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Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Psalms 83:18

 

 

That they may know that You alone, whose name is the LORD, Are the Most High over all the earth.

Adam Clarke Commentary

That men may know - That they may acknowledge, and be converted to thee. Here is no malice; all is self-defense.


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Bibliography
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Psalms 83:18". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/psalms-83.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

That men may know - That all people may be impressed with the belief that thou art the true and only God. This was the design and aim of the prayer in the psalm. It was that there might be such a manifestation of the power of God; that it might be so evident that the events which had occurred could be traced to no other source than God himself, that all people might be led to honor him.

That thou whose name alone is Jehovah - To whom alone this name belongs; to whom alone it can be properly ascribed. This was the special name by which God chose to be known. Exodus 6:3. Compare the notes at Isaiah 42:8. On the word Jehovah - יהוה Yahweh - see the notes at Psalm 68:4. It is found in combination, in Genesis 22:14; Exodus 17:15; Judges 6:24; Ezekiel 48:35; Jeremiah 23:6; Jeremiah 33:16.

Art the Most High over all the earth - Thou art the Supreme God, ruling over all people. Thy dominion is so absolute over nations, even when combined together, and thy power is so complete in foiling their plans, and disconcerting their purposes, that it is clear that thou dost reign over them. He that could break up such a combination - he that could rescue his people from such an allied force - must have all power over the nations - must be the true God.


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Bibliography
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Psalms 83:18". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/psalms-83.html. 1870.

The Biblical Illustrator

Psalms 83:18

That men may know that Thou, whose name alone is Jehovah, art the most high over all the earth.

The inner proofs of God

The age in which we live is frequently characterized as an age of unbelief. Certainly it is an age in which much unbelief comes to the front, aggressively; and hence it is an age of conflict in regard to fundamental verities. The question raised, then, is whether the possible God is unknowable. Is the Absolute unthinkable? From one quarter the response is affirmative. An innumerable host out of all kindreds, tongues, and nations confess that the thought of God is the strongest force in life, the purest comfort in sorrow, the one rock-idea which no storm shakes, as true, as real, as natural, as fruitful as any thought, and more. To them history without that word is a riddle, being a mystery, life a torment, and death a horror. The concurrent testimony of millions affirms the central fact that God is, and the affirmation rests upon the experimental knowledge that He is. The fact is the reality; the knowledge is man’s recognition of the reality. Only the unreal is unknowable. It is not, however, a question of majorities. The real point involved is, why does the great mass of mankind think that they can and do cognize God as the focal reality, the spiritual sun in the firmament of being? The data of the theistic argument are all to be found in man. Mr. Morell, adverting to this fact in his “History of Philosophy,” asks, “Do we wish the argument from being? Man in his own conscious dependence has the deepest conviction of that Independent and Absolute One on Whom his own being reposes. Do we wish the argument from design? Man has the most wonderful and perfect of all known organizations. Do we wish the argument from reason and morals? The mind or soul of man is the only accessible repository of both, Man is a microcosm, a world in himself; and contains in himself all the essential proof which the world furnishes of Him who made it.” And to those who with Schleiermacher accept the doctrine of immediateness, that is, the consciousness of God as an original and primary act of the soul antecedent to reflection or reasoning, man stands forth as the mirror of God, for it is in the depths of his nature that the two meet face to face. Man looks at himself, into himself, and by studied processes of thought or by sudden leaps of unconscious induction, he arrives at a knowledge of himself. He is not looking to see God in any mystic sense, but he is looking to see proofs of God. We come to the knowledge of God in much the same way as we come to the knowledge of our fellow-men. You could never know me if you did not first know yourself. The proof that I exist is in your existence. The evidence that I think is in your thought. That is to say, from the ascertained premise that you think you draw the conclusion that I think. “The Father in heaven,” says Dr. Flint, “is known just as a father on earth is known.” The latter is as unseen as the former. No human being has really ever seen another. No sense has will, or wisdom, or goodness for its object. Man must infer the existence of his fellow-men, for he can have no immediate perception of it; he must become acquainted with their character through the use of his intelligence, because character cannot be heard with the ear, or looked upon with the eye, or touched with the finger. Yet a child is not long in knowing that a spirit is near it. As soon as it knows itself it easily detects a spirit like its own, yet other than itself, when the signs of a spirit’s activity are presented to it. The process of inference by which it ascends from the works of man to the spirit which origin-ares them is not more legitimate, more simple, and more natural than that by which it rises from nature to nature’s God. The argument for God is many-sided, but the one determining force in us is that which seems like an instinct, which is original, primary, universal. No formal demonstration of God by trains of syllogistic reasoning could maintain theism through the ages but for the help of this implanted aptitude of the soul to respond to the thought of God. Anselm’s a priori, beautiful as it is, belongs to trained thinkers, while the millions assert their knowledge of God with the same spontaneous confidence with which a child trusts the proof of parental love. Nature is clearer-headed than philosophy. And is so because Nature looks with all her faculties at the broad landscape of truth, and believes that she sees it, every cliff and scar, every bend of the river and flowery meadow, every forest and nestling cottage. Philosophy, meanwhile, is busy with the mechanism of the eye, and announces that the landscape is a miniature picture painted on the retina--a scientific truth, no doubt! But we are not fashioned to contemplate objects under the lead of a single faculty. We could not appreciate beauty if we should always keep the structure of the organ of vision in mind. We look--we see--we rejoice; we believe that we see what we see, we know that we see, and we know that all men excepting those who have lost the organ of vision see; and if at any time the thought comes to us that what we see is a picture on the retina, we accept the reflection as demonstrating the reality of the landscape, which, however, we did not doubt existed in all its beauty. It was not necessary to corroborate the fact. From the data before us we naturally inferred the reality of the scene by the same law of thought as that by which we rise from the phenomena of our consciousness to the reality of God. Now let us examine some of these phenomena.

