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Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Psalms 82:2

 

 

How long will you judge unjustly And show partiality to the wicked? Selah.

Adam Clarke Commentary

Accept the persons of the wicked? - "Lift up their faces," encourage them in their oppressions.

Selah - "Mark this:" ye do it, and sorely sLall ye suffer for it.


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Bibliography
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Psalms 82:2". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/psalms-82.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

How long will ye judge unjustly - literally, Judge evil. This is designed, evidently, to denote the prevailing character of the magistrates at the time when the psalm was written. Unhappily such occasions occur very often in the course of human affairs.

And accept the persons of the wicked? - literally, Lift up, or bear, the faces of the wicked. The meaning is, that they showed favor or partiality to wicked people; they did not decide cases according to truth, but were influenced by a regard for particular persons on account of their rank, their position, their wealth, or their relation to themselves. This is a common phrase in the Scriptures to denote favoritism or partiality. Job 34:19; Acts 10:34; Romans 2:11; 1 Peter 1:17; Leviticus 19:15; Deuteronomy 1:17.


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Bibliography
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Psalms 82:2". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/psalms-82.html. 1870.

The Biblical Illustrator

Psalms 82:2

How long will ye judge unjustly, and accept the persons of the wicked?

Magistrates rebuked for unjust judgment

1. The sin reproved in general, and that is unjust judgment,--a sin most peculiar to judges. To be covetous, envious, passionate, and proud, is evil; but to judge unjustly, to justify the wicked, and condemn the just is not only abominable, but an abomination in the abstract (Proverbs 17:15). This is iniquity and perverseness with a witness.

2. The duration of their sin, implied in “how long?” It implies that they had for a long time persevered in this practice, and therefore he doth not simply say, ye do unjustly, but how long will ye do unjustly? The interrogation is a vehement negation, ye ought in no wise to continue so long in your injustice as you have done.

3. The generality of the sinners implied in “ye”; how long will ye, i.e. all of ye, judge unjustly? There might be some few, some gleanings, as the prophet speaks (Micah 7:1-2), of just judges, but the generality was very corrupt.

4. An exegesis, an illustration, or, if you will, an aggravation of what went before. “Ye judge unjustly.” What is that? Why, ye accept the persons of the wicked, ye admire their persons, ye favour their faces, ye plead their causes; but the cause of the poor and the righteous man cannot be heard. In the original it is, Ye accept the face of the wicked. Now, to accept the face of a man is a Hebrew phrase, and signifies a showing favour and respect to a man (Genesis 19:22).

Observations:

1. Even great men, when they go astray, must be sharply reproved. But for this great wisdom and prudence is required.

2. Continuance in evil is a great evil. How long, saith God, will ye judge unjustly? To do an unjust act is ill, but to persevere for many years in acting unrighteousness is the height of evil. As perseverance in goodness is the crown of goodness (Job 2:3), so perseverance in sin is sin in grain; it is of a deep dye; it is hardly, if ever, set out again.

3. It is no wonder to see judges judge unjustly. They did so here, and God complains of such elsewhere (Isaiah 1:23; Jeremiah 5:1; Micah 3:9).

4. Few great men are good men. They are subject to great temptations, and so to great corruptions.

5. Perverting of judgment is a great sin (Ezekiel 22:6-7; Isaiah 5:6-7; Jeremiah 5:28-29; Amos 2:6; Amos 5:6-7; Amos 5:11; Malachi 3:5).

6. Magistrates must judge impartially. They must not respect persons but causes. They must look more on the face of the cause than the face of the man. This respecting of persons is not good, saith Solomon, that is, it is very bad (Proverbs 24:23). It is a sin oft forbidden (Deuteronomy 1:17; Deuteronomy 16:19; Job 13:8; Job 13:10; 2 Chronicles 19:6-7; Proverbs 18:5; Proverbs 28:21; James 2:9; Jude 1:16), Men must not judge according to any outward appearance or quality of the person that appears before them, but according to the equity of the cause (John 7:24). (T. Hall, B. D.)

