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Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Psalms 53:1

 

 

The fool has said in his heart, "There is no God," They are corrupt, and have committed abominable injustice; There is no one who does good.

Adam Clarke Commentary

The fool hath said in his heart - The whole of this Psalm, except a few inconsiderable differences, is the same as the fourteenth; and, therefore, the same notes and analysis may be applied to it; or, by referring to the fourteenth, the reader will find the subject of it amply explained. I shall add a few short notes.

Have done abominable iniquity - Instead of עול avel, evil or iniquity, eight of Kennicott's and De Rossi's MSS. have עלילה alilah, work, which is nearly the same as in Psa xiv.


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Bibliography
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Psalms 53:1". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/psalms-53.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

The fool hath said in his heart … - For the meaning of this verse, see the notes at Psalm 14:1. The only change in this verse - a change which does not affect the sense - is the substitution of the word “iniquity,” in Psalm 53:1-6, for “works,” in Psalm 14:1-7.


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Bibliography
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Psalms 53:1". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/psalms-53.html. 1870.

Coffman's Commentaries on the Bible

PSALM 53

THE UNIVERSAL SINFULNESS OF MANKIND

Superscription: Title: The Folly and Wickedness of Men.

For the Chief Musician; set to Mahalath. Maschil of David.

The title in the ASV is "The Folly and Wickedness of Men," and in Halley's Handbook of the Bible we have the one selected here.

Set to Mahalath. "According to Dr. Kay, this is a musical term indicating that it is to be sung `Maestoso.'"[1] This is a musical instruction meaning, "`With Majesty,' `Majestically,' or `Stately.'"[2]

Maschil. This word means a "a meditative poem."[3]

The most important fact about this psalm is that it is almost in its entirety a duplication of Psalms 14, except for two things. (1) The word [~'Elohiym] (God) is substituted throughout in place of the word Jehovah (God) which is used in Psalms 14. (2) There is a slight change of meaning in Psalms 53:5, but for what purpose is not known. Rawlinson thought it might be for the "purpose of adapting the Psalm to some special occasion."[4]

Reference is here made to our Commentary on Psalms 14 where we have adequately discussed the text which we find here, with the exception of Psalms 53:5.


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James Burton Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.

Bibliography
Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on Psalms 53:1". "Coffman Commentaries on the Old and New Testament". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/psalms-53.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

The fool hath said in his heart, there is no God,.... The Targum adds, "of whom is revenge"; or there is no God to punish and avenge the wicked;

corrupt are they; the Chaldee paraphrase is, "the wicked have corrupted their ways"; as all flesh had done in the old world, Genesis 6:12;

and have done abominable iniquity; iniquity is the abominable thing that God hates, and makes men abominable in his sight; in Psalm 11:1, it is read, "abominable worlds": the Targum paraphrases the words, "they are far from good, for iniquity is found in them"; see Revelation 21:8;

there is none that doeth good; See Gill on Psalm 14:1.


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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rightes Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
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Bibliography
Gill, John. "Commentary on Psalms 53:1". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/psalms-53.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

"To the chief Musician upon a Mahalath, Maschil, [A Psalm] of David." The fool hath said in his heart, [There is] b no God. Corrupt are they, and have done abominable iniquity: [there is] none that doeth good.

(a) Which was an instrument or king of note.

(b) Whereas no regard is had for honesty or dishonesty, for virtue nor for vice, there the prophet pronounces that the people have no God.


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Bibliography
Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Psalms 53:1". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/psalms-53.html. 1599-1645.

Keil & Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament

The well-grounded asyndeton השׁהיתוּ התעיבוּ is here dismissed; and the expression is rendered more bombastic by the use of עול instead of עלילה . עול (the masculine to עולה ), pravitas , is the accusative of the object (cf. Ezekiel 16:52) to both verbs, which give it a twofold superlative attributive notion. Moreover, here השׁחיתו is accented with Mugrash in our printed texts instead of Tarcha . One Mugrash after another is contrary to all rule.


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The Keil & Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament is a derivative of a public domain electronic edition.

Bibliography
Keil, Carl Friedrich & Delitzsch, Franz. "Commentary on Psalms 53:1". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/kdo/psalms-53.html. 1854-1889.

Scofield's Reference Notes

Mahalath Mahalath, apparently a temple choir.

Maschil Maschil, "instruction."


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Bibliography
Scofield, C. I. "Scofield Reference Notes on Psalms 53:1". "Scofield Reference Notes (1917 Edition)". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/srn/psalms-53.html. 1917.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Psalms 53:1 « To the chief Musician upon Mahalath, Maschil, [A Psalm] of David. » The fool hath said in his heart, [There is] no God. Corrupt are they, and have done abominable iniquity: [there is] none that doeth good.

