corner graphic   Hi,    
ver. 2.0.20.10.19
Finding the new version too difficult to understand? Go to classic.studylight.org/

Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Psalms 14:1

The fool has said in his heart, "There is no God." They are corrupt, they have committed abominable deeds; There is no one who does good.


Adam Clarke Commentary

The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God - נבל nabal, which we render fool, signifies an empty fellow, a contemptible person, a villain. One who has a muddy head and an unclean heart; and, in his darkness and folly, says in his heart, "There is no God." "And none," says one, "but a fool would say so." The word is not to be taken in the strict sense in which we use the term atheist, that is, one who denies the being of a God, or confounds him with matter. 1. There have been some, not many, who have denied the existence of God. 2. There are others who, without absolutely denying the Divine existence, deny his providence; that is, they acknowledge a Being of infinite power, etc., but give him nothing to do, and no world to govern. 3. There are others, and they are very numerous, who, while they profess to acknowledge both, deny them in their heart, and live as if they were persuaded there was no God either to punish or reward.

They are corrupt - They are in a state of putrescence and they have done abominable works - the corruption of their hearts extends itself through all the actions of their lives. They are a plague of the most deadly kind; propagate nothing but destruction; and, like their father the devil, spread far and wide the contagion of sin and death. Not one of them does good. He cannot, for he has no Divine influence, and he denies that such can be received.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.

Bibliography
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Psalms 14:1". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/psalms-14.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

The fool - The word “fool” is often used in the Scriptures to denote a wicked man - as sin is the essence of folly. Compare Job 2:10; Psalm 74:18; Genesis 34:7; Deuteronomy 22:21. The Hebrew word is rendered “vile person” in Isaiah 32:5-6. Elsewhere it is rendered “fool, foolish,” and “foolish man.” It is designed to convey the idea that wickedness or impiety is essential folly, or to use a term in describing the wicked which will, perhaps, more than any other, make the mind averse to the sin - for there is many a man who would see more in the word “fool” to be hated than in the word “wicked;” who would rather be called a “sinner” than a “fool.”

Hath said - That is, has “thought,” for the reference is to what is passing in his mind.

In his heart - See the note at Psalm 10:11. He may not have said this to others; he may not have taken the position openly before the world that there is no God, but such a thought has passed through his mind, and he has cherished it; and such a thought, either as a matter of belief or of desire, is at the foundation of his conduct. He “acts” as if such were his belief or his wish.

There is no God - The words “there is” are not in the original. The literal rendering would be either “no God,” “nothing of God,” or “God is not.” The idea is that, in his apprehension, there is no such thing as God, or no such being as God. The more correct idea in the passage is, that this was the belief of him who is here called a “fool;” and it is doubtful whether the language would convey the idea of desire - or of a wish that this might be so; but still there can be no doubt that such is the wish or desire of the wicked, and that they listen eagerly to any suggestions or arguments which, in their apprehension, would go to demonstrate that there is no such being as God. The exact state of mind, however, indicated by the languaqe here, undoubtedly is that such was the opinion or the belief of him who is here called a fool. If this is the true interpretation, then the passage would prove that there have been people who were atheists. The passage would prove, also, in its connection, that such a belief was closely linked, either as a cause or a consequent, with a corrupt life, for this statement immediately follows in regard to the character of those who are represented as saying that there is no God. As a matter of fact, the belief that there is no God is commonly founded on the desire to lead a wicked life; or, the opinion that there is no God is embraced by those who in fact lead such a life, with a desire to sustain themselves in their depravity, and to avoid the fear of future retribution. A man who wishes to lead an upright life, desires to find evidence that there is a God, and to such a man nothing would be more dark and distressing than anything which would compel him to doubt the fact of God‘s existence. It is only a wicked man who finds pleasure in an argument to prove that there is no God, and the wish that there were no God springs up only in a bad heart.

They are corrupt - That is, they have done corruptly; or, their conduct is corrupt. “They have done abominable works.” They have done that which is to be abominated or abhorred; that which is to be detested, and which is fitted to fill the mind with horror.

There is none that doeth good - Depravity is universal. All have fallen into sin; all fail to do good. None are found who are disposed to worship their Maker, and to keep his laws. This was originally spoken, undoubtedly, with reference to the age in which the psalmist lived; but it is applied by the apostle Paul, Romans 3:10 (see the note at that passage), as an argument for the universal depravity of mankind.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.

Bibliography
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Psalms 14:1". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/psalms-14.html. 1870.

Coffman's Commentaries on the Bible

PSALM 14

THE JUDICIAL HARDENING OF MANKIND (FOR THE CHIEF MUSICIAN. A PSALM OF DAVID).

REGARDING: JUDICIAL HARDENING

The title we have chosen here is our own, and it is derived from the apostle Paul's use of this psalm in his description of the Judicial Hardening of Mankind in the first three chapters of the Book of Romans. A study of this phenomenon is of fundamental importance in the understanding of God's ultimate prophecies concerning the repeated apostasy and final destruction of the Adamic race.

We have devoted many pages to this subject in Romans, Amos, Genesis and Revelation.

The great Biblical type of God's hardening men is of course the example of Pharaoh, whose heart the Lord hardened, but not till Pharaoh had hardened his own heart no less than ten times. The three centers of this phenomenon called judicial hardening are (1) in wicked men themselves, (2) in God who hardens men's hearts in the sense of allowing it, and (3) in Satan himself who, with the proper advantage afforded by the conduct of the wicked is able to "blind men," (2 Corinthians 4:4).

What happens when men are hardened? (1) They are blinded (2 Corinthians 4:4), meaning that they are incapable of seeing or understanding the plainest truth. (2) "Their foolish heart (the scriptural heart is the mind) is darkened (Romans 1:21), with the meaning that an essential element of human intelligence has been judiciously removed by God Himself. (3) They become vain in their reasonings (Romans 1:21). (4) They become fools (Romans 1:22), and (5) God gives them up (Romans 1:22,26,28).

The universal hardening of mankind has already occurred three times: (1) in the total apostasy that preceded the Great Deluge; (2) in the conceited trust of mankind in their tower of Babel; and (3) again in the universal wickedness and rebellion against God described by Paul in Romans first three chapters. God's response to that shameful and reprobate condition was epic in all three instances. The first was terminated by the flood; the second resulted in the call of Abraham and the introduction of the device of a Chosen People who, in God's purpose, were to keep the knowledge of God and his commandments before all the world, and in the fulness of time to deliver to the human family the Messiah himself. God's response to the third judicial hardening of the race (so vividly described by Paul in Romans) was the First Advent of Christ, the coming of the Messiah. This, of course, was a mission of mercy.

