Justice Over The Judges

A socialist once came to see Andrew Carnegie and soon was railing against the injustice of Carnegie having so much money. In his view, wealth was meant to be divided equally. Carnegie asked his secretary for an assessment of everything he owned and at the same time looked up the … More


This psalm is concerned with the problem of the unjust judge. The writer refers to the rulers and judges of Israel as “gods and children of the most high” (vv. 5-7). They were called gods because they represented God in executing judgment. In the days these words were penned it was natural for civil governors, especially those entrusted with the administration of justice, to be likened to gods over men. He warns that judges who ignore God’s appointment of them, will perish.

The Lord suddenly comes into His court and the judges now find themselves being judged (v. 1). Those being rebuked in this psalm were Israel’s rulers who were responsible to promote justice, to punish evil doers, and to defend the weak and the oppressed (vv. 3,4). Israel’s leaders had failed in their responsibilities (v. 2).  Injustice was promoted and the wicked were honored and treated with partiality. The psalmist’s plea appears to be that the judges be less interested in the bribes of wealthy men and more interested in justice for the common man. The psalmist prays that God will rescue the poor and needy out of the hand of the wicked judges.

God appoints certain men to lead. He expects all of His people to be leaders when it comes to doing what is right. God created man to rule over His creation (Gen. 1:26-28). God knows every thought, every deed, and every word of every man; so He proceeds swiftly to pass sentence. Despite all the warnings of the first seven verses, the psalmist realized that righteous rule will only prevail on the earth when God Himself reigns in the person of His Son Jesus Christ. This psalm concludes with a petition that the God who possesses the earth must establish righteousness fully and finally (v. 8).  Only when He comes will there be a rule that is truly righteous.


Either I must bow my knee now to the Lord Jesus as my Savior, or I will bow my knee to Him as my judge (Phil. 2:9-11). If I submit to Him now I will never stand before Him condemned.

Psalms 82:1-8 (English Standard Version)

God has taken his place in the divine council; in the midst of the gods he holds judgment: "How long will you judge unjustly and show partiality to the wicked? Give justice to the weak and the fatherless; maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute. Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked." They have neither knowledge nor understanding, they walk about in darkness; all the foundations of the earth are shaken. I said, "You are gods, sons of the Most High, all of you; nevertheless, like men you shall die, and fall like any prince." Arise, O God, judge the earth; for you shall inherit all the nations!

View this passage in NIV (Bible Gateway) »