In this Psalm, Israel prays for deliverance from an alliance of ten Muslim nations that are plotting together to launch a combined attack against Israel.
In this Psalm, Israel prays for deliverance from an alliance of ten nations that are plotting together to launch a combined attack against Israel. Today, the ten nations listed are all Muslim nations.

At one level, the psalm laments anti-semitism such as has occurred throughout Israel’s history. It may have partial fulfilment in the events of the Assyrian exile, the Babylonian exile, the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD, and in modern Israeli-Arab wars. However, no war in Israel's history exactly fits the details of the combined attack described in this psalm, and it is reasonable to understand it to be a prophecy of a yet-future attack on Israel in the Great Tribulation. If so, the level of detail in this psalm makes it a very important end-time prophecy.

The desire of these nations is expressed in verse 4, 'Come on, let’s annihilate them so they are no longer a nation! Then the name of Israel will be remembered no more'. Such a desire has been expressed by many Arab leaders since the restoration of Israel as a nation in 1948. For example, on 26 May 1967 during the build-up to the Six Day War, Gamal Abdul Nasser of Egypt said, "The battle will be a general one and our basic objective will be to destroy Israel”. Similarly, on 31 May 1967, President Aref of Iraq said, "The existence of Israel is an error which must be rectified. This is our opportunity to wipe out the ignominy which has been with us since 1948. Our goal is clear - to wipe Israel off the map”.

On 30 May 1967, Gamal Abdul Nasser said, "The armies of Egypt, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon are poised on the borders of Israel ... to face the challenge, while standing behind us are the armies of Iraq, Algeria, Kuwait, Sudan and the whole Arab nation. This act will astound the world. Today they will know that the Arabs are arranged for battle, the critical hour has arrived. We have reached the stage of serious action and not of more declarations." (Reference: Crucial quotes of the Six Day War)

The nations listed in this psalm include Jordan (Ammon, Moab who are the descendants of Lot, and Edom), Saudi Arabia (Edom, Amalek), the Arabs in general (Hagrites and Ishmaelites), Gaza (Philistia), Lebanon (Gebal and Tyre), Turkey, Syria and Iraq (Assyria). Assyria might also include Iran and Egypt.

Verse 8 says, "Even Assyria has allied with them, lending its strength to the descendants of Lot". This seems to identify Jordan as the mastermind behind the plot, and that Assyria and the other nations join in to support it. In several passages, the Antichrist is identified as 'the Assyrian' (Micah 5:5, Isaiah 10:5; 14:25; 30:31).

According to a prophecy about the Antichrist in Daniel 11: 40 “…At the time of the end the king of the south will attack him. Then the king of the north will storm against him with chariots, horsemen, and a large armada of ships. He will invade lands, passing through them like an overflowing river. 41 Then he will enter the beautiful land. Many will fall, but these will escape: Edom, Moab, and the Ammonite leadership. 42 He will extend his power against other lands; the land of Egypt will not escape. 43 He will have control over the hidden stores of gold and silver, as well as all the treasures of Egypt. Libyans and Ethiopians will submit to him." (NET) Although Jordan (Ammon, Moab and Edom) is not conquered by the Antichrist, it is possible that Jordan will form an alliance with him, and come up with the masterplan for his invasion of Israel.

Verses 9 to 17 anticipate the defeat and humiliation of these allied nations. In Isaiah 25:10-11, Moab (Jordan) is singled out for particular humiliation, "10 For the Lord’s power will make this mountain secure. Moab will be trampled down where it stands, as a heap of straw is trampled down in a manure pile. 11 Moab will spread out its hands in the middle of it, just as a swimmer spreads his hands to swim; the Lord will bring down Moab’s pride as it spreads its hands.." (NET)

Israel's prayer is that God would do to these nations what he did to the Midianites in the time of Gideon. It suggests that at Armageddon Jesus will fight as a kind of modern-day Gideon. Walid Shoebat, author of God's War on Terror, sees particular significance in verse 11, 'Make their nobles like Oreb and Zeeb, all their rulers like Zebah and Zalmunna'. In Judges 8:21 Gideon killed Zebah and Zalmunna and removed the crescent ornaments from the necks of their camels. In most translations, the Hebrew word 'saharon' is simply translated 'ornaments', but it implies they were crescent-shaped like the moon. In the NIV 'saharon' is translated 'crescent necklaces' in Isaiah 3:18. Today the crescent moon is the symbol of Islam, and every mosque is adorned with one, just as churches are adorned with a cross. Walid understands this as symbolising the end of Islam at Christ's second coming. This is the exact opposite of Islamic end-time expectations. According to an Islamic Hadith (saying of Mohammed), "By Him in Who’s hands my soul rests, surely Jesus, Son of Maryam (Mary) will soon descend amongst you and will judge mankind judiciously, by the law of the Quran, as an honest ruler. He will break the cross, kill the pig and abolish jizya" (Hadith Vol 3, Book 34, Number 425). Muslims understand this breaking of the cross to symbolise Jesus abolishing Christianity. But Walid understands verse 11 to imply Jesus abolishing Islam.

Ezekiel 38 is the other main passage which identifies nations allied to the Antichrist for his end-time invasion of Israel. The list includes Persia (Iran), Cush (Sudan and possible Somalia), Put (Lybia and possibly other North African countries such as Algeria, Tunisia, Morocco), Gomer (northern Turkey), and Beth Togarmah (probably the Caucasus nations to the north of Turkey). Comparing the two lists, Psalm 83 identifies the Arab countries around Israel, whereas Ezekiel 38 identifies nations from the wider Muslim world. Ezekiel 38 seems to describe Antichrist's invasion of Israel at the beginning of the Great Tribulation. Psalm 83 may be a description of the battle of Armageddon, which occurs at the end of the Great Tribulation. The Psalm envisages the defeat and humiliation of these attacking nations, leading to their knowledge that Jehovah alone is Lord (v18), and implying their acknowledgement that Allah is a false god.
Places: Israel, Edom, Moab, Ammon, Ishmaelites, Hagrites, Gebal, Amalek, Philistia, Tyre, Assyria, Jordan, Gaza, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Iraq, Syria, Caucasus
Symbols: Crescent moon
Tags: Antichrist invades Israel, Ten nation alliance, Defeat of Antichrist empire, Armageddon, Jesus as the end-time Gideon
1 A song, a psalm of Asaph. O God, do not be silent! Do not ignore us! Do not be inactive, O God!
2 For look, your enemies are making a commotion; those who hate you are hostile.
3 They carefully plot against your people, and make plans to harm the ones you cherish.
4 They say, “Come on, let’s annihilate them so they are no longer a nation! Then the name of Israel will be remembered no more.”
5 Yes, they devise a unified strategy; they form an alliance against you.
6 It includes the tents of Edom and the Ishmaelites, Moab and the Hagrites,
7 Gebal, Ammon, and Amalek, Philistia and the inhabitants of Tyre.
8 Even Assyria has allied with them, lending its strength to the descendants of Lot. (Selah)
9 Do to them as you did to Midian – as you did to Sisera and Jabin at the Kishon River!
10 They were destroyed at En Dor; their corpses were like manure on the ground.
11 Make their nobles like Oreb and Zeeb, and all their rulers like Zebah and Zalmunna,
12 who said, “Let’s take over the pastures of God!”
13 O my God, make them like dead thistles, like dead weeds blown away by the wind!
14 Like the fire that burns down the forest, or the flames that consume the mountainsides,
15 chase them with your gale winds, and terrify them with your windstorm.
16 Cover their faces with shame, so they might seek you, O Lord.
17 May they be humiliated and continually terrified! May they die in shame!
18 Then they will know that you alone are the Lord, the Most High over all the earth.