Truth, Understanding, Insight

Psalm 83

8th February 2022, hej


1) A Song or Prophecy

There is some speculation in Christian eschatology that Psalm 83 speaks Israel of our time. In a recent conversation with another I asked which modern nations are referred to. Let us look at it.

A Song or Psalm of Asaph. Keep not thou silence, O God: hold not thy peace, and be not still, O God. For, lo, thine enemies make a tumult: and they that hate thee have lifted up the head. They have taken crafty counsel against thy people, and consulted against thy hidden ones.
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.
For they have consulted together with one consent: they are confederate against thee: 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 83:1-8)

This is not a Psalm of David, but rather of Asaph the son of Berechiah (I Chron15:17) a Levite, David's contemporary.

Moreover David and the captains of the host separated to the service of the sons of Asaph, and of Heman, and of Jeduthun, who should prophesy with harps, with psalteries, and with cymbals: and the number of the workmen according to their service was: Of the sons of Asaph; Zaccur, and Joseph, and Nethaniah, and Asarelah, the sons of Asaph under the hands of Asaph, which prophesied (speak or sing by inspiration) according to the order of the king. (1Chron 25:1-2)

The Hebrew concept of prophey is far from eschatology as can be imagined. Primarily a prophet was a leader and teacher delivering contemporary rebuke where Yahweh Elohim say if they don't repent of specific sins he would respond with specific judgements in the near future. Jonah's message to Nineveh is a clear case of a similar rebuke to the nations. In some cases the message has a tail to it pointing to the end. Asaph was a prophet, a man of praise and peace in a time of war. But he is not a prophet to the nations but one who would create inspired worship music. We must always understand context. There were people inspired to design and make fittings for the Tabernacle. Asaph was inspired to make music made of words, which were accompanied by harp and cymbals for teaching and worship.

In the design of all parts of the worship, the songs of Asaph were fit for purpose. It would be impossible that a song for worship would only have a primary meaning as a word to Christians at the very end of the age! It's first and primary use was to encourage the Jewish people in service to Yahweh. Its immediate purpose belongs in the context it was written – which was a time of existential war.

2) Historical Context of Psalm 83

In the era of the Judges due to the sins of Israel, and not removing the Canaanites as commanded (which became 'thorns' Numbers 33:55) they found they were always fighting wars. In the time of Samuel when the priests were sinners, the matter was so acute the people demanded that they have a king to go before them into battle (I Sam 2:20) In I Samuel 12:12 Samuel says they asked a king due to Nahash king of Ammon attacking them. But the Ammonites were only one enemy. Saul was always at war and died in battle.

So Saul took the kingdom over Israel, and fought against all his enemies on every side, against Moab, and against the children of Ammon, and against Edom, and against the kings of Zobah, and against the Philistines: and whithersoever he turned himself, he vexed them. And he gathered an host, and smote the Amalekites, and delivered Israel out of the hands of them that spoiled them. (1Samuel 14:47-48)

Asaph in his Psalm speaks in the present tense of a threat, perfectly in keeping with his King's era of warfare. This warfare continued from the wars in the era of Saul. David's era was so filled with wars, that he shed much blood.

But the word of the LORD came to me, saying, Thou hast shed blood abundantly, and hast made great wars: thou shalt not build an house unto my name, because thou hast shed much blood upon the earth in my sight. (1Ch 22:8 also cp 28:3)
Solomon sent to Hiram, saying, Thou know how that David my father could not build an house unto the name of the LORD his God for the wars which were about him on every side, until the LORD put them under the soles of his feet. (1Kings 5:2-3)

We are not told specifically of a major singular battle, but it may be gathered from the wars of Saul and David there was, if not a confederacy, an agreement among the enemies to fight Israel! We know David fought Edom, Moab, Ammon, Amalek and the Philistines

Them also king David dedicated unto the LORD, with the silver and the gold that he brought from all these nations; from Edom, and from Moab, and from the children of Ammon, and from the Philistines, and from Amalek. (1Chron. 18:11)

King David also fought the Syrians,

Which also king David did dedicate unto the LORD, with the silver and gold that he had dedicated of all nations which he subdued; Of Syria, and of Moab, and of the children of Ammon, and of the Philistines, and of Amalek, and of the spoil of Hadadezer, son of Rehob, king of Zobah (in Syria). And David gat him a name when he returned from smiting of the Syrians in the valley of salt, being eighteen thousand men. And he put garrisons in Edom; throughout all Edom put he garrisons, and all they of Edom became David's servants. Yahweh preserved David whithersoever he went. (2Samuel 8:11-14)

Whereas Saul failed in the matter of Amalek (1 Sam28:18), David was so successful against Amalek they are never mentioned afterwards.