Corrupt judges

Catiline, being prosecuted for some great offence, corrupted the judges. When they had given their verdict, though he was acquitted only by a majority of two, he said he had put himself to a needless expense in bribing one of those judges, for it would have been sufficient to have had a majority of one. (Plutarch’s Cicero.)


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Bibliography
Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "Psalms 82:2". The Biblical Illustrator. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tbi/psalms-82.html. 1905-1909. New York.

Coffman's Commentaries on the Bible

THE DENUNCIATIONS AND WARNINGS

"How long will ye judge unjustly,

And respect the persons of the wicked?

(Selah)

Judge the poor and fatherless:

Do justice to the afflicted and destitute.

Rescue the poor and needy:

Deliver them out of the hand of the wicked.

They know not, neither do they understand;

They walk to and fro in darkness:

All the foundations of the earth are shaken.

I said, Ye are gods,

And all of you sons of the Most High.

Nevertheless, ye shall die like men,

And fall like one of the princes."

"How long will ye judge unjustly" (Psalms 82:2)? "These judges are not evil angels, who in later Judaism were regarded as guardians of the nations."[4] Who were they? They were the ones to whom God gave the Law of Moses, the Israelites (See John 10:34ff), particularly the wicked judges upon whom this chapter is focused.

"Judge the poor ... fatherless ... afflicted ... destitute, and deliver them out of the hand of the wicked" (Psalms 82:3-4). Many are the Biblical denunciations of Israel's wicked judges. Zephaniah 3:3 refers to those judges as "evening wolves"; and Amos repeatedly stated that they would sell the poor "for a pair of shoes" (Amos 2:6; 8:6). Furthermore, those prophets were not speaking of "angels" but of the corrupt judges of the chosen people. Those who are familiar with the sordid record cannot be surprised that Jesus founded one of his parables upon the "Unjust Judge."

"They know not ... neither understand ... but walk in darkness" (Psalms 82:5). This is the statement of God regarding the scandalous judges of Israel. Their ignorance and lack of understanding in view here were in no sense innocent, but willful. As Christ himself explained it, "Their eyes they have closed and their ears they have stopped, lest they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears and understand with their hearts, and should turn again and I should heal them" (Acts 18:26-27).

"All the foundations of the earth are shaken" (Psalms 82:5). This simply means that with a corrupt judiciary, Israel's foundation as a nation was already in a very precarious condition. No nation can long survive when the judiciary becomes corrupt.

See the chapter introduction for a full discussion of Psalms 82:6.

"Nevertheless, ye shall die like men, And fall like one of the princes." (Psalms 82:7)

"Ye shall die like men." This is an unfortunate rendition, because it seems to say that "the angels" alleged to be spoken of here shall even die like human beings die. "The death here is evidently a penalty impending upon these unjust judges from God himself. Though exalted in their position, they were not divine, but human."[5]

To paraphrase this verse, "You shall certainly die just like all other mortals die."

"This verse contrasts the purely human fate of the unjust judges with the superhuman dignity of their calling."[6]

This mention of death to the unjust judges forbids the notion that angels are addressed; because, the angels of God are not subject to death, except in the case of the fallen angels who followed Satan; and that death will be eternal punishment, not ordinary death.


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James Burton Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.

Bibliography
Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on Psalms 82:2". "Coffman Commentaries on the Old and New Testament". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/psalms-82.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

How long will ye judge unjustly,.... These are the words not of the psalmist, but of the divine Person that stands in the congregation of the mighty, and judges among the gods; calling the unjust judges to an account, and reproving them for their unrighteous proceedings and perversion of justice, in which they had long continued, and which was an aggravation of their sin; this is very applicable to the rulers and judges of the Jewish nation in the times of Christ, who had long dealt very unjustly, and continued to do so; they judged wrong judgment, or judgment of iniquity, as Aben Ezra renders it, both in civil and ecclesiastical things; their judgment was depraved concerning the law, which they transgressed and made void by adhering to the traditions of the elders; they passed an unrighteous judgment on John the Baptist, the forerunner of Christ, rejecting his baptism, and calling him a devil; and upon Christ himself, adjudging him to death for crimes he was not guilty of; and upon his followers, whom they cast out of the synagogue; the character of an unjust judge see in Luke 18:2,

and accept the persons of the wicked? gave the cause in favour of them, and against the righteous, because they were rich, or related to them, or had bribes from them, contrary to the law in Deuteronomy 16:19, so the judges among the Jews, in Christ's time, judged according to appearance, the outward circumstances of men, and not righteous judgment, as our Lord suggests, John 7:24.

