What does Psalm 50:22 mean?
ESV: “Mark this, then, you who forget God, lest I tear you apart, and there be none to deliver!
NIV: Consider this, you who forget God, or I will tear you to pieces, with no one to rescue you:
NASB: 'Now consider this, you who forget God, Or I will tear you in pieces, and there will be no one to save you.
CSB: "Understand this, you who forget God, or I will tear you apart, and there will be no one to rescue you.
NLT: Repent, all of you who forget me, or I will tear you apart, and no one will help you.
KJV: Now consider this, ye that forget God, lest I tear you in pieces, and there be none to deliver.
NKJV: “Now consider this, you who forget God, Lest I tear you in pieces, And there be none to deliver:
Verse Commentary:
The people of Israel, in Asaph's day (Psalm 50:1; 73:2–3; 74:10) were blatantly sinning (Psalm 50:18–20) while engaging in hypocritical rituals (Psalm 50:8–9). Romans 2:17–22 accuses a much later generation of Israelites of knowing God's law, and teaching it to others, while violating it. This resulted in God's name being smeared by nonbelievers (Romans 2:23–24). In this passage, God condemns the insincerity of ancient Israel. That the people "forget" God is not an accident or a lapse in memory. Earlier verses noted how the nation arrogantly threw the Lord's will to the side (Psalm 50:16–17). They "forget" through an intentional choice to ignore what they know. But God is not limited or corruptible like human beings (Psalm 50:21). This leads to the dire warning of this verse.

Compared to other passages in Scripture, this is an extremely brief description of the Lord's impending judgment. Unless they repent and change (Psalm 50:23), He will "tear apart" the nation and no one will be able to rescue them. God's patience is not a sign of weakness—He will not ignore the wicked forever. Romans 1:18 declares: "For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth." Ultimately, all the wicked will be judged and, because their names are not inscribed in the Lamb's Book of Life, they will be thrown into the lake of fire (Revelation 20:11–15).
Verse Context:
Psalm 50:16–23 closes with strong criticism for hypocritical worship. Israel is being judged by God (Psalm 50:7) for offering sacrifices (Psalm 50:8) but doing so while participating in blatant sin and disobedience. Mere performance of rituals does not buy God's forgiveness. The Lord condemns the ungodly attitudes of the people and warns of dire consequences for those who do not change.
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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