There will yet be a fourth and final judicial hardening of mankind, as categorically stated in Revelation 15-16, fulfilling the prophecy of the apostles that, "Wickedness would wax worse and worse" (2 Timothy 3:13), and the searching question of Christ himself, "When the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?" (Luke 18:8).

God has already revealed what his response to the fourth and final hardening of the Adamic race will be: namely, the Second Advent of Jesus Christ; and contrasted with the first Advent, which was a mission of mercy, his Second Advent will be a mission of judgment on that Day which God has appointed (Acts 17:31).

The determination that the fourth judicial hardening of Adam's race will be the terminal one is derived from the remarkable prophecy of Amos who in eight successive prophecies of God's judgments upon the wicked prefaced each one with the word:

For three transgressions of Damascus, yea for four ... JUDGMENT.

For three transgressions of Gaza, yea for four, ... JUDGMENT.

For three transgressions of Tyre, yea for four, ... JUDGMENT.

For three transgressions of Edom, yea for four, ... JUDGMENT.

For three transgressions of Ammon, yea for four, ... JUDGMENT.

For three transgressions of Moab, yea for four, ... JUDGMENT.

For three transgressions of Judah, yea for four, ... JUDGMENT.

For three transgressions of Israel, yea for four, ... JUDGMENT.

- Amos 1:3-2:6.

The inability of any man to identify the "three transgressions" or the "four" in a single one of these cases is the only proof needed that something far more important than the destruction of ancient nations was in view here. It is our conviction that these "three" and "four" transgressions are references to the four times that human morality and love of God shall virtually perish from the earth; and the "yea for four" indicates that the fourth such instances of it will usher in the Final Judgment itself.

But does this psalm actually prophesy such a judicial hardening. Romans 3:10-18 is quoted verbatim from this psalm; and while it is true that the last five verses of Paul's quotation are not in our version, there is all kinds of evidence to the effect that the five verses do indeed belong. "They are in the LXX, and the Latin Vulgate, in the Syriac and in another ancient version, the PBV."[1]

There is very little likelihood that the apostle Paul could have found that language anywhere else except in this psalm; and his statement that, "It is written," at the head of his quotation is the only proof of this that is needed.

Furthermore, as many scholars have pointed out, this psalm is repeated almost verbatim in Psalms 53, where the name God is used instead of the word Jehovah, proving, of course, that the Jews used the words interchangeably.

In that passage in Romans from Paul, there is no doubt whatever that the universal judicial hardening of the human race is Paul's theme; and it appears to us that this is the best of reasons for our conviction that the same subject is the focus here.

Psalms 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."

"The fool." This word, in the singular, is actually a word for the whole race of Adam, as indicated by the next three lines. The atheist here is not a single individual but the whole rebellious race of Adam. Again in Zephaniah 1:2, we have the whole Adamic race referred to in the singular "man." It is the same here.

The Hebrew word for "fool" here is [~nabal], which does not mean a simpleton, but one whose moral thinking is perverted and who has deliberately closed his mind against the reality of God and to the imperatives of God's moral government.[2]

We believe that Kidner struck a note of solemn truth when he wrote that, "This might well be twentieth century man.[3]

We have already pointed out that atheism is not the product of knowledge, education, intelligence, or discernment of any kind, but the child of corruption. "Atheism is the essence of ingratitude, injustice, pride, hatred and selfishness."[4]


Copyright Statement
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 14:1". "Coffman Commentaries on the Old and New Testament". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/psalms-14.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

The fool hath said in his heart,.... This is to be understood not of a single individual person, as Nabal, which is the word here used; nor of some Gentile king, as Sennacherib, or Rabshakeh his general, as Theodoret; nor of Nebuchadnezzar, nor of Titus, as some Jewish writersF25Vid. Jarchi, Kimchi & Ben Melech in loc. interpret it, making one to be here intended, and the other in the fifty third psalm: the same with this; but of a body, a set of men, who justly bear this character; and design not such who are idiots, persons void of common sense and understanding; but such who are fools in their morals, without understanding in spiritual things; wicked profligate wretches, apostates from God, alienated from the life of God; and whose hearts are full of blindness and ignorance, and whose conversations are vile and impure, and they enemies of righteousness, though full of all wicked subtlety and mischief: these say in their hearts, which are desperately wicked, and out of which evil thoughts proceed, pregnant with atheism and impiety; these endeavour to work themselves into such a belief, and inwardly to conclude, at least to wish,

there is no God; though they do not express it with their mouths, yet they would fain persuade their hearts to deny the being of God; that so having no superior to whom they are accountable, they may go on in sin with impunity; however, to consider him as altogether such an one as themselves, and to remove such perfections from him, as may render him unworthy to be regarded by them; such as omniscience, omnipresence, &c. and to conceive of him as entirely negligent of and unconcerned about affairs of this lower world, having nothing to do with the government of it: and thus to deny his perfections and providence, is all one as to deny his existence, or that there is a God: accordingly the Targum paraphrases it,

"there is no שולטנא, "government" of God in the earth;'

so Kimchi interprets it,

"there is no governor, nor judge in the world, to render to man according to his works;'

they are corrupt; that is, everyone of these fools; and it is owing to the corruption of their hearts they say such things: they are corrupt in themselves; they have corrupt natures, they are born in sin, and of the flesh, and must be carnal and corrupt: or "they do corrupt", or "have corrupted"F26השחיתו "corruperunt", Pagninus, Montanus, Vatablus, Gejerus; "corrumpunt", Junius & Tremellius; "corrumpunt se", Piscator. : they corrupt themselves by their atheistic thoughts and wicked practices, Judges 1:10; or their works, as the Chaldee paraphrase adds; or their ways, their manner and course of life, Genesis 6:12; and they corrupt others with their evil communications, their bad principles and practices, their ill examples and wicked lives;

they have done abominable works: every sinful action is abominable in the sight of God; but there are some sins more abominable than others; there are abominable idolatries, and abominable lusts, such as were committed in Sodom; and it may be these are pointed at here, and which are usually committed by such who like not to retain God in their knowledge; see Romans 1:24;

there is none that doeth good; anyone good work in a spiritual manner; not in faith, from love, in the name and strength of Christ, and with a view to the glory of God: nor can any man do a good work without the grace of God, and strength from Christ, and the assistance of the Spirit of God: hence, whatsoever a wicked man does, whether in a civil or in a religious way, is sin; see Proverbs 21:4. Arama takes these to be the words of the fool, or atheist, saying, there is no God that does good, like those in Zephaniah 1:12.


Copyright Statement
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 14:1". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/psalms-14.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

"To the chief Musician, [A Psalm] of David." The fool hath said in his heart, a [There is] no God. They are b corrupt, they have done abominable works, [there is] none that doeth good.

(a) He shows that the cause of all wickedness if forgetting God.

(b) There is nothing but disorder and wickedness among them.