Map Source: Carl Rasmussen Zondervan Atlas of the Bible

The Syrians who David fought are not mentioned in Psalm 83 which refers to the Assryians which in Hebrew is 'Asher' a totally different name to Aram.

Psalm 83 also names Tyre. When David takes Jerusalem from the Jebusite, Hiram the king is ready to support David

Hiram king of Tyre sent messengers to David, and cedar trees, and carpenters, and masons: and they built David an house. (2Samuel 5:11)

Whether the people of Tyre were with their king may be another matter. It is possible the 'inhabitants of Tyre' mentioned in Psalm 83 were helping the enemies of Israel, though also some at least were supplying King David timber.

Also cedar trees in abundance: for the Zidonians and they of Tyre brought much cedar wood to David. (1Ch 22:4)

One point of consideration is that Israel did evil in the era of of the Judges serving among others, the gods of Zidon (Judges10:6) and

The Zidonians also, and the Amalekites, and the Maonites, did oppress you; and ye cried to me, and I delivered you out of their hand. (Judges 10:12)

The Hagarenes are not often mentioned (6 times) but they are defeated in the days of Saul.

In the days of Saul they made war with the Hagarites, who fell by their hand: and they dwelt in their tents throughout all the east land of Gilead. (1Chronicles 5:10)

The Hagarenes were conquered and at least one served David

Over the camels also was Obil the Ishmaelite: and over the asses was Jehdeiah the Meronothite: And over the flocks was Jaziz the Hagerite. All these were the rulers of the substance which was king David's. (1Ch 27:30-31)

After this point the Hagarites/enes vanish. We see also an Ishmaelite served David.

The Ishmaelites of Psalm 83 are also Midianites (Judges 8). We do not know if the Midianites after their defeat by Gideon, or the Ishmaelite traders, were also confederate in the days of David with those of Edom, Moab and Amalek - it is possible. Asaph would have known the history of his people. The victory over the Ishmaelites of Midian is described.

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. (Jdg 7:25)

This history is highly significant as Asaph references Midian's fate. The second part of Psalm 83 speaks of Asaph's prayer for the end of the all the enemies of Israel to be like Midian's.

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. 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. O my God, make them like a wheel; as the stubble before the wind. 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. Fill their faces with shame; that they may seek thy name, O LORD. 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 Yahweh, art the most high over all the earth.(Psalm 83:9-18)

In the days of Asaph the wars of Saul from the era of the Judges merge into the wars of David as he establishes the kingdom of Israel. Those wars were existential, they were wars of the present tense as Asaph wrote. Asaph prayed and looked forward in the future – not to their utter destruction- but rather their defeat be a witness to the miraculous power of Yahweh.

David was helped to defeat all Israel's enemies. By the reign of Solomon where the kingdom was extended to a large territory all was quiet it would seem as if Asaph's prayer is answered. It would seem all is history.

There is one question - Surely Asaph knew the difference between Assyria (Ashur) and Syria (Aram)? The Jews themselves knew they had crossed over and come out of the land of Aram. I can find no reference to Israel facing a threat of any sort from Assyria in the days Asaph with King David reigning to about 1020BC. Assyria existed in the form of the very ancient Semetic city state of Assur near Nineveh. What is of interest is that it is known that in 1200-936BC that Assur maintained 'the best warriors in the world'

Assyrian kings during this period appear to have adopted a policy of maintaining and defending a compact, secure nation and satellite colonies immediately surrounding it, and interspersed this with sporadic punitive raids and invasions of neighbouring territories when the need arose, including campaigning as far as the Mediterranean and sacking Babylonia. Wikipedia

The Assyrians began empire building from 911BC after the time of Solomon, but may indeed have sent mercenaries, known to those of that era but not recorded for us. In any case Asaph made them into a song.

When later Hezekiah is facing being obliterated by Assyria he calls the Levites to sing Asaph's words, and Asaph's work as a seer is specifically mentioned.

Moreover Hezekiah the king and the princes commanded the Levites to sing praise unto the LORD with the words of David, and of Asaph the seer. And they sang praises with gladness, and they bowed their heads and worshipped. (2Chron. 29:30)

But this time of Hezekiah did not specifically fulfil Psalm 83, Ashur was not specifically confederate. Zidon was a snare and at one point during the era of the Judges oppressed Israel, but were the inhabitants of Tyre at any time known to be fighting Israel and known to be confederate with their enemies in ancient history? It may be the case, but it cannot be found. Tyre is condemned for pride (Isaiah 23:9).

