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Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Psalms 53:3

Every one of them has turned aside; together they have become corrupt; There is no one who does good, not even one.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Depravity of Man;   Godlessness;   Wicked (People);   Thompson Chain Reference - Defilement-Cleansing;   Error;   Filthiness;   Human;   Man;   Sin;   Sin-Saviour;   Transgression;   Universal;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Psalms, the Book of;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Justification;   Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - Calvinists;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Greek Versions of Ot;   Psalms;   Sin;   Text, Versions, and Languages of Ot;   The Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary - Mahalath;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - God;   Psalms the book of;  
Encyclopedias:
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Altogether;   Filth;   Mahalath;   Psalms, Book of;   Song;  

Bridgeway Bible Commentary

Psalms 52-54 Those who act treacherously

When David fled from Saul he obtained urgently needed provisions from the priests at Nob (1 Samuel 21:1-9). He was seen by Doeg, an Edomite and a servant of Saul, who reported the matter to Saul. In a typical fit of mad vengeance, Saul ordered Doeg to kill all the priests at Nob, something that Doeg was very willing to do (1 Samuel 22:6-23). On hearing of Doeg’s butchery, David wrote a poem against him, which has been preserved in the Bible as Psalms 52:0 (see heading).

David denounces Doeg for his pride, treachery and hatred of all that is good (52:1-4). Doeg will surely meet a terrible death, which good people will recognize as a just punishment from God (5-7). His impending ruin is in contrast to the fruitfulness of the believer, who lives his life in the fellowship of God and his people (8-9).

Psalms 53:0 is a repetition of Psalms 14:0 with minor adjustments. The purpose in repeating it here was probably to add further comment on the character of Doeg described in the previous psalm. For notes on the psalm see commentary on Psalms 14:0.

Psalms 54:0 also belongs to the time of David’s flight from Saul. It was written against the people of the town of Ziph, who betrayed David to Saul when they found that he was hiding in the wooded hills nearby (1 Samuel 23:19-24). David prays to God to save him and punish his enemies (54:1-5). Confident that God will hear him, he looks forward to the day when he can show his gratitude to God by sacrifice (6-7).

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Flemming, Donald C. "Commentary on Psalms 53:3". "Fleming's Bridgeway Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bbc/psalms-53.html. 2005.

Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

Every one of them is gone back - See the notes at Psalms 14:3. The only variation here in the two psalms is in the substitution of the word - סג sâg, for סור sûr - words almost identical in form and in sense. The only difference in meaning is, that the former word - the word used here - means “to draw back,” or “to go back;” the other, the word used in Psalms 14:1-7, means “to go off, to turn aside.” Each of them indicates a departure from God; a departure equally fatal and equally guilty, whether people turn “back” from following him, or turn “aside” to something else. Both of these forms of apostasy occur with lamentable frequency.

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These files are public domain.
Bibliographical Information
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Psalms 53:3". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/psalms-53.html. 1870.

Smith's Bible Commentary

Psalms 53:1-6

Psalms 53:1-6 is the same as Psalms 14:1-7 . These are similar psalms. There are about three places where psalms repeat themselves, not in total, such as... this is pretty much in total with Psalms 14:1-7 . In others, maybe three or four verses are repeated. But this the full psalm.

The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God ( Psalms 53:1 ).

Paul said, "When they knew God, they glorified Him not as God, neither were they thankful. Their foolish hearts were darkened. And professing themselves to be wise they became fools" ( Romans 1:21-22 ). "The fool hath said in his heart there is no God." If you meet a person who says, "I am an atheist," according to God's Word he is a fool.

Corrupt are they, they have done abominable iniquity: there is none that doeth good. And God looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, and that did seek God. And every one of them has gone back: they are altogether become filthy; there is none that doeth good, no, not one ( Psalms 53:1-3 ).

Paul quotes this in Romans, chapter 3.

Have the workers of iniquity no knowledge? who eat up my people as they eat bread: they have not called upon God. There were they in great fear, where no fear was ( Psalms 53:4-5 ):

The wicked fear when there is no cause to fear.

for God has scattered the bones of him that encamps against thee: thou hast put them to shame, because God hath despised him. Oh that the salvation of Israel would come out of Zion! ( Psalms 53:5-6 )

Now this is a prayer, actually, for the future when Jesus shall come and establish the kingdom. The salvation of Israel coming out of Zion is always a reference to the glorious millennial reign of Christ.

