses" is unusual.  It is "naah" and means pastures or abodes or meadows! Now here's the land being in dispute!

These "ten" enemies of Israel are still alive today in spirit!

Anti-Semitism rages this very hour across the globe!

But they can't have Israel's land and homes and lives!

They belong to God Himself!

He calls the Jewish people "My jewels" in Malachi 3:17.

And "the apple of Mine eye" in Deuteronomy 32:10.

And "Mine heritage" five times in Jeremiah.

And "His holy nation" in Exodus 19:6.

And God claims the very land too! "My land" He calls it! This can be documented at Jeremiah 16:18 among many other places in the Word of God.

Long live Israel!

The Israel of God!

                                                                                     --- Dr. Mike Bagwell




The prayer of Psalm 83 now uses some very accurate word pictures. Interceding against Israel's greatest enemies, Asaph pleads: "O my God, make them like a wheel; as the stubble before the wind." Psalm 83:13

The precise name for God here is Elohiym, which emphasizes His great Strength and Power! This imprecation is addressed to the all powerful One! It is used 2606 times in the Bible with nearly 2350 of them being direct references to God Himself.

The verb "make" translates "shiyth" means "to appoint" or "to set in place" or "to fix" someone or something. The verb is also an imperative, revealing the intensity behind the request!

The preposition "like" is something close to "ke" in Hebrew and means "as" or "like" or "the likes of." In English we would call this construction, "like a wheel," a simile. It is a proper way to express comparison.

And a "wheel" ("galgal") is once in the King James Bible expressed as "a rolling thing." See Isaiah 17:13. "The nations shall rush like the rushing of many waters: but God shall rebuke them, and they shall flee far off, and shall be chased as the chaff of the mountains before the wind, and like a rolling thing before the whirlwind." When "pointed" differently our word here becomes "Gilgal," the well known city from the days of Joshua.

Lord, roll the enemies of Israel out of here!

Move them on down the road!

May their exit be swift and smooth!

And, he continues praying, make them "as the stubble" too! "As" is "ke" again, the preposition of comparison. Stubble is "qash" and means the useless and short and wind blown pieces of stubble or chaff. It is light in weight and easily blown into oblivion by even the slightest puff of wind!  Every Jew had seen such sights on windy days around his threshing floor!

Lord, blow them away!

Let the sweet breezes (or the terrible tempests) of Thy Holy Spirit scatter them away from Thy people and Thy land!

Here we have a pretty accurate way of praying for the enemies of God!

We hear a lot of talk today about being "politically correct."

I guess the real question is, "In whose eyes?"

But I will guarantee you this much. To be anti-Israel, anti-Semitic, a Jew hater (secular "political correctness" aside) is to ask for God's wrath and judgment upon oneself!  That I know!

Asaph ... and friends of Israel ... keep on praying!

God will answer this prayer!

                                                                            --- Dr. Mike Bagwell



LESSON 13, VERSES 14 and 15:

The Text continues ... "As the fire burneth a wood, and as the flame setteth the mountains on fire; so persecute them with thy tempest, and make them afraid with thy storm." Psalm 83:14-15

This astounding prayer of imprecation just freely flows, calling judgment upon the numerous enemies of Israel!

The verb "persecute" is "radaph" in Hebrew and means "to pursue" or "to run after" or "to chase." It implies chasing someone to do them harm!

The noun "tempest" ("saar") is translated simply as "storm" once in the Scriptures. Four more times it is "stormy."

To "make them afraid" (Hebrew = "bahal") is "to alarm, to terrify or to disturb."

The second weather term,  "storm," means a "whirlwind" or tornado!

Now the elements are being called down upon these Jew haters!

Like combustible kindling wood, burn them Lord!

As the dry grassy mountains violently spread a deadly fire, so ignite this ungodly confederacy with thy wrath!

Settle on them as a fierce storm might do, Lord! Bring Thy winds and Thy lightning and thunder and floods against their hateful hearts!

Again, this is pretty strong praying!

God has done such things before!

Our great God can use whirlwinds to test and strengthen his servants, for example Job, or He can use them to destroy His enemies, as here!

And He certainly knows how to use fire to achieve His goals! 

Think about Hell itself!

After all, He made the earth and all that therein is!

He is the Author of wind and rain and hail and snow and fire and sunlight too!

All things are at His command!

Long live the Jewish people!

I believe the Israelites will exist forever.  God promised such in Genesis 17:7. "And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee."

An everlasting covenant!

You do not want to be anti-Semitic!

                                                                                --- Dr. Mike Bagwell




The prayer continues.  It is a classic too!

Lord, asks the Psalmist: "Fill their faces with shame; that they may seek thy name, O LORD." Psalm 83:16

The verb "fill" (in Hebrew = "male") means "to overflow!"

And the enemies' "faces" ("paniym") represent their whole beings!  Body, mind, soul, spirit ... all of them!

And the noun "shame" is represented by the Hebrew term "qalon." It means "confusion" and sometimes "dishonor!"

This word is only used 17 times in the whole Bible!

Job said (10:15) that he was "full of confusion," using our precise word here.

Solomon in Proverbs loves this word!

There "shame" is the "promotion of fools!"  Proverbs 3:35

It is also the fruit of adultery ... "confusion!" Proverbs 6:33

It accompanies pride in Proverbs 11:2. "When pride cometh, then cometh shame: but with the lowly is wisdom."

A prudent man covers such "shame." Proverbs 12:16

While this trait is a companion to the rebelliously unlearned! "Poverty and shame shall be to him that refuseth instruction: but he that regardeth reproof shall be honoured."

It's the end result of scorning in Proverbs 22:10. "Cast out the scorner, and contention shall go out; yea, strife and reproach shall cease."

It is quite close to plain old embarrassment in Jeremiah 13:26. "Therefore will I discover thy skirts upon thy face, that thy shame may appear."

Look what God can do ... "As they were increased, so they sinned against me: therefore will I change their glory into shame." Hosea 4:7

God spoke these words to a wicked nation: "Thou art filled with shame for glory: drink thou also, and let thy foreskin be uncovered: the cup of the LORD'S right hand shall be turned unto thee, and shameful spewing shall be on thy glory." Habakkuk 2:16

But, in a real twist of irony, look at God's great Grace appear on the scene!

"Fill their faces with shame ... that they may seek thy name, O LORD."

That they may seek God's Name!

They obviously will not do so, but Grace has once again appeared to them!

Their subsequent rejection of God's loving appeal further guarantees their destruction and eternal punishment!

That verb "seek" ("baqash") is rendered "begging" once in the Bible!

It is even possible, according to the Bible, for a man or woman ... or a nation or confederacy of nations ... to sin so violently and habitually and unrepentantly that ... "Then shall they call upon me, but I will not answer; they shall seek me early, but they shall not find me: for that they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the LORD: they would none of my counsel: they despised all my reproof."  Proverbs 1:28-30

It sounds to me like hating Israel, God's chosen people, is one serious sin!

Yes, Deuteronomy 7:6 is still true. God spoke it to the Jews over 3500 years ago. "For thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God: the LORD thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth."


                                                                                 --- Dr. Mike Bagwell




The prayer ends without any de-intensifying at all!

"Let them be confounded and troubled for ever; yea, let them be put to shame, and perish: that men may know that thou, whose name alone is JEHOVAH, art the most high over all the earth." Psalm 83:17-18

The verb "confounded" basically means "to pale." It is in the King James Bible once "delayed" and once "dried!" It likely here clothes some kind of request for physical weakness. Psalm 70:2 captures it essence quite well. "Let them be ashamed and confounded that seek after my soul: let them be turned backward, and put to confusion, that desire my hurt." But, if you didn't "get" it, "Let them be confounded and consumed that are adversaries to my soul; let them be covered with reproach and dishonour that seek my hurt." Psalm 70:13

Or see Psalm 86:17. "Shew me a token for good; that they which hate me may see it, and be ashamed: because thou, LORD, hast holpen me, and comforted me."

To be "troubled" as requested here by Psalm 83:17 is "bahal." It means disturbed, alarmed, terrified, or dismayed! Using this verb, Joseph's brothers were "troubled" when they learned he was in control of Egypt! Genesis 45:3

Saul was this "troubled" the night before his death, when he consulted the witch of Endor! 1st Samuel 28:21

This same verb was used earlier in Psalm 83, in verse 15, where it was translated "make afraid."

To be "put to shame" translates "chapher," meaning "searched out, explored or investigated!" In the King James Bible its "root" is translated "dig" and even "paw" as well as "seek."

But ... why?

What's the over-arching purpose for this kind of judgment on the wicked?

What is the Psalmist's ultimate intent?  "... that men may know that Thou, whose name alone is JEHOVAH, art the most high over all the earth."

The verb "know" is "yada" and means to discern or perceive or distinguish or consider ... in all levels of consciousness!

By the world's standards there may be idols or other gods ... but by the Word of the Lord God Almighty there is none other than Him! His Name "alone" is Jehovah! "Alone" translates a little Hebrew word that means "separated" or "all by itself!"

"Jehovah" is God's saving Name!

The God Who is!

The great "I am That I am!"

And here, inclosing, we are told one more thing about this God, Jehovah. He is "most high" over all the earth!

Not being a local deity or a tribal invention, God is "elyon," or Most High! The term just means "uppermost!"

The first time we Biblically meet the "Most High God" is in Genesis 14 where Abraham and Melchizedek come face to face. There the Most High God is the "Possessor of Heaven and earth!"

Immediately after that great revelation Abraham refused to take any persona' battle spoils from the King of Sodom, a highly unusual response! Instead Abraham will trust his God, "El Elyon," to meet every need!

Folks, God owns this earth and all that it contains!

Some day, when it's far too late for multitudes, everyone will know!

The end of Psalm 83, its goal ... as is the goal of the entire scope of  history ... is the acknowledgement and glorification and worship of our Great God! After all, He is Most High!


                                                                               --- Dr. Mike Bagwell






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