Selah. See Gill on Psalm 3:2.


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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rightes Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855

Bibliography
Gill, John. "Commentary on Psalms 82:2". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/psalms-82.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

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

(b) For thieves and murderers find favour in judgment when the cause of the godly cannot be heard.

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Bibliography
Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Psalms 82:2". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/psalms-82.html. 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

accept the persons — literally, “lift up the faces,” that is, from dejection, or admit to favor and communion, regardless of merit (Leviticus 19:15; Proverbs 18:5).


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These files are a derivative of an electronic edition prepared from text scanned by Woodside Bible Fellowship.
This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.

Bibliography
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Psalms 82:2". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/psalms-82.html. 1871-8.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

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

How long — The psalmist speaks to them in God's name.

Accept — By giving sentence according to your respect or affection to the person.


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These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.

Bibliography
Wesley, John. "Commentary on Psalms 82:2". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/psalms-82.html. 1765.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

2How long will ye judge unjustly? Many suppose that God is here introduced speaking, and that these are the words which he utters from his throne of judgment. But I would rather consider the prophet himself as the speaker, who, in order to prepare the way for administering a rebuke, had spoken in the manner in which he did in the first verse. Kings may lift up their heads above the clouds, but they, as well as the rest of mankind, are under the government of God; and such being the case, it is in vain for them arrogantly to struggle to obtain exemption from the obligations of reason. Yet this is what they do. Although tyrants are amongst the basest of men, and occupy their exalted station by detestable treason, yet if any servant of God has the fortitude to open his mouth against them, they immediately attempt to shelter themselves by appealing to the sacred name of God, as if great wrong had been done to them. Thus, whilst they persuade themselves that they are privileged with exemption from the law to which the rest of mankind are subject, they endeavor to deprive the common people of divine truth and its ministers. In short, they think that there can be no sovereignty unless where uncontrolled license is enjoyed. But let this principle be once established, “That God rules among them,” and then a way is opened up for the admission of divine truth. Accordingly, the prophet, after having thus laid a foundation for his authority, freely inveighs against princes, and reproves the very gross vice of selling themselves to those who unrighteously oppress the poor, and of being gained by bribes to pervert in their administration every principle of justice. He expressly names the wicked; for good men will never attempt to corrupt judges. Moreover, there is a certain devilish frenzy which infatuates the princes of the world, and leads them voluntarily to pay greater respect to wicked men than to the simple and innocent. Even supposing that the wicked continue inactive, and use no endeavors to obtain for themselves favor either by flattery, fraud, bribery, or other artifices; yet those who bear rule are for the most part inclined of themselves to the bad side. The reason why the prophet upbraids them is, that wicked men find more favor at their hands than the good and conscientious.


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Bibliography
Calvin, John. "Commentary on Psalms 82:2". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/psalms-82.html. 1840-57.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Psalms 82:2 How long will ye judge unjustly, and accept the persons of the wicked? Selah.

Ver. 2. How long will ye judge unjustly] viz. Through a cyclopical contempt of God’s severity.

Ne pecces, Deus ipse videt.

Will ye represent and express God to the world as a corrupt, crooked, and unrighteous judge?

And accept the persons of the wicked?] Heb. lift up their faces, and show them more favour than others that are much more honest? Barabbas oft is released, and Christ crucified. Alter habet aequum, sed alter habebit aequum, said that partial emperor, This man hath the right on his side, but the other shall carry the cause, for all that.


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Bibliography
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Psalms 82:2". John Trapp Complete Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/psalms-82.html. 1865-1868.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Psalms 82:2. Accept the persons To accept persons, is become an established expression, with a known meaning, and therefore may be continued; but the original signifies to lift the faces, to abet and countenance the wicked, and give them undue encouragement. Mudge.


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Bibliography
Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Psalms 82:2". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/psalms-82.html. 1801-1803.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

The psalmist speaketh to them in God’s name, and reproves them for their continued and resolved unrighteousness in their public administrations.