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

Bibliography
Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Psalms 14:1". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/psalms-14.html. 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

Psalm 14:1-7. The practical atheism and total and universal depravity of the wicked, with their hatred to the good, are set forth. Yet, as they dread God‘s judgments when He vindicates His people, the Psalmist prays for His delivering power.

Sinners are termed “fools,” because they think and act contrary to right reason (Genesis 34:7; Joshua 7:15; Psalm 39:8; Psalm 74:18, Psalm 74:22).

in his heart — to himself (Genesis 6:12).


Copyright Statement
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 14:1". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/psalms-14.html. 1871-8.

Keil & Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament

The perfect אמר , as in Psalms 1:1; Psalms 10:3, is the so-called abstract present (Ges. §126, 3), expressing a fact of universal experience, inferred from a number of single instances. The Old Testament language is unusually rich in epithets for the unwise. The simple, פּתי , and the silly, כּסיל , for the lowest branches of this scale; the fool, אויל , and the madman, הולל , the uppermost. In the middle comes the notion of the simpleton or maniac, נבל - a word from the verbal stem נבל which, according as that which forms the centre of the group of consonants lies either in נב ( Genesis S. 636), or in בל (comp. אבל , אול , אמל , קמל ), signifies either to be extended, to relax, to become frail, to wither, or to be prominent, eminere , Arab. nabula ; so that consequently נבל means the relaxed, powerless, expressed in New Testament language: πνεῦμα οὐκ ἔχοντα . Thus Isaiah (Isaiah 32:6) describes the נבל : “a simpleton speaks simpleness and his heart does godless things, to practice tricks and to say foolish things against Jahve, to leave the soul of the hungry empty, and to refuse drink to the thirsty.” Accordingly נבל is the synonym of לץ the scoffer (vid., the definition in Proverbs 21:24). A free spirit of this class is reckoned according to the Scriptures among the empty, hollow, and devoid of mind. The thought, אין אלהים , which is the root of the thought and action of such a man, is the climax of imbecility. It is not merely practical atheism, that is intended by this maxim of the נבל . The heart according to Scripture language is not only the seat of volition, but also of thought. The נבל is not content with acting as though there were no God, but directly denies that there is a God, i.e., a personal God. The psalmist makes this prominent as the very extreme and depth of human depravity, that there can be among men those who deny the existence of a God. The subject of what follows are, then, not these atheists but men in general, among whom such characters are to be found: they make the mode of action, (their) doings, corrupt, they make it abominable. עלילה , a poetical brevity of expression for עלילותם , belongs to both verbs, which have Tarcha and Mercha (the two usual conjunctives of Mugrash ) in correct texts; and is in fact not used as an adverbial accusative (Hengstenberg and others), but as an object, since השׁהית is just the word that is generally used in this combination with עלילה Zephaniah 3:7 or, what is the same thing, דּרך Genesis 6:12; and התעיב (cf. 1 Kings 21:26) is only added to give a superlative intensity to the expression. The negative: “there is none that doeth good” is just as unrestricted as in Psalms 12:2. But further on the psalmist distinguishes between a דור צדיק , which experiences this corruption in the form of persecution, and the corrupt mass of mankind. He means what he says of mankind as κόσμος , in which, at first the few rescued by grace from the mass of corruption are lost sight of by him, just as in the words of God, Genesis 6:5, Genesis 6:12. Since it is only grace that frees any from the general corruption, it may also be said, that men are described just as they are by nature; although, be it admitted, it is not hereditary sin but actual sin, which springs up from it, and grows apace if grace do not interpose, that is here spoken of.


Copyright Statement
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 14:1". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/kdo/psalms-14.html. 1854-1889.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

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.

The fool — The wicked man.

Good — That is, actions really good or pleasing to God.


Copyright Statement
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 14:1". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/psalms-14.html. 1765.

Ver. 1. The fool speaks in his heart, God is not:—not: "it is only the fool that speaks in his heart:" "whosoever speaks thus in his heart is a fool;" but: the whole world is full of fools, who speak, or, the fools, of whom the world is full, speak. The Psalmist describes the reigning folly first, according to its internal root in the mind (Muis: orditur a fonte omnium scelerum impietate), and then passes on to describe its manifestations in deed. נבל stands here in its original signification, which, indeed, it never loses, if we examine carefully. For, even when it is used of crimes, these are always contemplated in the light of folly. David designates those who, with a renunciation of all fear of God, give themselves up to unrighteousness, as blinded fools, in silent contrast to the judgment of the world, and their own, which magnifies them as great spirits, and people of distinguished talent. That נבל is used here in its original signification, appears also from the expression in Psalms 14:4, "know they not," which refers back to this. Their whole course is folly, because it proceeds upon the supposition that God is not, does not see and recompense. It is not less apparent from the opposite משכיל in Psalms 14:2, and from the designation of the Psalm as משכיל in Psalms 53. The fools ought by this Psalm to be made wise. It is, therefore, quite wrong, when De Wette renders נבל by ungodly, and when Sachs, in bad taste also, does it by the rogue. The pious and just of Scripture is, at the same time, the wise man, because his frame of mind and his conduct rest upon and are followed by a right insight into the nature of things. This, however, does not imply that the piety and godliness of Scripture are interchangeable ideas, but the spheres of both, and of the qualities opposed to them, continue strictly separate. The discourse here is not of the atheism of the understanding, but of the atheism of the heart (he speaks in his heart), whose sphere is an infinitely greater one than that of the former. The world is well nigh given up to the former, although the number of theoretical deniers of God is but small, and with it also the righteous has still constantly to fight. Luther: "The prophet speaks here in the Spirit, sees no person in an outward point of view, goes to the bottom of the reins and hearts, and says: The fool speaks, there is no God, not with the mouth, gesture, appearance, and other external signs—for in such respects he often boasts before the true lovers of God, that he knows God—but in heart, that is, in his inward sentiments. These in the ungodly are darkened: thereupon follows blindness of understanding, so that he can neither think rightly of God, nor speak, nor direct his conduct properly. Accordingly, those alone have God, who believe in God not with an hypocritical faith. All besides are fools; they say in their hearts: There is no God."

