“I said, You are gods”: Eusebius of Caesarea, Commentary on Psalm 81 LXX — A Translation

October 5, 2020

Psalm 81 LXX (82 MT) is, again, a Psalm of profound importance for the Church’s understanding of the deity of Christ, the salvific hope of deification, and the eschatological judgment.

Of particular note in Eusebius’s treatment is his engagement with Christ’s use of the Psalm in John 10, and his interesting discussion of the connections between Psalms 81, 49, and 50. In short, Eusebius engages, however briefly, in questions of canonical shaping and literary-theological reading of the Psalter.

ΨΑΛΜΟΣ ΤΩ ΑΣΑΦ. ΠΑʹ.
            Ὁ Θεὸς ἔστη ἐν συναγωγῇ θεῶν, ἐν μέσῳ δὲ θεοὺς διακρίνει. Ὁ μὲν πρὸ τούτου λόγος κατηγορεῖ τοῦ παντὸς Ἰουδαίων λαοῦ, σαφῶς τοῦ Θεοῦ φάσκοντος· Οὐκ ἤκουσεν ὁ λαός μου τῆς φωνῆς μου, καὶ Ἰσραὴλ οὐ προσέσχε μοι. Καὶ ἐξαπέστειλα αὐτοὺς κατὰ τὰ ἐπιτηδεύματα τῆς καρδίας αὐτῶν· καὶ πάλιν· Εἰ ὁ λαός μου ἤκουσέ μου, Ἰσραὴλ ταῖς ὁδοῖς μου εἰ ἐπορεύθη· ἐν τῷ μηδενὶ ἂν τοὺς ἐχθροὺς αὐτῶν ἐταπείνωσα· ὁ δὲ μετὰ χεῖρας ἀκολούθως ἐκείνοις τῶν προέδρων τοῦ λαοῦ κατηγορεῖ· ὡς πρὸς ἄρχοντα γοῦν καὶ κριτὰς ἀποτείνεται λέγων· Ἕως πότε κρίνετε ἀδικίαν, καὶ πρόσωπα ἁμαρτωλῶν λαμβάνετε; Κρίνατε πτωχὸν καὶ ταπεινὸν, ὀρφανὸν καὶ πένητα δικαιώσατε. Εἶτα ἐπιλέγει· Ἐγὼ ταῦτα παρεκελευόμην· οἱ δὲ οὐκ ἔγνωσαν οὐδὲ συνῆκαν, ἐν σκότει διαπορεύονται. Θεοὺς δὲ αὐτοὺς ἀποκαλεῖ, ἤτοι διὰ τὴν τιμὴν ἣν ἀπένεμεν αὐτοῖς ὁ λαός· οὕτω μετὰ πλείστου φόβου καὶ τιμῆς προσιὼν αὐτοῖς ὡσεὶ καὶ αὐτῷ τῷ Θεῷ· ἢ ἐπειδήπερ χώραν Θεοῦ ἐπεῖχον τὸ κρίνειν ἀναδεδεγμένοι, κολάζοντές τε καὶ τιμωρούμενοι τοὺς ἀδικοῦντας κατὰ τὸν παρ’ αὐτοῖς νόμον· ἢ διὰ τὸ τετιμῆσθαι αὐτοὺς ὑπὸ τοῦ Θεοῦ τῷ τῆς υἱοθεσίας ὀνόματι, ὡς λέγεσθαι περὶ αὐτῶν· Υἱοὺς ἐγέννησα [23.984] καὶ ὕψωσα· ἢ διὰ τὸ κατ’ εἰκόνα καὶ ὁμοίωσιν Θεοῦ γεγονέναι διὰ τὴν ἐν ἀνθρώποις νοερὰν καὶ λογικὴν οὐσίαν. Αὐτίκα γοῦν ἐν αὐτῷ τῷ προκειμένῳ ψαλμῷ προϊὼν, ὁ λόγος φησὶ πρὸς τοὺς κατηγορουμένους· Ἐγὼ εἶπα· Θεοί ἐστε καὶ υἱοὶ Ὑψίστου πάντες. Ὑμεῖς δὲ ὡς ἄνθρωποι ἀποθνήσκετε, καὶ ὡς εἷς τῶν ἀρχόντων πίπτετε. Τοὺς δὴ οὖν τοῦ λαοῦ προεστῶτας, ἱερέας δηλαδὴ καὶ ἀρχιερέας, τούς τε λοιποὺς ἄρχοντας ἀνακρίνων ὁ Θεὸς Λόγος, τὰ μετὰ χεῖρας διεξέρχεται. Διὸ εἴρηται· Ὁ Θεὸς ἔστη ἐν συναγωγῇ θεῶν, ἐν μέσῳ δὲ θεοὺς διακρίνει· κατὰ δὲ τὸν Ἀκύλαν· Θεὸς ἔστη ἐν συναγωγῇ ἰσχυρῶν, ἐν ἐγκάτῳ Κύριος κρίνει· κατὰ δὲ τὸν Σύμμαχον· Ὁ Θεὸς κατέστη ἐν συνόδῳ Θεοῦ, ἐν μέσοις Θεὸς κρίνων. Κρίνων δὲ οὗτος ὁ Θεὸς, δηλαδὴ ὁ τοῦ Θεοῦ Λόγος, καὶ διακρίνων τὴν λεγομένην συναγωγὴν τῶν θεῶν, ἐλέγχους προσάγει τοῖς κρινομένοις. Καὶ ἐπεὶ δυνατοὶ δυνατῶς ἐτασθήσονται, εἰκότως τὸ τάγμα τῶν προλελεγμένων θεῶν ἀφορίζει ἰδίως καὶ κρίνει, προδιελθὼν ἐν τῷ πρὸ τούτου λόγῳ τὸν ἔλεγχον τοῦ πλήθους τοῦ λαοῦ. Ἀλλὰ καὶ διακρίνει, κρίνων τοὺς ἀξίους σωτηρίας καὶ τοὺς μὴ τοιούτους. Κρίνει δὲ οὐκ ἐπηρμένως, οὐδὲ τυραννικῶς, ἐν ὕψει τε προκαθεζόμενος, ἀλλὰ συγκαταβαίνων τοῖς κρινομένοις, μέσος αὐτῶν ἵσταται, ὁμοιούμενος αὐτοῖς τῷ σχήματι δι’ οὗ ἀνείληφεν ἀνθρώπου. Ἐντεῦθέν τε ἤδη προλαβὼν ἀποτείνεται σωφρονίζων τοὺς μέλλοντας κρίνεσθαι, καὶ προφυλαττόμενος αὐτοὺς πρὸς τὸ μὴ περιπεσεῖν τῇ τῆς κρίσεως τιμωρίᾳ, προκατορθῶσαι δὲ καὶ προφυλάξασθαι διὰ τῶν προσαγομένων αὐτοῖς ἐλέγχων.
