The second thing we should notice about the way the psalm handles its desire for judgment on the Jews’ enemies is that it does not speak of them as the Jews’ enemies so much as the enemies of God...This perspective makes a tremendous difference in how one thinks of judgment. If the evil is thought of as being against one’s self, then the call is for revenge. But if it is thought of as being against God, then our response is to leave justice in God’s hands and trust him for whatever he sees fit to do. And we can trust him! God is not indifferent!

We are sometimes bothered by the second part of Psalm 83, which is an appeal to God to overthrow and destroy the people's enemies. What are we to say about this? The first thing is an observation on the psalm itself, and it is that God had destroyed Israel's enemies in this way from time to time in the past. Thus, whatever else the psalmist may be doing, he is at least appealing to an historical precedent. Two of these judgments are referred to in verses 9-12.

Why has there been so much hatred?...The ultimate and only full explanation must be found in God's words to the serpent in the Garden of Eden, when he said, "I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel” (Genesis 3:15). Satan hates the Jews because God promised to send the Messiah through them, which is why he stirred up Pharaoh and his court and why he caused Herod to strike out against the Jewish babies at the time of Christ's birth. 

What is significant about the specific peoples listed in the ongoing flow of the psalm (vv. 6-11) is that they form an almost complete circle of entrapment around Israel...There was no time in Israel's history, so far as we know, when these precise ten powers were actually arrayed against her. So the listing in verses 6-8 is probably a generalization. It is a way of saying that the Jews always seemed to be surrounded by enemies and in danger of being liquidated.

But here is an even greater problem. How about when God does nothing? What should we think when he is silent when his people call to him in trouble? This is no small matter. It is a terrible problem, and it is what Psalm 83 is about. It tells God, “Do not keep silent; be not not still” when we are surrounded by our enemies.