Here we pause and consider that God's enemies make a tumult, take crafty counsel, consult saying come let us cut them off and have many words to say - but do nothing! It looks like Baalam and Moab's efforts and there is a deeper truth revealed in the list when we see that, considering the failure of Solomon and kings thereafter was marrying them. The focus of Psalm 83 is to put words in Israel's mouth to give Glory to the God of Israel, and to teach them who was God's enemy.

3) Context of Prophecy: Israel Reborn

If Asaph's wish list of curses upon Yahweh's enemies seems to have rather more wide reaching enemies than any actual battles in his era, we might see these enemies better in a context of how events have fulfilled other prophecy.

Tyre, Zidon & the Philistines

Joel looking to a time then future, when Judah and Jerusalem are bought back to the land, mentions Tyre being confederate with the Philistines.

For, behold, in those days, and in that time, when I shall bring again the captivity of Judah and Jerusalem, I will also gather all nations, and will bring them down into the valley of Jehoshaphat, and will plead with them there for my people and for my heritage Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations, and parted my land. And they have cast lots for my people; and have given a boy for an harlot, and sold a girl for wine, that they might drink. Yea, and what have ye to do with me, O Tyre, and Zidon, and all the coasts of Palestine? (Hebrew Philistine) will ye render me a recompence? and if ye recompense me, swiftly and speedily will I return your recompence upon your own head; (Joel 3:1-4)

All nations are to be brought to fight Yahweh over Jerusalem, yet Tyre, Zidon and the coasts of the Philistines are given a special mention. Though many nations have fought over Jerusalem, history has not had a time when all nations fight. Because Revelation 16 speaks of all nations being brought to a place in the Hebrew tongue and Joel 3 speaks of Tyre and the Philistines as Psalm 83, some have though that Psalm 83 is about the wars of latter day Israel.

Beginning at Joel 3 we know that Tyre and Zidon is in Modern Lebanon. Tyre the great Phonecian trading state was destroyed finally by the Greeks who pushed it into the sea. Though a fishing place only, its name was retained and it was an area that Christ walked freely, being part of the Roman empire. After an era of little significance, it was for nearly 400 years in a backward part of the Ottoman Empire. When the Ottomans lost to the British who had inherited the trade of Tyre in the Great War, the land was partitioned and given by agreement to their allies the French to administer.

Whereas in all of history until the recent present there has been no situation where Tyre and Zidon would need again recompense, but since 1970 the PLO has moved into the area of Tyre and Zidon, and that led to a war with Israel, where Israel occupied that part of Lebanon only to give it up. Since Israel left that branch of the PLO has destroyed all of Lebanon . Whether they can survive while destroying their host nation is yet to be seen.

Whereas there was in the ancient past no specific affinity between the Philistines and those of Tyre, there is now strong agreement between the people of the former Philistine area of Gaza of the PLO and the PLO faction inhabiting Tyre and Zidon. They hope to destroy Yahweh's work by 'liberating' of Jews the area the British called Palestine, after the Roman label recalling the Philistines.

The PLO was set up in 1964 to eradicate all the Jews from the small area of land they had won in war in 1948.

In direct fulfilment of Joel 3 the people of the PLO in Tyre, Sidon and Gaza have been confederate to recompense Yahweh's miracle nation of Israel since 1964, and have gone out to all the nations of the world, with no exaggeration, to agitate to have Jews removed from all (or at least any defensible part) of the former British Mandate of Palestine (hence their 1964 title 'P* Liberation Organisation'). It is not uncommon for nations remote from the Middle East to offer support to the PLO cause and advocate for Jews to be removed from part of the Land. This issue under the guise of the 'two state solution' is even as I write bringing nations to a state where they would support a war against Jews in Jerusalem.

Edom Moan & Ammon

Edom, Moab and Ammon are mentioned in Psalm 83. The nations are given a special mention as Mt Sier in Ezekiel 35 which is after the shepherds of Israel are rebuked and Yahweh Elohim promises Israel's faithful shall be given a new covenant and good pasture on the Mountains of Israel. It is before the image of the revival of the valley of the dried bones.

Moreover the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, Son of man, set thy face against mount Seir, and prophesy against it, And say unto it, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, O mount Seir, I am against thee, and I will stretch out mine hand against thee, and I will make thee most desolate. I will lay thy cities waste, and thou shalt be desolate, and thou shalt know that I am the LORD. Because thou hast had a perpetual hatred, and hast shed the blood of the children of Israel by the force of the sword in the time of their calamity, in the time that their iniquity had an end: Therefore, as I live, saith the Lord GOD, I will prepare thee unto blood, and blood shall pursue thee: since you have not hated blood, even blood shall pursue thee.
Thus will I make mount Seir most desolate, and cut off from it him that passeth out and him that returneth. And I will fill his mountains with his slain men: in thy hills, and in thy valleys, and in all thy rivers, shall they fall that are slain with the sword. I will make thee perpetual desolations, and thy cities shall not return: and ye shall know that I am the LORD. Because thou hast said, These two nations and these two countries shall be mine, and we will possess it; whereas the LORD was there: (Ezekiel 35:1-10)

