corner graphic   Hi,    
Finding the new version too difficult to understand? Go to

Bible Commentaries

Gary H. Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures
Psalms 53



Verses 1-6

Psalm 53

Introduction- Psalm 53is almost identical to Psalm 14, only differing in Psalm 53:5. Psalm 14is in book 1 ( Psalm 1-41) and Psalm 53is in book 2 ( Psalm 42-72). A second difference is that Psalm 14used the word YHWH ( יְהוָֹה) (H 3068) of special Revelation , while Psalm 53uses the general name for God ( אֳלהִׁים) (H 430). This similarity of psalms from books one and two implies that the Psalm may have initially consisted of several separate, smaller books, with some of the Psalm being the same, and these books were later compiled into the entire book of Psalm as we know it today, perhaps during the time of Ezra the scribe.

We see this duplication also in Psalm 18,2Samuel 22. This type of duplication is also found in the book of Proverbs , with individual proverbs from Solomon's first collection and second collection being the same, implying that it had a similar composition.

Psalm 53:1-3Comments- Romans 3:10-12 quotes these verses as meaning that everyone has sinned.

Romans 3:10-12, "As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one."

Psalm 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.

Psalm 53:1Word Study on "Maschil" - Gesenius says the Hebrew word "Maschil" ( מַשְׂכִּיל) (H 4905) is a participle meaning, "a didactic poem." Strong it means, "instructive," thus "a didactic poem," being derived from ( שָׂכַל) (H 7919), which literally means, "to be circumspect, and hence intelligent." The Enhanced Strong says it is found 13times in the Old Testament being translated in the KJV all 13times as "Maschil." It is used as a title for thirteen of the 150 psalms ( Psalm 32; Psalm 42, 44, 45, 52through 55; 74; 78; 88; 89; 142).

Most modern translations do as the KJV and transliterate this Hebrew word as "maschil," thus avoiding the possibility of a mistranslation. The LXX reads "for instruction." YLT reads "An Instruction." Although some of these psalms are didactic in nature, scholars do not feel that all fit this category. The ISBE says, "Briggs suggests ‘a meditation,' Thirtle and others ‘a psalm of instruction,' Kirkpatrick ‘a cunning psalm.'" 73]

73] John Richard Sampey, " Psalm ," in International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, ed. James Orr (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co, c 1915, 1939), in The Sword Project, v 1511 [CD-ROM] (Temple, AZ: CrossWire Bible Society, 1990-2008).

Psalm 53:1 — "Corrupt are they" - Comments- The Hebrew word( שָׁחַת) (H 7843), translated "corrupt," is the same Hebrew word that is used to described mankind before the flood ( Genesis 6:11-12), and the fool ( Psalm 14:1).

Genesis 6:11-12, "The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence. And God looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth."

Psalm 14:1, "The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good."


Copyright Statement
These files are copyrighted by the author, Gary Everett. Used by Permission.
No distribution beyond personal use without permission.

Bibliography Information
Everett, Gary H. "Commentary on Psalms 53:4". Gary H. Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures. 2013.

Lectionary Calendar
Wednesday, October 21st, 2020
the Week of Proper 24 / Ordinary 29
Commentary Navigator
Search This Commentary
Enter query in the box below
To report dead links, typos, or html errors or suggestions about making these resources more useful use our convenient contact form
Powered by Lightspeed Technology