Psalm 73:10

ESV Therefore his people turn back to them, and find no fault in them.
NIV Therefore their people turn to them and drink up waters in abundance.
NASB Therefore his people return here, And abundant waters are drunk by them.
CSB Therefore his people turn to them and drink in their overflowing words.
NLT And so the people are dismayed and confused, drinking in all their words.
KJV Therefore his people return hither: and waters of a full cup are wrung out to them.

What does Psalm 73:10 mean?

Here, Asaph writes that "his people" capitulate to the prosperous wicked (Psalm 73:1–3) rather than rejecting their sin.

All languages contain idioms, which are figures of speech that mean something other than their literal words. English examples would include "raining cats and dogs" to describe a downpour, or "under the weather" to depict being sick. The Hebrew of this verse might be an idiom, itself. A hyper-literal translation would be "and waters which are very full are drained by them." The variation in English translations shows how tricky this is to render in another language. In context, the phrase seems to imply that people are wholeheartedly accepting that which these evil people do.

Bible teachers also differ regarding the identity of "his people." Some believe Asaph is referring to God's people—this would specifically mean the nation of Israel, though it could be extended to God-believers in general. Others think he is referring to those who belong to the wicked, meaning their existing followers and friends.

The first interpretation fits the context best. Asaph was astonished to see so many people in Israel giving up in the face of these challenges. As do many today, he struggled with the issue of why any wicked person would seem happy or healthy (Psalm 73:4–5), while a righteous person suffers. The issue became more complex as many Israelites threw in their lot with the prosperous wicked. Seeing what seemed to be the benefits of sin, they turned from honoring God to imitating the godless. Some succumbed to ridicule and persecution and changed their loyalty (Psalm 73:8–9). Rather than standing up against sin and evil, they approve or ignore what's clearly wrong.

Even today, this pattern is seen in those who choose to abandon faith in God, as well as those who claim to be Christians but follow the world's lead in all things. Personal setbacks, challenging circumstances, pressure from society, and other issues lead them to conclude that following God is "not worth it." So, they drop out of church entirely, or keep nothing more than the word "Christian," and pursue a worldly lifestyle. They fail to realize that it is better to have a little with the fear of the Lord than to have treasure without Him (Proverbs 15:16).

In the upcoming section, Asaph will explain how wrong such conclusions are, and why (Psalm 73:15–17).
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