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Psalms 50:1

Context
Psalm 50 1 

A psalm by Asaph.

50:1 El, God, the Lord 2  speaks,

and summons the earth to come from the east and west. 3 

Psalms 50:4

Context

50:4 He summons the heavens above,

as well as the earth, so that he might judge his people. 4 

1 sn Psalm 50. This psalm takes the form of a covenant lawsuit in which the Lord comes to confront his people in a formal manner (as in Isa 1:2-20). The Lord emphasizes that he places priority on obedience and genuine worship, not empty ritual.

2 sn Israel’s God is here identified with three names: El (אֵל [’el], or “God”), Elohim (אֱלֹהִים [’elohim], or “God”), and Yahweh (יְהוָה [yÿhvah] or “the Lord”). There is an obvious allusion here to Josh 22:22, the only other passage where these three names appear in succession. In that passage the Reubenites, Gadites, and half-tribe of Manasseh declare, “El, God, the Lord! El, God, the Lord! He knows the truth! Israel must also know! If we have rebelled or disobeyed the Lord, don’t spare us today!” In that context the other tribes had accused the trans-Jordanian tribes of breaking God’s covenant by worshiping idols. The trans-Jordanian tribes appealed to “El, God, the Lord” as their witness that they were innocent of the charges brought against them. Ironically here in Ps 50El, God, the Lord” accuses his sinful covenant people of violating the covenant and warns that he will not spare them if they persist in their rebellion.

3 tn Heb “and calls [the] earth from the sunrise to its going.”

4 tn Or perhaps “to testify against his people.”

sn The personified heavens and earth (see v. 1 as well) are summoned to God’s courtroom as witnesses against God’s covenant people (see Isa 1:2). Long before this Moses warned the people that the heavens and earth would be watching their actions (see Deut 4:26; 30:19; 31:28; 32:1).



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