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Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Psalms 53:5

 

 

There they were in great fear where no fear had been; For God scattered the bones of him who encamped against you; You put them to shame, because God had rejected them.

Adam Clarke Commentary

For God hath scattered the bones of him that encampeth against thee: thou hast put them to shame, because God hath despised them - The reader will see, on comparing this with the fifth and sixth verses of Psalm 14:1-7, that the words above are mostly added here to what is said there; and appear to be levelled against the Babylonians, who sacked and ruined Jerusalem, and who were now sacked and ruined in their turn. The sixth verse of Psalm 14:1-7, "Ye have shamed the counsel of the poor, because the Lord is his refuge," is added here by more than twenty of Kennicott's and De Rossi's MSS.


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Bibliography
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Psalms 53:5". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/psalms-53.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

There were they in great fear … - Margin, as in Hebrew, “they feared a fear.” For the general meaning of the verse, see the notes at Psalm 14:5. There is, however, an important change introduced here - the most important in the psalm. The general sentiment of two verses Psalm 14:5-6 in Psalm 14:1-7 is here compressed into one, and yet with such an important change as to show that it was by design, and apparently to adapt it to some new circumstance. The solution of this would seem to be that the original form Psalm 14:1-7 was suited to some occasion then present to the mind of the writer, and that some new event occurred to which the general sentiment in the psalm might be easily applied (or which would express that as well as could be done by an entirely new composition), but that, in order to adapt it to this new purpose, it would be proper to insert some expression more particularly referring to the event.

The principal of these additions is found in the verse before us. In Psalm 14:5-6, the language is, “There were they in great fear, for God is in the generation of the righteous; ye have shamed the counsel of the poor, because the Lord is his refuge.” In the psalm before us, the language is, “There were they in great fear, where no fear was: for God hath scattered the bones of him that encampeth against thee: thou hast put them to shame, because God hath despised them.” “Where no fear was.” The reference here, as in Psalm 14:5, is to the fear or consternation of the people of God on account of the designs and efforts of the wicked. They were apprehensive of being overthrown by the wicked. The design of the psalmist in both cases is to show that there was no occasion for that fear. In Psalm 14:5, he shows it by saying that “God is in the congregation of the righteous.” In the psalm before us fie says expressly that there was no ground for that fear - “where no fear was,” - and he adds, as a reason, that God had “scattered the bones” of them “that encamped against” them. That is, though there seemed to be occasion for fear - though those enemies were formidable in numbers and in power - yet God was their friend, and he had now showed them that they had no real occasion for alarm by dispersing those foes.

For God hath scattered the bones of him that encampeth against thee - Of the besieger. This, as already intimated, would seem to have been introduced in order to adapt the psalm to the particular circumstances of the occasion when it was revised. From this clause, as well as others, it appears probable that the particular occasion contemplated in the revision of the psalm was an attack on Jerusalem, or a siege of the city - an attack which had been repelled, or a siege which the enemy had been compelled to raise. That is, they had been overthrown, and their bones had been scattered, unburied, on the ground. The whole language of Psalm 14:1-7, thus modified, would be well suited to such an occurrence. The general description of atheism and wickedness in Psalm 14:1-7 would be appropriate in reference to such an attempt on the city - for those who made the attack might well be represented as practically saying that there was no God; as being corrupt and abominable; as bent on iniquity; as polluted and defiled; and as attempting to eat up the people of God as they eat bread; and as those who did not call upon God. The verse before us would describe them as discomfited, and as being scattered in slaughtered heaps upon the earth.

Thou hast put them to shame - That is, they had been put to shame by being overthrown; by being unsuccessful in their attempt. The word “thou” here must be understood as referring to God.

Because God hath despised them - He has wholly disapproved their character, and he has “despised “their attempts; that is, he has shown that they were not formidable or to be feared. They were efforts which might be looked on with contempt, and he had evinced this by showing how easily they could be overthrown.


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Bibliography
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Psalms 53:5". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/psalms-53.html. 1870.

The Biblical Illustrator

Psalms 53:5

Then were they in great fear where no fear was.