It is well known the Edomites existed at the time of Christ. They had been forcibly converted to Judaism, which eventually ended their independent existence. The Edomites had attacked the Jews at the time of the destruction of the first temple fitting into this pattern of the hatred and then the later removal as a people by conquest. But Ezekiel does not say Edom, but Mt Sier. Mt Sier is today associated with the famous wonder of the world, desolate ruined 'city' of Petra famous for the Nabataeans, an Arab tribe who ruled in the region of Edom. True to the pattern the Nabataeans,

The Nabataeans were allies of the first Hasmoneans (Jews) in their struggles against the Seleucid monarchs. They then became rivals of the Judaean dynasty, and a chief element in the disorders that invited Pompey's intervention in Judea. Wikipedia

Eventually the blood pursued them and the Romans conquered and annexed the whole area of the Nabataeans in 106AD.

Yet as the section of Ezekiel begins with Yahweh Elohim seeking in all the nations for the scattered Jewish people (34:12) to bring them to the Mountains of Israel, the Mt Sier of Ezekiel corresponds to Jordan as it is the most famous and prominent mountain in Jordan. Though hardly any live in the desolate area of Mt Sier itself since Byzantine times, it is a symbol of the nation of Jordan. Ezekiel had to name it for over two millennia before it existed. It also has a context where the Mountains of Israel are pitted against Mount Sier. We may go look and see the perpetual wastes of the cities of Mt Sier and see the fate of all those that shed the blood of the people of Israel and who say Israel and Judea are theirs when they are Yahweh Elohim's.

It is not hard now to find who are the people who hate and who shed blood, who love blood and who say that Israel and Judea are theirs, though Jews were given the Promised Land won from Jordan by an amazing miracle in 1967. The people of Mt Sier possessed the land of promise. In 1948 those of Jordan, possessing Mt Sier's ruins, sought also to take all the land from Jews through an existential war. Jordan bought in people and gave them land from 1948 to 1967. These people now through shedding of blood, even their own blood, seek to remove Jews bought there by God. We can see that it is exactly as Ezekiel has written, and we can see as a harbinger the witness of the famed destroyed cities of Mt Sier. We can also see that their blood has pursued them, as hatreds and internal factions are killing their own. As the first part has come to past, the last part of fullness of destruction of the cities of those of who hate and kill, even their own, will surely follow.

In these events fulfilling Ezekiel 35 with the perpetual hatred of Mt Sier we see a parallel to Psalm 83 that names the same hatred from Edom, Moab and Ammon. The confederates call of Psalm 83, “Come, and let us cut them off from being a nation; that the name of Israel may be no more in remembrance.” is similar to what Ezekiel prophesies those of Mt Sier will say, “These two nations and these two countries shall be mine, and we will possess it; whereas the LORD was there:” Ezekiel is prose and has much detail in context - Psalm 83 is a song that establishes a pattern as to how we are to see the hatred and tumult over God's plan for Israel.

More Enemies: Syria & Egypt with Jordan

Ezekiel 36 goes into more detail which confirms that the prophecy is of our time since 1918 and 1948.

Also, thou son of man, prophesy unto the mountains of Israel, and say, Ye mountains of Israel, hear the word of the LORD: Because the enemy hath said against you, Aha, even the ancient high places are ours in possession: Therefore prophesy and say.. Because they have made you desolate, and swallowed you up on every side, that ye might be a possession unto the residue of the heathen, and ye are taken up in the lips of talkers, and are an infamy of the people:
Therefore, ye mountains of Israel, hear the word of the Lord GOD; Thus saith the Lord GOD to the mountains, and to the hills, to the rivers, and to the valleys, to the desolate wastes, and to the cities that are forsaken, which became a prey and derision to the residue of the heathen that are round about; Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Surely in the fire of my jealousy have I spoken against the residue of the heathen, and against all Idumea, which have appointed my land into their possession with the joy of all their heart, with despiteful minds, to cast it out for a prey.
Prophesy therefore concerning the land of Israel, say unto the mountains.. Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I have spoken in my jealousy and in my fury, because ye have borne the shame of the heathen: Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; I have lifted up mine hand, Surely the heathen that are about you, they shall bear their shame. But ye, O mountains of Israel, ye shall shoot forth your branches, and yield your fruit to my people of Israel; for they are at hand to come. (Ezekiel 36:1-8)

Mt Sier is named in Chapter 35, but now in Chapter 36 there is 'the enemy' indicating a vast collective. Who has the ancient high places in possession? The Jordanians have been given power over the Temple Mount so the theme seems again the same as in Chapter 35, yet Jerusalem is littered with 'holy' places claimed by various Christian sects who all also seek possession of the Holy place, indicating a wider definition. Ezekiel speaks of the 'residue of all the nations' about Israel and Idumea another name for Mt Sier, Edom, as if Idumea is a special case among general condition.