PSALM BY ASAPH. 81.
            God stood in the synagogue of gods, and in the midst of gods He passes judgment.[1] The logos [in the psalm] before this one accuses the whole Jewish nation, with God clearly saying, My people did not listen to my voice, and Israel did not pay attention to me. And I sent them away according to the pursuits of their heart (Ps 80.12-13); and again, If my people had listened to me, if Israel would have walked in my ways, I would have humiliated their enemies in no time (Ps 80.14-15). And in a manner that corresponds to those passages he [now] accuses the prominent figures of the nation, as he extends his discourse to the rulers and judges when he says, How long will you judge injustice, and receive the faces of sinners? Judge for the poor and lowly, and vindicate the orphan and needy (Ps 81.2-3). Then he further adds, I have commanded these things, but they did not know nor did they understand, they walk about in darkness (Ps 81.5a). He refers to them as “gods” either because of the honor which the nation rendered to them, since the [nation] approached them with greater fear and honor, as it were, than God himself; or inasmuch as they were the ones who had been assigned the place of God to judge, punishing and exacting punishments on those who deal unjustly according to the law [given] to them; or because they had been honored by God with the name of adoption of sonship, as it is said concerning them, I have begotten [M23.984] and raised up sons (Isa 1.2); or because of the fact that [man] has come to be “according to the image and likeness” of God (Gen 1.26) which is due to the noetic and rational essence in men. Now, in the psalm at hand, the logos says to those who are being censured, I said, ‘You are gods, and sons of the Most High, all. But you are dying as men, and as one of the princes you are falling’ (Ps 81.6-7). God the Logos, interrogating those, then, who are leading the nation, clearly priests and chief priests, and the remainder of the rulers, relates the matters at hand. Wherefore it is said, God stood in the synagogue of gods, in the midst of gods He passes judgment, but according to Aquila, God stood in the synagogue of the mighty, in the inner realm the Lord judges; and according to Symmachus, The Lord sat down in the synod of God, in the midst [of them] God is judging. This God who is judging, clearly the Logos of God, and passing judgment on the so-called synagogue of gods, brings forward reproofs against those being judged. And since the mighty will be mightily tested (Wisdom 6.6), fittingly he singles out specifically and judges the order (τὸ τάγμα) of the aforementioned gods, having previously recounted the reproof of the whole nation in the [psalm] passage before this one. But he also passes judgment (διακρίνει), judging [between] those who are worthy of salvation and those who are not. And he judges neither in an exalted state, nor tyrannically, seating himself prominently in the heights, but rather condescending to those judged, he stands in their midst, being made like them in the pattern of a man through whom he assumed (Phil 2.7).[2] Thus already by way of anticipation he extends [his discourse] recalling those about to be judged to their senses, and cautioning them in advance so that they might not succumb to the punishment of judgment, so as to correct ahead of time and caution [them] in advance through the reproofs proffered to them.