They are corrupt, abominable in their actions, there is none that does good. The relation of this second part to the first was explained quite correctly by Luther, according to whom "the other evil" is here described, "which is a flowing stream, issuing with force out of the spring of unbelief." Atheism of the heart has corruption of life for its inseparable attendant. It is a question how עלילה, and the corresponding עול in Psalms 53 , is to be construed—whether, with most expositors, as an accus. governed by השחיתו and התעיבו, "they make their conduct corrupt, abominable," or as a mere appended accus. which defines more narrowly the sphere of the two verbs, "as to action, crime" (on such accusatives, see Ewald, Small Gr. § 512); as already Luther here: "with their nature," in Psalms 53 : "in their evil nature." The latter construction is favoured first of all by the circumstance, that the contrast between actions and heart, which the Psalmist obviously had in view, and for expressing which עלילה is used, becomes more prominent. Then, according to the other view, we should have expected the plural with the suff., instead of the sing. without the suff.,—comp. השחיתו עלילותם in Zephaniah 3:7. It is also a confirmation of the same view, that השחית has only exceptionally an accus. after it; as a rule, it stands absolutely in the sense of acting corruptly—comp. upon this and similar verbs in Hiph., Ewald, p. 189; but התעיב, in the only two other places where it occurs, 1 Kings 21:26, Ezekiel 16:52, has the signification of acting abominably, not of making abominable. עול also, "injustice, crime," does not well suit either of the verbs in the sense of corrupting, making abominable. That השחיתו contains an allusion to Genesis 6:12, where the corruption of men before the flood is described with the same word, we can entertain the less doubt, as in Psalms 14:2 a still more manifest reference is found to that passage. Luther: "He describes the race of the ungodly as equally corrupt then, with what they were at that time." The Preterites in this verse, and the following one, are to be understood just as in Psalms 11:4, Psalms 10:3, and to be rendered by the Present. The sense and the connection of the Psalm are quite destroyed, if we translate, with Ewald and Hitzig: "he spoke, etc."


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

Bibliography
Hengstenberg, Ernst. "Commentary on Psalms 14:1". Ernst Hengstenberg on John, Revelation, Ecclesiastes, Ezekiel & Psalms. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/heg/psalms-14.html.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

Many of the Jews are of opinion that in this psalm there is given forth a prediction concerning the future oppression of their nation: as if David, by the revelation of the Holy Spirit, bewailed the afflicted condition of the Church of God under the tyranny of the Gentiles. They therefore refer what is here spoken to the dispersed condition in which we see them at the present day, as if they were that precious heritage of God which the wild beasts devour. But it is very apparent, that in wishing to cover the disgrace of their nation, they wrest and apply to the Gentiles, without any just ground, what is said concerning the perverse children of Abraham. (279) We cannot certainly find a better qualified interpreter than the Apostle Paul, and he applies this psalm expressly to the people who lived under the law, (Romans 3:19.) Besides, although we had not the testimony of this Apostle, the structure of the psalm very clearly shows that David means rather the domestic tyrants and enemies of the faithful than foreign ones; a point which it is very necessary for us to understand. We know that it is a temptation which pains us exceedingly, to see wickedness breaking forth and prevailing in the midst of the Church, the good and the simple unrighteously afflicted, while the wicked cruelly domineer according to their pleasure. This sad spectacle almost completely disheartens us; and, therefore, we have much need to be fortified from the example which David here sets before us: so that, in the midst of the greatest desolations which we behold in the Church, we may comfort ourselves with this assurance, that God will finally deliver her from them. I have no doubt that there is here described the disordered and desolate state of Judea which Saul introduced when he began to rage openly. Then, as if the remembrance of God had been extinguished from the minds of men, all piety had vanished, and with respect to integrity or uprightness among men, there was just as little of it as of godliness.

The fool hath said. As the Hebrew word נבל , nabal, signifies not only a fool, but also a perverse, vile, and contemptible person, it would not have been unsuitable to have translated it so in this place; yet I am content to follow the more generally received interpretation, which is, that all profane persons, who have cast off all fear of God and abandoned themselves to iniquity, are convicted of madness. David does not bring against his enemies the charge of common foolishness, but rather inveighs against the folly and insane hardihood of those whom the world accounts eminent for their wisdom. We commonly see that those who, in the estimation both of themselves and of others, highly excel in sagacity and wisdom, employ their cunning in laying snares, and exercise the ingenuity of their minds in despising and mocking God. It is therefore important for us, in the first place, to know, that however much the world applaud these crafty and scoffing characters, who allow themselves to indulge to any extent in wickedness, yet the Holy Spirit condemns them as being fools; for there is no stupidity more brutish than forgetfulness of God. We ought, however, at the same time, carefully to mark the evidence on which the Psalmist comes to the conclusion that they have cast off all sense of religion, and it is this: that they have overthrown all order, so that they no longer make any distinction between right and wrong, and have no regard for honesty, nor love of humanity. David, therefore, does not speak of the hidden affection of the heart of the wicked, except in so far as they discover themselves by their external actions. The import of his language is, How does it come to pass, that these men indulge themselves in their lusts so boldly and so outrageously, that they pay no regard to righteousness or equity; in short, that they madly rush into every kind of wickedness, if it is not because they have shaken off all sense of religion, and extinguished, as far as they can, all remembrance of God from their minds? When persons retain in their heart any sense of religion, they must necessarily have some modesty, and be in some measure restrained and prevented from entirely disregarding the dictates of their conscience. From this it follows, that when the ungodly allow themselves to follow their own inclinations, so obstinately and audaciously as they are here represented as doing, without any sense of shame, it is an evidence that they have cast off all fear of God.

The Psalmist says that they speak in their heart They may not utter this detestable blasphemy, There is no God, with their mouths; but the unbridled licentiousness of their life loudly and distinctly declares that in their hearts, which are destitute of all godliness, they soothingly sing to themselves this song. Not that they maintain, by drawn out arguments or formal syllogisms, as they term them, that there is no God, (for to render them so much the more inexcusable, God from time to time causes even the most wicked of men to feel secret pangs of conscience, that they may be compelled to acknowledge his majesty and sovereign power;) but whatever right knowledge God instils into them they partly stifle it by their malice against him, and partly corrupt it, until religion in them becomes torpid, and at last dead. They may not plainly deny the existence of a God, but they imagine him to be shut up in heaven, and divested of his righteousness and power; and this is just to fashion an idol in the room of God. As if the time would never come when they will have to appear before him in judgment, (280) they endeavor, in all the transactions and concerns of their life, to remove him to the greatest distance, and to efface from their minds all apprehension of his majesty. (281) And when God is dragged from his throne, and divested of his character as judge, impiety has come to its utmost height; and, therefore, we must conclude that David has most certainly spoken according to truth, in declaring that those who give themselves liberty to commit all manner of wickedness, in the flattering hope of escaping with impunity, deny in their heart that there is a God. As the fifty-third psalm, with the exception of a few words which are altered in it, is just a repetition of this psalm, I will show in the proper places, as we proceed, the difference which there is between the two psalms. David here complains that they have done abominable work; but for the word work, the term there employed is iniquity. It should be observed that David does not speak of one work or of two; but as he had said, that they have perverted or corrupted all lawful order, so now he adds, that they have so polluted their whole life, as to make it abominable, and the proof of this which he adduces is, that they have no regard to uprightness in their dealings with one another, but have forgotten all humanity, and all beneficence towards their fellow-creatures.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.

