This is part 2 of a 6-part series from T. Getterman concerning the role of Israel in the end times. Part 3 will be published tomorrow, May 28th at 6pm CST.
Dr. Mike Harmon
Who are the “players” in this Psalm? Let’s look at them.
ASAPH – He appears to have been a musician in King David’s court. David reigned in approximately 1009-970 BC.
EDOM – This is the name of the land of the descendants of Esau, the twin brother of Jacob/Israel. Esau and Jacob were the sons of Isaac and the grandsons of Abraham. Edom was just east of the Jordan River near southern Israel. It was in present-day Jordan, of which I believe Psalm 83 is referring.
During the second half of the Tribulation, the Jewish remnant will be divinely protected by God in Bozrah, which is in ancient Edom. I believe that Bozrah is present-day Petra, Jordan. When Jesus returns, He will go first to Bozrah/Edom to rescue His Jewish remnant. Isaiah 34:6-17, Jeremiah 49:13 and Amos 1:12 tell us that Edom will be totally destroyed at that time, and that “its smoke will rise forever”. Again, this will not happen until near the end of the Tribulation. In the Psalm 83 Battle, Jordan’s armies will be destroyed and the portion of Jordan which was ancient Edom will be severely damaged, but not destroyed. I think Obadiah confirms this.
6 But how Esau will be ransacked, his hidden treasures pillaged!
7 All your allies will force you to the border; your friends will deceive and overpower you; those who eat your bread will set a trap for you,[b] but you will not detect it.
8 “In that day,” declares the LORD, “will I not destroy the wise men of Edom, men of understanding in the mountains of Esau?
9 Your warriors, O Teman, will be terrified, and everyone in Esau’s mountains will be cut down in the slaughter.
Edom’s/Esau’s armies will be destroyed, but Jordan will be left intact enough for the hidden treasures to be pillaged.
ISHMAELITES – These are the descendants of Ishmael, the son of Abraham and his concubine Hagar. Ishmael’s mother and wife were both Egyptian, so his children were three quarters Egyptian. I believe that this is a reference topresent-day Egypt.
MOAB – These were the descendants of Moab, the son of Lot (Abraham’s nephew) and one of Lot’s daughters. Moab was just east of the Jordan River near central Israel. It was also in present-day Jordan.
HAGRITES – The name of these people is also spelled “Hagarites”. They were a nomadic tribe descended from Hagar, who was the mother of Abraham’s son Ishmael. Hagar, who was Egyptian, was the maidservant of Abraham’s wife Sarah. The Hagrites/Hagarites lived primarily east of the Jordan River. I believe that this is a reference to either present-day Jordan or Egypt.
GEBEL – This appears to be a reference to pagan worshipers in present-day Lebanon.
AMMON – These were the descendants of Ben-Ami, the son of Lot (Abraham’s nephew) and one of Lot’s daughters. Ammon was just east of the Jordan River near northern Israel. It was also in present-day Jordan.
AMALEK – Amalek was the grandson of Esau, and was chief of an Edomite tribe. There are some references, both Biblical and non-Biblical, that indicate that the Amalekites did not descend from Esau’s grandson, but rather from someone after whom he was named. Some Arab historians speak of the Amalekites being Canaanites, which would make them descendants of Noah’s son Ham. Note that Esau was descended from Noah’s son Shem. If this is a reference to the grandson of Esau, it would refer to present-day Jordan. If it is a reference to the Canaanites, it could refer to any of the countries immediately surrounding Israel.
PHILISTIA – This was the land of the Philistines which was located primarily in the area of the Gaza Strip today. The Philistines were sea-invaders from the Aegean Sea, near Greece. They appear to be descendants of Noah’s son Japheth and, therefore, were not Arab. After being repulsed from an attempted invasion of Egypt, they obtained firm control of the southwestern coast of Canaan in approximately 1194 BC, where they founded five settlements. The threat from the Philistines is what forged a union of the Israelite tribes during the time of the Judges. King David finally crushed the Philistines. This Psalm 83 reference is to the present-day Gaza Strip.
TYRE – This was in present-day Lebanon, to which Psalm 83 refers. In ancient times, Tyre was part of Phoenicia, which was an ancient civilization centered to the north of ancient Canaan. Isaiah 23:1a says that Tyre will be “destroyed and left without house or harbor”. This hasn’t happened since Isaiah wrote this in the 700’s BC. I think it will take place in the Psalm 83 Battle.
ASSYRIA – This ancient empire was centered on the upper Tigris River in the area of Turkey, Syria and upper Iraq. The Assyrian Empire conquered the northern Jewish kingdom of Israel in 722 BC. I believe that this name in Psalm 83 is a reference to present-day Syria and possibly Iraq, as neither of these present-day countries are mentioned in regard to the Ezekiel 38-39 Battle. Isaiah 17:1-3 says that Damascus, which is the present-day capital of Syria, “will no longer be a city but will become a heap of ruins” and that it will disappear. This hasn’t yet happened. I believe that it will happen in the Psalm 83 Battle.
LOT – He was the nephew of Abraham. Lot’s two daughters got him drunk and slept with him. They each conceived, with one giving birth to Ben-Ami, the father of the Ammonites, and the other giving birth to Moab, the father of the Moabites. This is a reference to present-day Jordan.
SELAH – This is not a place or people. It is thought to be a reference to worship music. Asaph, who wrote this Psalm, appears to have been a musician in King David’s court. Note that some people believe that it means to pause and contemplate what has just been read.
MIDIAN – Midian was the fourth son of Abraham and Keturah, Abraham’s second wife. Abraham sent his sons by Keturah to live in the east, and far from Isaac, his son by Sarah. Midian’s descendants settled in the territory east of the Jordan River and east of the Dead Sea. Much of this area would be known as Edom in subsequent centuries. We know it as present-day Jordan today.
The Midianite territory also included part of the Sinai Peninsula, which is present-day Egypt, during the time of the Exodus. Moses married Zipporah, the daughter of Jethro, the priest of Midian. Numbers 12:1 tells us that Zipporah was also Cushite, which means that her ancestors came from Cush. Cush is present-day Ethiopia. They will be one of Israel’s attackers in the Ezekiel battle.
As for Midian, God’s occurrence in the burning bush appears to have taken place in Midian. During the time of the Judges, Gideon defeated the Midianites.
JABIN and SISERA – Jabin was a Canaanite king and Sisera was the commander of his army. God enabled them to be defeated by Deborah and Barak in Judges 4.
OREB and ZEEB – These were Midianite leaders whom God enabled Gideon to defeat in Judges 7.
ZEBAH and ZALMUNNA – These were kings of Midian whom God enabled Gideon to defeat in Judges 8.
In summary, the Psalm 83 Battle is most likely a future battle in which Israel is attacked from all sides. The references to Edom, Moab, Ammon, Lot and possibly the Hagrites tell us that Jordan will come at her from the east. References to the Ishmaelites and possibly the Hagrites tell us that Egypt will come against Israel from the south and west. Gebel and Tyre say that Lebanon will attack her from the north. Philistia tells us that the Gaza Strip will come at Israel from the west. The reference to Assyria says that Syria and possibly Iraq will attack her from the north and northeast. Note that none of these countries are involved in the Ezekiel 38-39 Battle so, at a minimum, their armies will be obliterated during the Psalm 83 Battle.