[Vv. 2-3.] Διὸ φάσκει· Ἕως πότε κρίνετε ἀδικίαν, καὶ πρόσωπα ἁμαρτωλῶν λαμβάνετε; Κρίνατε πτωχῷ καὶ ὀρφανῷ. Τὰ ὅμοια δὲ τούτοις καὶ διὰ Ἡσαΐου τὸ προφητικὸν Πνεῦμα κέκραγε λέγον· Μάθετε καλὸν ποιεῖν, ἐκζητήσατε κρίσιν, κρίνατε ὀρφανῷ καὶ δικαιώσατε χήρᾳ· καὶ δεῦτε, καὶ διαλεχθῶμεν, λέγει Κύριος. Καὶ ἐὰν ὦσιν αἱ ἁμαρτίαι ὑμῶν ὡς φοινικοῦν, ὡς χιόνα λευκανῶ. Ἀλλὰ ταῦτα μὲν ὁ λόγος προδιαστέλλεται· οἱ δὲ τῇ τῶν θεῶν ἐπηγορίᾳ τιμηθέντες, καὶ τοσαύτης διδασκαλίας ἀξιωθέντες, οὐκ ἔγνωσαν, οὐδὲ συνῆκαν, ἐν σκότει διαπορεύονται. Ταῦτα δὲ καὶ εἰς τὸν καιρὸν τῆς πρώτης τοῦ Σωτῆρος ἡμῶν ἐπιδημίας ἀναφέροιτο ἂν, καθ’ ὃν ἐν ταῖς συναγωγαῖς παραβάλλων τοῦ Ἰουδαίων ἔθνους, καὶ μέσος τῶν ἀρχόντων παριὼν, τὰς πρὸς αὐτοὺς ἐποιεῖτο διαλέξεις, ἐλέγχους τε αὐτοῖς ἐπῆγε, μαρτυρόμενος καὶ διαστελλόμενος τὰ περὶ τῆς μελλούσης αὐτοὺς διαλήψεσθαι κρίσεως. Οὕτως οὖν ὁ Θεὸς ἦν κατ’ ἐκεῖνο καιροῦ ἑστὼς ἐν συναγωγῇ θεῶν, ἐν μέσῳ τε τοὺς προλεχθέντας κρίνων θεούς· ἀντὶ γὰρ τοῦ, διακρίνει, ὁ Σύμμαχος καὶ ὁ Ἀκύλας, κρίνων, ἐκδεδώκασι. Καὶ ὅρα ὅπως θεοὺς ὠνόμασε τοὺς κρινομένους, καὶ θεῶν συναγωγὴν οὐκ ὤκνησεν ἀποκαλέσαι, εἰς δυσώπησιν τῶν ἀρνουμένων τοῦ Σωτῆρος τὴν θεότητα. Εἰ γὰρ τοὺς ἐλεγχομένους καὶ ἐπὶ κακίᾳ διαβαλλομένους οὐκ ὤκνει θεοὺς ὀνομάζειν, τὸν τῶν τοσούτων παραδόξων ἔργων ποιητὴν, τὸν τὴν κρίσιν [23.985] παρὰ τοῦ Πατρὸς εἰληφότα, πῶς οὐ δικαιότατον τῇ τοῦ Θεοῦ σεβασμίῳ τιμῇ σεμνύνειν; Τοῦτό τοι καὶ αὐτὸς ὁ Σωτὴρ δυσωπητικῶς πρὸς αὐτοὺς τοὺς Ἰουδαίων ἄρχοντας προὔτεινεν, αὐταῖς δὲ ταύταις κεχρημένος ταῖς παρούσαις λέξεσιν. Εἰρηκότων γὰρ αὐτῶν· Περὶ καλοῦ ἔργου οὐ λιθάζομέν σε, ἀλλὰ περὶ βλασφημίας, ὅτι σὺ, ἄνθρωπος ὢν, ποιεῖς σεαυτὸν Θεόν· ἀνταπεκρίθη αὐτοῖς Ἰησοῦς· Οὐκ ἔστι γεγραμμένον ἐν τῷ νόμῳ ὑμῶν, ὅτι, Ἐγὼ εἶπα· Θεοί ἐστε; Εἰ ἐκείνους εἶπε θεοὺς, πρὸς οὓς λόγος ἐγένετο τοῦ Θεοῦ, καὶ οὐ δύναται λυθῆναι Γραφὴ, ὃν Πατὴρ ἡγίασε καὶ ἀπέστειλεν εἰς τὸν κόσμον, ὑμεῖς λέγετε, ὅτι βλασφημεῖ, ὅτι εἶπον· Υἱὸς Θεοῦ εἰμι. Εἰ δὲ λέγοι ὁ Σωτὴρ, ὅτι, Οὐκ ἔστι γεγραμμένον ἐν τῷ νόμῳ; μὴ θαυμάσῃς· ἐπεὶ πάντα λόγον Θεοῦ, οὐ μόνον τὸν διὰ Μωσέως, ἀλλὰ καὶ τὸν διὰ τῶν προφητῶν λελεγμένον, ὥσπερ τινὰ βασιλικὸν νόμον ἀποδέχεσθαι διδάσκει· ὥστε καὶ τὰ διὰ τῶν προφητῶν παρηγγελμένα εὐλόγως ἄν τινα εἶναι φάναι νόμους Θεοῦ· καὶ τὸ διὰ τῆς ψαλμῳδίας ὁμοίως. Αὐτὸς οὖν ὁ τοῦ Θεοῦ Λόγος, μορφὴν δούλου λαβὼν, καὶ σχήματι εὑρεθεὶς ὡς ἄνθρωπος, ἔστη ἐν συναγωγῇ θεῶν, καὶ μέσος τῶν ἐν ἀνθρώποις ὠνομασθέντων θεῶν γεγονὼς, ἔκρινεν αὐτοὺς, ὁπηνίκα πρὸς αὐτοὺς ἔλεγεν· λόγος ὃν ἐλάλησα πρὸς ὑμᾶς, αὐτὸς ὑμᾶς κρίνει. Καὶ μᾶλλον οὕτω πρέποι ἂν ἐκδέχεσθαι τὴν παροῦσαν Γραφὴν, ἢ νομίζειν τὸν ἐπέκεινα τῶν ὅλων Θεὸν, αὐτὸν τὸν Πατέρα, ἐν τούτοις εἰσάγεσθαι μεταξὺ θεῶν ἑτέρων ἑστῶτα. Οὔτε γὰρ ἰσοτίμους αὐτῷ τινας εἶναι ὑπονοεῖν θέμις, οὔτε αὐτὸν εἰς τοσοῦτον καταγαγεῖν, ὡς μέσον ἀνθρώπων παρεῖναι καὶ ἑστάναι ὑποτίθεσθαι. Ταῦτα δὲ πάντα ἂν ἁρμόζοι τῷ Χριστῷ τοῦ Θεοῦ· ὃς δὴ φάσκων· Ἕως πότε κρίνετε ἀδικίαν, καὶ πρόσωπα ἁμαρτωλῶν λαμβάνετε; οὐ πρὸς ἐκείνους μόνους οἷς παρὼν ὡμίλει, ἀλλὰ καὶ πρὸς πάντας εἴποι ἂν ταῦτα, τοὺς τὴν ἐξουσίαν τοῦ κρίνειν ἑτέρους εἰληφότας. Μέμφεται δὲ εἰκότως τοὺς καθυποκρινομένους μὲν τὰ τῶν πλουσίων πρόσωπα, καταπονοῦντας δὲ τοὺς πένητας· δέον τῷ τῆς δικαιοσύνης ζυγῷ δικάζειν, μνημονεύοντας φάσκοντος νόμου· Οὐ λήψῃ πρόσωπον ἐν κρίσει. Νυνὶ δὲ πολλάκις καὶ ἡμεῖς ἐπὶ μὲν τῶν πενήτων πταιόντων σμικρά τινα ἀπότομοι γιγνόμεθα κριταὶ, καὶ ἀπαραίτητοι ἐν ταῖς κατ’ αὐτῶν ἀποφάσεσι· πλουσίων δὲ τὰ μέγιστα ἐξαμαρτανόντων, ἔπειτα παραβαλλόντων εἰς τὴν Ἐκκλησίαν τοῦ Θεοῦ, πρόσωπα λαμβάνομεν· ὥστε καὶ πρὸς ἡμᾶς ἁρμόττει τό· Ἕως πότε κρίνετε ἀδικίαν, καὶ πρόσωπα ἁμαρτωλῶν λαμβάνετε; Ἐν δὲ τῷ λέγειν, ἕως πότε, ὑπομιμνήσκει τῆς τοῦ βίου ἀπαλλαγῆς. Πόσον γὰρ, φησὶν, ἕξετε χρόνον ἐν ᾧ τοιοῦτοι ἔσεσθε; καὶ λοιπὸν διαλήψεται ὑμᾶς ἡ τοῦ Θεοῦ κρίσις.