What does Psalm 73:6 mean?
ESV: Therefore pride is their necklace; violence covers them as a garment.
NIV: Therefore pride is their necklace; they clothe themselves with violence.
NASB: Therefore arrogance is their necklace; The garment of violence covers them.
CSB: Therefore, pride is their necklace, and violence covers them like a garment.
NLT: They wear pride like a jeweled necklace and clothe themselves with cruelty.
KJV: Therefore pride compasseth them about as a chain; violence covereth them as a garment.
NKJV: Therefore pride serves as their necklace; Violence covers them like a garment.
Verse Commentary:
Almost worse that seeing immoral people live in prosperity is when those same people are arrogant and obnoxious. They take the credit for their wealth and health, flaunting their status like jewelry. Some embrace their sinful ways, proudly showing them off as if modeling clothing.

While some righteous people are wealthy, their numbers are few compared with those who have a modest income. Righteous people—wealthy or not—recognize that God is the giver of their wealth and health. God-fearing people humbly ascribe praise to Him and serve as good stewards of what they have received. However, the prosperous wicked (Psalm 73:3) refuse to acknowledge God as the giver of their good fortune. They boast that they acquired everything by their own intelligence and efforts.

In Asaph's era, it would not have been unusual for the rich to acquire their status through forms of violence. They misused their servants, took advantage of the poor, and some might have killed innocent people to get rich. The apostle James condemned the rich who oppressed poor believers. He wrote: "Are not the rich the ones who oppress you, and the ones who drag you into court? Are they not the ones who blaspheme the honorable name by which you were called"? (James 2:6–7).
Verse Context:
Psalm 73:1–9 depicts a struggle which resonates with Christians in many eras of history. Asaph almost abandoned his faith in God because he envied the prosperous wicked. He describes them as healthy, wealthy, proud, violent, and profane. Job 21 includes a similar description of the wicked. The wording here is meant to be somewhat exaggerated, reflecting the painful perspective of godly people who suffer. The following verses discuss how the same problems lead others to question God, and how Asaph ultimately resolves his doubts and confirms his faith.
Chapter Summary:
Seeing godless people thrive, even as they hatefully mock God, while believers suffer, leads many people to a crisis of faith. This was the case for Asaph. Using exaggerated imagery, he complains to the Lord that it seems as if evil people have easy lives, while godly people suffer. Further reflection reminds Asaph that sin does lead to consequences, both in this life and the next. He confesses his sins of bitterness and resolves to trust God more deeply.
Chapter Context:
This psalm is the first in a collection which corresponds to Leviticus and the overall theme of worship. Asaph, who wrote Psalm 73, confesses that seeing prosperity among wicked people brought him bitterness and envy. That nearly caused him to lose trust in God. Carefully considering God and His eternal truth led Asaph to a stronger faith. Job chapter 21, in which trial-laden Job also complains about the success of some wicked people, mentions many of the same ideas as Psalm 73.
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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