Idle fears

Every one must have heard of borrowing trouble. It is generally done by persons who have little real trouble of their own. Now, this habit of making oneself uneasy about little or nothing, of groping among dark and painful subjects, which might have been avoided, is, in part, constitutional; it may rise from the physical habit, or from temporary physical causes: and in that case the preacher has nothing to say about it in his official relation to the self-tormentor. But there are many instances in which the thing is not constitutional, or at least only so in part; cases in which it is clearly one’s own fault that he vexes himself in the fashion which we have described, and must be held responsible, in great measure, for his own discomfort. Let us limit ourselves, now, to one special topic under the general head, and think of the case of those who borrow trouble by permitting themselves to be the victims of their fears. Of such persons the number is, unfortunately, great, and as for the causes of their alarm and anxiety, their name is Legion. What deserves special attention is this: that in a large number of cases there is really no ground at all for the anxieties into which they fall; and that many have found, after giving themselves no end of distress, that they had been afraid where no fear was; that the distress was the result of their imagination; that the evils they dreaded never came to pass; that, while they were shivering and shaking, all was going forward welt. This is the special case to which your attention is called; the very case described by the psalmist; and it may be useful to consider wherein lies the sinfulness of this thing, and by what means the fault may be cured. I spoke of this habit as a sin. There is a great difference in the quality and degree of sins; some are graver than others, some are positive and some negative. This is a sin of thoughtlessness and carelessness; the sin of one who overlooks what he might have observed, and ought, by all means, to have heeded, When there is real danger, a certain kind of fear is in order: not to have it would be foolhardiness; but as to the habit of being always nervously apprehensive, and never passing a day without dreading-one knows not exactly what, or dreading what we have no sound reason for judging to be imminent; this certainly shows a culpable forgetfulness of certain truths which form the basis of a peaceful life. Such an exhibition of weakness is what God’s servants ought never to make: if they suffer in that fashion, they put themselves in the place of the unjust. From panic and foolish dismay, their faith, their love, their trust, should save them; and when it is not so, we infer that in faith, love, and trust they must be far below the mark. Let us proceed to point out a cure for the habit thus hastily analyzed. First, then, we say to the timid, Keep God in mind. What should you fear, if you know that He is overhead? And next turn your minds steadily away from dark views of things. As Charles Kingsley puts it, “Never begin to look darkly at a subject, without checking yourself and saying, Is there net a bright side to this? Has not God promised the bright side to me? Is not my happiness in my own power? Do not I know that I am ruining my mind, and endangering the happiness of those dear to me by looking at the wrong side? There are two ways of looking at every occurrence--a bright and a dark side. Two modes of action--which is most worthy of a rational being, a Christian, and a friend? It is absurd as a rational being H torture oneself unnecessarily. It is inconsistent in a Christian to see God’s wrath, rather than His mercy, in everything.” And, next, there is a remedy against unreal fears, which, with any intelligent man or woman, ought H have great force. It lies in considering how, in real trouble, real, positive, and terrible distress, God in His providence has brought good out of evil. Even real disasters end in blessing, and light comes gloriously out of darkness. What then of your fears? There may be no foundation for them whatever, and in that case you ought to be ashamed of them. But even grant the worst, and suppose that they may be realized: what then? Cannot the same power turn them to good? May clot what you dread become to you the very thing you need to complete your development? Either way, fear not. If your fears are vain, it is mere self-torment; if there be ground for them, trust the Lord in this thing, and you may yet rejoice that the evil did not fail to come. In conclusion: if any ask how to do what is necessary to render himself independent of idle fears, or how to learn to bear the real troubles of this world, our answer must be, that the way is--first, to pray; and, secondly, to practise. Ask for the grace that you need; ask it day by day; such prayers cannot be vain. And, again, practise, by forcing your mind off from morbid, gloomy thoughts, by denying it the luxury of sentimental revelry, by insisting that it shall think of God’s love and goodness, by telling it that it shall look out of the windows into the sunlight, and not inside into the gloom and shadow. And as life passes on, you will find comfort and courage in your soul, where timidity and distress used to be, and, with the ending of this world, there shall come a large experience such as many of us must have had in our own little lives. (Morgan Dix, D. D.)

Fear, without danger

I may say to every believer in Jesus, that his condition is very like that of the landsman on board ship when the sea was rather rough, and he said, “Captain, we are in great danger, are we not?” As an answer did not come, he said, “Captain, don’t you see great fear?” Then the old seaman gruffly replied, “Yes, I see plenty of fear, but not a bit of danger.” It is often so with us; whoa the winds are out and the storms are raging there is plenty of fear, but there is no danger. We may be much tossed, but we are quite safe, for we have an anchor of the soul both sure and steadfast, which will not start. (C. H. Spurgeon.)


