What does Psalm 73:7 mean?
ESV: Their eyes swell out through fatness; their hearts overflow with follies.
NIV: From their callous hearts comes iniquity; their evil imaginations have no limits.
NASB: Their eye bulges from fatness; The imaginations of their heart overflow.
CSB: Their eyes bulge out from fatness; the imaginations of their hearts run wild.
NLT: These fat cats have everything their hearts could ever wish for!
KJV: Their eyes stand out with fatness: they have more than heart could wish.
NKJV: Their eyes bulge with abundance; They have more than heart could wish.
Verse Commentary:
In this psalm, Asaph has been complaining to God about those who are evil, but still prosper (Psalm 73:1–3). Here, he relies on exaggerated expressions to capture the strength of his feelings. In contrast to righteous people who work hard to survive (Psalm 73:4–5), these evil people gorge on food until their eyes pop out. In the ancient world, obesity was a sign of wealth and status—the poor lacked the extra food and leisure to grow fat. Mourning over the status of some evil people, this psalm uses the clearest stereotype of comfortable affluence.

In harmony with their ability to eat until they burst, these evil people also have hearts bursting with evil thoughts. Jeremiah 17:9 states that "the heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick," and Jesus cited the heart as the source of evil deeds. He said in Matthew 12:34–35: "For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks…the evil person out of his evil treasure brings forth evil." In the days before God destroyed the earth with a flood, He observed "that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually" (Genesis 6:5).

Scripture does not indicate if Asaph was thinking of anyone in particular when he wrote these words. Regardless of time or technology, the hearts of those who find wealth despite defying God have much in common. Their sin is comfortable and arrogant (Psalm 73:6). However, it is also temporary (Proverbs 29:1), leading only to eternal disaster (Psalm 73:15–17).
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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