Psalm 83 and Israel’s Memorial Day

Modern reality continues to echo the Bible, as enemies along to “destroy them as a nation, so that Israel’s name is remembered no more”

The official state ceremony opening Memorial Day at the Western Wall in Jerusalem, where the rabbi of the holy site pleaded with God to again fight for Israel against her enemies.
The official state ceremony opening Memorial Day at the Western Wall in Jerusalem, where the rabbi of the holy site pleaded with God to again fight for Israel against her enemies. Photo: Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90

You might not know it from all the barbecues that characterize the day, but Americans are pretty serious about Memorial Day and remembering their fallen soldiers. But in the first 20 years of my life growing up in the US, I can remember scant few Bible verses being recited on Memorial Day, and never in an official capacity.

So even after 25 years in Israel, it still struck me anew on Tuesday evening to hear Rabbi Shmuel Rabinovitch, rabbi of the Western Wall, fully recite Psalm 83 during the official state ceremony marking the start of Israel’s Memorial Day, as lines of IDF soldiers stood at attention next to him.

And it wasn’t just a frivolous reading of scripture. The rabbi used the psalmist’s words to plead afresh with the Almighty to come to Israel’s aid.

For just as the in days when Psalm 83 was penned, Israel’s enemies today “cunningly conspire against Your people; they plot against those You cherish. ‘Come,’ they say, ‘let us destroy them as a nation, so that Israel’s name is remembered no more.’” (See the full text of Psalm 83 below.)

Rabbi Rabinovitch recalled, through the words of the Bible, that at that time the Edomites, Ishmaelites, Moabites, Assyrians and a host of other peoples conspired and aligned with the aim of erasing Israel from the map and from history.

They failed. And today every one of those peoples has disappeared, while Israel lives.

Now we face the likes of the Ayatollahs, Hamas, Hezbollah, BDS and the United Nations.

Israel is small, but her God is great. Like those previous peoples and nations, the powerful foes today arrayed against the Jewish state will fail. The God of Israel will not be challenged, and He will not be mocked.

 


 

Psalm 83

O God, do not keep silence;
    do not hold your peace or be still, O God!
For behold, your enemies make an uproar;
    those who hate you have raised their heads.
They lay crafty plans against your people;
    they consult together against your treasured ones.
They say, “Come, let us wipe them out as a nation;
    let the name of Israel be remembered no more!”
For they conspire with one accord;
    against you they make a covenant—
the tents of Edom and the Ishmaelites,
    Moab and the Hagrites,
Gebal and Ammon and Amalek,
    Philistia with the inhabitants of Tyre;
Asshur also has joined them;
    they are the strong arm of the children of Lot. Selah

Do to them as you did to Midian,
    as to Sisera and Jabin at the river Kishon,
10 who were destroyed at En-dor,
    who became dung for the ground.
11 Make their nobles like Oreb and Zeeb,
    all their princes like Zebah and Zalmunna,
12 who said, “Let us take possession for ourselves
    of the pastures of God.”

13 O my God, make them like whirling dust,
    like chaff before the wind.
14 As fire consumes the forest,
    as the flame sets the mountains ablaze,
15 so may you pursue them with your tempest
    and terrify them with your hurricane!
16 Fill their faces with shame,
    that they may seek your name, O Lord.
17 Let them be put to shame and dismayed forever;
    let them perish in disgrace,
18 that they may know that you alone,
    whose name is the Lord,
    are the Most High over all the earth.

 

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