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Bibliography
Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "Psalms 53:5". The Biblical Illustrator. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tbi/psalms-53.html. 1905-1909. New York.

Coffman's Commentaries on the Bible

"There were they in great fear, where no fear was;

For God hath scattered the bones of him that encampeth against thee:

Thou hast put them to shame because God hath rejected them."

Nothing whatever is known about the event referred to here. The alternative use of the second person and the third person in references to God is not unusual in the Bible.

We repeat here one factor stressed in our treatment of Psalms 14, namely, that "The Universal Sinfulness of Mankind" is almost certainly a reference to the Judicial Hardening of the Adamic race for the fourth and final time at a period of history just prior to the Final Judgment. Paul, of course, applied what is written here to the Judicial Hardening of both Jews and Gentiles upon the occasion of the First Advent of Christ.

We find in such prophecies as Revelation 16 a prophecy of the ultimate and final hardening, to which these prophecies are equally applicable.


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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 53:5". "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

There were they in great, fear, where no fear was,.... Before; neither of God nor man, nor any dread of punishment, but the utmost security, Revelation 18:7; also See Gill on Psalm 14:5;

for God hath scattered the bones of him that encampeth against thee; either against Christ, or against his church and people; who set themselves against the person, office, and grace of Christ, and seek to distress and destroy his interest: "the bones of such God will scatter": that is, he will destroy antichrist and his armies, which are his strength, as the bones are the strength of the human body; and make such a carnage of them, that the fowls of the air shall eat their flesh, and their bones shall be scattered here and there; see Revelation 19:17. So the Targum,

"for God scatters the strength of the armies of the wicked.'

Kimchi interprets it of the bones of the nations that shall encamp against Jerusalem, in the days of Gog; see Revelation 20:8; and Aben Ezra observes, that "thee" respects either God or the Messiah;

thou hast put them to shame; this is either an address of the psalmist unto God, declaring what he had done; or rather of God the Father to his Son Christ Jesus; and so Kimchi and Ben Melech say this refers to the Messiah: and it may be expressive of the shame and confusion that antichrist and his followers will be thrown into, when they shall make war with the Lamb, and he shall overcome them, Revelation 17:14;

because God hath despised them; or rejected them as reprobates; given them up to a reprobate mind; and being ungodly men, has before ordained them to this condemnation. The Targum is,

"for the Word of the Lord hath rejected them;'

as filthy, loathsome, and abominable, and cast them alive into the lake of fire, Revelation 19:20.


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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.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855

Bibliography
Gill, John. "Commentary on Psalms 53:5". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/psalms-53.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

There were they in great fear, [where] no e fear was: for God hath scattered the f bones of him that encampeth [against] thee: thou hast put [them] to shame, because God hath despised them.

(e) When they thought there was no opportunity to fear, the sudden vengeance of God lighted on them.

(f) No matter how great the enemies power is, or fearful the danger, yet God delivers his in due time.


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Bibliography
Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Psalms 53:5". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/psalms-53.html. 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

Instead of assurances of God‘s presence with the pious, and a complaint of the wicked, Psalm 14:5, Psalm 14:6 portrays the ruin of the latter, whose “bones” even “are scattered” (compare Psalm 141:7), and who are put to shame as contemptuously rejected of God.


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These files are a derivative of an electronic edition prepared from text scanned by Woodside Bible Fellowship.
This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.

Bibliography
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Psalms 53:5". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/psalms-53.html. 1871-8.

