Verse 3. Every one of them is gone back. The whole mass of manhood, all of it, is gone back. In the fourteenth Psalm it was said to turn aside, which was bad enough, but here it is described as running in a diametrically opposite direction. The life of unregenerate manhood is in direct defiance of the law of God, not merely apart from it but opposed to it.
They are altogether become filthy. The whole lump is soured with an evil leaven, fouled with an all pervading pollution, made rank with general putrefaction. Thus, in God's sight, our atheistic nature is not the pardoned thing that we think it to be. Errors as to God are not the mild diseases which some account them, they are abominable evils. Fair is the world to blind eyes, but to the all seeing Jehovah it is otherwise.
There is none that doeth good, no, not one. How could there be, when the whole mass was leavened with so evil a leaven? This puts an end to the fictions of the innocent savage, the lone patriarch, "the Indian whose untutored mind," etc. Pope's verse --
evaporates in smoke. The fallen race of man, left to its own energy, has not produced a single lover of God or doer of holiness, nor will it ever do so. Grace must interpose, or not one specimen of humanity will be found to follow after the good and true. This is God's verdict after looking down upon the race. Who shall gainsay it?
"Father of all, in every age;
In every clime adored,
By saint, by savage, or by sage,
Jehovah, Jove, or Lord,"
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Verse 2-3. See Psalms on "Psalms 53:2" for further information.
Verse 3. They are altogether become filthy. wxlag neelachu. They are become sour and rancid; a metaphor taken from milk that has fermented and turned sour, rancid, and worthless. Adam Clarke, 1760- 1832.
Verse 3. (second clause). The word wxlag, rendered they are become filthy, might be read, they have become rotten or putrid. John Morison, 1829.
Verse 3. (last clause). Evil men are not only guilty of sins of commission, having done abominable iniquity, but they are guilty of many sins of omission. In fact, they have never done one holy act. They may be moral, decent, amiable, they may belong to the church; but there is none that doeth good, no, not one. William S. Plumer.
HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS