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Psalm 52

The Punishment of Evil Tongues.

To the chief musician, for use in public worship, Maschil, a didactic anthem, a psalm of David, when Doeg, the Edomite, came and told Saul, and said unto him, David is come to the house of Ahimelech, the entire narrative being found 1 Sam. 19 to 22, especially chap. 21, 1-10 and 22, 1-10. This notice does not indicate the exact time when the psalm was composed, but the incident which occasioned it. 

V. 1. Why boastest thou thyself in mischief, for Doeg proudly set forth his connection with the wicked deed which he had performed at Gibeah, first in deceitfully betraying David and then in slaying eighty-five priests, O mighty man? It is not a real hero to which the name is here applied, but the word is a sarcastic designation of one whose craftiness was in his tongue. The goodness of God endureth continually, that is, in spite of all of Doeg’s schemes the favor of God would continue to rest upon David, who therefore refused to consider his a lost cause. V. 2. Thy tongue deviseth mischiefs, planning wickedness and destruction of every kind; like a sharp razor, working deceitfully, or, “thou who workest deceit!” Doeg was ever engaged in undertakings of meanness against others, wickedness and deceit was his sphere of activity. V. 3. Thou lovest evil more than good, that is, in the place of good, he was altogether evil, and lying rather than to speak righteousness, his whole mind being devoted to falsehood and deceit. Selah. V. 4. Thou lovest all devouring words, literally, “words of swallowing,” forms of speech by which he could harm and destroy others, O thou deceitful tongue, the entire person of Doeg being included in this appellation. V. 5. God shall likewise destroy thee forever, the divine vengeance being here set forth in retaliation for Doeg’s wickedness; He shall take thee away and pluck thee out of thy dwelling-place, tearing down the tent of his habitation, leveling it with the ground, and removing even the tent-pins, and root thee out of the land of the living, in a total ruin of himself and all his possessions. Selah. V. 6. The righteous also shall see, namely, the ruin of the ungodly, and fear, with awe and respect for the avenging justice of the Lord, and shall laugh at him, deriding the ungodly for his folly, not with revengeful feelings, but with joy over the manner in which the Lord turns circumstances in their favor: v. 7. Lo, this is the man that made not God his strength, the triumph of the righteous being over the fallen oppressor, who thought he could go on indefinitely ignoring the Lord, but trusted in the abundance of his riches, believing that they could deliver him, and strengthened himself in his wickedness, in all his evil desires, believing himself to be safe from the vengeance of God. The fate of the righteous is shown by way of contrast. V. 8. But I am like a green olive tree in the house of God, enjoying true prosperity in fellowship with the Lord; I trust in the mercy of God forever and ever. V. 9. I will praise Thee forever, because Thou hast done it, preserving David from all evil and making him partaker of the divine mercy; and I will wait on Thy name, hoping in the Lord as He has revealed Himself in His favor and grace; for it is good before Thy saints, every manifestation of God’s mercy before the eyes of the believers being another proof of His goodness, inviting their unwavering faith.


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