Keil & Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament

The last two lines of this tristich are in letters so similar to the two distichs of Psalms 14:1-7, that they look like an attempt at the restoration of some faded manuscript. Nevertheless, such a close following of the sound of the letters of the original, and such a changing of the same by means of an interchange of letters, is also to be found elsewhere (more especially in Jeremiah, and e.g., also in the relation of the Second Epistle of Peter to Jude). And the two lines sound so complete in themselves and full of life, that this way of accounting for their origin takes too low an estimate of them. A later poet, perhaps belonging to the time of Jehoshaphat or Hezekiah, has here adapted the Davidic Psalm to some terrible catastrophe that has just taken place, and given a special character to the universal announcement of judgment. The addition of לא־היה פּחד (supply אשׁר = אשׁר שׁם , Psalms 84:4) is meant to imply that fear of judgment had seized upon the enemies of the people of God, when no fear, i.e., no outward ground for fear, existed; it was therefore חרדּת אלהים (1 Samuel 14:15), a God-wrought panic. Such as the case with the host of the confederates in the days of Jehoshaphat (2 Chronicles 20:22-24); such also with the army of Sennacherib before Jerusalem (Isaiah 37:36). כּי gives the proof in support of this fright from the working of the divine power. The words are addressed to the people of God: Elohim hath scattered the bones (so that unburied they lie like dirt upon the plain a prey to wild beasts, Psalms 141:7; Ezekiel 6:5) of thy besieger , i.e., of him who had encamped against thee. חנך .eeht tsniaga instead of חנך = חנה עליך .

(Note: So it has been explained by Menachem; whereas Dunash wrongly takes the ך of חנך as part of the root, overlooking the fact that with the suffix it ought rather to have been חנך instead of חנך . It is true that within the province of the verb âch does occur as a pausal masculine suffix instead of écha , with the preterite (Deuteronomy 6:17; Isaiah 30:19; Isaiah 55:5, and even out of pause in Jeremiah 23:37), and with the infinitive (Deuteronomy 28:24; Ezekiel 28:15), but only in the passage before us with the participle. Attached to the participle this masculine suffix closely approximates to the Aramaic; with proper substantives there are no examples of it found in Hebrew. Simson ha-Nakdan, in his חבור הקונים (a MS in Leipzig University Library, fol. 29 b ), correctly observes that forms like שׁמך , עמּך , are not biblical Hebrew, but Aramaic, and are only found in the language of the Talmud, formed by a mingling of the Hebrew and Aramaic.)

By the might of his God, who has overthrown them, the enemies of His people, Israel has put them to shame, i.e., brought to nought in a way most shameful to them, the project of those who were so sure of victory, who imagined they could devour Israel as easily and comfortably as bread. It is clear that in this connection even Psalms 53:5 receives a reference to the foreign foes of Israel originally alien to the Psalm, so that consequently Micah 3:3 is no longer a parallel passage, but passages like Numbers 14:9, our bread are they (the inhabitants of Canaan); and Jeremiah 30:16, all they that devour thee shall be devoured .


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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 53:5". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/kdo/psalms-53.html. 1854-1889.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

There were they in great fear, where no fear was: for God hath scattered the bones of him that encampeth against thee: thou hast put them to shame, because God hath despised them.

Scattered — Hath not only broken their bones, their strength, and force, but also dispersed them hither and thither, so as there is no hope of a restoration.

Thee — Against my people.

Thou — Thou oh Jerusalem, which they besiege.


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These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.

Bibliography
Wesley, John. "Commentary on Psalms 53:5". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/psalms-53.html. 1765.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Psalms 53:5 There were they in great fear, [where] no fear was: for God hath scattered the bones of him that encampeth [against] thee: thou hast put [them] to shame, because God hath despised them.

Ver. 5. There were they in great fear] Heb. They feared a fear. God they feared not, of men they were greatly feared, and yet here they feared a fear where no fear was, viz. without themselves, only facti sunt a corde suo fugitivi, they feared and fled before their own consciences, their own trembling heart, Deuteronomy 28:65; the sound of fear that is in their ears, Job 15:21; the sound of a leaf chaseth them, Leviticus 26:36; they flee where none pursueth, Proverbs 28:1. Naturalists tell us of a certain little bird, quae fertur metu ne in ipsam coelum ruat, imponere sibi semper dormienti alterum pedem, which for fear lest the sky should fall on her head, sleepeth still with one foot laid upon her head. The Gauls that dwelt near the Adriatic Sea, being asked by Alexander the Great what they most feared, answered, ne supra se coelum corruat, lest the sky should fall upon them. Galen writeth of a certain melancholic fellow, who hearing that Atlas supported heaven with his shoulders, was therefore sore afraid lest he should faint under the burden; and therefore carried his arm before him to save his head. Heraclides, out of Anacreon, telleth of one Artemon, a timorous man, who kept home as much as might be, having ever a couple of servants to hold a brazen buckler over his head, lest anything should fall upon him from above; and if he were at any time necessitated to go abroad, he was carried in a horse litter that touched the ground almost; and was thereupon called Periphoretus (Plut. in Pericle).

