Every religious book of any known religion reveals the contrasting qualities of man and his god. The Bible, the Christian's sacred book, also considered the most read of all literary works, chronicles man's never-ending struggle against sin and how God time and again reclaims him. The books of the bible from Genesis (Old Testament) to Revelation (New Testament) explicitly reveal the condition of man (a sinner) who is destined to die as a consequence of the inherent sin and how God, because of his great love, bore the consequence of sin by dying on the cross. In return, those who repent of their sins and accept God to have power over them will triumph over the consequence of sin. The condition set here is one's recognition of his sinful nature and acceptance that only by the power of God he may be saved. However, those who will harden their hearts and continue in their wicked ways will be chastised. 2 Peter 2:9 clearly states, "The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished:"(emphasis mine).4
That only goes to prove that the same loving God is a just God, who does not leave the unrighteous unpunished. Such is the case presented in Psalm 58, which unveils the nature of the Sovereign God who rules the universe, will establish His just rule on the earth in and through his people whereupon the righteous will prosper and the wicked will suffer. More on this will be discussed later.
In this paper, a single thought (justice of God) is given two almost different interpretations. Both centers on the 58th Psalm, one is the King James Version and the other a version by Christopher Smart. As the explanation progresses, we will see two different pictures of the just God, first in the Old Testament, then in the New Testament.
First we shall briefly examine the circumstances prior to the creation of this psalm.
During the Old Testament times, judges, prophets, priests, and kings are considered God-ordained and empowered individuals, meaning they were not just elected by people, like we do when we need to change the rulers of the state, but are given inspiration by God to prophesy, to judge or to rule. They are political leaders to whom the Israelites looked up to and fulfill specific roles at a given time.
A number of prophets were raised to speak for God, act on His behalf, and communicate His message courageously to the nation of Israel. Among them are Moses, Elijah, Samuel and Elisha, Isaiah and Jeremiah. The judges, on the hand, were used to deliver chastised Israel from the various enemies God permitted to oppress them during the first centuries in the land. Israel's priests fulfilled a more political role, whereas earlier they had led in the more religious sense - in worship, sacrifices and so on.
David, was anointed king by Samuel while he was still a shepherd boy to reign after Saul, the first king of Israel, dies. I Samuel records how Saul transgressed against God when he disobeyed God's commission for him to utterly destroy the Amalekites. Instead he spared Agag, the king of the Amalekites, and took the best of the plunder.5 This incident incited Samuel to anoint David as