Since the Ottoman Turks lost control of the desolate mountains of Israel, which is Judea and Samaria, to the British in WW1, the possession of the Mountains has been contentious to all nations adjacent and many other nations. In addition every nation bordering Israel, Jordan, Syria, Egypt and Lebanon has fought with Israel and lost prestige or land to be a 'residue' of their former selves.

From 1945, before even Israel was a nation the 'Arab league of states' formed, 'with despiteful minds, to cast it out for a prey.' In 1948 there was all out war as Egypt, (Trans) Jordan, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and Yemen all sent forces to fight the Jewish Yishuv and their Bedouin allies. At this time Israel was formed to once again make Psalm 83 relevant in type, in all points as the intent was a holy war to deny the Power of the God of Israel. Psalm 83 did not mention Egypt, or Syria, or Yemen.

Ezekiel 36 indicates that Jews of Israel are given the Mountains precisely due to those who seek the high places for their possession. As they hate and seek to 'swallow' up Israel on every side with Jordan taking the Mountains and Egypt taking Gaza, they keep pushing and in 1967 there is an Egyptian incited war against Israel involving Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Lebanon. As a result Israel gained Gaza, the Golan heights, the Sinai and all the Mountains of Israel. Truly these nations become residues. But this was not enough such was their hate that they tried again on Yom Kippur 1973 Egypt, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Algeria, Jordan, Iraq, Libya, Kuwait, Tunisian, Morocco, Cuba and Sudan with the backing of the USSR, North Korea and Pakistan. Surely they thought they would win and there was no other intent than that 'with the joy of all their heart, with despiteful minds, to cast it out for a prey.' Israel held and retained land gaining more on the Golan and the Suez reaching within 32km of Damascus. But there was no reduction in hatred.

Whereas the peace made with Egypt in 1979 after the Yom Kippur war was reasonably robust. The later peace treaty with Jordan in 1994 was very cold and implacable hatred remained, with all other belligerent nations. In the time since 1973 the number of Jews living on the Mountains of Israel expanded greatly, and they became fertile, even exporting fruit. Ezekiel 36 accurately in context describes the history of the last 100 years speaking of the nations about without naming them precisely with a focus on Idumea which refers to the key role of Hashemite Jordan in every conflict, indeed until the present day.

The action of Ezekiel 35 and 36 parallels Psalm 83. The Arab led events from 1918-2018 fulfill the pattern of Psalm 83 as there is no doubt that they have been in tumult and been confederate in an attempt to cut of Israel from being a nation and there is no doubt whatsoever they have a hatred to the God of Israel. Ezekiel did not name names, though being precise as to the locations and actions as most nations involved except Egypt are modern. By contrast Psalm 83 names names in a list.

Edom, & the Ishmaelites; of Moab, the Hagarenes; Gebal, and Ammon, and Amalek; the Philistines with the inhabitants of Tyre; Assur also is joined with them: helping the children of Lot (Moab & Ammon).

4) Reprise: Israel reborn's Enemies

Whereas these nations Edom, Ishmaelites Moab, Hagarenes, Gebal, Ammon, Amalek; the Philistines with the inhabitants of Tyre and Assur in the main were contemporary enemies of Asaph's experience especially in the matter of their pagan gods, they are not a precise list of enemies that fought from the other records. Do these nations refer to Arabs or to the nations involved in Israel reborn? If the whole is taken as the 'vibe of the thing', it works both in the long history of the past and the much shorter present, but the detail of that list of names tends to be hard to pin down.

Those seeking eschatological significance with a western mind, suggest that Psalm 83 is a prophecy of a final battle before Christ returns. I asked one who had studied it recently who were the nations referred to, and it was clear that they had recently been rethinking them, but were happy to name Jordan which relates to Edom, Ammon, and Moab. They also named Iran, Hezbollah in Lebanon (which would equate to Tyre) and Hamas in Gaza may relate to the Philistines. They equate Iraq with Assyria and Amalek with the Bedouin. As Iran is directly linked to all but Jordan and as Ezekiel 38 names Iran as Persia, with a strong role and Iraq and Northern Syria is Assyria, once again new are faced with the list seeming not to be precise. We seem at present to be missing the Ishmaelites who may be named as 'the Arabs' and the Hagarenes and Gebal (in Idumea). As the last named seem small in the past and in Israel borders we might suggest the Hagarenes are Fatah in the so called 'West Bank' and Gebal is again Jordan.