1. The great mass of mankind think that they can and do know that there is a God, because they find themselves reaching out into the realm of spirit after a power that is above them in the oft-recurring exigencies of their life, temporal and spiritual, in which they realize their own limitations in respect of strength, wisdom and foresight. This is not a mere impulse of unintelligent despair; it is quite as often the calm instinct of deliberation as the last resort of one who has no other source of help left. It is the refuge alike of childhood and age.

2. Another fact in our self-consciousness presents itself. When we walk out into a public park, the eye falls upon a splendid green sward, smooth as velvet, swelling into graceful curves, with head lands of noble forests jutting out, and islands of rarest flowers dotting its surface. The picture charms us and we seat ourselves in some shady spot to enjoy the Elysian scene. But we resume our stroll, and enter a densely populated slum of the city where the atmosphere is laden with poison, and where crime and vice eat like gangrenes into the souls and bodies of the miserable host. We hasten away with horror from the spot. The impression made upon us by either is distinct and influential, because there is in us an inherent capacity of admiring the beautiful and disliking the hideous. The same capacity exists in regard to the moral quality of things. Some things we plainly perceive to be right and some to be wrong. Being wrong as an idea wears a storm-cloud on its brow, and when it passes into a concrete shape and becomes in us doing wrong, then the storm bursts upon the soul, and it trembles to think that it will be called to account. Deeply implanted in the solid rock of man’s nature, these two granite columns ought and ought not rise and form the gateway, through which we pass up to the cognition of an Infinite Judge.

3. How unlike is man to the brutes beneath him! They have their planes, fixed and uniform as a floor of rock, and thereon, through all the circuit of their tame existence, they fulfil their simple destiny. They do not hunger for that which is beyond their reach, but are content to live and die just as they live and die. No dream of happier climes or kindlier destinies ever disturbs them. The fledgling is satisfied with the bough where he was hatched. The lion seeks no other lair than that where he was born. But the soul of man soon gives token of a strange discontent, and when he thinks to settle down, a dream of other things stirs his blood and disturbs his repose. It is as true in the spiritual as in the secular life. Men aspire to higher planes of moral attainment, and even sainthood forgets its grace as it presses on to sublimer achievements in the imitation of God. Does it impair this majestic argument of God drawn from the depths of human consciousness that it does not formulate its postulates in the language of metaphysics? Heine tells us that it was while he was climbing the dizzy heights of dialectics, that “the divine homesickness” came over him, and led him down to the levels of his kind, where he found God. There is a meadow-land of common-sense realism from which God has chosen to be more distinctly seen, and it is to that familiar spot we have led you to-day. It is there that our analysis of consciousness has revealed the indubitable phenomena that enables us to know that there is a God. The sense of dependence has led us up to a Power above us; the sense of obligation has pointed to an Authority above us; the sense of imperfection has ushered us into the presence of the Perfect Ideal, and the sublime inference of the race--the inference which has controlled history, created civilization, brightened the world with every virtue and grace of true nobility, thrown itself like a rainbow upon the storm of human sorrow, spanned the gulf of eternity with the bridge of hope, that inference is Jehovah. (Bp. W. E. McLaren.)
.

