Bible Commentaries
Psalms 53

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

Verses 1-6

Psalms 53:1-6. Title. This psalm differs very little from the fourteenth ; and it is not known, nor has it been conjectured with much probability, on what account, or for what reason, the same sentiments are repeated in almost the same words. The variations, however, are sufficient to shew, that the psalm in one place was intentionally altered from that in the other ; and it is probable, that it was in consequence of some change in the Psalmist’s circumstances, or some events which had occurred subsequent to its first publication; The word Mahalath seems to denote a hollow instrument of music, a flute or pipe : and Maschil, or instructing, implies the scope of it, viz. an instruction or warning against impiety towards God, and rebellion against his anointed king.

V. 1- 4. (Note, Psalms 14:1-3.) The only variations in these verses are the change, in some instances, of one word for another of nearly the same import.

Understand. (Note, Title.) Causing to understand: that is, "Applying the heart to understanding." (Notes, Proverbs 1:7; Proverbs 2:1-6. John 3:19-21 . Romans 1:28-32.)-Have,Sze. (4) ’Do not the workers of iniquity know,’that they eat up my people, &c.?’ Thus the verse is rendered in the old translation.

V. 5. This verse contains much more than the fifth verse in the fourteenth psalm ; while the sixth is wholly omitted. (Note, Psalms 14:4-6.) The rebels who rose up against David’s authority, chiefly because they hated his religion, and were instigated by the spirit of persecution, proved on trial very cowardly; for no doubt God was pleased to impress terror on their hearts, when there was no adequate danger. (Notes, Judges 7:16-22. 1 Samuel 14:11-15. 2 Kings 7:6-7 - Proverbs 28:1.) Thus the army of Absalom, which encamped against David, was easily routed; numbers fell in the forests; and, being left unburied, their bones were scattered : and because God despised the impotent rage of this abandoned party, his servant easily put their to confusion.

(2 Samuel 18:6-8.)


The folly of sinners greatly appears in their acting, as if they could escape the notice of Omniscience, prosper in defiance of Omnipotence, or be happy in rebellion against the Source of all felicity. Those who go back from a religious profession, generally become most filthy, or most malicious persecutors, who of all sinners are most infatuated : for God " hath despised," and will confound and destroy them ; as he has often scattered the bones of powerful armies, who have encamped against his church. A guilty conscience and a dread of vengeance frequently fill the enemies of God with fears, where nothing formidable can be perceived ; but at length their worst terrors will be awfully realized : (Note, Proverbs 10:24:) and as the deliverance and prosperity of the church on earth will be attended with the ruin of all antichristian opposers ; so the eternal joys of the redeemed will be attended with the everlasting shame and misery of all their impenitent oppressors. (Note, Revelation 19:17-21.)

Bibliographical Information
Scott, Thomas. "Commentary on Psalms 53". Scott's Explanatory Notes, Practical Observations on the book Psalms. 1804.