Tumult against Israel

The question I have is looking at who is involved, why does this Psalm refer to a last days battle as in what way has it not been fulfilled at any and all times since 1964? Even before Israel was a nation reborn those who emerged from the Ottoman Empire have 'lifted up the head' with hatred, 'tumult', 'crafty counsel' and 'consultations together' to murder Israel still-born. And when it was born in 1948 they were 'confederate together' and have said, “Come, and let us cut them off from being a nation; that the name of Israel may be no more in remembrance.”

Whereas the idea of 'the Arabs' seeking to destroy Israel in yet another all out war was sustainable in the era leading up to the implosion of Syria and ISIS rise, it is no longer sustainable partly due to ISIS demise. At the time of ISIS rise I noted to many and all and sundry that ISIS was a catalyst. Subsequent events have borne this out, as ISIS was instrumental in destroying Syria and Iraq, and has now come to challenge Hamas in Gaza as well. One reason why the idea of 'the Arabs' is no longer sustainable as it is rather hard to identify 'the Arabs' unless we mean Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain, Kuwait and Qatar, with half of these now forming anti-Iran relationships with Israel, and the others forming pro-Iran relationships. The Arabs in Israel proper are now more likely than not increasingly identifying themselves as 'Israeli'. What was loosely called 'the Arabs' is now Egypt (who are in the main are not Arabs) fighting the Muslim Brotherhood and insurgents in the Sinai. Saudi Arabia is in a struggle with Iran, Yemen and Turkey. Turkey (which is not Arab) is actually fighting for regional hegemony in Syria, but as we write cannot afford power and has terrible currency woes and inflation. Actually everyone, including the British are fighting in Syria. At this point we can see that their fate since 1964 is exactly as Psalm 83 sets out!

Curse comes on Israel's enemies

We have the hatred and the tumult leading up to 1948-49 and we see Asaph's curse comes.

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)

There was a miracle in 1948 where the 'rivers' over-flowed 'the banks' and Jews poured into Israel One of the lead conspirators working with the British, Abdullah I bin Al-Hussein of Jordan survived the war as he was not leading troops, but like Sisera was killed by someone he would have thought an ally.

He was assassinated in Jerusalem while attending Friday prayers at the entrance of the Al-Aqsa mosque by a nationalist Palestinian in 1951 of the Hussenini clan. Wikipedia.

In the struggle of two brothers to succeed their father, British conspiracy was confounded, and the anti-British mentally ill brother Talal prevailed. Though the leaders bodies were not dung on the earth- many of those Arabs who died fighting died with record of their name.

Israel lost 6,373 of its people, The exact number of Arab casualties is unknown…. In 1958, Palestinian historian Aref al-Aref calculated that the Arab armies' combined losses amounted to 3,700, with Egypt losing 961 regular and 200 irregular soldiers and Transjordan losing 362 regulars and 200 irregulars. According to Henry Laurens, the Palestinians suffered double the Jewish losses, with 13,000 dead, 1,953 of whom are known to have died in combat situations. Of the remainder, 4,004 remain nameless but the place, tally and date of their death is known, and a further 7,043, for whom only the place of death is known, not their identities nor the date of their death.

There can be no doubt that some at least became dung for the earth in whatever estimate, as they had no idea who had perished.

The psalm continues

Make their nobles like Oreb, and like Zeeb: yea, all their princes as Zebah, and as Zalmunna: (Psalm 83:11)

There was a noble involved in the 1948 war. Count Folke Bernadotte, of the Swedish Royal house. Though there is every likelihood that the Count was trying to be even handed, he did suggest that Jerusalem would be internationalised and the UN would control Jewish migration, and allow Arabs to return. He was assassinated by the militant Zionist group Lehi. The lead commander Hasan Salama of the local Arab militia who was 'raised up' as he had led the 1936 Arab revolt was killed early in the 1948 war and “On 22 October, Israeli naval commandos using explosive boats sank the Egyptian flagship Emir (King) Farouk,” Wikipedia. In both wars 1948 and more so in the 1967 war, the nobles and princes are the aircraft that give superiority. In 1967 Israel famously slew the air superiority of Egypt, Jordan and Syria.

The next section of the Psalm Asaph calls on power only Yahweh Elohim has.