[Vv. 2-3.] Wherefore he says, How long will you judge injustice, and receive the faces of sinners? Judge for the poor and orphan (Ps 81.2). The prophetic Spirit cried out similar things as these through Isaiah, saying, Learn to do good, seek out judgment, judge for the orphan and vindicate the widow; and come, let us reason, says the Lord. Even though your sins be as crimson, I will make [them] white as snow (Isa 1.17-18). Certainly the logos is expressly commanding these things in advance; yet those being honored with the title “gods,” and being counted worthy of such teaching, did not know, nor understand, in darkness they are walking about. These things may be referred to the season of our Savior’s first coming, in which [season] he came in the synagogues of the Jewish nation, and being present in the midst of the rulers, he engaged in disputes against them, he introduced reproofs to them, testifying and dividing them as regards the share they would have in the coming judgment. In this way, then, God was standing in the synagogue of gods according to that season, judging the previously mentioned “gods” in [their] midst; for instead of he passes judgment, Symmachus and Aquila have rendered it, “[he is] judging.” Note also that he names those being judged “gods,” and does not hesitate to refer to a “synagogue of gods,” so as to shame those who deny the deity of the Savior. For if he does not hesitate to name those reproved and accused of vice “gods,” how is it not more just to magnify the Performer of such miraculous works, who has received judgment [M23.985] from the Father (cf. Jn 5.22), with the revered honor of God? Indeed the Savior himself takes up this passage so as to shame the actual rulers of the Jews, making use of the present text against them. For when they said, ‘We do not stone you because of a good work, but because of blasphemy, for you, being a man, make yourself God.’ Jesus answered them, ‘Is it not written in your law that, “I said, You are gods”? If it calls those people gods, to whom the word of God came, and the Scripture cannot be annulled, do you say that he whom the Father sanctified and sent into the world, that “you are blaspheming[3]” because I said, “I am the Son of God”’ (Jn 10.33-36). Do not marvel over the fact that the Savior would say, Is it not written in the law?, since every word of God, not only that through Moses, but also what was spoken through the prophets, he teaches to be accepted as a kind of royal law, such that those things promised through the prophets are with good reason said to be “laws of God,” and similarly also what is said through the Psalter. The Logos of God himself, then, taking on the form of a servant, and being found in pattern as a man (Phil 2.7), stood in the synagogue of gods, and having come in the midst of those named gods among men, he judged them, at which time he said to them: The word which I spoke to you, this judges you (Jn 12.48). This is a much more appropriate way of taking the present Scripture than to suppose that the God who is beyond all things, the Father himself, was brought among them to stand between other gods. For it is neither meet and right to suppose that they are equal in honor to Him, nor to bring Him down to their level, so as to suppose He came among and stood amidst men. All these things rather agree with the Christ of God, who in fact says, How long will you judge injustice, and receive the faces of sinners? He was not conversing with only those to whom he comes, but he would in fact say these things to all who have acquired the authority to judge others. He appropriately censures those who are counterfeitly judging the faces of the wealthy, while oppressing the poor. It is required for the yoke of righteousness, that those judging be mindful of the law which says, You will not receive the face in judgment (Deut 16.19). But now at many times we have become severe judges over the poor who err in minor matters, but when the wealthy sin in egregious ways, and then come near to the Church of God, we receive [their] faces, so that [the accusation] agrees with us, How long will you judge injustice, and receive the faces of sinners? By saying, How long?, he brings to mind the departure from life. For how much time, it says, will you have in which you will be that sort of people? And afterward the judgment of God will be distributed to us.
