Who Are the Sons of the Most High in Ps 82?

Who are the sons of the Most High in Psalms 82:6?

The notation in verse 1 that this is a Psalm of Asaph puts the reader on notice that Asaph is speaking.
      Asaph notices that God stands to judge in the midst of the gods (v1).

So, Asaph wonders, If God is the judge, what gives with the mess we see? Why does He not just go ahead and judge?
Asaph says,
      How long will ye judge unjustly, and accept the persons of the wicked? Selah.(v2)

Asaph says this is what God needs to do:
      Defend the poor and fatherless: do justice to the afflicted and needy.(v3)
      Deliver the poor and needy: rid [them] out of the hand of the wicked.(v4)

The consequences of God’s inaction are that the people on earth:
      They know not, neither will they understand; they walk on in darkness: (v5)

And the consequence of men walking in darkness without understanding is:
      all the foundations of the earth are out of course. (v6)
      [even the fundamental things are messed up down here]

Now the speaker shifts from Asaph to God in v6. Every version I consulted sees some change in the Hebrew regarding the person speaking in verse 6. The translators either mark this change in the text by quotes (NIV) or by a paragraph mark (KJV).

Since only God could actually do what this text says, I infer that “the Father” is the antecedent of “I” in “I have said”. Therefore, God responds to Asaph’s complaint:
      I have said, Ye [are] gods; and all of you [are] children of the most High. (v6)
      [this is God’s verdict, and it will be the ultimate result, because God “said”, and His word cannot
      return unto Him void (Isa 55:11)]

In the meantime, however, before the ultimate manifestation of the sons of God (I Jn 3:2 ASV) there are interim events that will transpire:
      But ye shall die like men, and fall like one of the princes. (v7)
      [Even though God has already decreed that those who heard and believed His words are His sons
      (Jn 10:35), they still will have to die, just like the men who are merely part of the nations will do.]

Finally, the punch line of the whole chapter:
      Arise, O God, judge the earth: for thou shalt inherit all nations. (v8)

This verse is interesting. “God” is “elohiym”, the same word that is translated “God” in v1 and “gods” in v6. It is the translator’s choice whether “elohiym” here in v8 should be “God” or “gods”. A couple of considerations can guide us as to which one we should choose.

1) Inheritance is characteristic of God’s sons, not of God Himself (Col 1:12, 3:24, Heb 6:16, I Pet 1:4, Ac 20:32, etc.)
2) There is no indication that the context has switched back to Asaph, and therefore, v8’s command to “arise” and “judge” is simply a continuation of God’s “I have said” in v6.

Based on these two considerations, I interpret v8 as follows:
      Arise, O [sons of the Most High], judge the earth: for thou shalt inherit all nations.

God will use the very people who are among those walking in darkness and knowing not, to judge the earth and therefore to fix the problems that stem from lack of judgment on the earth, and the sons of the Most High will be ones that inherit the nations among whom they fell, just like the princes of the nations do.

This verse is so neat. God uses the results that come out of His apparent indifference to what is going on to fix the problem. The sons that come out of the chaos in the place where “all the foundations are out of course” will be the very ones that will fix the problems and inherit the whole world in restitution for the injustices heaped upon them.

About James Johnson

Bible student for 60 years. Preacher of the gospel for over 40 years. Author of commentary on Revelation, All Power to the Lamb. Married with children. Worked in aerospace and computer engineering for over 40 years.
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