Bibliography
Calvin, John. "Commentary on Psalms 14:1". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/psalms-14.html. 1840-57.

James Nisbet's Church Pulpit Commentary

NO GOD!

‘The fool bath said in his heart, There is no God.’

Psalms 14:1

I. I am godless until Christ redeems me.—‘The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God.’ It is not that I have the slightest sympathy with speculative and theoretical atheism. But, until all things are made new, I have no God Whom I can call my own.

II. What a rebellion mine is!—The door of my heart has to be unlocked by myself, that He may enter in and abide with me; and I will not unlock it. The government over my life has to be surrendered by me to Him; and I will not surrender it—I boast that I am my own master. The Throne of His grace should be the best-loved spot on earth to me, to which I am resorting continually; and I have no gladness in seeking it out. In simple fact I have no God Who deserves the name. I am atheistic in practice if not in creed.

III. Ah, and what a sadness mine is!—I am in the wilderness without a guide. I am on the sea without a harbour or a pilot. I am in sickness of spirit without medicine or physician. I am hungry without bread, and weary without rest. I am an orphan in an empty house, ‘cold in that atmosphere of death.’ If Jesus has given me a God Who supplies all my need, can I thank Him too passionately?

Illustrations

(1) ‘Beginning with a lamentation regarding the frightful power and extent of corruption reigning in the world (1–3), the Psalmist looks from the watch-tower of faith with triumphant faith to the overthrow of impiety and establishment of righteousness (4–6). He closes with the wish that the Lord would send salvation and deliverance to his people.’

(2) ‘But how often the men who profess themselves satisfied that there is no God are men of profligate and careless life. Their photograph is set forth in words, which are only too true and accurate in their delineation of men whom we have known, and of whom it seemed true to say that their lives were so evil that it was convenient to believe that there was no God to bring them to account. They had so blackened the window of their souls that the light of God’s glorious personality and power could not shine in unto them.’

(3) ‘That there is a thread of connection apparent between some of the psalms no one can deny. The fourteenth and fifteenth give us the contrasted characters of the wicked and the holy.’


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

Bibliography
Nisbet, James. "Commentary on Psalms 14:1". Church Pulpit Commentary. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cpc/psalms-14.html. 1876.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Psalms 14:1 « To the chief Musician, [A Psalm] of David. » 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.

Ver. 1. The fool] That sapless fellow, that carcase of a man, that walking sepulchre of himself, in whom all religion and right reason is withered and wasted, dried up and decayed. Nabal, a fool or a churl; Nebalah, a carcase, Leviticus 11:40. That apostate, in whom natural principles are extinct, and from whom God is departed; as when the prince is removing hangings are taken down. That mere animal, that hath no more than a reasonable soul, and for little other purpose than as salt, to keep his body from putrefying, φυχικος, 1 Corinthians 2:14. That wicked man, hereafter described, that studieth atheism,

Hath said in his heart] As David proves afterward by his practice; for there are practical atheists as well as dogmatic. See a like passage, Psalms 36:1, "The transgression of the wicked saith within my heart" (that is, my mind gives me, and I am strongly persuaded) "that there is no fear of God before his eyes." This is the charge; but what proof is there? proof good enough, Psalms 14:2-4, "For he flattereth himself," &c. So here; he is a flat atheist; for corrupt he is, and become abominable, &c. That which Cicero (De Nat. Deor.) saith of Epicurus, that lest he should offend the Athenians, verbis reliquit deos, re sustulit, in words he affirmed there were Gods, but in deed he denied a Deity, is found true in many even to this day; for all places are full of them, and so is hell too. Lucian is their Old Testament, and Machiavel their New. Worse they are than Agrippa, who was almost a Christian; worse than Protagoras with his De diis utrum sint, non ausim affirmare. For in their hearts and lives there is heard this hellish language,

There is no God] Oh horrible! Not that atheism can ever find a perfect and continual assent in man’s heart; for there is no nation under heaven so barbarous but yields that there is a God. When man fell from God this truth stood; as when cities and great buildings are overthrown by war some towers, some pinnacles, survive the violence. They lie, saith Seneca, who say that they hold there is no God; for though to thee they say so by day, yet to themselves and by night they doubt it, at least. And when they come to die they sometimes cry out they are damned; as did Thomas Blaverus, chief counsellor sometime to the king of Scots; and one Arthur Miller, a professed atheist; and, before them both, a certain desperate dean of Paul’s (Sword against Swearers).

Corrupt are they, and become abominable] Or loathsome; how should they be better, that have laid hands upon all the principles in their heads, and made a clean riddance of them, that they may run riot in sin without restraint or control? which, while others see, they also are ready to say, with that poet,

Sollicitor nullos esse putare Deus.

I have read of a woman who, living in professed doubt of the Godhead, after better illumination and repentance, did often protest that the vicious life of a great scholar in that town did conjure up those damnable doubtings in her soul (Mr Ward’s Happ. of Parad.).

There is none that doeth good] i.e. None to speak of, no considerable number,

Apparent rari nantes in gurgite vasto.


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

Bibliography
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Psalms 14:1". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/psalms-14.html. 1865-1868.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Psalms 14.

David describeth the corruption of a natural man: he convinceth the wicked by the light of their conscience: he glorieth in the salvation of God.

To the chief musician. A Psalm of David.

Title. לדוד למנצח lamnatseach ledavid. This Psalm is thought to have been composed by David upon the almost total defection of his people to Absalom. The 5th verse seems strongly to mark this circumstance. See 2 Samuel 17:8; 2 Samuel 17:29. Mr. Mudge however observes, that it appears from the last verse, that this Psalm was composed during the captivity, and from the 4th and 5th verses, that it arose from a particular incident, where the heathens, in the midst of their carousing, without any sense of God, or acknowledgment of his goodness, were somehow put into a great fright (where there were no human grounds for fear, as the 52nd Psalm adds). This seems to point out the feast of Belshazzar; where the utmost loose was given to impiety; the sacred vessels, purely in defiance, being employed to promote their debauchery; and where they were frightened indeed in a manner wholly supernatural.