Maschil, a Psalm of David] Purposely set down here the second time {see Psalms 6:1} to instruct what every man is by nature, and that he who is scholar to his own carnal reason is sure to have a fool to his master. The heathens are very obstinate in propugning man’s nature, witness Cicero, and both the Senecas, saying, that if men would but follow the bent of their own natures they could not do amiss. And we have much ado to persuade people that their natures are so foul, their ways so wicked, &c. Twice, therefore, is this psalm recorded, that all may be convinced that there is no safety in such a condition; nothing better than to hasten out of it.

Ver. 1. The fool, &c.] {See Trapp on "Psalms 14:1"}


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Bibliography
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Psalms 53:1". John Trapp Complete Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/psalms-53.html. 1865-1868.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Psalms 53.

David describeth the corruption of a natural man: he convinceth the wicked by the light of their own conscience: he glorieth in the salvation of God.

To the chief musician upon Mahalath, Maschil, A Psalm of David.

Title. לדוד משׂכיל מחלת על למנצח lamnatseach al machalath maskiil ledavid.] The occasion of this Psalm, which varies but little from the 14th, and for which variation it is not easy to account, is supposed to have been the next revolt which the Israelites in general made immediately after the rebellion of Absalom, before David had quite recovered Jerusalem, and upon the quarrel which arose between the men of Judah and the men of Israel about precedency in bringing back the king; when Sheba blew the trumpet of rebellion afresh; and, it is said, every man of Israel left David. See 2 Samuel 20:2. מחלת על al machalath, Upon Mahalath, is rendered by some, Upon the hollow instruments; and by Houbigant, Upon the chorus. Mudge says, Mahalath is probably a kind of music, denominated from a song, in which was that word; which signifies a malady or illness; designed, if one may guess from Psalms 88 to raise in the mind a melancholy, or sort of pensive gloominess. Fenwick is nearly of the same opinion. See his Thoughts, p. 57. The Syriac title informs us, that the Psalm was occasioned by Achitophel's advising Absalom to pursue David, and put him to death: but, with respect to Christians, it intimates the revelation of our Saviour, and deliverance from atheistic people. There was, most probably, more of it in the original Syriac copy. See the notes on the 14th Psalm.


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Bibliography
Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Psalms 53:1". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/psalms-53.html. 1801-1803.

Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary

CONTENTS

Here is a short, but striking account of sin in a natural man's heart, as was given before, in the fourteenth Psalm. The sinner is expostulated with upon the occasion; and the Psalmist takes occasion, from such a state of man's ruin by nature, to pray for his recovery by grace in the salvation of Christ.

To the chief musician upon Mahalath, Maschil, A Psalm of David.

Ps 53

Having already offered an humble comment upon this Psalm, as numbered before the 14th, I think it unnecessary to detain the Reader with going over the same again in this place: the Reader can refer to what was there observed. It is true there is some little variation in one of the verses, but not so materially different as to render a commentary necessary: I shall only therefore just observe, that if we suppose (as we may) the repetition of it, as well as the apostle Paul's quotation from it, was designed to recommend it with the more earnestness to the attention of the church; this may, and indeed it ought to operate in a stronger manner to enforce the important doctrines it contains upon our hearts. And as it points to the natural atheism which is in every man's heart from the consequences of original sin, as the sad cause and source of all our misery; so a deep sense of our guilt and ruin in this particular may, under God's grace, serve no less to endear to us that blessed and only recovery which is in the Lord Jesus Christ. May the Lord the Holy Ghost grant, from the repeated perusal of it, this blessed effect and then if Jesus becomes more and more precious in proportion as we feel more and more our need of him, we shall find the same cause as Jacob to rejoice, and as Israel to be glad.


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Bibliography
Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Psalms 53:1". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/pmc/psalms-53.html. 1828.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

A fool in the ancient Hebrew view of life was a person who did not acknowledge God"s existence intellectually, practically, or both (cf. Romans 1). He lived as though God does not exist. Such a viewpoint leads to unrestrained behavior. The fool"s conduct is essentially corrupt, in addition to being abominable to God (i.e, vile). No one is completely or consistently good because everyone disregards God from time to time.


