Israel is the central focus of Bible Prophecy. God made an everlasting covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob to give their descendants a specific land region in the Middle East. I believe we are on the brink of seeing this covenant fulfilled in completion!
Before we examine Psalm 83, I will mention that some see this as an imprecatory prayer that was answered (and thus the war never occurred, as an answer to prayer). I disagree, because the Psalm 83 war was at least partially fulfilled by the 6-Day War in 1967. It’s possible that the complete fulfillment of this war is yet future. The main debate about this, I believe, is because no one can see how the Third Temple might be built upon the current Islamic Dome of the Rock location. The literal fulfillment of Psalm 83 would destroy Islamic resistance.
Let’s examine Psalm 83, noting the bolded verses for further discussion.
The Battle of Psalm 83
God, do not keep silence; do not hold your peace or be still, O God! For behold, your enemies make an uproar; those who hate you have raised their heads. They lay crafty plans against your people; they consult together against your treasured ones. They say, “Come, let us wipe them out as a nation; let the name of Israel be remembered no more!” For they conspire with one accord; against you they make a covenant— the tents of Edom and the Ishmaelites, Moab and the Hagrites, Gebal and Ammon and Amalek, Philistia with the inhabitants of Tyre; Asshur also has joined them; they are the strong arm of the children of Lot… O my God, make them like whirling dust, like chaff before the wind. As fire consumes the forest, as the flame sets the mountains ablaze, so may you pursue them with your tempest and terrify them with your hurricane! Fill their faces with shame, that they may seek your name, O Lord. Let them be put to shame and dismayed forever; let them perish in disgrace, that they may know that you alone, whose name is the Lord, are the Most High over all the earth. Psalm 83:1-8, 13-18
Additional Scripture References:
- Obadiah 1:1-18 (Edom)
Prerequisites of This War:
Israel must be a nation.
Purpose of This War:
God will intervene to defend Israel from a group of people who have devised “crafty plans” against her. They have conspired to wipe Israel out as a nation. The psalmist pleads to God to “not keep silence” and to put them to shame “that they may know that [God] alone is the Most High over all the earth”.
Who Are the Players?
Basically, the countries adjacent to Israel, who form a tight ring around her, appear to focus in and attack together in a coordinated effort. Douglas Berner interprets the nations as follows:
- Edom – Southern Jordan / Palestinians
- Ishmaelites – 12 tribes of Arabs = Saudi Arabia
- Moab – Central Jordan
- Hagrites – Northeast Jordan, or possibly the area of Damascus and Syria
- Gebal – Lebanon; an area in the region of Edom between Petra and the Dead Sea
- Ammon – Northwest Jordan
- Amalek – Sinai Peninsula; possibly into Egypt
- Philistines – coastal area of Gaza; possibly into Egypt
- Tyre – Lebanon
- Assur – Northwest Syria, Northeast Iraq, Southeast Turkey
- Children of Lot – Northern and central Jordan
Timing of This War:
Not given; it has to occur when Israel is established as a nation.
It’s possible that the Psalm 83 war was fulfilled in the Six-Day War of 1967. Gary at Unsealed mentions, “In Psalm 83 the enemies of God plot to destroy Israel and the reason given is “so that Israel’s name is remembered no more.” They conspire, plot, and form an alliance in secret with this goal in mind. This is exactly what happened in 1967. In the years and months leading up to the Six-Day War, the Egyptians and Palestinians in particular had been provoking Israel with blockades and terrorist attacks. This culminated with a defense alliance between Egypt and Jordan in May 1967. Iraq and other Arab nations were soon involved and amassing forces for a grand invasion of Israel.” The nations who fought against Israel at that time were Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Iraq, and Lebanon. The ancient equivalents to these nations are Edom, Moab, Byblos, Ammon, Amalek, Tyre, Assyria, and the Hagrites. These are the exact nations described in Psalm 83. The outcome was exactly as laid out in Psalm 83 as well – Israel won the victory.
It’s possible that the complete fulfillment of this war is yet future. If it is future, it would seem that this war might pave the way for the destruction of Damascus, Syria (Isaiah 17), or vice versa. They seem to share several conspirators. Additionally, both prophecies contain a plea to God to drive the enemies away like chaff, or tumbleweed, before the wind (Isaiah 17:13; Psalm 83:13). Logically, Psalm 83 in co-ordination with Isaiah 17 would seem to pave the way for the Gog/Magog War of Ezekiel 38-39. I don’t believe it can be ruled out that the 3 wars might chase each other rather quickly, or be close to simultaneous (part of one larger picture). An interesting detail noted in Obadiah is that it places the battle against Edom (included in Psalm 83) near the Day of the Lord – “For the day of the Lord is near upon all the nations. As you have done, it shall be done to you; your deeds shall return on your own head.” (Obad 1:15). Near, but not ON. The Ezekiel 38-39 war seems to occur on the brink of the Day of the Lord, so Psalm 83 may be right in front of it.
The prayer of Asaph (Psalm 83) may have had partial fulfillment in the distant past. It may have had complete fulfillment in the Six-Day War of 1967. There may also be a future double fulfillment of this prophecy, on the brink of the Day of the Lord. There are supporting prophecies against these specific nations listed in Psalm 83 in other parts of the Old Testament. Even though God’s response is not recorded here, we know that He will intervene to save Israel as requested because of the other corroborating scriptures.
The timeline for these battles is not given in the Bible, nor does it specifically detail how they occur. In Obadiah, the prophet details God’s judgment against Edom (Southern Jordan/Palestine) which is likely part of the Psalm 83 battle (Edom is also mentioned there). The interesting detail added in Obadiah is that it places it near the Day of the Lord – “For the day of the Lord is near upon all the nations. As you have done, it shall be done to you; your deeds shall return on your own head.” (Obad 1:15).
There is an interesting connection between these smaller battles and the Gog-Magog war, in that the Ezekiel 38-39 (Gog/Magog) war conspicuously OMITS all these Psalm 83 nations. It will be interesting to see if “all his hordes – many peoples are with you” mentioned in Ezekiel 38:6 include Syria and the nations described in Psalm 83. The results of all 3 battles/wars are that the nations will know that the Lord is God.
Note that end time events are NOT DEPENDENT on this battle/war in any way, but speculation on its’ timing does make it easier to visualize fulfillment of other end times events. Logical placement (through human eyes) would put this inner bulls-eye ring attack next on the prophetic timetable, before or in conjunction with the rapture. The destruction of Damascus by Israel could be the fuse that ignites the battle of Psalm 83 (or vice-versa), paving the way for Ezekiel 38-39 to occur. However, there is nothing stating that this could not be fulfilled at the SAME TIME as the Gog-Magog war, or at a different time entirely.
Psalm 83: The Six-Day War (Unsealed)
Read about the prophecy of Psalm 83 here (Jack Kelley)
When God Intervenes (Douglas Berner) – Very detailed discussion, the best I have read. I recommend this book for multiple reasons!
A Disclaimer: The Bible is infallible. I am not. Be a Berean – examine the scriptures to see if these things are so!