Who said, Let us take to ourselves the houses of God in possession. O my God, make them like a wheel; as the stubble before the wind. 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. Fill their faces with shame; that they may seek thy name, O LORD. Let them be confounded and troubled for ever; yea, let them be put to shame, and perish: (Psalm 83:12-17)

Is this judgement to be exhibited on one 'last-day', six or ten 'last-days', or have we seen people as stubble before the wind and self-inflicted fire for 70 years?


Tyre was known for its trade in the Cedar of the mountains. The most famous image of Lebanon is the burning cedar as the Beirut, the Paris of the Mediterranean, fell into utter chaos since they let in the PLO. I remember in the 1990s that they had some hopes of rebuilding in Lebanon, but surely none could have foreseen that it would get worse and people would have no governance, a self inflicted destructive explosion further destroy the city, rampant inflation and no electricity.

In plain words Zidon was rebuked in Prophecy

Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I am against thee, O Zidon; and I will be glorified in the midst of thee: and they shall know that I am the LORD, when I shall have executed judgments in her, and shall be sanctified in her. For I will send into her pestilence, and blood into her streets; and the wounded shall be judged in the midst of her by the sword upon her on every side; and they shall know that I am the LORD. And there shall be no more a pricking brier unto the house of Israel, nor any grieving thorn of all that are round about them, that despised them; and they shall know that I am the Lord GOD. Thus saith the Lord GOD; When I shall have gathered the house of Israel from the people among whom they are scattered, and shall be sanctified in them in the sight of the heathen, then shall they dwell in their land that I have given to my servant Jacob. And they shall dwell safely therein, and shall build houses, and plant vineyards; yea, they shall dwell with confidence, when I have executed judgments upon all those that despise them round about them; and they shall know that I am the LORD their God. (Eze 28:20-26)

As this prophecy is in prose and clearly notes the gathering of Israel from where they were scattered, it's clear it would apply in this generation since 1948 and 1967. As Jews have been gathered, those of this area have been a 'Pricking Brier' from the area of Zidon, including incursions and rocket attacks. We have seen that Zidon suffers blood on their streets and the sword on every side, which might have been observed any time since they let in the PLO and is more evident in recent times since 2011 when all about them in Syria there is fighting, and in addition there are now divisions within.

Egypt & Syria

Egypt, that got the Sinai from Israel for 'peace' has been considerably weakened by the Sinai insurgency since 2011, not helped by the Moslem Brotherhood and the remnants of ISIS. But if Egypt has an issue since 2011, Syria has been almost utterly destroyed, so much so some are killing powerful tribal leaders in the Euphrates area, tribes made powerful because Syria, Turkey and the Kurds are all weakened. Bashar Assad in 2013 bitterly claimed Hezbollah's involvement in Syria was the 'rebels' attempt to 'choke the resistance' the struggle against Israel. I saw a documentary before the civil war began in Syria of an undercover reporter asking youth on a train in Syria about Israel and found latent and absolute hatred. Before that Israel had removed Syria's attempt at a nuclear program; On September 6, 2007, Israeli fighter-bombers destroyed a mysterious installation near the Euphrates River in the Deir-ez-Zor region.

Jordan & Falestininans (no 'P' in Arabic)

If the Jordanian Arab, Syrian, Lebanese and Egyptian discord during their wars against Israel was notable, the discord has only increased as a fire and since 2011 as a destroying tempest. Jordan is in crisis as its ruling family is at odds with its parliament, but this article traces how it has always been close to crisis and though surviving 2011 is becoming unsustainable. Fatah is at odds with Hamas both in Gaza and the so called 'West Bank' and cannot agree, even as Hamas power in Gaza is threatened by ISIS. Though the Biden Adminstration seeks to restore the role of the Fatah led PA, they are hamstrung by the pay for slay laws of US Congress, and the utter corruption of the PA.


Iraq (which might be called Ashur Assyria) after long wars with Iran, suffered an American led invasion for phantom weapons of mass destruction, has suffered incursions by the Kurds and constant internal attacks. The people who call themselves Assyrians are mostly Chaldean Christians are scattered globally.

Bedouin & Arab clans

Whether the Bedouin of Israel's Negev are more than a vexatious thorn of Numbers 33:55 or indeed whether there is any unity among the remnants of the people that came during Ottoman and British settlement and the Arab clans of the Mountains of Israel is yet to be seen. But at least one Hebron Arab clan leader has called a truce with Jews.

'The Arabs'

It is also very hard to sustain the idea that 'the Arabs' hate Israel and wish to destroy it anymore when UAE and Bahrain are doing business with Israel, and the Saudi's are clearly talking. At the very least the Arab world is already divided as stubble before the wind.

