Why Psalm 83 is a Prayer and a Future War Prophecy

on Tuesday, October 24, 2023 by

(Research done by Brad Myers)

This article is taken from my book entitled, The FUTURE WAR Prophecies. It is appendix 2 and serves as an extension to the chapter entitled, “Psalm 83: The Final Arab-Israeli War.” It was identified under the subsection of that chapter called the “The Psalm 83 Objections.” It will explain why this author, as well as others who will be notated, believe that Psalm 83 is more than a prayer, but is an actual Bible prophecy, and that it remains unfulfilled.

Is Psalm 83 Only a Prayer?

Some believe that Psalm 83 is not a prophecy, but is only an imprecatory prayer, in which Asaph petitions the LORD to intervene on behalf of Israel to eliminate their general enemies. Dr. Thomas Ice, Executive Director of the Pre-Trib Research Center quotes prophecy expert Mark Hitchcock on why Psalm 83 should not be a war prophecy of the last days.  

It may be that constructing a separate end time war out of Psalm 83 is reading too much into a text that is simply saying that Israel has been and always will be surrounded by enemies and that someday the Lord will finally deal with them.” [i]

Dr. Thomas Ice puts forward these strong comments regarding Christians that believe Psalm 83 is a war prophecy of the future.

While I consider Bill Salus and others who take this view to be friends and fellow protagonist within the field of Bible prophecy, however, there comes a time when friends must speak out against a friend when what they teach is not really found in the Bible. This is why I am sounding the alarm concerning the so-called “Psalm 83 war.” It is clear to me that Psalm 83 is an imprecatory request on behalf of the nation of Israel by Asaph 3,000 years ago. This is the reason that Psalm 83 is classified as a national lament. There is no prophecy in the Psalm“…[ii]

Senior Pastor Andy Woods presented a teaching on how to correctly interpret Psalm 83 at Sugar Land Bible Church on September 11, 2022. Dr. Andy Woods explains in detail why he feels strongly that Psalm 83 should be considered only as an imprecatory prayer not a war prophecy in the future. You can watch this teaching on his YouTube channel by listening to The Middle East Meltdown video.

The Middle East Meltdown video #30, 9/11/21 

(These excerpts are taken from the video transcript)

Psalm 83 does not contain the language of predictive prophecy it’s just a prayer of an imprecatory nature Asaph you know looks out at the nations that keep bothering Israel and he’s just praying Lord in the end I hope you sock it to him um he’s not making any kind of independent prediction… Psalm 83 is not a war or a prediction about a war as we read Psalm 83. There is no war or battle found in Psalm 83. I mean to me that’s problematic everybody’s talking about the Psalm 83 war I read through that I didn’t see any war did you?…”

At some point in your ministry you have to figure out what you’re more interested in. Are you interested in selling books or are you interested in giving an account to God? As a teacher when the Book of James chapter 3 verse 1 says let few of you presume to be teachers knowing that the teacher must give a stricter accounting to God that’s what I’m thinking about I’m not thinking about popularity, book sales, sensationalistic type speaking etc.”

Psalm 83 is Asaph back in 950 BC mentioning in his prayer various nations that were bothering Israel back in 950 BC and he’s praying a prayer of imprecation and he’s basically saying Lord I hope you take these countries out one day he’s not making a prediction about a war he’s not making a forecast about a war he’s praying a prayer of imprecation which is kind of common in the Psalms.”

“I (Dr. Woods) think Psalm 83 is not a war is because if you and this is the where the genre sensitivity comes in if you start taking things in the Bible that are designed to be imprecatory prayers and carte blanche converting them into prophecies then that opens up Pandora’s Box because if you do it with this prayer this imprecatory prayer then there’s a ton of other imprecatory prayers in the  Psalms and suddenly you got to start converting those into prophecies also let me show you how common in the psalter these prayer these imprecatory prayers are.”

So if you’re going to take Psalm 83 and you’re going to make that a prophecy then you’ve got  to create independent wars for all of these. The Psalm 6:10 war, Psalm 7:6 war, Psalm 25:2 war, Psalm 25:19 war, Psalm 31:15 war, Psalm 56:2 war Psalm 56:9 war, Psalm 69:18 war and Psalm 102:8.”[iii]

So my question to Dr. Woods is, why would we have to take the personal enemies of David throughout these specific psalms and create independent war prophecies about nations that want to go to wipe out the nation of Israel? Look at these Psalms verses below that Woods cites. They are all dealing with enemies of David, not with the destruction of Israel.

