Thursday, August 27, 2015

What "gods" is Psalm 82:1 talking about? I thought there was only one God?

Psa 82:1 NKJV - "1 A Psalm of Asaph. God stands in the congregation of the mighty; He judges among the gods."

Psa 82:1 NASB - "1 A Psalm of Asaph. God takes His stand in His own congregation; He judges in the midst of the rulers."

Psa 82:6-8 NASB - "6 I said, "You are gods, And all of you are sons of the Most High. 7 "Nevertheless you will die like men And fall like any one of the princes." 8 Arise, O God, judge the earth! For it is You who possesses all the nations."

If we read this on context and make note of the New American Standard versions translation then we see that the term “elohim” normally translated “God” or “gods” can also be applied to those in authority with no intention of implying that they are deity. 

The focus of the word is on greatness and power of the one in authority.  It normally refers to God or gods, but can refer to human beings and some think even angels.

Human rulers are seen as being responsible for ruling in the place and position of God to bring justice and mercy to the earth.  The Bible does not deny that there are other authorities both spiritual and human.  But only one Eternal being who is the creator of all other creatures.  Even the command “You shall not have any other gods before me” implies that we there are other authorities in our lives but none must come before or be held in greater honor than the one true creator of all things. 

This psalm is actually a reminder to human rulers that they will have to answer for their oppression and acts of injustice before the KING of kings.  

Ellicott’s commentary summarizes it well;

He judgeth among the godsi.e., He is among the judges as presiding judge. For “gods,” applied to men delegated with office from God, see Exodus 21:6, and, possibly, Exodus 22:8-9. (See also Note, Psalm 8:5, and comp. Exodus 4:16Exodus 7:1.) The custom of designating God’s vicegerents by the Divine name was a very natural one. The whole point of Psalm 82:6 lies in the double meaning the word can bear.

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