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Bibliography
Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Psalms 53:1". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/psalms-53.html. 2012.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

Title. Maschil = Instruction (the sixth of thirteen Psalms so named. See note on Title, Psalm 32, and App-65, as to the faction of the Tyrant of Psalm 52. This Psalm for public use. See note at end. Hence Elohim (App-4), the Creator in relation to His creatures. A partial repetition of Psalm 14, which was not for public use (as Psalm 53 was); therefore Jehovah (David"s God) there, and Elohim (the creature"s Creator) here.

fool. May not this refer to Nabal? God. Hebrew. Elohim. App-4. I. Seven times in this Psalm. In Psalm 14 three times Elohim, and four timesJehovah. Elohim more characteristic of the second (or Exodus) book.

iniquity. In Psalm 14, Hebrew "alilah = doing; here, "aval= deceit. App-44. There is none, &c. Quoted in Romans 3:1-12.


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Bibliography
Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Psalms 53:1". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/psalms-53.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. Corrupt are they, and have done abominable iniquity: there is none that doeth good.

The alterations made in this revised version by David of Psalms 14:1-7 are to substitute rare, elevated, and forcible forms for commoner terms. The title "Upon Mahalath" is an enigmatical description of the subject: 'Upon sickness.' Compare title, Psalms 88:1-18, where it is connected with "Leannoth," concerning the tribulation. The sickness here in Psalms 53:1-6 is man's spiritual malady.

Maschil. The 'instruction' aimed at is to bring reckless man (Psalms 53:2) to spiritual understanding. In Psalms 14:1-7 'Elohiym (Hebrew #430) is thrice used, Yahweh (Hebrew #3068) four times; in Psalms 53:1-6 'Elohiym is used throughout, marking the more clearly the seven-fold introduction of "God." In Psalms 53:1, "abominable iniquity," the stronger, term ('avel), is substituted for 'abominable works.' In Psalms 53:3, "Every one of them is gone back" [ kulow (Hebrew #3605) caag (Hebrew #5472) - literally, all of it is gone back] stands instead of "They are all gone aside" ( hakol (Hebrew #3605) sar (Hebrew #8269)). In Psalms 53:5 there is added to "There were they in great fear" (Psalms 14:5), in order to heighten the force, "where no fear was;" where, humanly speaking, nothing was to be feared as likely to disturb their carnal security: as Belshazzar (Daniel 5:1-31; Job 15:21; 1 Thessalonians 5:3). And instead of "for God is in the generation of the righteous," - "for God hath scattered the bones of him that encampeth against thee:" of thy besieger ( chonak (Hebrew #2583)): an emphatic and poetical picture of the utter destruction of the foes of God's people, the consequence of God's being "in the generation of the righteous." God raises the siege which sinners continually lay to saints, by shattering the besiegers, and scattering their bones, once the seat of their strength, on the battlefield. For "ye have shamed the counsel of the poor, because Yahweh is his refuge," there, is here, 'thou hast shamed (them), because God hath despised them:' the positive rejection of the wicked is substituted for the less strong thought, the "refuge" which the afflicted "righteous" have in "Yahweh."

This psalm is an instructive warning ( Maskiyl (Hebrew #4905)) to the wicked, as Psalms 14:1-7 is for the comfort of the righteous when cast down by the prevalence of surrounding corruption. Compare Genesis 6:5; Genesis 6:14, "All flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth;" the same Hebrew root as in Psalms 53:1, "corrupt" ( hishchiytuw (Hebrew #7843)). Compare Paul's quotation of this psalm, Romans 3:9-12, to show that all are "under sin." In Psalms 53:6 'the salvations' ( y


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Bibliography
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Psalms 53:1". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/psalms-53.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(1) And.—The conjunction is wanting in Psalms 14:1.

Iniquity.—Instead of the general term, “doings,” in Psalms 14, as if the adapter of the Psalm felt that a word applicable to good as well as evil was not strong enough to express the hideousness of the profanity.


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Bibliography
Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Psalms 53:1". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/psalms-53.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. Corrupt are they, and have done abominable iniquity: there is none that doeth good.
A. M. cir. 3464. B.C. cir. 540. (Title.) Mahalath
88:1; *title
fool
14:1-7; 92:6; Matthew 5:22; Luke 12:20
said
10:4,6,11,13; 1 Kings 12:26; Romans 1:21,28
Corrupt
Genesis 6:5,6,11-13; Job 14:4; 15:16
have done
Leviticus 18:24-30; Deuteronomy 12:31; 1 Kings 14:24; Ezekiel 16:47,51; Ephesians 5:12; 1 Peter 4:3
there is
Romans 3:10-31

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Bibliography
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Psalms 53:1". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/psalms-53.html.

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