“All MY ENEMIES will be ashamed and greatly dismayed; They shall turn back, they will suddenly be ashamed.” (Psalm 6:10, NASB 1995; emphasis added)

“Arise, O LORD, in your anger; lift yourself up against the fury of MY ENEMIES; awake for ME; you have appointed a judgment.”  (Psalm 7:6, ESV; emphasis added)

“O my God, in You I trust, Do not let ME be ashamed; Do not let MY ENEMIES exult over ME (Psalm 25:2, NASB 1995; emphasis added) 

“Look upon MY ENEMIES, for they are many, And they HATE ME with violent hatred. (Psalm 25:19, NASB 1995; emphasis added) 

“MY times are in Your hand; Deliver ME from the hand of MY ENEMIES and from those who persecute ME.” (Psalm 31:15, NASB 1995; emphasis added)

“MY FOES have trampled upon ME all day long, For they are many who fight proudly AGAINST ME.” (Psalm 56:2, NASB 1995; emphasis added)

“Then MY ENEMIES will turn back in the day when I CALL; This I KNOW, that God is FOR ME.” (Psalm 56:9, NASB 1995; emphasis added) 

“Oh draw near to MY SOUL and redeem it; Ransom me because of MY ENEMIES!” (Psalm 69:18, NASB 1995; emphasis added)

“MY ENEMIES have reproached ME all day long; Those who DERIDE ME have used MY NAME as a curse.” (Psalm 102:8, NASB 1995; emphasis added)

Did you notice all THESE ENEMIES are targeting DAVID and not nations threatening to wipe out Israel as a nation? Is comparing the personal ENEMIES of DAVID that want to harm or kill him in these psalms the same as comparing the enemies in Psalm 83 that want to wipe out Israel from existence? If Psalm 83 is simply a prayer for the Lord to someday deal with the hostile enemies that surround the nation of Israel, why is there so much tremendous detail about ten specific hostile enemies that form into an Arab confederacy?  

Psalm 83 as a Future War Prophecy

In 2017 Dr. David Reagan wrote an article entitled “Bill Salus, a True Eschatologist.” This piece was featured in the 2017 edition of Lamplighter Magazine. Here is only a sample of the interesting things Dr. Reagan said about Bill’s thesis of the Psalm 83 war.

But if anyone could be called an Eschatologist, it would be Bill — and not because he is stuffy. Rather, he brings an inquisitive attitude to God’s Prophetic Word, and this attitude propels him to constantly search for end time prophecies that may have been overlooked or misinterpreted…Basically, what he argued was that Psalm 83 is a prophecy about an end time war that is yet to occur – a war between Israel and all the Arab states with whom it shares a common border… Psalm 83 had been considered to be simply a lament over the desire of the nations of the world to destroy Israel. And most Bible prophecy specialists quickly dismissed Bill’s thesis as nonsense…” [iv]

            Fast forward to May 10, 2023, when Dr. David Reagan states the following in his book entitled, the 9 Wars of the End Times on page 37.

            “Personally, I have come to the following conclusions:

In his Believer’s Bible Commentary that was published in 1995, William MacDonald on pages 675-676 gives his interpretation of Psalm 83 which he believes will perhaps have further fulfillments involving enemies that threaten the annihilation of Israel with mostly people who are near relatives of the Israelites. He states:    

For many Bible lovers, Psalm 83 took on new meaning after the Six-Day War. And perhaps it will have further fulfillments…The details are true to life. The enemies are in tumult…They threaten the annihilation of Israel… They form a formidable federation of nations- mostly of people who are near relatives of the Israelites…How could little Israel stand against such an overwhelming conspiracy?,,, He sends a victory that defies all human explanations.” [v]

The Anchor Bible Psalms 51-100 by Mitchell Dahood, S.J. in 1968 on page 273 says this about the nations that want to wipe out Israel. 

A National lament in which the poet or singer prays on behalf of the nation for deliverance from the surrounding enemies who threaten its existence. History transmits no record of the national crisis when the nations enumerated in this psalm formed a league to wipe out Israel...” [vi]

The New American Commentary Psalms 73-150 on pages 121-123 published in 2019 referencing Psalm 83, informs that the Psalm indicates that Israel is facing an imminent military conspiracy with ten hostile nations joined together in their desire to expunge the memory of Israel forever.  