[V. 4.]  Διὸ ἐπιλέγει· Κρίνατε πτωχὸν καὶ ὀρφανὸν, ταπεινὸν καὶ πένητα δικαιώσατε. Ἐξέλεσθε πένητα, καὶ πτωχὸν ἐκ χειρὸς ἁμαρτωλοῦ ῥύσασθε. Ἐὰν μὲν οὖν τούτων ἀκροώμενοι παιδευώμεθα καὶ τὰ παραγγέλματα φυλάττοιμεν, τῆς ἐκ τῶν λόγων ὠνάμεθα ὠφελείας. Ἐπεὶ καὶ ἡμῖν λεχθήσεται· Οὐκ ἔγνωσαν, οὐδὲ συνῆκαν, ἐν σκότει διαπορεύονται. Τί δὲ οὐκ [23.988] ἔγνωσαν οὐδὲ συνῆκαν, ἢ ὅτι ὅσον οὔπω καὶ αὐτοὶ παραστήσονται τῷ βήματι τοῦ Θεοῦ, λόγον δώσοντες περὶ ὧν οὐ δικαίως ἔκριναν; Οἱ δὲ μὴ πρὸ ὀφθαλμῶν θέμενοι τὴν κρίσιν τοῦ Θεοῦ ἐν σκότει διαπορεύονται, τῷ τῆς ἀγνοίας σκότῳ τὰ τῆς ψυχῆς αὐτῶν ὄμματα πληρώσαντες. Διὸ προσήκει, τῷ τοῦ λόγου φέγγει φωτιζομένους, ἢ μὴ κρίνειν, μνημονεύοντας τοῦ εἰρηκότος· Μὴ κρίνετε, ἵνα μὴ κριθῆτε· ἢ εἰ ἀνάγκη ποτὲ κρίνειν, κατὰ τὸ δικαιότατον τοῦτο ποιεῖν καὶ ἐλέγχειν τοὺς ἁμαρτάνοντας, κἂν δέοι ὑπὲρ ἀληθείας θνήσκειν, πεπεισμένους ἀκριβῶς, ὅτι πάντων ἔσται συντέλεια καὶ μεταβολὴ ἐπὶ τῇ καθολικῇ κρίσει τοῦ Θεοῦ, ἣν ποιήσεται διὰ τοῦ Χριστοῦ αὐτοῦ· ἣν καὶ ὁ παρὼν παρίστησι λόγος ἐπισυνάπτων ἑξῆς τό·[V. 4.]  So he further adds: Judge the poor and orphan, the lowly and needy. Rescue the needy, and deliver the poor from the hand of the sinner. If, then, we hear these things, let us be instructed and should we keep the precepts, we will experience the benefit from the words. Since it will also be recounted to us, They did not know, nor did they understand, they are walking about in darkness. But what did they not [M23.988] know nor understand, except that imminently they themselves will stand before the [judgment] seat of God, giving an account concerning those whom they did not judge righteously? Those who do not set the judgment of God before their eyes walk about in darkness, filling the eyes of their souls with the darkness of ignorance. Wherefore it is befitting those who are illuminated by the splendor of the logos, either not to judge, remembering what he says, Do not judge, in order that you might not be judged (Matt 7.1), or if it is necessary at some point to judge, [that they who do so] do this and reprove those who sin according to what is more righteous, even though there may be the need to die for the sake of truth, [as those judging righteously] have been persuaded precisely, that there will be an end of all things and a change by the universal judgment of God, which He will bring about through Christ himself, which indeed the present word presents attaching what follows:
[Vv. 6-7.]        Σαλευθήσονται πάντα τὰ θεμέλια τῆς γῆς. Ἐγὼ εἶπα· Θεοί ἐστε, καὶ υἱοὶ Ὑψίστου πάντες· ὑμεῖς δὲ ὡς ἄνθρωποι ἀποθνήσκετε, καὶ ὡς εἷς τῶν ἀρχόντων πίπτετε. Ἔτι πρὸς τοὺς προλεχθέντας θεοὺς, ἡγουμένους δηλαδὴ καὶ ἄρχοντας τοῦ λαοῦ, ὁ μέσος αὐτῶν γενόμενος Θεὸς καὶ τὰ παρόντα ἀποτείνεται, διδάσκων, ὡς αὐτὸς μὲν, τὴν τοῦ Πατρὸς ἀφθονίαν μιμούμενος, πᾶσιν αὐτοῖς τῆς αὐτοῦ θεότητος οὐκ ἐφθόνησε μεταδοῦναι, ὡς καὶ θεοὺς ἀναγορεῦσαι αὐτοὺς καὶ υἱοὺς Ὑψίστου πάντας ἂν εἰπεῖν, ὅπερ αὐτῷ μόνῳ προσῆν· οἱ δὲ τὴν χάριν ἐνύβρισαν. Νοήσεις δὲ πῶς τιμὴν θεῶν οἱ ὑπὸ τοῦ Θεοῦ τὴν ἀρχὴν εἰληφότες παρὰ τοῖς ἀρχομένοις ἐκτήσαντο, ἐπιστήσας ὅπως εἴρηται τῷ Μωσεῖ· Ἰδοὺ καθέστηκά σε σήμερον θεὸν τῷ Φαραὼ, καὶ Ἀαρὼν ἀδελφός σου ἔσται σοι προφήτης. Ὥσπερ γὰρ Μωσῆς, ἄνθρωπος ὢν Θεοῦ καὶ παρ’ αὐτοῦ τὴν τιμὴν λαβὼν, θεὸς ἀνηγορεύθη τοῦ Φαραώ· τὸν αὐτὸν τρόπον καὶ πάντες οὓς ἂν τιμήσειεν ὁ Θεὸς, θεῶν χώραν παρὰ τοῖς ὑποτεταγμένοις εἰλήφασιν. Ἔνθεν καὶ οἱ ἀρχόμενοι προσίασιν αὐτοῖς μετὰ εὐλαβείας καὶ δέους, οὐ διά τινα δορυφορίαν στρατιωτικὴν, οὐ διὰ πλοῦτον καὶ δυναστείαν, διὰ δὲ τὴν ὑπὸ Θεοῦ περιθεῖσαν αὐτοῖς τιμήν. Οὕτω γὰρ καὶ Μωσέως ἦν δεδοξασμένον τὸ πρόσωπον· οὕτω καὶ τῶν ἀποστόλων τοῦ Σωτῆρος ἡμῶν, οὕτω καὶ τῶν πάλαι τοῦ Θεοῦ προφητῶν, οὕτω καὶ πάντων τῶν ἀληθῶς τοῦ Θεοῦ δούλων, ἀδόξως μενόντων καὶ πτωχῶν κατὰ τὸν βίον, τετιμημένων δὲ παρὰ τοῖς θεοσεβέσι διὰ τὴν ἐκ Θεοῦ δεδομένην αὐτοῖς χάριν. Ἐγὼ μὲν οὖν, φησὶ, καὶ ἠθέλησα, καὶ εἶπον· Θεοί ἐστε· βουληθεὶς ὑμᾶς ὁμοίως ἐμοὶ τῷ μέσῳ ὑμῶν ἑστῶτι Θεῷ υἱοὺς γενέσθαι τοῦ Ὑψίστου· ὑμεῖς δὲ τὴν χάριν ἠθετήσατε. Ταῖς γοῦν ἀνθρωπίναις κακίαις καὶ ταῖς ὑμετέραις ἁμαρτίαις ἐναποθνήσκετε. Ψυχὴ γὰρ ἁμαρτάνουσα, αὐτὴ ἀποθανεῖται. Διὸ καὶ ὑμεῖς ὡς ἄνθρωποι ἀποθνήσκετε, καὶ ὡς εἷς τῶν ἀρχόντων πίπτετε. Ὡς γὰρ ἦν ποτε ὁ διάβολος τιμῆς ἠξιωμένος παρὰ τῷ Θεῷ καὶ τῶν ἐν οὐρανοῖς ἀρχοντικῶν ἀγγέλων εἷς· εἶτα μοχθηρᾷ προαιρέσει χρησάμενος ἀποπέπτωκε τῆς αὐτοῦ χώρας, ὡς εἰρῆσθαι περὶ αὐτοῦ· Πῶς ἐξέπεσεν ἐκ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ Ἑωσφόρος πρωὶ ἀνατέλλων; τοιοῦτοί τινες καὶ ὑμεῖς γεγόνατε [23.989], οὐκ ἐκ φύσεως ὄντες κακοὶ, χρησάμενοι δὲ οὐκ ἀγαθῇ τῇ προαιρέσει. Διὸ τὰ μὲν παρ’ ἐμοῦ εἰς Θεοῦ τιμὴν ὑμᾶς ἐκάλει· ὑμεῖς δὲ τὸν ἄρχοντα τῆς πτώσεως μιμησάμενοι, ὡς εἷς τῶν ἀρχόντων καὶ αὐτοὶ πίπτετε.[Vv. 6-7.]          All the foundations of the earth will be shaken. I said, ‘You are gods, and sons of the Most High, all. But you are dying as men, and you fall as one of the rulers. Again to those who were previously called “gods,” clearly the leaders and rulers of the nation, God being in their midst also expounds the present things, teaching how he, in imitation of the incorruption of the Father, does not begrudge to give a share of his divinity to them all, such that they might be proclaimed “gods” and he might call them all “sons of the Most High,” which is attributable to him alone, but they insult the grace. You will understand how those who received the rule by God acquired the honor of gods in relationship to those ruled, when you inquire how it was said to Moses, Behold I appoint you today as god to Pharaoh, and Aaron your brother will be for you a prophet (Exod 7.1). For just as Moses, who was a man of God and received the honor from him, was titled “god of Pharaoh,” [so] all those whom God may honor in the same manner, have assumed the place of “gods” in relationship to those subjected [to them]. As a result those ruled approach them with reverence and fear, not because of a kind of military bodyguard, nor because of wealth and might, but because the honor has been committed to them by God. For it was in this way that the face of Moses was glorified, and so with the apostles of our Savior, and so with God’s prophets of old, and so with all the true servants of God, who remain without glory and are poor in this life, but are honored by the pious because of the grace that was given to them by God. He says, I desired, then, and I said, You are gods, as I want you to become sons of the Most High in a way like Me, the God standing in your midst, but you rejected the grace. You are dying in your human vices and sins, then, for the soul that sins, it will die (Ezek 18.4). So indeed you are dying as men, and you are falling as one of the rulers. For as the devil was at one time made worthy of honor from God and was one of the chief ruling angels in heaven, then by making use of a depraved free will, he fell away from his place, as it was said concerning him: How has the Light-bearer who rises at dawn fallen from heaven? (Isa 14.12). You also have become such as these [M23.989], not being evil by nature, but not making use of free will for the good. Wherefore he was calling you unto the honor God which comes from me, but you, imitating the cause [τὸν ἄρχοντα][4] of the fall, are falling as one of the rulers.
