Psalms – Chapter 50

Meet Asaf

By Rabbi Jack Abramowitz

This Psalm was composed by Asaf, a contemporary of David and a prominent Levite (see I Chronicles chapter 16). Aside from David himself, Asaf was the most eminent composer of Psalms. We see that King Chizkiyahu (a descendant of David) used Psalms of both David and Asaf in II Chronicles 29.

Asaf says that G-d called to all mankind at the beginning of the world and He will do so again at the end of days. In the meantime, He resides primarily in the beautiful city of Jerusalem. We hope that He will soon reveal Himself to the world in judgment. G-d will call the Heavenly representatives of each nation before Him before He punishes the human beings of these nations on Earth. G-d will gather the scattered exiles of Israel, who have forged a covenant with Him. The very Heavens will testify to the fact that G-d is righteous and that He alone judges.

When He finishes judging the nations, G-d will tell the Jewish people to pay attention as He rebukes them for their own misdeeds. He will not fault them for their shortcomings in offering sacrifices, but He will hold them accountable for the sins that necessitated those sacrifices. Remember that the animals sacrificed are not really ours, but His, as are all the wild animals, birds and reptiles. If G-d were a human capable of experiencing hunger, He would have no problems, as everything in the world is His. So He doesn’t need us to “give” Him sacrifices that are already His. What He wants is for us to acknowledge our shortcomings and to rectify them.

G-d says to keep our word; if we do, then He will surely listen to our pleas in times of trouble. As for the evil, their words do not match their deeds. They know G-d’s word, but they reject it. They justify lawless acts, from robbery to adultery. They spread slander and lies, as well as animosity with their own closest relatives. G-d was patient with them, so they thought He didn’t care (or was somehow unaware!). Don’t worry; G-d will punish these people and all will see it. Those who have overlooked G-d should make note of this and change their ways before He judges them, otherwise it’s all over for them. A person who acknowledges his wrongdoing and changes his ways honors G-d. If he takes this first step, G-d will show him the rest of the way.

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