What does Psalm 50:10 mean?
ESV: For every beast of the forest is mine, the cattle on a thousand hills.
NIV: for every animal of the forest is mine, and the cattle on a thousand hills.
NASB: For every animal of the forest is Mine, The cattle on a thousand hills.
CSB: for every animal of the forest is mine, the cattle on a thousand hills.
NLT: For all the animals of the forest are mine, and I own the cattle on a thousand hills.
KJV: For every beast of the forest is mine, and the cattle upon a thousand hills.
NKJV: For every beast of the forest is Mine, And the cattle on a thousand hills.
Verse Commentary:
Merely following rituals does not make a person right with God. Obeying specific instructions is important, but more important is a proper attitude (Matthew 5:27–28). In this psalm, God comes to judge Israel (Psalm 50:1–6), even though they are consistently offering their required sacrifices (Psalm 50:7–8). The Lord rejects those offerings (Psalm 50:9).

Here, God notes that He does not ask for sacrifices to meet His personal needs. The animals being offered are already His. He created them and they are under His control (Psalm 50:11). Multiple stories in the Bible involve God's direct control of His creatures (Numbers 22:22–28; 1 Kings 17:5–6; Jonah 1:17). The physical act of the sacrifice, itself, is not the important part of that ritual. As the passage continues, we see that Israel has been hypocritical in their offerings (Psalm 50:16–21). They might offer animals according to God's instructions, but the rest of their lives demonstrate contempt for His will.

In his first letter to the Corinthians, the apostle Paul quotes Psalm 24:1: "The earth is the Lord's, and the fullness thereof" (1 Corinthians 10:26). When he preached on Mars Hill, he declared: "The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything" (Acts 17:24–25). Although Christians present their offerings to the Lord (1 Corinthians 16:1–2; 2 Corinthians 9:6–15; Romans 12:1–2), they should realize that the Lord doesn't need their offerings, but they need the Lord. To assume providing God with a sacrifice—the mere action itself—serves His purposes is simply wrong.
Verse Context:
Psalm 50:7–15 explains the judgment which God came to deliver in the prior passage. All of creation was called to witness this verdict, given to the supposedly faithful people of the Lord (Psalm 50:1–6). In this passage, God notes that Israel hypocritically participates in sacrifices and rituals—yet they ignore God in their lives. Sin and disobedience mark their habits (Psalm 50:17). Still, they assume God is pleased with them. The Lord explains that without sincerity, those rituals are meaningless.
Chapter Summary:
Asaph depicts God as an unimaginably glorious judge, calling the entire world to hear a divine verdict. Israel has offered sacrifices, but God ignores them. The nation rejects His laws. It is pervaded with blatant sin, even while they claim to be God's chosen people. The Lord's patience does not mean He does not notice. Those who continue ignoring Him will be "torn apart" without any possibility of rescue. Those who respond to God with sincerity will be rescued.
Chapter Context:
This psalm, written by Asaph, addresses the Lord's intended connection between religious rituals and daily behavior. When the people offer sacrifices, but blatantly reject God's laws, they invite judgment. This passage notes national sins mentioned directly in the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:14–16). In other writings, Asaph expresses frustration over Israel's continued rebellion and God's delayed response (Psalm 73:2–3; 74:10).
Book Summary:
The book of Psalms is composed of individual songs, hymns, or poems, each of which is a ''Psalm'' in and of itself. These works contain a wide variety of themes. Some Psalms focus on praising and worshipping God. Others cry out in anguish over the pain of life. Still other Psalms look forward to the coming of the Messiah. While some Psalms are related, each has its own historical and biblical context.
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