Psalm 73:8

ESV They scoff and speak with malice; loftily they threaten oppression.
NIV They scoff, and speak with malice; with arrogance they threaten oppression.
NASB They mock and wickedly speak of oppression; They speak from on high.
CSB They mock, and they speak maliciously; they arrogantly threaten oppression.
NLT They scoff and speak only evil; in their pride they seek to crush others.
KJV They are corrupt, and speak wickedly concerning oppression: they speak loftily.

What does Psalm 73:8 mean?

The prosperous wicked described by Asaph (Psalm 73:1–3) are arrogant and even proud of where their sin has gotten them (Psalm 73:6). Here, he refers to how godless people—especially those who are successful—revile and insult those who believe in God. The Hebrew word translated "scoff" refers to mocking. Their words are insulting, hurtful, and even threatening to those who don't share their wicked outlook (1 Peter 4:3–4). Those who are "lofty" are the egotistical, proud ones looking down on others. It takes little effort to recognize such attitudes in the unbelieving world today.

King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon was like that until God humbled him. He set up a gigantic gold image such that it was clearly visible and commanded everyone to bow down and worship it when given a signal. He threatened to execute anyone who disobeyed his command (Daniel 3:1–6). He also boasted that he had built the city of Babylon, only to be humbled by God (Daniel 4:28–33).

Darius, a later king, was also arrogant and oppressive. He forbade everyone to pray, other than to him, for thirty days (Daniel 6:4–9). This turned out to be a manipulation by his advisors, nearly costing the life of his best advisor (Daniel 6:13–22).

The Herods, a line of tyrants who ruled Palestine during the time of Jesus and the apostles, were also proud and oppressive. It was a Herod who tried to kill Baby Jesus (Matthew 2:16). Another Herod executed the apostle James and planned to execute the apostle Peter (Acts 12:1–3). They, too, were eventually humbled and defeated in their efforts to oppose the gospel.

Despite threats and overconfidence, those who defy God will always lose, in the end (Psalm 73:15–17).
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