Psalms 84:1-12


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Bibliography
Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "Psalms 83:18". The Biblical Illustrator. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tbi/psalms-83.html. 1905-1909. New York.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

That men may know that thou, whose name alone is Jehovah,.... Or, "that thou, thy name alone is Jehovah"F16כי אתה שמך "quod nomen tuum", Pagninus, Montanus, Musculus. , a self-existent Being, the Being of beings, the everlasting I AM, the immutable God; for this name is expressive of the being, eternity, and unchangeableness of God, who is, and was, and is to come, invariably the same, Revelation 1:4 which is to be understood not to the exclusion of the Son or Spirit, who are with the Father the one Jehovah, Deuteronomy 6:4, and to whom this name is given; see Exodus 17:6, compared with 1 Corinthians 10:9, Isaiah 6:8 compared with Acts 28:25, but to the exclusion of all nominal and fictitious deities, the gods of the Heathens; and the being and perfections of God are known by the judgments he executes, Psalm 9:16,

art the most High over all the earth; or,

and that thou art, &c.F17"Quod tu, inquam, sis altissimus", Michaelis. , being the Maker and the Possessor of it, and the sovereign Lord of its inhabitants, doing in it what seems good in his sight; see Genesis 14:22, for the accents require two propositions in the text: the HeathensF18Pansan. Boeotica sive, l. 9. p. 555. give the title of most high to their supreme deity: the Targum is,

"over all the inhabitants of the earth.'


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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.
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Bibliography
Gill, John. "Commentary on Psalms 83:18". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/psalms-83.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

That [men] may n know that thou, whose name alone [is] JEHOVAH, [art] the most high over all the earth.

(n) Though they do not believe, yet they may prove by experience, that it is in vain to resist against your counsel in establishing your Church.

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Bibliography
Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Psalms 83:18". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/psalms-83.html. 1599-1645.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

18.And let them know that thou art, thy name Jehovah. It is not the saving knowledge of God which is here spoken of, but that acknowledgement of him which his irresistible power extorts from the wicked. It is not simply said that they will know that there is a God; but a special kind of knowledge is laid down, it being intimated that the heathen who before held the true religion in contempt, would at length perceive that the God who made himself known in the Law, and who was worshipped in Judea, was the only true God. Still, however, it must be remembered, that the knowledge spoken of is only that which is of an evanescent character, having neither root nor the living juice to nourish it; for the wicked will not submit to God willingly and cordially, but are drawn by compulsion to yield a counterfeit obedience, or, being restrained by him, dare not break forth into open outrage. This, then, is an experimental recognition of God which penetrates not to the heart, but is extorted from them by force and necessity. The pronoun אתה, atah, thou, is emphatic, implying a tacit contrast between the God of Israel and all the false gods which were the product of men’s invention. The prayer amounts to this: Lord, make them to know that the idols which they have fabricated for themselves are no gods, and in fact are nothing. The despisers of God may indeed shun the light, and at one time may overcast themselves with clouds, while at another their may plunge into the deep and thick shades of darkness; but He pursues them, and draws them forth to the knowledge of himself, which they would fain bury in ignorance. And as the world indiscriminately and disgracefully applies his sacred name to its own trifling inventions, this profanation is corrected when it is added, thy name Jehovah. This implies that being, or really to be, is in the strict sense applicable to God alone; for although unbelievers may attempt to tear his glory to pieces, he continues perfect and unchanged. The contrast of which I have spoken, must be kept in mind by the reader. A nation has never existed so barbarous as not to have worshipped some deity; but every country forged particular gods for itself. And although the Moabites, the Edomites, and the rest of these nations, admitted that some power and authority belonged to the God of Israel, yet they conceived that this power and authority did not extend beyond the boundaries of Judea. Thus the king of Syria called him, “the God of the hills,” (1 Kings 20:23.) This preposterous and absurd division of God’s glory, which men make, is disproved by one word, and all the superstitions which at that time prevailed in the world are overthrown, when the Prophet attributes to the God of Israel, as well the essence of Deity as the name; for unless all the idols of the heathen are completely abolished, he will not obtain, alone and unshared, the name of Jehovah. Accordingly, it is added, Thou alone art the Most High over all the earth; a statement which is worthy of our most careful attention. The superstitious commonly think it enough to leave God his name, that is to say, two or three syllables; and in the meantime they fritter away his power, as if his majesty were contained in an empty title. Let us then remember that God does not receive that honor among men to which he is entitled, if he is not allowed to possess his own inherent sovereignty, and if his glory is obscured by setting up other objects against him with antagonist claims.