[V.8.]   Ἀνάστα, Θεὸς, κρῖνον τὴν γῆν, ὅτι σὺ κληρονομήσεις ἐν πᾶσι τοῖς ἔθνεσι. Σφόδρα ἀκολούθως διὰ τοῦ πρὸ τούτου ψαλμοῦ κατηγορήσας ὁ λόγος τοῦ παντὸς Ἰουδαίων ἔθνους, καὶ διὰ τοῦ μετὰ χεῖρας δὲ ὡσαύτως τῶν ἀρχόντων τοῦ λαοῦ κατηγορίαν πεποιημένος, διαλλαγὴν αἰτεῖ καὶ ἐπιφάνειαν εὔχεται γενέσθαι οὐκέτι τῷ Ἰουδαίων ἔθνει, ἀλλὰ πᾶσι τοῖς ἔθνεσι. Διὸ ἐπιλέγει· Ἀνάστα, ὁ Θεὸς, κρῖνον τὴν γῆν, ὅτι σὺ κληρονομήσεις ἐν πᾶσι τοῖς ἔθνεσι. Τίς δέ ἐστιν ὁ κληρονομήσας ἐν πᾶσι τοῖς ἔθνεσι, μὴ ἐρώτα, τὸ δὲ πρᾶγμα ἐξέταζε, καὶ εὑρήσεις οὐδὲ ἄλλον ἢ τὸν Χριστὸν τοῦ Θεοῦ· πρὸς ὃν λέλεκτο ὑπὸ τοῦ Πατρός· Υἱός μου εἶ σύ· ἐγὼ σήμερον γεγέννηκά σε. Αἴτησαι παρ’ ἐμοῦ, καὶ δώσω σοι ἔθνη τὴν κληρονομίαν σου, καὶ τὴν κατάσχεσίν σου τὰ πέρατα τῆς γῆς. Τοῦτον οὖν διεγείρων τὸν ἐν μέσῳ τῶν θεῶν Θεὸν στάντα καὶ διελέγξαντα τοὺς προλεχθέντας, ἤδη ποτὲ ἐπὶ πέρας ἐπαγαγεῖν τὴν πρὸς αὐτὸν ἐπαγγελίαν ὁ παρὼν ἀξιοῖ λόγος φήσας· Ἀνάστα, ὁ Θεὸς, κρῖνον τὴν γῆν, ὅτι σὺ κατακληρονομήσεις ἐν πᾶσι τοῖς ἔθνεσιν. Οἱ μὲν γὰρ προκατηγορηθέντες, φησὶ, κακοὶ γενόμενοι κριταὶ, ἐν σκότῳ διεπορεύθησαν· ἐπεὶ δέ σοι πρέπει τὸ δικαίως κρίνειν· μόνῳ γὰρ τὴν κρίσιν ὁ Πατὴρ ἔδωκε τῷ Υἱῷ· ἤδη ποτὲ σὺ αὐτὸς ἀνάστηθι, διὰ τῆς σαυτοῦ ἀναστάσεως τὴν κοινὴν πάντων ἀνθρώπων ἀνάστασιν ποιησόμενος· καὶ κρῖνον τὴν γῆν, πάντας δηλαδὴ τοὺς τὴν γῆν οἰκοῦντας ἀνθρώπους. Πρέπει δέ σοι πάντας ἀνθρώπους κρίνειν, ἐπειδὴ σὺ κατακληρονομήσεις ἐν πᾶσι τοῖς ἔθνεσι. Καὶ ὁ μὲν παρὼν ψαλμὸς συναγωγὴν θεῶν ὠνόμασε, καὶ Θεὸν μέσον ἑστῶτα, καὶ θεοὺς διακρίνοντα, πᾶσάν τε τὴν διδασκαλίαν περὶ κρίσεως ἐποιήσατο· ἐπήγαγέ τε ἐπὶ τέλει τὸ, Ἀνάστα, ὁ Θεὸς, κρῖνον τὴν γῆν.[V. 8.]  Arise, O God, judge the earth, for you will inherit in all the nations. There is a clear sequence of thought here, with the logos having accused the whole nation of the Jews through the previous psalm, and having made accusation in like fashion of the rulers of the nation through the [psalm] at hand, he asks for a change and prays for a manifestation no longer to the nation of Jews, but to all nations. So he adds further: Arise, O God, judge the earth, for you will inherit in all the nations. Do not question who it is who inherits in all the nations, but investigate the matter, and you will find [it is] no one other than the Christ of God, to whom it was said by the Father, You are My Son; today I have begotten you. Ask from me, and I will give you the nations as your inheritance, and the boundaries of the earth as your possession (Ps 2.7-8). The present passage [logos], then, which incites this God who stood in the midst of the gods and who discoursed the things previously recounted, expects that the promise to him will advance forthwith to the ends [of the world], saying, Arise, O God, judge the earth, for you will inherit in all the nations. For those who were previously accused, it says, of being evil judges, were walking around in darkness, but since it is fitting for you to judge righteously, for the Father gave judgment to the Son alone (cf. Jn 5.22), you yourself arise forthwith, effecting the common resurrection of all men through your own resurrection. And judge the earth, clearly all the men who inhabit the earth. It is fitting for you to judge all men, since you will inherit in all the nations. And when the present psalm mentions “a synagogue of gods,” and God who stood in the midst, and who passed judgment on gods, it is effecting the whole teaching concerning the judgment; so it introduced, Arise, O God, judge the earth, at the end [of the psalm].
