Question regarding Psalm 82 and “gods” with a small g?

Here is the entire psalm:

A psalm of Asaph. God presides in the great assembly; he gives judgment among the "gods":"How long will you defend the unjust and show partiality to the wicked? Selah. Defend the cause of the weak and fatherless; maintain the rights of the poor and oppressed. Rescue the weak and needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked. "They know nothing, they understand nothing. They walk about in darkness; all the foundations of the earth are shaken. "I said, 'You are "gods"; you are all sons of the Most High.' But you will die like mere men; you will fall like every other ruler." Rise up, O God, judge the earth, for all the nations are your inheritance.

As a Christian, I firmly believe we are all sinners in need of saving (Romans 3:23 & 6:23). I was in deep discussion with a universalist last week concerning the tenants of my faith as a believer. He believes according to this psalm that we are all somehow “gods”….which of course, is absolutely NOT true. Fellow Christians, what is your take on this particular psalm? I view it (according to various footnotes) as a meeting in heaven with God (just like in the beginning of Job) and the “gods” representing the appointed leaders of the earth.

Thanks for your input today… blessed.


14 Answers

  • 10 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    Great question. The context indicates that the "gods" were the useless leaders and judges of Israel who were unjust in their leadership roles. The cared not for the poor, used and abused them, they showed a lack of concern for their well being, they were merciless and without compassion. They took bribes from the rich (much like modern day politicians) so that they cared more for their job than in doing their job. They gave their senate seat to the highest bidder.

    Jesus used this text in the gospels when people were disputing His claim to deity. This text does not say that we are all gods, how can we be? We all die. Last time I checked, one of the requirements or qualifications of being a god is that there is a non death clause. Yes, Jesus died, but He rose again and He died willingly for others so that others could live.

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  • Anonymous
    10 years ago

    Primo, I agree with you that the "gods" refer to Israel's judges. I studied this Psalm several years ago and I will give you what I learned from it. I hope it will be beneficial to you and others who read it. God bless, my brother.

    Psalm 82 (Rebuke of Israel's Unjust Judges)

    (v. 1 The Judge of the judges stands)

    1 "God" (Elohim-true God/Creator) "stands" (ready to judge) in the "congregation of the mighty" (human judges); (II Chron. 19:6)

    He judges "among the gods" (human judges).

    (vv. 2-5 Accusations against unjust judges)

    2 How long will you "judge unjustly" (Ex. 21:5, 6),

    And show "partiality to the wicked" (iniquity, Prov. 18:5; II Chron. 19:7)? Selah

    3 "Defend" (vindicate) the poor and fatherless;

    Do justice to the afflicted and "needy" (go to others for help).

    4 Deliver the poor and needy;

    Free them from the "hand of the wicked" (poor at the disposal of judges).

    5 "They" (unjust judges) do not know, nor do they understand;

    They walk about in "darkness" (Prov. 2:12, 13);

    All the "foundations" (corruption in high places-Psalm 11:3) of the earth are unstable.

    (vv. 6-7 The sentence)

    6 I said, “You are "gods" (judges, Heb. elohim),

    And all of you are children of the "Most High" (Heb. Elyon - John 10:34, 35).

    7 But you shall die "like men" (Heb. adom= man's frailty),

    And fall like one of the "princes" (die as other men of high rank).”

    (v. 8 Judge the earth)

    8 Arise, O "God" (Elohim), judge the earth;

    For You shall "inherit" (Rev. 11:15) all nations.


    1) Rom. 13:1

    2) Psalm 11:3

    3) John 5:22

    Source(s): The New Open Bible Study Edition, NKJV and study notes I made in my Bible from a study done in the Book of Psalms
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  • 10 years ago

    Psa 82:1-8 . Before the great Judge, the judges of the earth are rebuked, exhorted, and threatened.

    1. congregation--(Compare Exd 12:3 16:1 ).

    of the mighty--that is, of God, of His appointment.

    the gods--or, "judges" ( Exd 21:6 22:9 ), God's representatives.

    2. accept the persons--literally, "lift up the faces," that is, from dejection, or admit to favor and communion, regardless of merit ( Lev 19:15 Pro 18:5 ).

    3, 4. So must good judges act ( Psa 10:14 Job 29:12 ).

    4. poor and needy--(Compare Psa 34:10 41:1 ).

    5. By the wilful ignorance and negligence of judges, anarchy ensues ( Psa 11:3 75:3 ).

    out of course--(Compare Margin; Psa 9:6 62:2 ).

    6, 7. Though God admitted their official dignity ( Jhn 10:34 ), He reminds them of their mortality.

    7. fall like, &c.--be cut off suddenly ( Psa 20:8 91:7 ).

    8. As rightful sovereign of earth, God is invoked personally to correct the evils of His representatives.

    Source(s): Commentary by A. R. FAUSSET
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  • Jan P
    Lv 6
    10 years ago

    In the Message the verse says He judges the judges. Which would be in agreement with what you have as leaders.

    The New Living Translation says He rules over the heavenly beings. I would assume that would be the angels and demons.

    As a psalm of Aseph, they are assumed to be written while the Israelites were in Exile, and therefore could be referring to those who had taken them into captivity in the first place.

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  • 10 years ago

    At Psalm 82:1, 6, ʼelo‧him′ is used of men, human judges in Israel. Jesus quoted from this Psalm at John 10:34, 35. They were gods in their capacity as representatives of and spokesmen for Jehovah. Similarly Moses was told that he was to serve as “God” to Aaron and to Pharaoh. (Exodus 4:16; 7:1)

    They were called gods because they were mighty in judicial power. Jehovah, as the Supreme Judge, had the divine right to enter into the midst of such judges to reprove them for failing to judge according to his law. (Isaiah 33:22; Psalm 82:2-4)

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  • 10 years ago

    It was Jesus that expounded on that verse and applied it to all adamites. This is the whole plan of God, to birth an offspring as God Himself by engrafting His Holy Spirit in the heart.

    Why did Satan rebel against God?

    Why did the Watchers fall?

    Why did Adam accept Satan’s counsel?

    This was to gain that inheritance which Christ died for to provide Himself as that Record and pattern of faith. There are no short cuts, you must overcome to inherit all things.

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  • 10 years ago

    I think it is used to denote our distinctiveness from the rest of the world, the children of the most high, a child of a kind, royalty...not that we are God but just used as a distinctiveness to people in the world

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  • Anonymous
    10 years ago

    The Hebrew word translated "god" here does not always mean the Hebrew God. It can also mean a human ruler or the false gods of the pagans.


    1) (plural)

    a) rulers, judges

    b) divine ones

    c) angels

    d) gods

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  • 3 years ago

    And whilst that super day cometh, behold, the time very quickly cometh that people who're now, or the seed of people who're now numbered between the folk of Nephi, shall not extra be numbered between the folk of Nephi. 14 yet whosoever remaineth, and is no longer destroyed in that super and dreadful day, would be numbered between the Lamanites, and shall grow to be like unto them, all, shop or no longer it somewhat is a few who would be called the disciples of the Lord; and them shall the Lamanites pursue even till they shall grow to be extinct. And now, with the aid of fact of iniquity, this prophecy would be fulfilled. 15 And now it got here to bypass that once Alma had stated those issues to Helaman, he blessed him, and additionally his different sons; and he additionally blessed the earth for the righteous’ sake. sixteen And he stated: subsequently saith our lord god—Cursed may be the land, yea, this land, unto each united states, kindred, tongue, and people, unto destruction, which do wickedly, whilst they're totally ripe; and as I easily have stated so shall or no longer it somewhat is; for it is the cursing and the blessing of God upon the land, for the Lord can't look upon sin with the least degree of allowance. 17 And now, whilst Alma had stated those words he blessed the church, yea, all people who could stand rapid in the religion from that element henceforth. 18 And whilst Alma had achieved this he departed out of the land of Zarahemla, as though to pass into the land of Melek. And it got here to bypass that he became by no potential heard of extra; as to his loss of life or burial all of us comprehend no longer of. 19 Behold, this all of us comprehend, that he became a righteous guy; and the asserting went in a foreign country in the church that he became taken up by potential of the Spirit, or buried by potential of the hand of the Lord, whilst Moses.

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  • 10 years ago

    The quotation marks around "gods" are a theologically-motivated editorial embellishment by the NIV. It's heretical and embarrassing to say so, but the passage sounds polytheistic because it is. It is among the oldest of the psalms, predating Josiah's reforms.

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