Mi Yodeya is a question and answer site for those who base their lives on Jewish law and tradition and anyone interested in learning more. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

6 I -- I have said, 'Gods ye are, And sons of the Most High -- all of you, http://yltbible.com/psalms/82.htm

So how many gods are there? Who are "you" here? Are we all gods?

Here is the context. What was the jewish word for gods there?

1 -- A Psalm of Asaph. God hath stood in the company of God, In the midst God doth judge.

2 Till when do ye judge perversely? And the face of the wicked lift up? Selah.

3 Judge ye the weak and fatherless, The afflicted and the poor declare righteous.

4 Let the weak and needy escape, From the hand of the wicked deliver them.

5 They knew not, nor do they understand, In darkness they walk habitually, Moved are all the foundations of earth.

6 I -- I have said, 'Gods ye are, And sons of the Most High -- all of you,

7 But as man ye die, and as one of the heads ye fall,

8 Rise, O God, judge the earth, For Thou hast inheritance among all the nations!

share|improve this question
up vote 11 down vote accepted

A core belief of Judaism is that there is only one God.

This is a bad translation. The Hebrew is:

אֲנִי-אָמַרְתִּי, אֱלֹהִים אַתֶּם; וּבְנֵי עֶלְיוֹן כֻּלְּכֶם.‏

The word אֱלֹהִים can mean "God". It can also mean Judge, Idolatrous god/power (note the distinction between God and gods), Important Person.

In this context, others translate it as "godlike beings", "angels", "angelic creatures". But definitely not "Gods".

share|improve this answer
So Christians have bad translation? Again? So we all are godlike beings, instead of gods. What's the word אֱלֹהִים mean? Elohim? I hope learning hebrew is easier than mandarin because I tried and can't do the latter :) – Jim Thio Aug 23 '11 at 6:27
If you want a good translation try The Living Nach (Psalms would be in volume 3), the Artscroll or Koren. The JPS 1917 translation is available online, but it is a bit old. Also see this list. – Yaakov Ellis Aug 23 '11 at 6:35
The important thing to remember is that Judaism was surrounded by paganism. There is no reason that Jews would not write about pagan beliefs that people held to be true. – avi Aug 23 '11 at 8:04
Some translate "judges" here, as per Me'iri. – jake Aug 26 '11 at 21:45
What does it mean sons of the And sons of the Most High -- all of you. Who are "you" here means, and who are "the Most High" here mean. Are we all sons of God? The phrases seems to be pretty hostile here. – Jim Thio Sep 27 '11 at 17:23

I like the translation אֱלֹהִים as 'Power' or 'Powerful Ones.' That covers the different possible meanings of G-d, false gods, powerful people or angels. Those who are either powerful or are falsely thought to be powerful in this world.

In a Kabbalistic sense when G-d is referred to as אֱלֹהִים that represents G-d acting within nature, while Y-H-V-H represents G-d transcending nature.

Psalm 82 poetically plays on the different meanings of אֱלֹהִים to exhort judges to judge properly and support the weak and poor rather than favoring the rich and powerful. Here is my non-literal translation.

G-d 'stands' in the midst of judges and will judge them.

How long will you (bad) judges favor the wicked? Give justice to the weak, the orphan and the poor. Rescue the needy and powerless from the hands of the wicked.

They (corrupt judges) do not know nor do they understand that they walk in darkness.

I thought all judges were G-dly and powerful sons of the most High (i.e. good and righteous) But like all men, even powerful princes you will die.

Please G-d judge the world, you control all the nations.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.