Accept the persons, by overlooking the merits of the cause, and giving sentence according to your respect or affection to the person.


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Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Psalms 82:2". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/psalms-82.html. 1685.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

2. How long will ye judge unjustly—God, who stands in the assembly, speaks to the ministers of justice. The “how long” is the first thundertone to the consciences of these corrupt office bearers, and calls their attention back to the law. Leviticus 19:15; Deuteronomy 1:17.

Accept the persons of the wicked—Lift up the faces of the wicked; give them assurance and favour, having respect to their persons, which was forbidden in the law. Leviticus 19:15


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Bibliography
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Psalms 82:2". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/psalms-82.html. 1874-1909.

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

Psalms 82:2. How long will ye judge unjustly? — The psalmist speaks to them in God’s name, and reproves them for their continued unrighteousness in their public administrations; and accept the persons of the wicked — By overlooking the merits of the cause, and giving sentence according to your respect or affection to the person. It appears from Isaiah 1:23, that the courts of justice were very corrupt in Hezekiah’s reign, at which time probably this Psalm was written.


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Bibliography
Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Psalms 82:2". Joseph Benson's Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/psalms-82.html. 1857.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

To thee? Hebrew, "be not silent to thyself." (Pagnin) --- But domi also implies "like;" (Bellarmine) and there would otherwise be a sort of tautology. (Berthier) --- Christ on earth was like other men: but when he shall come to judgment, non will be comparable to Him. (St. Augustine) --- Amama says this exposition is groundless: but others are of a contrary opinion. (Haydock) --- The ancient Greek interpreters seem not to have varied from the Septuagint, though St. Jerome adopts the present Hebrew, "be not silent. Hold," &c., which may express the utmost fervour and want of protection. Thy own cause is now at stake: the enemy wishes to destroy religion. (Calmet)


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Bibliography
Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Psalms 82:2". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/psalms-82.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

accept the persons. Compare Leviticus 19:15. Proverbs 18:5. 2 Chronicles 19:7.

wicked = lawless. Hebrew. rasha". App-44.

Selah. Connecting the indictment with the command to judge righteously. See App-66.


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Bibliography
Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Psalms 82:2". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/psalms-82.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

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

How long will ye judge unjustly, and accept the persons of the wicked? - i:e., show partiality to the wicked because of their wealth, or go into the opposite extreme of partiality to the user because of his poverty (Exodus 23:3). The original passage hero referred to is Leviticus 19:15; Deuteronomy 1:17. Compare the parallel (Psalms 58:1).

Selah. A pause to give time for serious meditation on the rebuke which precedes, as in Psalms 4:4.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Psalms 82:2". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/psalms-82.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(2) How long?—What a terrible severity in this Divine Quousque tandem!

“The gods

Grow angry with your patience; this their care,

And must be yours, that guilty men escape not;

As crimes do grow, justice should rouse itself.”

BEN JONSON.

Judge unjustly.—Literally, judge iniquity. For the opposite expression see Psalms 58:1. Leviticus 19:15, which lays down the great principle of strictly fair and unbribable justice is evidently in the poet’s mind, as is shown by the use of the next clause.

Accept the persons.—Literally, lift up the faces. An expression arising from the Eastern custom of prostration before a king or judge. The accepted suitor is commanded to “lift up his face,” i.e., to arise. (Comp. Proverbs 18:5, and Jehoshaphat’s address to the judges, 2 Chronicles 19:7.) This fine sense of the majesty of incorruptible justice attended Israel throughout its history. (See Sirach 7:6.)


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Bibliography
Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Psalms 82:2". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/psalms-82.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

How long will ye judge unjustly, and accept the persons of the wicked? Selah.
How
62:3; Exodus 10:3; 1 Kings 18:21; Matthew 17:17
judge
58:1,2; Exodus 23:6,7; Leviticus 19:15; Micah 3:1-3,9-12
accept
Deuteronomy 1:17; 2 Chronicles 19:7; Job 34:19; Proverbs 18:5; Galatians 2:6

Copyright Statement
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Bibliography
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Psalms 82:2". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/psalms-82.html.

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