Psalms 52

Listen to Psalms 52
1 Why do you boast of evil, O mighty man? The steadfast love of God endures all the day.
2 Your 1tongue plots destruction, like 2a sharp razor, you 3worker of deceit.
3 You love evil more than good, and 4lying more than speaking what is right. Selah
4 You love all words that devour, O deceitful tongue.
5 But God will break you down forever; he will snatch and 5tear you from your tent; he will uproot you from 6the land of the living. Selah
6 The righteous shall 7see and fear, and shall 8laugh at him, saying,
7 "See the man who would not make God his refuge, but 9trusted in the abundance of his riches and sought refuge in his own destruction!"[a]
8 But I am like 10a green olive tree in the house of God. I trust in the steadfast love of God forever and ever.
9 I will thank you forever, because you have done it. I will wait for your name, 11for it is good, in the presence of the 12godly.

Psalms 52 Commentary

Chapter 52

The enemies of the truth and the church described, Their destruction. (1-5) The righteous rejoice. (6-9)

Verses 1-5 Those that glory in sin, glory in their shame. The patience and forbearance of God are abused by sinners, to the hardening of their hearts in their wicked ways. But the enemies in vain boast in their mischief, while we have God's mercy to trust in. It will not save us from the guilt of lying, to be able to say, there was some truth in what we said, if we make it appear otherwise than it was. The more there is of craft and contrivance in any wickedness, the more there is of Satan in it. When good men die, they are transplanted from the land of the living on earth, to heaven, the garden of the Lord, where they shall take root for ever; but when wicked men die, they are rooted out, to perish for ever. The believer sees that God will destroy those who make not him their strength.

Verses 6-9 Those wretchedly deceive themselves, who think to support themselves in power and wealth without God. The wicked man trusted in the abundance of his riches; he thought his wickedness would help him to keep his wealth. Right or wrong, he would get what he could, and keep what he had, and ruin any one that stood in his way; this he thought would strengthen him; but see what it comes to! Those who by faith and love dwell in the house of God, shall be like green olive-trees there. And that we may be as green olive-trees, we must live a life of faith and holy confidence in God and his grace. It adds much to the beauty of our profession, and to fruitfulness in every grace, to be much in praising God; and we never can want matter for praise. His name alone can be our refuge and strong tower. It is very good for us to wait on that saving name; there is nothing better to calm and quiet our spirits, when disturbed, and to keep us in the way of duty, when tempted to use any crooked courses for our relief, than to hope, and quietly wait for the salvation of the Lord. None ever followed his guidance but it ended well.

Cross References 12

  • 1. Psalms 50:19
  • 2. [Psalms 57:4]
  • 3. Psalms 101:7
  • 4. [Jeremiah 9:4, 5]
  • 5. Proverbs 2:22
  • 6. See Psalms 27:13
  • 7. See Psalms 40:3
  • 8. See Psalms 2:4
  • 9. See Psalms 49:6
  • 10. Jeremiah 11:16; [Psalms 1:3; Psalms 37:35; Psalms 92:12, 13; Psalms 128:3; Psalms 144:12; Hosea 14:6]
  • 11. Psalms 54:6
  • 12. See Psalms 50:5

Footnotes 1

  • [a]. Or in his work of destruction

Chapter Summary

To the chief Musician, Maschil, [A Psalm] of David, when Doeg the Edomite came and told Saul, and said unto him, David is come to the house of Ahimelech. Of the title "Maschil," See Gill on "Ps 32:1," title. The occasion of this psalm is here related, the history of which is in 1 Samuel 21:7. The sum of it is this; David having fled from Saul, came to Ahimelech the priest at Nob, and desired bread and a sword of him, which were given him, Doeg the Edomite being present at the same time. Sulpicius Severus {s} calls him a Syrian, following the Greek version of 1 Samuel 21:7; and so does Josephus {t}, through a mistake of the letter d for r, an Aramite instead of an Edomite; See Gill on "1Sa 21:7" and See Gill on "1Sa 22:9"; this man observed what was done for David by the priest; and when Saul complained to his captains that they all conspired against him, and no man was sorry for him, or showed him the intrigue between David and his son; Doeg stood up and related what, and more than what he had heard and seen pass between David and Ahimelech; upon which Saul sent for the priest, and all his father's house with him, and charged him with treasonable practices; and though he solemnly protested his innocency, Saul would not believe him, but ordered his footmen to fall upon him, and upon all the priests with him; but they refusing, he commanded Doeg to do it, who accordingly did, and slew eighty five priests, and destroyed all in the city of Nob, men, women, children, and sucklings, oxen, asses, and sheep; only Abiathar, the son of Ahimelech, escaped, who fled to David, and reported the whole affair; upon which he penned this psalm: in which he has respect not only to the then present case, but to future times, Doeg being a type of antichrist, the man of sin; in his name, which signifies "anxious [and] solicitous" {u}, as he was to gain the king's favour, and obtain wealth and honour; so is antichrist to grasp all power, civil and ecclesiastical, and to get worldly honour and riches: in the country he was of, being an Edomite; and it is easy to observe, that Edom is the name which the Jews commonly give to the Roman empire, in which antichrist has his seat and power: in his religion, being a proselyte of the Jews, and was at an act of devotion, detained before the Lord, when he saw and heard what passed between David and Ahimelech; so antichrist appeared with the mask of religion, rose up out of the church, and sat in the temple of God, showing himself as though he was God: in his office, the chiefest of the herdmen, or mightiest among the shepherds of Saul; so antichrist calls himself "princeps pastorum," that is, "the chief of pastors"; assuming to himself the title which belongs to Christ, the chief Shepherd and Bishop of souls: and, lastly, in his cruelty in slaying the priests of the Lord. Antichrist is notorious for shedding and drinking the blood of the saints, the faithful confessors and witnesses of Jesus Christ. In this psalm David upbraids him with his glorying in his wickedness, and checks it by observing that the grace and goodness of God to his people ever endures, Psalm 52:4; charges him with devising mischief, and loving it, Psalm 52:2; and foretells his everlasting ruin and destruction, Psalm 52:5; which will be seen by the righteous with pleasure, who will have just reason to insult over him, Psalm 52:6; and the psalm is concluded with an account of the happy condition and comfortable frame of soul the psalmist was in, in a view of all his troubles and enemies; he was flourishing in the church of God, trusted in the mercy of God for ever, and determined always to praise him and wait upon him, which is good for the saints to do, Psalm 52:8.

{s} Sacr. Hist. l. 1. p. 43. {t} Antiqu. l. 6. c. 12. s. 1. 4. {u} A rad. gad, "solicitus, anxius fuit," Buxtorf.

Psalms 52 Commentaries

The English Standard Version is published with the permission of Good News Publishers.