Psalm 82

note; this is a tentative suggestion. Jesus quotes verse 6 of the rulers – mighty ones – who did not apply righteous judgment, so B and B’ seem to go well together. C is telling them what they ought to do but C’ shows what they are like in reality.

A. 1 God standeth in the congregation of the mighty;
he judgeth among the gods.

B. 2 How long will ye judge unjustly,
and accept the persons of the wicked? Selah.

C. 3 Defend the poor and fatherless:
do justice to the afflicted and needy.
4 Deliver the poor and needy:
rid them out of the hand of the wicked.

C’. 5 They know not, neither will they understand;
they walk on in darkness:
all the foundations of the earth are out of course.

B’. 6 I have said, Ye are gods;  and all of you are children of the most High. 7 But ye shall die like men, and fall like one of the princes.

A’. 8 Arise, O God, judge the earth:
for thou shalt inherit all nations.

3 thoughts on “Psalm 82”

  1. How about this version – happens to be LXX – too bad comments can’t show color:

    Psa. 81:0
    A Psalm. Pertaining to Asaph.
    Psa. 81:2
    A. God stood in a gathering of gods,
    but in their midst he discerningly judges gods:

    Psa. 81:2
    B. “How long will you judge with injustice a.
    and to sinners show partiality? Interlude on strings b.

    Psa. 81:3
    B’ “Give justice to orphan and poor; a’1
    of lowly and needy maintain the right. 2
    Psa. 81:4
    Deliver needy and poor; b’2
    from a sinner’s hand rescue them.” 1

    Psa. 81:5
    A’ They had neither knowledge nor understanding; a.
    in darkness they walk around;
    all the foundations of the earth will be shaken. b.

    Psa. 81:6
    I said, “Gods you are, c.
    and sons of the Most High, d.
    Psa. 81:7
    but you all are dying like men, d’
    and like one of the rulers you fall.” c’

    Psa. 81:8
    Rise up, O God, judge the earth, b’
    because you will gain possession of all the nations. a’

    1. In Psalm 82 there is a chiasm, with righteousness, or justice, at the centre, as follows:

      A (1) A Psalm of Asaph. God standeth in the congregation of the mighty; he judgeth among THE GODS.

      B (2) How long will ye judge unjustly, and accept the persons of THE WICKED? Selah.

      C (3) Defend THE POOR and fatherless:

      D (3) DO JUSTICE TO THE AFFLICTED AND NEEDY.

      C′ (4) Deliver THE POOR and needy:

      B′ (4, 5) rid them out of the hand of THE WICKED. They know not, neither will they understand; they walk on in darkness: all the foundations of the earth are out of course.

      A′ (6) I have said, Ye are GODS; and all of you are children of the most High.

    2. Key to the association of vs 5 with a sub-structural chiasm in vs 5-8 (rather than the previous verses) is the Jewish association of the Gentile “nations” (vs 8) with having “neither knowledge nor understanding; in darkness they walk around” (vs 5).
      Isaiah 9:2 “The people who walk in darkness will see a great light; those who live in a dark land, the light will shine on them.”
      Isaiah 42:6 (quoted in Acts 13:47) “…I will appoint You as a covenant to the people, as a light to the nations.”
      (cf. Isaiah 49:6, Rom 2:19, Eph 4:17-18)
      It is ironic that the rulers and judges of Israel rebelled against God and acted as wickedly as the Gentiles. If the psalmist gets his wish, God will judge them in the same manner.

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