A point to note is that Psalm 83 when compared to prose prophecy lacks the 'thus saith Yahweh'. It lacks the “this shall occur.” Asaph's 'prophecy' is a prayer, a hope, a wish put in the mouths the Jews for all time that they remember their existence is a witness and that they be helped and the enemies destroyed, not for their glory but the Glory of Yahweh Elohim the Mighty One of Israel.

5) Psalm 83 & Purpose of the Psalms

Asaph was a music writer, inspired to set up a worship and praise for the Jewish people for all time. Since the volume was closed at the time of Ezra well before the common era there have been no additions. Every culture can easily distinguish between poetry and song and mere prose. If we have any doubt as to the difference we may compare the far reaching analogies of Deborah's song in Judges 5 to the plain account of the defeat of Sisera's army in Judges 4. Or we could compare Moses' hyperbolic victory song of Exodus 15 and the plain account of the defeat of Pharaoh.

The references to psalms explain they are to express thanks, joy, praise for Yahweh's wondrous works (1Chron 16:9. Pslam 95:2, 105: 2), melody to the Lord and merriness (Eph 5:19 Jas 5:13). Paul says they are for teaching and admonition to have grace in the heart (Col 3:16). Therefore unlike all other scripture they were designed to teach and be easy to remember. Our Lord said that things concerning himself if the Law, Prophets and Psalms had to be fulfilled (Luke 24:44). but he placed the inspired plain word before the inspired songs of praise. The one reference he makes in teaching to using he psalms is rather to establish the obtuse nature of the psalms as he asks why David calls his son 'Lord' (Luke 20:42) which leaves the thought leaders of his day without words.

Psalm 83 is unlike any other national hymn written in a time of war. It is not about Israel's enemies, but Yahweh Elohim's enemies. It begins by teaching that there are many enemies of Yahweh, who hate him and that Israel are the people of God, and therefore hated by many nations. Even in long exile the Psalm was relevant as though Jews were not facing those specific enemies the vibe was true, their enemies making tumult were Yahweh Elohim's enemies. Remember that the issue Samuel berated the people about, when they asked for a king, was that they were not like other nations and Yahweh Elohim was their king. Asaph made it a song. This Psalm is deeply of its context. Asaph was there and finds the heart of the issue- since the prophecy of Baalam to Moab all nations about knew that Israel's existence was a witness to the God of Israel. Asaph was teaching Israel that Yahweh Elohim's enemies would seek to destroy Israel, not for their sake but for the power of their God. Asaph them makes it real by naming all about Israel of his day. Did these enemies of Israel collude at one point in one massive invasion, or was it an unwritten undertone to every individual effort that the matter at the heart was the witness of the existence of Israel's God? From the history of the time of Asaph and from every point since, it is the latter.

Israel was even taught in song to distrust the hearts and motives of the efforts of the inhabitants of Tyre, while they were supplying building materials of their Tabernacle! The psalm names obscure peoples, and peoples who no longer exist. It names the far flung Ashur Assyria before it was an enemy, but it does not name Egypt. The list seems ordered and may have much to do with the music of the names and the poetry of beginning with Edom the brother of Jacob and ending with Lot the nephew of Abraham.

The beginning of the psalm says the nations named hated Yahweh Elohim, so the inspired omission of Egypt had to do with the lack of hate of Yahweh Elohim from Egypt back then, and presumably for all time the psalm was to be sung.

Egypt was glad when they departed: for the fear of them fell upon them. (Psalm 105:38)

The summary conclusion of the whole inspired psalm, which in all understanding and interpretation should prevail, is that the enemies of Yahweh Elohim are destroyed and dispersed and in doing so Yahweh Elohim's name is glorified in all the earth before all nations.


In the context of the psalm's historical setting, primary message and purpose, we should be wary of trying to read it as a prophecy of our time as may be found in the book of Ezekiel, Isaiah or Daniel. The nations have been long lost or scattered as the Psalm required. There are no nations called Edom or Moab. The Hagarenes are not to be found. Amalek was wiped out in the time of David. The genetic descendents of the Philistines who were not Semites or Canaanites but from Caphtor (Amos 9:7) are no more to be found as a distinct people. The great merchant traders of Tyre walked away on their own feet after their trading city was destroyed (Isaiah 23:7). Even the remaining proud Assyrians who now mostly worship Chaldean Christianity are dispersed in many nations.

There are modern peoples in these ancient lands. There is again tumult, enmity and hate of the Jews in the land because it is the witness of the God of Israel. Jews may chant the psalm and learn once again that it is not about them, but Yahweh Elohim. The detail of the psalms may be based in poetry but the substance will be fulfilled – and even in partial fulfilment they will not be fully fulfilled until all the enemies of Yahweh are for ever silenced.

O LORD. 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 Yahweh, art the most high over all the earth. (Psalm 83:18)