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Bibliography
Calvin, John. "Commentary on Psalms 83:18". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/psalms-83.html. 1840-57.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Psalms 83:18 That [men] may know that thou, whose name alone [is] JEHOVAH, [art] the most high over all the earth.

Ver. 18. That men may know that thou, whose name alone is Jehovah] The essentiator, Isaiah 44:6, with Acts 17:25, Revelation 1:4; Revelation 1:8. The Jews pronounce not this name at all, but use Adonai or Elohim for it. The first among the Christians that pronounced it was Petrus Galatinus, following the pronunciation of the Syriacs and Greeks. Genebrard will have it pronounced Jahue, and bitterly inveigheth against Beza and ethers as profaners of God’s name, who call God Jova, or Jehova; vocabulo novo , saith he, barbaro, fictitio, irreligioso et Iovem Gentilium redolente. It is very likely that of this holy and reverend name of God, the Gentiles called their greatest god Jove and Jupiter, that is, Jah-pater (Aug. do Consens. Evang. l. 1, c. 22). Pausanias also telleth us that the poets thus sang unto him, Zευν ην, Zευς εστι, Zευς εσσεται, ω μεγαλε Zευ. And Varro, the most learned of the Romans, thought Jove to be the God of the Jews. But he and all men should have known, as here, that Jehovah is God alone; and so have sought to the Jews (of whom alone was salvation, John 4:22) for better understanding in the things of God’s kingdom, acknowledging him to be the most High above all the earth, and contemning minutulos istos deos modo Iovem sibi propitium haberet , as another heathen said.


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Bibliography
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Psalms 83:18". John Trapp Complete Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/psalms-83.html. 1865-1868.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Psalms 83:18. That thou, whose name alone, &c.— That thou, whose name is Jehovah, art alone the Most High, &c. Mudge.

REFLECTIONS.—The church on earth is ever militant; and would soon be crushed, were it not for the protection of their glorious Head.

1. The Psalmist directs his prayer to God. Keep not thou silence, but hear our cry, and send a word of encouragement to us amid the threatenings of our enemies. Hold not thy peace, as if unconcerned at their blasphemies, or conniving at their attempts; and be not still, O God, but arise to preserve and protect us from their malice and violence. Note; Sometimes the Lord appears to disregard his people's distress, but it is to quicken them to fly to him for succour with greater importunity.

2. He describes the confederacy formed; urges their wicked designs, and represents their rage and craftiness, against which the people of God would be unable to stand, unless the Lord appeared to strengthen them, and confound their foes. [1.] The quarrel was his own: they were his enemies, and hated him, his laws, and his worship; but, unable any other way to vent their enmity, turned it against his people, his hidden ones, who were covered with the shadow of his wings, and their excellencies unknown. Note; (1.) Whatever pretences men may make for their opposition against God's people, the real cause is enmity against God, whose holiness they cannot endure, and whose image they cannot see in their neighbour, without hatred. (2.) The faithful are hid with Christ in God, and impotent is the rage of their enemies against them. [2.] The confederacy was strong. Might and policy were united against them: ten nations, however divided in interests, were fast leagued against God's Israel; insolent, and confident of success; with schemes deep laid, and in tumultuous rage breathing out threatenings and slaughter; content with nothing less than the extirpation of the very name of Israel. Note; (1.) Whatever differences of sentiment men of the world entertain, or however otherwise at variance, all cordially unite in opposing the cause of God and truth. (2.) A wicked world would be heartily glad, if there were neither a preacher nor professor of true religion left; for these are ever their troublers. (3.) When all other help fails us, it is a comfort that we have that all-sufficient Lord to fly to, who can still the madness of the people. (4.) Men must know at last that the Lord Omnipotent reigneth, and the execution of deserved vengeance on the ungodly will redound to his everlasting glory.