Psalms 14:1. The fool By the fool is here meant the pagan: It is thus that Job 30:8 calls the heathenish Cutheans, children of fools; that is, of Gentile extraction. In eminent calamity it was in the early ages a pagan practice, not only to call in question the existence of their deities, but likewise to prosecute them with the most dreadful curses and imprecations. The Jews, fond of imbibing the customs of their pagan neighbours, seem to have enfranchised this among others. In the simplicity of early ages, when men were at their ease, that general opinion, so congenial to the human mind, of a God and his moral government, was so strong as never to be brought into question. It was when they found themselves in distress and misery, whether in public or private life, that they began to complain, to question the justice, or deny the existence of Providence. Thus far Bishop Warburton. Others however imagine, that by the word fool, both here and in Psalms 53 libertines, and profane persons in general, are denoted, whose minds were depraved by the viciousness of their hearts. Thus the Platonists styled all wicked men fools, though they seemed to themselves to be very wise. It appears from the 5th verse, in which the Psalmist intimates concerning these fools that they did not call upon God, that their crime was not direct atheism, but an irreligious disposition, proceeding from a fond imagination that God exerted no moral government upon earth.


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

Bibliography
Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Psalms 14:1". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/psalms-14.html. 1801-1803.

Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary

CONTENTS

This Psalm comes home recommended from the comment the Holy Ghost was pleased to make of it, by the Apostle Paul. Romans 3:10. The principal subjects of it are; The universal sin of man; his enmity against God; and the prophet's prayer in consequence, that salvation would speedily arise out of Zion.

To the Chief Musician. A Psalm of David.

Psalms 14:1

What an awful state is man reduced to by the Fall! Here we read that the foolish man saith in his heart, There is no God: and in the world we see how foolish men come forth to say it by their actions. Alas! what is man by nature?


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

Bibliography
Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Psalms 14:1". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pmc/psalms-14.html. 1828.

Charles Simeon's Horae Homileticae

DISCOURSE: 508

THE COMMONNESS AND FOLLY OF ATHEISM

Psalms 14:1. The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God.

MEN, who judge only by the outward appearance, are apt to entertain a good opinion of themselves: but God, who looketh at the heart, describes the whole race of mankind as immersed in an unfathomable abyss of wickedness [Note: Jeremiah 17:9.]. In confirmation of this melancholy truth we need look no further than to the declaration in the text. It may be thought indeed that the text is spoken only in reference to a few professed infidels: but the words immediately following shew that it relates to many, yea to all mankind; “all being gone aside, and none doing good, no not one.” Above all, St. Paul, speaking expressly upon the subject of human depravity, appeals to this very passage as decisively establishing that doctrine. [Note: Romans 3:10-12.] In considering the words before us we shall shew,

I. The atheistical thoughts and desires of the heart—

God interprets the thoughts and desires of the heart as though they were expressed in words; and he attests its real language to be like that in the text. It may be understood,

1. As an assertion—

[The name here used for God is not Jehovah, which relates to his essence, but Elohim, which characterizes him as the moral governor of the world. The words therefore must be understood, not as declaring that there is no God, but that there is no God who interferes in human affairs. It is true there are not many, who will deliberately affirm this in plain terms; but, alas! how many are there, whose actions manifest this to be the inward thought of their hearts! If we look around us, we shall see the great mass of mankind living as if there were no superior Being to whom they owed obedience, or to whom they were accountable for their conduct. They inquire constantly whether such or such a line of conduct will tend to their comfort, their honour, or their interest; but how rarely do they examine whether it will please God! How will men gratify in secret, or at least harbour in their bosoms, those lusts, which they could not endure to have exposed to the eye of a fellow-creature, while yet they feel no concern at all about the presence of their God! The language of their hearts is, “The Lord seeth us not, he hath forsaken the earth [Note: Ezekiel 8:12.]:” “How doth God know? can he judge through the dark cloud? Thick clouds are a covering to him that he seeth not; and he walketh in the circuit of the heaven [Note: Job 22:13-14.],” ignorant and indifferent about the affairs of men. And as we thus refuse to acknowledge God ourselves, so we do not choose that any others should acknowledge him. Is any one of our companions awed by the fear of God? how ready are we to laugh at his scruples; to propose to him the customs and maxims of the world as more worthy of his regard than the mind and will of God; and to encourage him in the hope, that such compliances shall never be noticed in the day of judgment! And what is this but to use the very language which God imputes to us, “The Lord will not do good, neither will he do evil [Note: Zephaniah 1:12.]?”]

2. As a wish—

[The words “There is” are not in the original, and may therefore be omitted: the text will then stand thus; The fool hath said in his heart, No God! that is, I wish there were none. And how common a wish is this! When men are fully convinced in their minds that God notices every transaction of their lives, and records it in the book of his remembrance, they are still unwilling to give up their lusts, and determined to continue in sin at all events. But are they easy in such a state? No: they shrink back at the prospect of death and judgment, and wish that they could elude the summons that will be given them in the last day. Gladly would they sleep an eternal sleep, and barter their immortality for an exemption from appearing at the tribunal of God. What satisfaction would they feel if they could be certified on unquestionable grounds, that God did not notice their actions, or that, notwithstanding he be the Governor and Judge of all, he hath decreed to bestow on them the favour of annihilation! Instantly they would exclaim, Now I may dismiss my fears; now I may take my fill of pleasure, and “drink iniquity like water,” without any dread of future consequences. We may appeal to the consciences of all, whether such have not been frequently the thoughts of their hearts, or, at least, whether their dread of death and judgment do not justly admit of this construction?]

Such being the thoughts and desires of the heart, we proceed to shew,

II. The folly of entertaining them—

This will appear in a striking point of view, if we take into consideration the three following truths—

1. The thing wished for is absolutely impossible—

[God can no more cease to inspect the ways of men with a view to a final retribution, than he can cease to exist. As his superintending care is necessary for the preservation of the universe, so the continual exercise of his moral government is necessary for the vindication of his own honour. How absurd then is it to indulge a wish, when it is not possible for that wish ever to be gratified, and when the indulging of it makes us act as though it would be gratified! How much better were it to say at once, There is a God, and I must fear him; there is a judgment, and I must prepare for it!]

2. If the wish could be obtained, it would be an unspeakable injury to all, even in this world—

[Men are led, even by the faintest hopes of impunity, to live in sin; and how much more would they yield themselves up to its dominion, if they could once be sure that God would never call them into judgment for it! This, as it respects individuals, would greatly embitter this present life. The gratification of their lusts would indeed afford them a transient pleasure; but who that considers how soon such enjoyments cloy; who that knows how many evils they bring in their train; who that has seen the effects of unbridled passions, of pride, envy, wrath, malice, of lewdness, covetousness, or any other inordinate affection; who that has the least knowledge of these things can doubt, but that sin and misery are indissolubly connected, and that, in proportion as we give the rein to appetite, we undermine our own happiness? And what would be the consequence to the community at large? Men, even now, “bite and devour one another” like wild beasts, the very instant that God withdraws his restraint from them! Who was it that overruled the purposes of a lewd Abimelech, of a covetous Laban, and of a revengeful Esau? It was God alone: and it is the same God that now keeps the world in any measure of peace and quiet. And if once the world were bereft of his providence, it would instantly resemble that world, where the dispositions of men are suffered to rage without controul, and all incessantly to torment themselves, and all around them. Is it not then the extremest folly to entertain a wish, that would involve in it such tremendous consequences?]

