Exodus 22:28 "not revile the gods", Psalm 82:6, John 10:35 "ye are gods"
“I have said, Ye are gods...But ye shall die like men” - Psalm 82:6-7
“Thou shalt not revile the gods, nor curse the ruler of thy people.” - Exodus 22:28
“he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came” - John 10:35
The true meaning of all three verses as found in the King James Bible is that the word “gods” refers to earthly men who were given the divinely appointed office of judges who were to administer God’s laws to the common people.
We see this idea from the very beginning when God appears to Moses and sends him as a lawgiver unto Israel.
“And the LORD said unto Moses, See, I have made thee a god to Pharaoh: and Aaron thy brother shall be thy prophet.” Exodus 7:1.
Again, the same idea is found in Exodus 4:16 where God speaks to Moses of Aaron saying: “And he (Aaron) shall be thy spokesman unto the people: and he shall be, even he shall be to thee instead of a mouth, and thou shalt be to him instead of God.”
Exodus 22:28 KJB - “Thou shalt not revile the gods, nor curse the ruler of thy people.”
Also reading “the gods” with a small g and in the plural are Wycliffe 1395, Tyndale 1534, Coverdale 1535, The Great Bible 1540, Matthew’s Bible 1549, the Bishops’s bible 1568, Douay-Rheims 1610, The Charles Thomson Translation 1808, the Webster Bible 1833, The Longman Version 1841, The Hebrew Publishing Company bible 1936, A Conservative Version 2005, and the Jubilee Bible 2010
The Ancient Hebrew Bible 1907 - “thou shalt not revile the gods, nor curse the ruler of thy people.”
And this online Interlinear Hebrew O.T. - the gods
As well as the Greek Septuagint - “Thou shalt not revile the gods”
However many bibles read differently.
“You shall not revile God” with a capital G are versions like the NKJV, NASB, ASV, NIV, ESV, ISV, Young’s, Holman Standard.
Some say “you shall not revile THE JUDGES”.
Among these are the Lesser O.T. 1835, the Boothroyd bible 1853, Darby 1890, the Geneva bible -“you are not to rail upon the JUDGES”, Lamsa’s 1933 translation of the Syriac - “the judge”, the KJV 21st Century Version 1994, The Third Millennium bible 1998, the English Jubilee bible 2010.
And the Apostolic Polyglot bible 2003 and The Mebust bible 2007 say: “you shall not speak evil of MAGISTRATES, and rulers of your people you shall not speak wickedly.”
The Far Above All Translation 2014 has: “You shall not despise THE REPRESENTATIVES OF GOD, nor curse a leader among your people.”
While The Hebrew Transliteration Bible 2010 has: "You shall not revile THE MIGHTY ONES, nor curse the ruler of your people."
When Elohim = human judges
Elohim - There are numerous examples in all bible versions of translating a particular Hebrew or Greek word usually one way, but only once or a few times another way.
In fact, the ESV's own phrase "heavenly beings" in Psalms 8:5 is the only time Elohim is so translated.
“What is man that you are mindful of him…You have made him a little lower than THE HEAVENLY BEINGS” ESV.
In addition to this, not only does the ESV translate the Hebrew Elohim as God or gods, but also as "MIGHTY wrestlings" (Genesis 30:8); "a VERY GREAT panic" (1 Samuel 14:15; and "Nineveh was an EXCEEDING great city".
Likewise, the NASB and NIV also translate this same Hebrew word Elohim as "divine, divine being, exceedingly, the JUDGES (Exodus 22:8,9), great, RULER, and even "shrine" (NASB - Judges 17:5).
The NIV translates the Hebrew word Elohim as “God, gods, judges (4 times), angels, heavenly beings, divine, great, idols, majestic, mighty, sacred, spirit and shrine”.
Elohim as JUDGES
In Exodus 22:8-9 in many Bible translations besides the KJB we read of the Elohim as being human JUDGES.
8 If the thief be not found, then the master of the house shall be brought unto THE JUDGES (Elohim), to see whether he have put his hand unto his neighbour's goods.
9 For all manner of trespass, whether it be for ox, for ass, for sheep, for raiment, or for any manner of lost thing which another challengeth to be his, the cause of both parties shall come before THE JUDGES (Elohim) and whom THE JUDGES (Elohim) shall condemn, he shall pay double unto his neighbour.
So also read the NASB 1995, Holman Christian Standard 2009, NIV 2011, New International Reader’s Version 2014, Contemporary English Version 1995, Darby 1890, Bible in Basic English 1961, Evangelical Heritage Version 2019, International Standard Version 2014, Modern English Version 2014, Dan Wallace’s NET bible 2006, NKJV 1982, New Life Version 2003, Jubilee Bible 2010, The Biblos Bible 2013, the Great bible 1540, Bishops’ bible 1568 and the Geneva Bible 1587, Lamsa’s 1933 translation of the Syriac Peshitta - “shall be brought to THE JUDGES”.
Also reading THE JUDGES are this online Hebrew Interlinear bible
The Ancient Hebrew Bible 1907 - “shall be brought unto THE JUDGES”
The Complete Jewish Bible 1998 -“shall approach THE JUDGES”
The Hebrew Transliteration Scriptures 2010 - “shall be brought to THE JUDGES”
Foreign Language Bibles that read like the KJB.
