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Psalm 83:6

ESV the tents of Edom and the Ishmaelites, Moab and the Hagrites,
NIV the tents of Edom and the Ishmaelites, of Moab and the Hagrites,
NASB The tents of Edom and the Ishmaelites, Moab and the Hagrites;
CSB the tents of Edom and the Ishmaelites, Moab and the Hagrites,
NLT these Edomites and Ishmaelites; Moabites and Hagrites;
KJV The tabernacles of Edom, and the Ishmaelites; of Moab, and the Hagarenes;
NKJV The tents of Edom and the Ishmaelites; Moab and the Hagrites;

What does Psalm 83:6 mean?

Asaph begins to list the enemies conspiring against the Lord and His people, Israel (Psalm 83:1–3). These nations seek more than victory; they want to see Israel entirely erased, even from memory (Psalm 83:4–5). He begins by listing the Edomites, Ishmaelites, Moabites, and Hagrites. Later verses will include the nations of Gebal, Ammon, Amalek, Philistia, Tyre, and Asshur (Psalm 83:7–8). Most of these are long-time, recurring enemies of the nation of Israel.

This exact list of nations is difficult to associate with other biblical events. That is, no threat recorded in Scripture precisely matches this roster of enemies. It's possible that Asaph is using the names of enemy nations to refer to directions: implying an assault from all sides and all distances. Another option is that this depicts some future event, which would also imply that Asaph's list is somewhat symbolic.

Among the closest possible matches within the Bible is 2 Chronicles chapter 20. In that passage, a large army attacks Israel during the reign of Jehoshaphat. The combined forces, along with their various locations and meeting points, might correspond to the list in this Psalm. That option would suggest that someone like Jahaziel, an "Asaphite," wrote the song, rather than Asaph himself (2 Chronicles 20:14).

Edom originated with Esau (Genesis 36:1), the brother of the man God later renamed Israel (Genesis 32:28). Moab—and his brother Ammon—descended from Abraham's nephew, Lot (Genesis 19:34–38), and often dragged Israel into war and immorality (Numbers 25:1). Ishmael was Abraham's son by Hagar (Genesis 16:3–4), predicted to be forever in conflict with others, which would later include his half-brother, Isaac (Genesis 16:11–12). The Hagrites were involved in a war with Israel during the days of Saul (1 Chronicles 5:10).
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