- A psalm of Asaph.1
God calls a meeting
- 1 God stands in a great meeting.
He’s passing judgment on mighty rulers.2
- 2 “How long do you plan on judging unjustly,
And defending the bad people among you?
Protect the helpless
- 3 Defend the vulnerable orphans.
Show justice to the poor and the suffering.
- 4 Help the weak and the helpless.
Save them from wicked exploiters.
- 5 You know nothing.
You understand nothing.
You walk in the dark,
As the world falls apart.
You’re not gods
- 6 I treated you as gods
Because you are my children,
Children of the Most High.
- 7 Well, you’re going to die like mortals.
You’re going down, like even the princes do.”
- 8 Rise and shine, God. Judge the world.
You own it. Every nation on it.
The subtitle wasn’t part of the original psalm. And the possible byline “of Asaph,” isn’t necessarily a byline. The vague phrase could mean the song was written by Asaph, about Asaph, or was inspired by Asaph. Asaph led a musical family in the tribe of Levi, one of the 12 tribes that made up the original nation of Israel. Levite families worked as priests and worship leaders and worship assistants for the Jewish nation. Asaph was a leader of worship music during the time of King David (1 Chronicles 16:5). His family carried on the musical tradition, showing up five centuries later, when a Jewish man named Nehemiah, in the 500s BC, helped rebuild Jerusalem after Babylonian invaders from what is now Iraq leveled Jerusalem in 586 BC.
The word for “mighty rulers” could mean gods, celestial beings, angels, rulers, judges, or mighty people.
The word in the original language of Hebrew is selah. Bible scholars haven’t figured out what it means yet, so all we can do is guess. It could mean “pause for effect,” “instrumental interlude,” or “choir singing ‘Amen.’” We’re offering a guess instead of selah. Though selah might be the better way to go because it’s always correct, it’s also always incomprehensible. “Instruments” has a good chance of being wrong, but at least we convey the idea that the Hebrew word behind it probably has something to do with enhancing the song.