French Martin bible 1744 - "devant les Juges", Spanish Las Sagradas Escrituras 1569, Reina Valera 1960-2015 - “a los jueces”, Italian Diodati 1649 -“davanti a’ rettori” (before the rulers), the Portuguese Almeida Bible 2009 - “diante dos juízes”, the Romanian Fidela bible 2015 - “adus la judecători”
And the Modern Greek Translation - “εμπροσθεν των κριτων” = "before THE JUDGES"
However the ESV, RSV, NRSV, Catholic St. Joseph’s New American bible 1970, Catholic New Jerusalem bible 1985 and the Jehovah Witness New World Translation and some others read GOD three times in these two verses here instead of THE JUDGES.
I have said, Ye are gods...But ye shall die like men? - Psalm 82:6-7
“thou shalt not revile the gods, nor curse the ruler of thy people.” - Exodus 22:28
“he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came” - John 10:35
COMMENTARIES ON PSALM 82
John Calvin comments on the “gods” described in Psalm 82 - “It is unquestionably a very unbecoming thing for those whom God has been pleased to invest with the government of mankind for the common good, not to acknowledge the end for which they have been exalted above others, nor yet by whose blessing they have been placed in so elevated a station; but instead of doing this, contemning every principle of equity, to rule just as their own unbridled passions dictate...But here, as also a little after, the name gods is to be understood of judges, on whom God has impressed special marks of his glory...I have said, ye are gods. God has invested judges with a sacred character and title.
John Gill commenting on the “gods” in Psalm 82 says: “it seems best of all to understand the words of rulers and civil magistrates, of the cabinet councils of princes, of benches of judges, and courts of judicature; in all which God is present, and observes what is said and done....I have said, ye are gods” they were so by his appointment and commission; he constituted them judges and magistrates, invested them with such an office, by which they came to have this title, and so our Lord interprets these words, that they were gods "to whom" the word of God came, which gave them a commission and authority to exercise their office.”
In the same way the vast majority of Bible commentators have seen the “gods” referred to in Exodus 22:28, Psalm 82 and John 10:34 as referring to human, earthly judges given the responsibility to administer the justice of God.
Among these are Adam Clarke, John Gill, John Calvin, Jamieson, Faussett and Brown, C.H. Spurgeon, Barnes, David Guzik, John Wesley and Matthew Henry.
John 10:34-36 “Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods? If he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken; Say ye of him, whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest; because I said, I am the Son of God?”
COMMENTARIES ON JOHN 10:34
Matthew Henry comments: “I have said, You are gods. They have been honoured with the name and title of gods. God himself called them so in the statute against treasonable words Exodus 22:28, Thou shalt not revile the gods. And, if they have this style from the fountain of honour, who can dispute it? But what is man, that he should be thus magnified? He called them gods because unto them the word of God came, so our Saviour expounds it (John 10:35); they had a commission from God, and were delegated and appointed by him to be the shields of the earth, the conservators of the public peace, and revengers to execute wrath upon those that disturb it, Romans 13:4. All of them are in this sense children of the Most High. God has put some of his honour upon them, and employs them in his providential government of the world, as David made his sons chief rulers.”
David Guzik’s Commentary on the Bible says: “Is it not written in your law, "I said, 'You are gods'": The judges of Psalm 82 were called "gods" because in their office they determined the fate of other men. Also, in Exodus 21:6 and 22:8-9, God calls earthly judges "gods."
Barnes Commentary states: “Ye are gods. This was said of magistrates on account of the dignity and honour of their office, and it shows that the word translated "god" in that place might be applied to man. Such a use of the word is, however, rare. See instances in Exodus 7:1; 4:16. Unto whom the word of God came. That is, who were his servants, or who received their dignity and honour only because the law of God was intrusted to them.
The word of God here means the command of God; his commission to them to do justice. described in Psalm 82 - It is unquestionably a very unbecoming thing for those whom God has been pleased to invest with the government of mankind for the common good, not to acknowledge the end for which they have been exalted above others, nor yet by whose blessing they have been placed in so elevated a station; but instead of doing this, contemning every principle of equity, to rule just as their own unbridled passions dictate...But here, as also a little after, the name gods is to be understood of judges, on whom God has impressed special marks of his glory...I have said, ye are gods. God has invested judges with a sacred character and title.
Likewise John Calvin comments on John 10:34 saying: “I said, You are gods. Scripture gives the name of gods to those on whom God has conferred an honorable office...The passage which Christ quotes is in Psalm 82:6 - “I have said, You are gods, and all of you are children of the Most High” where God expostulates with the kings and judges of the earth, who tyrannically abuse their authority and power for their own sinful passions, for oppressing the poor, and for every evil action. He reproaches them that, unmindful of Him from whom they received so great dignity, they profane the name of God. Christ applies this to the case in hand, that they receive the name of gods, because they are God’s ministers for governing the world.”
See also the excellent article at the KJV Today site - "The gods" or "God" in Exodus 22:28?