3. It would be productive of still greater evil as it respects the world to come.

[Doubtless, if there were no moral governor of the universe, there would be no fear of hell; and the thought of this would be a great acquisition to ungodly men. But they, on the other hand, entertain no hope of heaven; their brightest prospect would be annihilation. Melancholy prospect indeed! How much better, even for the most ungodly, to have a God to flee unto; a God to pardon their iniquities; a God to sanctify and renew their souls; a God to bless them with immortality and glory! They need not to wish for the cessation of his agency, or the extinction of their own existence, seeing that he is rich in mercy unto all that call upon him, and ready to receive returning prodigals. And is it not for the interest of all that there should be such a God? Is not the prospect of obtaining his favour, and participating his glory better than annihilation, more especially when the terms of our acceptance with him are so easy? He requires nothing but that we should humble ourselves before him, and plead the merits of his dear Son, and renounce the ways that have been displeasing to him: the very instant we return to him in this manner, he will “cast all our sins into the depths of the sea,” and embrace us with the arms of his mercy. What madness then to wish that there were no such Being!]

Infer,

1. How great is the patience of God!

[God sees, not one only or even many, but all the world living without God [Note: Ephesians 2:12.], banishing him from their thoughts [Note: Psalms 10:4.], and wishing him banished from the universe: yet he not only bears with them, but follows them with invitations and promises, and waiteth to be gracious unto them — — — Let us stand amazed at his goodness; and let that goodness lead us to repentance — — —]

2. How glorious is the change that takes place in conversion!

[Grace no sooner enters into the heart than it slays this enmity, and reconciles the sinner to God. Henceforth it becomes his one desire to walk with God, to enjoy his presence, to fulfil his will, and to live in the near prospect of participating his glory — — — How enviable is such a state! Compare the wisdom of such a state with the folly which we have been exposing — — — And let us instantly begin to live, as we shall wish we had lived, when we come to die.]


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

Bibliography
Simeon, Charles. "Commentary on Psalms 14:1". Charles Simeon's Horae Homileticae. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/shh/psalms-14.html. 1832.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

PSALM 14

The design of this Psalm is to describe and bewail the terrible wickedness and corruption of mankind, and especially of ungodly men, and of his own enemies.

David showeth the atheism and corruption of men, Psalms 14:1-3. He convinceth the wicked by the light of conscience, Psalms 14:4-6; and longeth for the salvation of God, Psalms 14:7.

The fool, i.e. the wicked man; for such are commonly and justly called fools every where in Scripture, and that purposely to meet with their false, yet, common, conceit of themselves, as if they were the only wise men, and all others were fools.

In his heart, i.e. in his secret thoughts, or within himself, being afraid and ashamed to utter it with his mouth. Not that it was his fixed and constant opinion and judgment, but this he saith by construction, because he heartily wisheth there were no God, and lives as if there were none. So this text may be explained by comparing it with Psalms 36:1 Titus 1:16. There is no God: he denies not God’s being or existence, but only his providence. He saith not, There is no Jehovah, which name of God notes his being; but no Elohim, which expresseth God as the Judge and Governor of the world, who observes and recompenseth all the actions of all men according to their several qualities.

They are corrupt, Heb. they have corrupted, to wit, themselves, or their ways, as this word commonly signifies. Their great and wilful wickedness is alleged as a ground of their atheism or infidelity.

There is none, to wit, of the fools here described,

that doeth good; none of their actions are really and thoroughly good or pleasing to God; for if some of them be materially good, as when they do an act of justice or charity, yet they are poisoned with bad principles or ends, not being performed by them out of a good conscience, and serious care to please God, for then they would do one good action as well as another, but in hypocrisy, or with vain-glory, or some sinister and unworthy design.


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

Bibliography
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Psalms 14:1". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/psalms-14.html. 1685.

Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible

‘The fool has said in his heart,

There is no God.

They are corrupt, they have done abominable works,

There is none who does good.’

A general verdict is passed on mankind. They behave like fools because they reject the idea of God as the one to Whom they are accountable. They have many gods, they worship idols who but represent aspects of creation, but in their hearts they reject the living God who speaks to them through the wonder of creation and through their consciences. They say that there is no such God. See Romans 1:18-23.

‘The fool.’ This is rather describing the morally perverse person who rejects the idea of living a godly life. ‘Folly’ in the Old Testament is a term used to describe the person who behaves foolishly in that he forgets or misrepresents God or refuses to do His will (Deuteronomy 32:6; Deuteronomy 32:21; Job 42:8; Psalms 74:18; Psalms 74:22), he commits gross offences against morality (2 Samuel 13:12-13) or sacrilege (Joshua 7:15), or he behaves churlishly and unwisely (1 Samuel 25:25). See also Isaiah 32:5-6. Inevitably he always sees himself as wise.

‘In his heart.’ It is not his intellect that rejects the idea of God, but his will and emotions. He does not want to have to face up to God because of what it might involve in a transformed life. He likes living as he is. See Psalms 73:11; Jeremiah 5:12; Zephaniah 1:12.

‘They are corrupt, they have done abominable works.’ Compare Genesis 6:11. They are corrupt within and their lives reveal what they really are, sinful, violent, idolatrous, sexually perverted. See Romans 1:18-32.

‘There is none who does good.’ This is the final verdict on the world. All mankind are fools in this sense, for sin is folly. The difference is that some have found forgiveness. God is declaring that there is no true, positive, untainted goodness in the world. All have sinned and come short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). All are likewise guilty.


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

Bibliography
Pett, Peter. "Commentary on Psalms 14:1". "Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible ". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pet/psalms-14.html. 2013.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

1. Fool—The word never means idiot, or one deficient in natural ability, but always one who has cast off the fear of God, and acts from pride, selfish passions, and self-conceit.

Said in his heart— “Heart,” here, as often in the Scriptures, denotes the centre of the sympathetic system, the seat of the desires and affections, as distinct from the cerebral or intellective faculty. This atheism, hence, was not founded in reason, but in impure and selfish desires.

Corrupt… abominable—This gives the moral cause and fruit of atheism, and defines nabal, or fool.


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

Bibliography
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Psalms 14:1". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/psalms-14.html. 1874-1909.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

A fool (Heb. nabal) is a person who has a problem in his or her heart more than in the head. He does not take God into account as he goes about living and is therefore morally insensitive (cf. 1 Samuel 25:25; Isaiah 32:4-7). He may or may not really be an atheist, and he is not necessarily ignorant, but he lives as though there is no God. This conclusion leads him to disregard the revelations God has given of Himself, attention to which are essential for wise living (cf. Proverbs 1:7; Romans 1:22). Instead, he gives himself over to corrupt living and deeds that are vile in the sight of God. Really, David observed, there is no one who does what is good in the sight of God on his own (unmoved and unaided by the Spirit of God). If we did not have the Apostle Paul"s exposition of the depravity of man in Romans 1-3 , we might conclude that David"s statement was emotional hyperbole (cf. Romans 3:11-18).