For God hath scattered the bones] i.e. The strength, the strong troops, saith the Chaldee; they want decent burial, as Jeremiah 22:19, saith the Syriac.

Thou hast put them to shame] viz. The poor afflicted, Psalms 14:5, because

God hath despised them] i.e. Subjected them to the contempt of the wicked.


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Bibliography
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Psalms 53:5". John Trapp Complete Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/psalms-53.html. 1865-1868.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Psalms 53:5. For God hath scattered the bones of him This is generally referred to Sheba; who, being left at last to shift for himself, was shut up in the city of Abel, and there taken and beheaded; (see 2 Samuel 20:22.) after which his body, most probably, was exposed to the fowls of the air, or the wild beasts, insomuch that his bones were indeed at last scattered. Mudge renders this and the foregoing verse thus: Do not they observe, the dealers in vanity, devourers of my people? They eat bread: they called not upon God: Psalms 53:5. They were upon the spot in a great fear, where no fear was. Yes, God hath scattered the bones of the vile wretch; thou confoundest them; for God had spurned them off.


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Bibliography
Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Psalms 53:5". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/psalms-53.html. 1801-1803.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

Where no fear was, i.e. where there was no great nor sufficient cause of fear. See Leviticus 26:36 Deuteronomy 28:65 Job 15:21 Proverbs 28:1. They who designed to secure themselves from all fear and danger by their contempt of God, and by the persecution of good men, and by other wicked courses, were by those means filled with the terrors which they sought to avoid.

Hath scattered the bones; hath not only broken their bones, i.e. their strength and force, which is oft noted by the bones, as Psalms 6:2 31:10 51:8, but also dispersed them hither and thither, so as there is no hopes of a reunion and restoration.

Against thee, i.e. against my people, expressed, Psalms 53:4, or Israel, or Zion, as it is in the next verse.

Thou, O Zion, or Jerusalem, which they besiege,

hast put them to shame, for the great and strange disappointment of their hopes and confidence. It was a great reproach to them, for such numerous and mighty forces to be baffled and conquered by those whom they thought to swallow up at a morsel.

Despised them; or, rejected them; cursed them. Therefore it is no wonder if they could not stand before thee.


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Bibliography
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Psalms 53:5". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/psalms-53.html. 1685.

Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible

In Their Folly The Nations Have Invaded Israel/Judah And, Being Rejected By God, Have Been Utterly Defeated (Psalms 53:5).

Psalms 53:5

‘There were they in great fear, where no fear was,

For God has scattered the bones of him who encamps against you,

You have put them to shame, because God has rejected them.’

Apart from the first clause this verse is totally different in meaning from Psalms 14:5-6. Clearly it has been adapted to a new situation, an invasion that failed, even though the consonantal text is similar. It is clear that the adapter realised that he was dealing with a sacred text, and changed it as little as possible. In Psalms 14:5 the great fear was that of Israel’s enemies. Here it is Israel’s fear because of their enemies. But the Psalmist points out that there was no need for that fear, because God was with them. And as a consequence He had scattered the bones of their enemies who had encamped against them.

Because He had rejected them Israel was able to put them to shame, presumably by defeating them in some way. This could refer to Judah’s ‘victory’ over Sennacherib as described in Isaiah 36-37, with the idea that there had really been nothing to fear because God was with them, although it had certainly seemed at the time that there was something to fear. But the addition of ‘you have put them to shame’ militates against this, unless we see it as meaning that they put them to shame by their prayers. For the people had nothing to do, apart from prayer, with the defeat of the Assyrians. It could thus refer to some similar invasion that was thwarted, where there was no real danger because God was with the forces of Israel/Judah. Psalms 53:1-4 are here given as an explanation of why God had rejected their enemies.


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Bibliography
Pett, Peter. "Commentary on Psalms 53:5". "Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible ". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/pet/psalms-53.html. 2013.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

5. There were they in great fear—The particle שׁם, (sham,) may refer to time as well as place; then they trembled with fear, etc.

Where no fear was—Where there was no ground of fear, no visible cause. This has been supposed to refer to a supernatural panic, such as God struck his enemies with at different times. Thus Hammond: “God struck them with a sudden consternation for which there was no visible cause, and so they fled.” Others suppose it may mean, as in the destruction of Sennacherib’s army, that “in the midst of their proud security, when they were free from all apprehension, they were smitten with terror.”Perowne. So, also, Venema. It is a warning to the proud enemies of God and persecutors of Zion, that their destruction will come by the invisible agencies of God at a moment of fancied and fatal security. See Job 15:21; 1 Thessalonians 5:3.

