Psalm 73:11 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Psalm 73:11, NIV: "They say, 'How would God know? Does the Most High know anything?'"

Psalm 73:11, ESV: "And they say, “How can God know? Is there knowledge in the Most High?”"

Psalm 73:11, KJV: "And they say, How doth God know? and is there knowledge in the most High?"

Psalm 73:11, NASB: "They say, 'How does God know? And is there knowledge with the Most High?'"

Psalm 73:11, NLT: "'What does God know?' they ask. 'Does the Most High even know what's happening?'"

Psalm 73:11, CSB: "The wicked say, "How can God know? Does the Most High know everything?""

What does Psalm 73:11 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

A common reaction to unhappiness is to wonder, "does God even know what's happening?" When He doesn't intervene as we'd prefer, our habit is to question His goodness and His power. According to Asaph, those who abandon faith (Psalm 73:10) to follow the prosperous wicked (Psalm 73:1–3) also question God's knowledge of the situation. In one sense, this means questioning whether God is aware of their pain. In another, it's an expression of arrogance: that God isn't going to notice their sin.

Even today, those undergoing pain may question whether God knows or cares what is happening. That's an understandable reaction, but it's deeply flawed. This verse is purposefully ironic. It's self-defeating to address God as "the Most High" while also questioning His knowledge. God not only knows what happens to His people, He also cares. James addressed the rich, wicked farmers who abused their Christian workers; he told them, "the cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts" (James 5:4). First Peter 5:7 urges us to cast all our anxieties on the God because He cares for us.

As this psalm continues, Asaph will explain why this rejection of God is ultimately wrong (Psalm 73:15–17).