Who are the “gods” in Psalm 82?

Psalm 82:1

Hebrew:

אֱלֹהִים נִצָּב בַּעֲדַת־אֵל בְּקֶרֶב אֱלֹהִים יִשְׁפֹּט

Interlinear:

God [is] standing in-the-assembly-of-god in-the-midst-of gods(or god)he judges

Septuagint:

Ὁ θεὸς ἔστη ἐν συναγωγῃ̂ θεω̂ν, ἐν μέσῳ δὲ θεοὺς διακρίνει

Interlinear:

The god stands in meeting-place of-gods, in middle of gods he judges

Targum Psalms (trans. by Edward Cook): God, his presence abides in the assembly of the righteous who are strong in Torah; he will give judgment in the midst of the righteous judges

KJV: God standeth in the congregation of the mighty; he judgeth among the gods.

NIV: God presides in the great assembly; he gives judgment among the "gods"

NASB: God takes His stand in His own congregation; He judges in the midst of the rulers.

NLT: God presides over heaven’s court; he pronounces judgment on the heavenly beings

CEV: When all of the other gods* have come together, the Lord God judges them (footnote: the other gods: This probably refers to the gods of the nations that God defeated, but it could refer to God's servants (angels) in heaven or even to human rulers.)

NAB: *God rises in the divine council, gives judgment in the midst of the gods (footnote: [Psalm 82] As in Psalm 58, the pagan gods are seen as subordinate divine beings to whom Israel’s God had delegated oversight of the foreign countries in the beginning (Deut 32:8–9). Now God arises in the heavenly assembly (Psalm 82:1) to rebuke the unjust “gods” (Psalm 82:2–4), who are stripped of divine status and reduced in rank to mortals (Psalm 82:5–7). They are accused of misruling the earth by not upholding the poor. A short prayer for universal justice concludes the psalm (Psalm 82:8).

15 Answers

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    Good question, and I need to clear up something AmericanPatriot said above. Jesus did not use this as his argument to prove he was God, but rather that he was -God's Son-. Just read the text:

    Jesus answered them, "Is it not written in your Law, 'I have said you are gods'? If he called them 'gods,' to whom the word of God came—and the Scripture cannot be broken— what about the one whom the Father set apart as his very own and sent into the world? Why then do you accuse me of blasphemy because I said, 'I am God's Son'? [John 10:34-36 NIV]

    A Bible student only needs to back up several verses to get the clear picture:

    Starting in verse 25: Jesus answered, "I did tell you, but you do not believe. The miracles I do IN MY Father's name speak for me, but you do not believe because you are not my sheep. My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. MY Father, who HAS GIVEN them to me, is GREATER THAN ALL; no one can snatch them out of my Father's hand. I and the Father are one."

    Again the Jews picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus said to them, "I have shown you many great miracles FROM THE Father. For which of these do you stone me?"

    "We are not stoning you for any of these," replied the Jews, "but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God."

    Notice everything Jesus did was by the power and will of His Father in Heaven. Jesus said that he and his Father were one- obviously from the text in their united purpose in gathering their sheep, not one in the same being. My wife and I are one flesh, but not one being. The angry Jews picked up their stones because they thought Jesus was claiming to be God. What did Jesus say in response? You stone me rightly because I am the One and Only True God, YHWH Most High? Nope!

    Jesus says look angry mob of Jews [paraphrased], "don't the scriptures call mighty rulers 'gods' and Moses a 'god' and the holy angels 'gods'? Then why are you going to blast me with stones for claiming to be [here is the kicker!] GOD's SON!?" That's right, Jesus was claiming to be God's Son.

    Only by stopping at verse 33 can you come to the popular Trinitarian conclusion.

  • Kokita
    Lv 4
    4 years ago

    And when that great day cometh, behold, the time very soon cometh that those who are now, or the seed of those who are now numbered among the people of Nephi, shall no more be numbered among the people of Nephi. 14 But whosoever remaineth, and is not destroyed in that great and dreadful day, shall be numbered among the Lamanites, and shall become like unto them, all, save it be a few who shall be called the disciples of the Lord; and them shall the Lamanites pursue even until they shall become extinct. And now, because of iniquity, this prophecy shall be fulfilled. 15 And now it came to pass that after Alma had said these things to Helaman, he blessed him, and also his other sons; and he also blessed the earth for the righteous’ sake. 16 And he said: Thus saith the Lord God—Cursed shall be the land, yea, this land, unto every nation, kindred, tongue, and people, unto destruction, which do wickedly, when they are fully ripe; and as I have said so shall it be; for this is the cursing and the blessing of God upon the land, for the Lord cannot look upon sin with the least degree of allowance. 17 And now, when Alma had said these words he blessed the church, yea, all those who should stand fast in the faith from that time henceforth. 18 And when Alma had done this he departed out of the land of Zarahemla, as if to go into the land of Melek. And it came to pass that he was never heard of more; as to his death or burial we know not of. 19 Behold, this we know, that he was a righteous man; and the saying went abroad in the church that he was taken up by the Spirit, or buried by the hand of the Lord, even as Moses.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    This psalm calls the rulers and judges of Israel 'gods' and 'sons of the Most High.' They were called gods because they represented God in executing judgment. John 10:34-36 records Jesus using this passage to defend His claims to be God. His argument was as follows: If God would call mere men 'gods', why was it blasphemous for Him the true Son of God, to declare himself equal with God?