For God hath scattered the bones—The judgment is from God, sudden, wide, wasting, terrible. Their “bones” should be dismembered, and strewn upon the earth without burial, to bleach in the sun.

Thou hast put them to shame—This address is to the persecuted righteous. The enemies of the Church had already “encamped against” them. But the righteous shall “put them to shame, because God hath despised them.” Thus faith triumphs and the godly are delivered.


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Bibliography
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Psalms 53:5". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/psalms-53.html. 1874-1909.

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

Psalms 53:5. Where no fear was — Where there was no great or sufficient cause of fear. They who designed to secure themselves from all fear and danger, by their contempt of God, and by the persecution of good men, and by other wicked courses, were, by these means, filled with the terrors which they sought to avoid. For God hath scattered the bones, &c. —

Hath not only broken the bones, that is, their strength and force, which are often signified by bones; but also dispersed them hither and thither, so that there is no hope of a restoration. Of him that encampeth against thee — That is, against thy people, expressed Psalms 53:4, or Israel, or Zion, as it is in the next verse. Many refer this to Sheba, who blew the trumpet of rebellion afresh, 2 Samuel 20:2, and who, being left at last to shift for himself, was shut up in the city of Abel, and there taken and beheaded; after which, it is thought, his body was exposed to the fowls of the air, or the wild beasts, insomuch that his bones were at last scattered. Thou hast put them to shame — Thou, O Zion, or Jerusalem, or thou church of God, for the great and strange disappointment of their hopes and confidence; because God hath despised them — Or rejected them. Therefore it is no wonder if they could not stand before thee.


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Bibliography
Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Psalms 53:5". Joseph Benson's Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/psalms-53.html. 1857.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Strangers. Barbarous, (Worthington) enemies, though of the same tribe. (Calmet) --- Hostis dicebatur quem nunc peregrinum dicimus. (Cicero, Off. i.) --- The devil and our passions, as well as the world, are such to us. (Berthier)


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Bibliography
Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Psalms 53:5". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/psalms-53.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

For God hath scattered. This is an addition to Psalm 14.

despised them. Here, the wicked are in question. In Psalms 14:5, the righteous.


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Bibliography
Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Psalms 53:5". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/psalms-53.html. 1909-1922.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(5) Where no fear was.—This—the most interesting variation from Psalms 14—appears plainly to have been inserted to bring the Psalm into harmony with some circumstance belonging to the time for which it was adapted, but to which we have no clue. As to the choice among the various explanations that have been given of it, we must remark that the one which takes “fear” in a good sense (“Then were they in great fright where there was no fear of God”) is excluded by the fact that the same word is employed in both clauses; and, as elsewhere pâchad is used of a “cause of terror,” we may render, There were they in great fear, where there was no cause for fear.

Apparently, from the immediate context, this statement is made not of the enemies of Israel, but of Israel itself, and was so constantly applicable to a people supposed to be living under the immediate protection of God, and yet liable to sudden panics, that we need not try to recover the precise event referred to.

Of him that encampeth against thee.—Literally, of thy besiegers. The bones of the beleaguering host lie bleaching on the sand. But the text seems to have suffered. The LXX. and Vulg. have “the bones of them that please men,” and a comparison with Psalms 14:5-6 shows such a similarity of letters, with difference of meaning, that both texts look like different attempts to restore some faded MS. Many attempts have been made to restore the original, but none eminently satisfactory.


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These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Psalms 53:5". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/psalms-53.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

There were they in great fear, where no fear was: for God hath scattered the bones of him that encampeth against thee: thou hast put them to shame, because God hath despised them.
There
Leviticus 26:17,36; Deuteronomy 28:65-67; 1 Samuel 14:15; 2 Kings 7:6,7; Job 15:21; Proverbs 28:1
were they in great fear
Heb. they feared a fear.
14:5
scattered
141:7; Ezekiel 6:5; 37:1-11
thou hast
35:4,26; 40:14; 83:16,17
because
2:4; 73:20; Isaiah 37:22-38; Jeremiah 6:30; Lamentations 2:6

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Psalms 53:5". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/psalms-53.html.

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