            Ταῦτά τε πάντα τὸ Πνεῦμα τὸ ἅγιον διὰ τοῦ προφήτου Ἀσὰφ ἐξενήνεκται. Ἐπεὶ δὲ εὕρομεν καὶ τὸν μθʹ ψαλμὸν καὶ αὐτὸν ἐπιγεγραμμένον Τοῦ Ἀσὰφ, καὶ τὰ περὶ κρίσεως διειληφότα ὁμοίως τοῖς προκειμένοις· εἰκότως ἡγησάμεθα ἀκόλουθον εἶναι ἐκεῖνον τούτῳ, ὄντα μὲν ὁμοίως τοῦ Ἀσὰφ, τὴν αὐτὴν ὑπόθεσιν εἰσηγούμενον. Εἴρηται γοῦν καὶ ἐν αὐτῷ· Θεὸς θεῶν Κύριος ἐλάλησε, καὶ ἐκάλεσε τὴν γῆν ἀπὸ ἀνατολῶν ἡλίου μέχρι δυσμῶν. Θέα γὰρ ὅπως τὸ μὲν τέλος τοῦ μετὰ χεῖρας φάσκει· Ἀνάστα, ὁ Θεὸς, κρῖνον τὴν γῆν· ἡ δὲ τοῦ μθʹ ἀρχή· Θεὸς θεῶν Κύριος ἐλάλησε, καὶ ἐκάλεσε τὴν γῆν. Καὶ ἐνταῦθα μὲν εἴρηται· Ὅτι σὺ κατακληρονομήσεις ἐν πᾶσι τοῖς ἔθνεσιν· ἐν ἐκείνῳ δὲ, ἀπὸ ἀνατολῶν ἡλίου μέχρι δυσμῶν· καὶ πάλιν ἐν μὲν τῷ μθʹ λέλεκται· Ὁ Θεὸς ἐμφανῶς ἥξει, ὁ Θεὸς ἡμῶν, καὶ οὐ παρασιωπήσεται· ἐλθὼν δὲ τί ποιήσει, ὁ μετὰ χεῖρας διδάσκει λέγων· Ὁ Θεὸς ἔστη ἐν συναγωγῇ θεῶν· ἐν μέσῳ δὲ θεοὺς διακρίνει. Πῶς δὲ διακρίνει, ὁ μθʹ διασαφεῖ φάσκων· Πῦρ ἐναντίον αὐτοῦ καυθήσεται· κύκλῳ αὐτοῦ καταιγὶς σφόδρα. [23.992] Προσκαλέσεται τὸν οὐρανὸν ἄνω καὶ τὴν γῆν τοῦ διακρῖναι τὸν λαὸν αὐτοῦ. Τούτων τοιγαροῦν ἕνεκα εἰκότως ἕπεσθαι τῷ μετὰ χεῖρας ἡγησάμεθα τὸν μθʹ. Κἀκεῖνο δὲ τηρητέον, ὡς ὁμοίως τοῖς ἐνταῦθα συνημμένοις τοῦ Ἀσὰφ ψαλμοῖς τὴν ἀποβολὴν τοῦ Ἰουδαίων ἔθνους, καὶ ταύτης τὰς αἰτίας περιέχουσι. Καὶ ὁ μθʹ τοῦ αὐτοῦ τυγχάνων προφήτου, ἀνατροπὴν τοῦ Μωσέως νόμου εἰσάγει διὰ τῆς τῶν θυσιῶν παραιτήσεως· ὥστε καὶ ἐν ταὐτῷ τὴν ἀκολουθίαν δείκνυσθαι τῆς τῶν ἐμφερομένων διανοίας. Διὰ τί δὲ μετατέθειται ὁ μθʹ ἐκ τῆς τῶν προκειμένων συναφείας, προτέτακται δὲ τῆς ἐν τῷ νʹ ψαλμῷ ἐξομολογήσεως, ἐν τοῖς εἰς αὐτὸν τεθεωρημένοις ἡμῖν προδιείληπται.            The Holy Spirit brought forth all these things through the prophet Asaph. Since we find the 49th Psalm has also been inscribed with Of Asaph, and takes up matters concerning judgment similarly to the present psalm, fittingly we have considered that psalm to be in agreement with this one, being similarly of Asaph, being introduced with the same hypothesis. It is said, then, in it, God of gods the Lord spoke, and he called the earth from the rising of the sun to its setting (Ps 49.1). For do observe how the end of the [psalm] at hand says, Arise, O God, judge the earth, while the beginning of the 49th Psalm [says], God of gods the Lord spoke, and he called the earth. And here it is said, For you will inherit in all the nations, but in that psalm, from the rising of the sun to its setting, and again it reads in the 49th Psalm, God will manifestly come, our God, and he will not keep silent (Ps 49.2-3). And when it comes to what he will do, he teaches [in the psalm] at hand, saying, God stood in the synagogue of gods, in the midst of gods he passes judgment. The 49th Psalm clarifies how it is he passes judgment when it says, Fire will be kindled before him, and a great tempest round about him. [M23.992] He will call on heaven above and the earth, to pass judgment on his people (Ps 49.3-4). It is because of these things, therefore, that we considered the 49th Psalm appropriately to be in the same company as the [psalm] at hand.[5] One must also observe this, how the psalms here of Asaph together converse about the casting away of the nation of the Jews, and they are concerned with the causes of this. And the 49th Psalm, which is allotted to the same prophet, introduces the overturning of the law of Moses through the rejection of sacrifices (cf. Ps 49.7-15), so that by this the sequence would indicate the meaning of the parties involved. This is why the 49th Psalm has been transposed from the connection with the present [psalm], and has been placed before the confession in the 50th Psalm, which was explained previously in the things we contemplated about it.
Translation by Justin Gohl

[1] As Eusebius will note shortly, in contrast to simple κρίνω, the verb διακρίνω connotes separation between groups—that is, between “good gods” and “bad gods.”

[2] This is an interesting expression here. First, it is odd in that it seems to lack a direct object—“of the man through whom He assumed [humanity?].” Second, “man” is anarthrous, thus could be read as “a man” or as “humanity.” Third, in anachronistic terms, it seems to leave the door open for a Nestorian Christology, whereby the Logos assumes “a man” (qua hypostasis) rather than “humanity” (qua nature).

[3] Eusebius’ text could be parsed as either 2nd or 3rd person.

[4] This seems to be a pun of sorts, hovering between the root’s meanings of “ruling” and “beginning.”

[5] There are a few possible ways of taking this sentence. Eusebius is perhaps providing the rational for his comments on Psalm 49, and/or simply restating why it is that Pss 49 and 81 are to be seen as connected, as mutually interpreting.

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