    (believer since 1964, Bible teacher since 1988)

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Psalms 82 and 83 are strong pleas to Jehovah to execute his judgments against his enemies and the enemies of his people. Far from being vindictive, these petitions are to the end " that people may search for your name, O Jehovah...,[and] that people may know that you, whose name is Jehovah, you alone are the Most High over all the earth." { 83:16, 18} Last in this section comes Psalm 89, highlighting " Jehovah's expressions of loving-kindness," as shown preeminently in his covenant made with David. This is for an everlasting heir to David's throne, who will rule to time indefinite before Jehovah { Jesus} Verses 1, 34-37

    Source(s): Bible Study
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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    The judges of Israel are the gods mentioned in Psalms 82. They are called gods because they act as God's spokesmen

    Some of the judges were judging with injustice and showing partiality to the wicked.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    The word "stand" often means to establish or set up, and though it also can mean simply to stand, establish is a better translation choice in this verse.

    Adam was created "in the image of Elohim". Elohim, as you probably already know, is a plural word referring to the plural nature of our creator.

    What this verse appears to be saying is that creator Elohim is the one who establishes the assembly or congregation of God (inferring His domination or posession) and being creator, he judges among all that is created, including those appointed dominion (referred to here as elohim).

    It is the differentiation between creator Elohim and created Elohim that is the deciding factor that resolves the confusion of the dual usage of the term.

    Regardless of how powerful created elohim happen to be, Elohim the creator is the ultimate judge.

  • 1 decade ago

    Etymology of the Word "God"

    (Anglo-Saxon God; German Gott; akin to Persian khoda; Hindu khooda).

    God can variously be defined as:

    the proper name of the one Supreme and Infinite Personal Being, the Creator and Ruler of the universe, to whom man owes obedience and worship;

    the common or generic name of the several supposed beings to whom, in polytheistic religions, Divine attributes are ascribed and Divine worship rendered;

    the name sometimes applied to an idol as the image or dwelling-place of a god.

    The root-meaning of the name (from Gothic root gheu; Sanskrit hub or emu, "to invoke or to sacrifice to") is either "the one invoked" or "the one sacrificed to." From different Indo-Germanic roots (div, "to shine" or "give light"; thes in thessasthai "to implore") come the Indo-Iranian deva, Sanskrit dyaus (gen. divas), Latin deus, Greek theos, Irish and Gaelic dia, all of which are generic names; also Greek Zeus (gen. Dios, Latin Jupiter (jovpater), Old Teutonic Tiu or Tiw (surviving in Tuesday), Latin Janus, Diana, and other proper names of pagan deities. The common name most widely used in Semitic occurs as 'el in Hebrew, 'ilu in Babylonian, 'ilah in Arabic, etc.; and though scholars are not agreed on the point, the root-meaning most probably is "the strong or mighty one."

    Ancient Greek δαίμων daimōn is a word for "spirit" or "divine power", much like the Latin genius. The Merriam-Webster dictionary gives the etymology of the Greek word as from the verb daiesthai "to divide, distribute." The Greek conception of a δαίμων notably appears in the works of Plato, where it describes the divine inspiration of Socrates. To distinguish the classical Greek concept from its later Christian interpretation, it is usually anglicized as either daemon or daimon rather than demon.

    The Greek term does not have any connotations of evil or malevolence. In fact, εὐδαιμονία, literally "good-spiritedness", is a term for "happiness". The term first acquired its now-current evil connotations in the Septuagint translation of the Hebrew Bible, informed by the mythology of the ancient Semitic religions. This connotation was inherited by the Koine text of the New Testament. The medieval and neo-medieval conception of a "demon" in Western civilization (see the Medieval grimoire called the Ars Goetia) derives seamlessly from the ambient popular culture of Late (Roman) Antiquity. Greco-Roman concepts of daemons that passed into Christian culture are discussed in the entry daemon, though it should be duly noted that the term referred only to a spiritual force, not a malevolent supernatural being. The Hellenistic "daemon" eventually came to include many Semitic and Near Eastern gods as evaluated by Christianity.

    Source(s): Catholic Encyclopedia & Wikipedia.
  • 1 decade ago

    The "gods" in that verse are the rulers and judges. They are standing before God, to give an account of what they have done on earth.

    Here is what my study bible has to say.

    "In the language of the Old Testament, and in accordance with the conceptual world of the ancient Near

    East, rulers and judges as deputies of the heavenly King, could be given the honorific title "god"

    So it isn't saying there is more than one god, its just a colloquialism.

  • 1 decade ago

    Prior to the Babylonian Captivity, Judaism was polytheistic and Yahweh (or El depending on whether you lived in the southern or northern kingdom) was first among equals.

    This is the consensus amongst biblical scholars and all the thumbs down in the world will not change that.

  • cosmo
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    There are still some passages in the Bible that go back to pre-monotheistic days.

    The Elohim are the Canaanite pantheon headed by El-yon and Asherah.

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