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Bibliography
Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Psalms 83:18". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/psalms-83.html. 1801-1803.

Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary

REFLECTIONS

MY soul! observe how implacable is the enmity of Satan against Christ's hidden ones: and what persecutions, from a variety of quarters, he will stir up, in order to draw them from God. But observe also, how eternally secure they are of God's favor. They are hidden with him, and hidden in him: and although for a time the Lord may seem to keep silence, while the enemy triumphs; yet, in due time, Jesus will arise to the destruction of all his and their adversaries; and while the Lord hides them, he manifests himself in their defense.

See, my soul, whether thou art in this happy number: The people that are hidden, dwell alone, and are not reckoned among the nations. They are so truly secret and unperceived, in all their sweet transactions with God in Christ, that the world knoweth them not, because it knew him not. And who shall describe their hidden life with Christ in God? Who shall say how, or when, it began; how it is carried on; how kept alive; by what channel communicated, and preserved to glory? Oh! the unknown mercies, the unnumbered blessings, from the day of their effectual calling, until grace is consummated in everlasting glory! Oh! the blessed visits Jesus makes to his hidden ones the manner he gives to them in secret the ten thousand foretastes of his love! Lamb of God! that feedest thy church above, surely no less art thou attentive to thine hidden ones in the wilderness below. Yes, thou precious Lord Jesus, thou art my life, my strength, my joy, my portion, my defense, when the Ishmaelites, and the Esaus, and Edoms, of the present hour, come on like troops of Tema, to destroy. Hide me, Lord, in thee and thy righteousness, and give me to see it, and daily to live by faith in present enjoyment of it, until faith is swallowed up in sight; until thou art in everything blessed to my soul, and I am blessed in thee. Then, like the apostle, I shall truly know that I am dead to everything but thee, and that my life is hid with thee in God; that when thou, who art my life, shalt appear, I shall appear also with thee in glory.


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Bibliography
Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Psalms 83:18". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/pmc/psalms-83.html. 1828.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

That men may know, or that they may know, to wit, by costly experience, even by their own ruin, what they would not know by information for their own good, that thou art the Most High, the most high God, and the God not only of his people Israel, as the heathen fancied, and as their gods were confined to their particular and several territories, but the God and Governor of all the nations and parts of the earth.


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Bibliography
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Psalms 83:18". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/psalms-83.html. 1685.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

18. That men may know—The knowing God which is here intended, is a true perception and discovery of his supremacy over all gods and all nations of the earth. This, as in Psalms 83:16, might possibly lead to repentance and true submission. The ultimate idea of knowledge unto salvation must not be excluded, but first of all their armament must be crushed, their plans defeated, their faces filled with shame, and they terrified and swept away in a tempest of wrath, that they may see their gods are nothing, and that they may know that “the Most High ruleth in the kingdom of men.” See Daniel 4:17; Daniel 4:34-37; Psalms 59:13; 1 Samuel 17:46.


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Bibliography
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Psalms 83:18". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/psalms-83.html. 1874-1909.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

men: Israel.

JEHOVAH. One of three places where, in Authorized Version, this name is transliterated and printed in large capital letters (small in Revised Version) See App-48. Compare Exodus 6:3 and Isaiah 26:4.

MOST HIGH. Hebrew. Elyon. App-4.


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Bibliography
Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Psalms 83:18". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/psalms-83.html. 1909-1922.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

That men may know that thou, whose name alone is JEHOVAH, art the most high over all the earth.
That men
9:16; 59:13; 1 Kings 18:37; 2 Kings 19:19; Isaiah 5:16; Jeremiah 16:21; Ezekiel 30:19; Ezekiel 38:23
whose
Genesis 22:14; Exodus 6:3; Isaiah 42:8
the most
92:8; Isaiah 54:5; Daniel 4:25,32; Micah 4:13; Zechariah 4:14

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Psalms 83:18". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/psalms-83.html.

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