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

Bibliography
Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Psalms 14:1". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/psalms-14.html. 2012.

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

Psalms 14:1. The fool hath said in his heart — In his secret thoughts, or within himself, what he is afraid or ashamed to utter with his lips; There is no God — Or none that concerns himself with the affairs of mankind, none that governs the world, and observes and recompenses men’s actions according to their quality. And a fool indeed he must be who says or thinks so, for, in so doing, he speaks or thinks against the clearest light, against his own knowledge and convictions, and the common sentiments of the wise and sober part of mankind. Indeed, no man will say, There is no God, till he is so hardened in sin that it is become his interest there should be none to call him to an account. What St. Paul says of idolaters is equally true of atheists. Their foolish heart is darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they show that they are become fools, utterly destitute of true wisdom, as devoid of reason as of grace. They are corrupt — In practice as well as principle. “Infidelity is the beginning of sin, folly the foundation of infidelity, and the heart the seat of both.” — Horne. There is none — None of the fools here spoken of, and none of mankind by nature, none without supernatural grace; that doeth good — From a right principle, to a right end, and in a right spirit. None of their actions are really and thoroughly good and pleasing to God. For if some of them be good, as to the matter of them, as when they do an act of justice or charity; yet those actions are corrupt in their principles or ends, not being performed out of love to God, and a conscientious desire and care to please him, or with a view to his glory, for then they would do other good actions as well as these: but in hypocrisy, or vain glory, or for some other sinister and unworthy design.


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

Bibliography
Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Psalms 14:1". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/psalms-14.html. 1857.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

David. The word psalm being appropriated to some, while others are styled hymns, &c., does not hinder the latter from being also psalms or spiritual songs, to be set to music: so the insertion of David, "the beloved's name," in some of these divine canticles, is no proof that the rest were not written by him. (Worthington) --- The author describes the perfection of priests, &c., contrasts the sanctity of those who shall inherit Jerusalem with that of the wicked mentioned in the last psalm. Some copies have To the end in the title, while others omit it, with the Hebrew, St. Chrysostom, &c. --- Hill. The Jews comforted themselves with the hopes of seeing Jerusalem rebuilt, Psalm cxxxi. 1. The prophets describe those who should return from captivity, as holy people, (Isaias xxvi. 3., and Sophonias iii. 13.; Calmet) a figure of the Church. (Haydock) --- Heaven is also styled a tabernacle and mountain, (Apocalypse xv. 5., and Hebrews xii. 22.; Berthier) and is here chiefly (Haydock) meant. See ver. 5. (Worthington)


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

Bibliography
Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Psalms 14:1". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/psalms-14.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

To the chief Musician. See App-64.

The fool: i.e. the impious man. Compare Psalms 10:4; Psalms 53:1.

no = no sign of a.

GOD*. The primitive text was "Jehovah" (App-4.), but the Sopherim say that they altered it to El (App-4.). So Psalms 14:2 and Psalms 14:5. See App-32

There is, &c. Quoted in Romans 3:10-12 with other scriptures.

doeth good. The Septuagint adds "no not one". This completes the Figure of speech Epanadiplosis with Psalms 14:3 (App-6).


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

Bibliography
Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Psalms 14:1". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/psalms-14.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

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.

This psalm is probably altered by David from his 53rd Psalm, to fit it for the liturgy of the sanctuary. Hence, he omits whatever in Psalms 53:1-6 was more fitted for private than for public use. Instead of the general name 'Elohiym (Hebrew #430), the Creator, he substitutes the special name Yahweh (Hebrew #3068), the Fulfiller of His covenant with His people. The "Maschil" instruction in the title of Psalms 53:1-6 is omitted in Psalms 14:1-7; Psalms 53:1-6, is an instructive warning to the wicked. Psalms 14:1-7 is to comfort the righteous amidst abounding wickedness.

Psalms 14:1-7.-The universality of man's apostasy (Psalms 14:1-3); suicidal blindness of the workers of iniquity; great fear overtakes them; Yahweh, His poor people's refuge (Psalms 14:4-6); prayer for Israel's joyful deliverance (Psalms 14:7).

The fool hath said - not merely, he is a fool who saith there is no God, but, the whole world is full of the FOOLS who say so. [ naabaal (Hebrew #5036), from a root to wither: one of withered intellect. Contrast Psalms 1:3, the leaf of the godly "shall not wither," the same Hebrew root].

Hath said in his heart. From the fountain-head of evil, the heart, the evil passes to the understanding. Then comes its manifestation in deeds. Scripture calls things by their right names. Sin, however gilded over with seeming sagacity and success, is according to the Word of God "folly," and the worldly-wise sinner a "fool."

There is no God. Not many say this in so many words; but it is the secret thought (because it is the wish) of their "heart."

They are corrupt, they have done abominable works. Corruption of life flows necessarily from atheism of the heart. Man is the same "corrupt" being in all ages as he was before the flood (Genesis 6:12).

There is none that doeth good. The Septuagint and Vulgate add, "No, not one;" so Paul quotes it, Romans 3:10; Romans 3:12.


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

Bibliography
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Psalms 14:1". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/psalms-14.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(1) Fool.—Heb., nabal, from a root meaning “to wither;” hence flat, insipid (insipiens). But this is not therefore speculative atheism, but practical—a denial of the moral government of God—so that fool and wicked become almost synonymous.

They have done abominable works.—Literally, they have made to be abhorred their works. The LXX. and Vulg. have caught the sense, “They have become abominable in their practices.” Instead of works, Psalms 53 has “iniquity.”


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

Bibliography
Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Psalms 14:1". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/psalms-14.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

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.
fool
73:3; 92:6; 107:17; 1 Samuel 25:25; Proverbs 1:7,22; 13:19; 27:22; Luke 12:20
no
10:4; *marg:; 52:1-6; Job 22:13; Romans 1:28; Ephesians 2:12
They are
36:1-4; 94:4-8; Genesis 6:5,11,12; Isaiah 1:4
abominable
Job 15:16; Matthew 12:34; 15:19; John 3:19,20; Romans 1:21-32; Titus 1:16; 3:3; Revelation 21:8
there
Romans 3:10-12; Ephesians 2:1-3

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

Bibliography
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Psalms 14:1". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/psalms-14.html.

Lectionary Calendar
Monday, October 19th, 2020
the Week of Proper 24 / Ordinary 29
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
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