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Bible Commentaries

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

Psalms 53


A.M. 2983. B.C. 1021.

The occasion of this Psalm, which varies but little from the fourteenth, 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. 2 Samuel 20:2 . See the contents of Psalms 14:0 ., and the notes upon it.

Title. Upon Mahalath This also seems to be the name of a musical instrument or tune. It is rendered, by Dr. Waterland, upon the hollow instruments; and by Houbigant, upon the chorus. With respect to many of such titles, it is better to confess our ignorance, as the Jewish doctors themselves do, than to give way to groundless conjectures about them.

Verse 5

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.

Verse 6

Psalms 53:6. O that the salvation, &c. See on Psalms 14:7.

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Bibliographical Information
Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Psalms 53". Joseph Benson's Commentary. 1857.