Psalms 58:1

For the director of music. To the tune of “Do Not Destroy.” Of David. A miktam.

1 [a][b]Do you rulers indeed speak justly? Do you judge people with equity?

Psalms 58:1 in Other Translations

1 Do ye indeed speak righteousness, O congregation? do ye judge uprightly, O ye sons of men?
1 Do you indeed decree what is right, you gods? Do you judge the children of man uprightly?
1 Justice—do you rulers know the meaning of the word? Do you judge the people fairly?
1 Is this any way to run a country? Is there an honest politician in the house?
1 Do you really speak righteously, you mighty ones? Do you judge people fairly?

Psalms 58:1 Meaning and Commentary

Psalms 58:1

Do ye indeed speak righteousness, O congregation?
&c.] Of the mighty, as in ( Psalms 82:1 ) ; the judges of the land, who were many, and therefore called a congregation, as it is necessary they should; for, being many, they are not so easily bribed; and besides, one may see that in a cause which another does not. The word signifies a "sheaf" {t}; and so it is by some rendered, to which a bench or assembly of judges may be compared; because consisting of many, and a select body, who should unite together in a sentence or decree, and act uprightly, like a sheaf of wheat standing upright; see ( Genesis 37:7 ) ; some think the word has the signification of dumbness, or silence; so Jarchi and R. Moses F21; as "elem" in ( Psalms 56:1 ) , title, and render it, "do ye indeed speak dumb justice?" or "the dumbness of justice" F23; or are you dumb, or your mouth silent, when ye should speak righteousness? and so the psalmist accuses them for their criminal silence, in not contradicting Saul and his courtiers when they spake against him; and for not advising him to another kind of conduct towards him. All men ought to speak that which is right and truth; but especially judges on the bench, who are to judge the people with just judgment, ( Deuteronomy 16:18 ) ; but here this is doubted of, and called in question; at least their sincerity in giving judgment: yea, it is denied; for this interrogation carries in it a strong denial; and the meaning is, that they did not speak righteousness, or that which was just and right in the cause of David, when before them;

do ye judge uprightly, O ye sons of men?
no, they did not; they were unjust judges. The psalmist calls them "the sons of men", as in ( 1 Samuel 26:19 ) , in distinction from God the Judge of all, and to put them in mind of their frailty and mortality; for though they were gods by office, they were but men, and should die like men, and be accountable to the supreme Judge for all their proceedings in judgment here, ( Psalms 82:1 Psalms 82:6 Psalms 82:7 ) .


F20 (Mla) "e manipulo", Tigurine version, Junius & Tremellius, Piscator; "e manipulo justifiae", Cocceius.
F21 In Aben Ezra in loc.
F23 So Varenius, Reinbech, Michaelis.

Psalms 58:1 In-Context

1 Do you rulers indeed speak justly? Do you judge people with equity?
2 No, in your heart you devise injustice, and your hands mete out violence on the earth.
3 Even from birth the wicked go astray; from the womb they are wayward, spreading lies.
4 Their venom is like the venom of a snake, like that of a cobra that has stopped its ears,
5 that will not heed the tune of the charmer, however skillful the enchanter may be.

Cross References 1

Footnotes 2

  • [a]. In Hebrew texts 58:1-11 is numbered 58:2-12.
  • [b]. Title: Probably a literary or musical term
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