The Psalm indicates that Israel is facing an imminent military conspiracy (vv.3-5 {4-6} by several nations allied against it (vv. 6-8{7-9}. Ten hostile enemies are listed, but there is no time noted in the OT historical narratives when these ten nations joined together against Israel… This is a calculated, sinister plot, as the hostile nations conspire to oppose God to inflict collateral damage on God’s people. Israel is the battlefield on which this conflict between God and his enemies plays out… 83:4… This verse quotes the words of the enemies as they plot against Israel, encouraging one another to proceed with this dastardly deed. They want to obliterate Israel as a nation. Defeat is not enough; only total devastation will suffice for them. In fact, they collude to expunge the memory of Israel forever. If they were to have their way, Israel would be erased from the roll of nations and from the book of history, as the later agendas of Hamman (Esther 3) and Hitler attempted as well. Had they been successful in OT times, God’s plan of redemption …would have been thwarted. This, then, is a frontal attack on God’s world order and sovereign plan for history 83:5… it appears that their intent is to obliterate Israel, but in reality they want to subvert God’s program for history.” [vii]

The New Century Bible Psalms Volume 2 was published in 1972. This Bible commentary weighs in on their interpretation of the events in Psalm 83 which they believe involves the threat of a foreign invasion of 10 national groups or nations which result in calamities for these enemies of Israel. [viii] 

This Psalm is a National Lament … uttered, in the hour of distress, at some service of intercession. The actual calamity is the apparently imminent threat of a foreign invasion, and verses 6-8 list the ten nations involved in this plotting.” (Page 595).             

The following verses (6-8) enumerate the peoples taking part in this scheming; the coalition comprises ten nations. As far as our present goes, we do not know of any specific situation in which all the ten national groups were threatening Israel.” (Page 597).              

“(14-15) The community prays for a complete annihilation of the enemies and the brush fire metaphor for destruction.” (Page 600).

“(18) Let them know… the psalmist expects that the calamities of the nations will bring them to their senses and that they will know or recognize the authority of Yahweh… 

the Most High… The nations thought (as implied by their attitude) that they and their gods were the masters of the earth… but the subsequent events will show the real and only Lord is Yahweh, who is in authority above the whole earth.” (Page 601).

John Peter Lange is a well-respected theologian who is the author of the Lange Commentary on the Holy Scripture which was published in 1877. He points out that those combined against Israel, are never mentioned elsewhere as enemies allied at the same time and for the purpose of annihilating Israel. Lange notes:

With regard to the time of composition, the following difficulty meets us. The ten nations who are here enumerated as being combined against Israel, are never mentioned elsewhere as enemies allied at the same time and for the purpose of annihilating Israel.” [ix]

In addition, John Peter Lange believes there were some individuals during his time that believed the Psalm was just a general idea, that there were enemies from all sides of Israel but Lange believed that the detailed information in Psalm 83:8 is unfavorable to their view of  Psalm 83 as just a general idea or prayer. Here is how he explains it:

And yet the expressions are of such a nature, that we cannot be inclined to consider this enumeration as only a poetical individualizing of the general idea: enemies from all sides (De Wette, Hupfeld). The position of Assyria as an auxiliary of the sons of Lot, that is, of the Moabites and Ammonites, is especially unfavorable to this view.” [x]


This appendix presented a strong case that Psalm 83 is a legitimate Bible prophecy that remains unfulfilled. So, more than a prayer it identifies a future war between Israel and the surrounding Arab nations that share common borders with Israel. These very nations, waged war with Israel in 1948 in an attempt to destroy the restored Jewish state, but they were unsuccessful.

As was pointed out in the chapter entitled, “Psalm 83: The Final Arab-Israeli War” under the subsection of that chapter called the “The Psalm 83 Objections,” the 1948 war was not the final fulfillment of Psalm 83. That section also explained why Psalm 83 and Ezekiel 38 are not the same war prophecy.

[i]  CONSISTENT BIBLICAL FUTURISM  article Thomas Ice quoting Mark Hitchcock 




[iii] The Middle East Meltdown #30 Video  9/11/21

[iv] “Bill Salus, a True Eschatologist” by Dr. David Reagan in 2017.

[v] Believers Bible Commentary William McDonald pages 675-676 1995. 

[vi] The Anchor Bible Psalms 51-100 Mitchell Dahood, S.J. page 273 1968. 

[vii] The New American Commentary Psalms 73-150 Volume 13 Daniel J. Estes  page 121-123  2019. 

[viii] New Century Bible Psalms Volume 2 A.A. Anderson 595, 597, 600, 601 1972.

[ix] Lange Commentary on the Holy Scripture John Peter Lange 


[x] Lange Commentary on the Holy Scripture John Peter Lange 


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