Shalom, everyone! Psalm 82 is traditionally recited as the “psalm of the day” (Shir Shel Yom) for the third day of the week, which corresponds to Tuesday on the Gregorian calendar. The psalm is recited at the end of Tuesday morning prayer (Shacharit) services. According to post-Exilic Second Temple tradition, Psalm 82 was chosen for the third day of the week because of it’s relation to the third day of Creation.
Psalm 82 was written by Asaph, a Levite and grandson of the prophet Samuel. This psalm reveals to us that The Creator has a Divine Council in the heavenly realm. This Divine Council consists of divine beings (sons of Elohim). YAH heads this Council, all praise, worship, and honor belong to Him. He warns His Council that they must execute fair justice over the territories they have been assigned or else He will destroy them as if they were mortal men. This psalm, therefore, reminds us of the importance of those in authority showing equity in mercy and justice. YAH is not blind to the injustices committed against the powerless on earth. Neither is The Most High blind to those in authority showing favor to the wicked, allowing them to continue their crimes with impunity. YAH sees all this injustice and will judge those in authority according to their own wicked judgments.
The following is Psalm 82 in English, taken from the Jewish Publication Society (JPS) 1917 version of the Tanakh. For a side-by-side modern Hebrew-English translation please click on the link below to Mechon-Mamre:
1 A Psalm of Asaph. God standeth in the congregation of God; in the midst of the judges He judgeth:
2 ‘How long will ye judge unjustly, and respect the persons of the wicked? Selah.
3 Judge the poor and fatherless; do justice to the afflicted and destitute.
4 Rescue the poor and needy; deliver them out of the hand of the wicked.
5 They know not, neither do they understand; they go about in darkness; all the foundations of the earth are moved.
6 I said: Ye are godlike beings, and all of you sons of the Most High.
7 Nevertheless ye shall die like men, and fall like one of the princes.’
8 Arise, O God, judge the earth; for Thou shalt possess all the nations.