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Bible Commentaries
Psalms 52

Scott's Explanatory Notes, Practical Observations on the book PsalmsScott on the Psalms

Verses 1-9

Psalms 52:1-9 Title. Notes, 1 Samuel 22:6-19.

V. 1. Doeg is here represented as boasting of his successful treachery, and savage cruelty, in murdering a multitude of unarmed and unresisting priests, and of women and children, as if he had performed some great exploit ; and perhaps he menaced David and his company with the same vengeance. But the Psalmist, by contrasting Doeg’s malice and mischief with the persevering goodness of God, sharply reproved him : and, in fact, relying on the faithful and merciful promises of God, he set him and all his other enemies at defiance.

V. 2. Doeg appeared before Ahimelech with the semblance of piety ; yet treacherously became his accuser and murderer. (Notes, 1 Samuel 21:7 -) This unsuspected malice and cruelty were like a mortal blow given with a wellset razor, so as scarcely to be felt, at the moment when given. (Marg. Ref.)

V. 3, 4. It appears that Doeg not only sought the favour of Saul, but entered cordially into the detestable service required of him. His heart, being enmity against God, hated his priests and servants, because he had a rooted aversion to piety and holiness. He loved evil, lying, and mischief, and gave them a decided preference to goodness, righteousness, and truth : for he took pleasure in gratifying his malignity and impiety, even as others did in gratifying avarice or sensual lusts. Nor was this all : for he loved and preferred in others the same hateful dispositions, in which he indulged himself; and by calumny and lies prepared the way for persecution and murder. Thus he resembled, and was in some respects a type of those who saw and hated the holy Jesus, because they hated the Father that sent him ; and accomplished his death by lying witnesses and virulent accusations.

(Notes, Matthew 26:57-62. John 8:41-47 John 15:22-25; John 16:13. 2 Thessalonians 2:8-12. James 3:3-6.)

V. 5. An accumulation of most expressive metaphors is here used, to mark the certainty of that dreadful and eternal punishment, which awaited this prosperous and haughty persecutor ; and which awaits all who bear the same character, however in other respects distinguished.

V. 6, 7 The righteous, beholding the ruin of this haughty and atrocious transgressor, would reverence the divine justice, become more afraid of sin, and be confirmed in true religion : yea, they would exult in beholding condign vengeance executed upon one, who was become so execrable and terrible by his crimes ; and express cordial satisfaction in observing the event of a man’s trusting in wealth and prosperity, encouraging himself in wickedness, renouncing God, and setting him at defiance. (Marg. Ref. Notes,Psalms 58:10-11. Revelation 18:20; Revelation 19:1-6.)

V. 8. The olive-tree produces the oil, which is useful to man, and was employed in the worship of God. (Note, Judges 9:8-15; Judges 5:9.) Thus David, being rooted in love to the ordinances of God, would abide and be fruitful in his house ; while Doeg, who was " detained before the " LORD," became a firebrand to destroy others and himself.

(Notes, Psalms 13:5-6. Psalms 92:12-15. Psalms 147:10-11. Romans 11:16-21.)

V. 9. The Psalmist praised God, as if his prediction had already been fulfilled ; and he determined to wait still on his name. The Name of God is glorious and excellent, in the judgment of all his "saints:" and they all deem it right, reasonable, honourable, and profitable, to wait patiently his time, in his ways, for the performance of his promises. (Marg. Ref.)


It is far worse to glory in wickedness than to perpetrate it : yet many mighty men have been ambitious of being distinguished, by doing extensive mischief with valour or crafty policy. Indeed, poets, orators, and historians have generally celebrated those as heroes, whose conduct has been the reverse of the divine goodness, and the very counterpart of Satan’s malice, pride, deceit, and murder; who have abused superior advantages and endowments, to devise and execute plans of more extensive devastation ; or who, by slanders and treachery, excite war and bloodshed among those who were at peace. The words of a deceitful tongue are often, not only as a sharp razor, but more devouring than the sword ; and numbers in all ages have loved evil more than good, and lies more than truth, equity, and love. But it is wonderful, ’ that any man ’ should value himself for being able to do mischief, when ’ God esteemeth it his glory to do good ; ’ (Norris, in Bp. Home ;} and his goodness will increase the condemnation of all those, who are emboldened by it in committing iniquity : but it forms the security of those, who depend on it, and copy it as their example. The believer foresees that God will cast down, sweep away, eradicate, and extirpate from the earth, and destroy for ever in hell, those who do not make him their Strength, but idolize their wealth and prosperity, and who encourage themselves in wickedness: and no criminals will perish with greater exultation to the righteous, than hardened persecutors.

Their success is like the luxuriant growth of some poisonous plant, which it is a publick service to destroy. But the righteous man is a fruitful olive-tree, planted in a good soil : he trusts in the everlasting mercy of God, and delights in his ordinances; and, however he may be now afflicted, and thus conformed to the suffering Redeemer, he will wait on the name of the Lord, and will praise him for ever. In expectation of this felicity, let us begin the work of heaven on earth ; praying continually that we may only witness, but never share, the perdition of the ungodly.

Bibliographical Information
Scott, Thomas. "Commentary on Psalms 52". Scott's Explanatory Notes, Practical Observations on the book Psalms. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/tsp/psalms-52.html. 1804.
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