When God brings back the captivity of his people, for Jacob shall rejoice and Israel shall be glad ( Psalms 53:6 ). "

Copyright Statement
Copyright © 2014, Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa, Ca.
Bibliographical Information
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on Psalms 53:3". "Smith's Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/csc/psalms-53.html. 2014.

Dr. Constable's Expository Notes

1. Reflection on the human race 53:1-3

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These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Psalms 53:3". "Dr. Constable's Expository Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/psalms-53.html. 2012.

Dr. Constable's Expository Notes

Psalms 53

This psalm is another version of the one that appears in Book 1 as Psalms 14. David wrote it, and "mahalath" is a tune name. One interesting difference between this psalm and Psalms 14 is that this one contains the name Elohim whereas Psalms 14 has Yahweh.

". . . Psalms 53’s position between Psalms 52, 54 favors an ancient tradition relating to the life of David. Psalms 52 relates to the story of Doeg (cf. 1 Samuel 22) and Psalms 54 to the incident of the Ziphites (cf. 1 Samuel 23; 1 Samuel 26). The term ’fool’ (nabal, Psalms 53:1) is suggestive of Nabal, who acted foolishly to David and his men (cf. 1 Samuel 25)." [Note: VanGemeren, p. 388.]

David reflected on the wickedness of the entire human race and voiced confidence that God would punish sinners. He longed for God to establish His kingdom on earth (cf. Matthew 6:10).

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These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Psalms 53:3". "Dr. Constable's Expository Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/psalms-53.html. 2012.

Dr. Constable's Expository Notes

David pictured God looking down from His heavenly habitation and examining human beings individually. Wise people acknowledge God’s presence and pursue Him because He is the source of all goodness and blessing. Fools disregard Him and go their own way. God observed that everyone turns away from Him. The whole race has become sour like milk (Heb. ’alah; cf. Psalms 14:3; Job 10:10; Job 15:16). When people do not use milk for its intended purpose, namely, to drink, it turns sour. Likewise when people do not use their lives for their intended purpose, namely, to honor and glorify God, they spoil. No one is completely good. Every individual has fallen short of this standard of perfection (cf. Romans 3:10-12).

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Psalms 53:3". "Dr. Constable's Expository Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/psalms-53.html. 2012.

Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

Every one of them is gone back,.... From God, and the way of his commandments. In Psalms 14:3, it is, "they are all gone aside";

Psalms 14:3- :;

they are altogether become filthy; [there is] none that doeth good,

no, not one. What follows in this verse is the same as Psalms 14:3.

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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rights 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
Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on Psalms 53:3". "Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/psalms-53.html. 1999.

Henry's Complete Commentary on the Bible

Human Depravity.

To the chief musician upon Mahalath, Maschil. A psalm of David.

      1 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.   2 God looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, that did seek God.   3 Every one of them is gone back: they are altogether become filthy; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.   4 Have the workers of iniquity no knowledge? who eat up my people as they eat bread: they have not called upon God.   5 There were they in great fear, where no fear was: for God hath scattered the bones of him that encampeth against thee: thou hast put them to shame, because God hath despised them.   6 Oh that the salvation of Israel were come out of Zion! When God bringeth back the captivity of his people, Jacob shall rejoice, and Israel shall be glad.

      This psalm was opened before, and therefore we shall here only observe, in short, some things concerning sin, in order to the increasing of our sorrow for it and hatred of it. 1. The fact of sin. Is that proved? Can the charge be made out? Yes, God is a witness to it, an unexceptionable witness: from the place of his holiness he looks on the children of men, and sees how little good there is among them, Psalms 53:2; Psalms 53:2. All the sinfulness of their hearts and lives in naked and open before him. 2. The fault of sin. Is there any harm in it? Yes, it is iniquity (Psalms 53:1; Psalms 53:4); it is an unrighteous thing; it is that which there is no good in (Psalms 53:1; Psalms 53:3); it is an evil thing; it is the worst of evils; it is that which makes this world such an evil world as it is; it is going back from God, Psalms 53:3; Psalms 53:3. 3. The fountain of sin. How comes it that men are so bad? Surely it is because there is no fear of God before their eyes: they say in their hearts, "There is no God at all to call us to an account, none that we need to stand in awe of." Men's bad practices flow from their bad principles; if they profess to know God, yet in works, because in thoughts, they deny him. 4. The folly of sin. He is a fool (in the account of God, whose judgment we are sure is right) that harbours such corrupt thoughts. Atheists, whether in opinion or practice, are the greatest fools in the world. Those that do not seek God do not understand; they are like brute-beasts that have no understanding; for man is distinguished from the brutes, not so much by the powers of reason as by a capacity for religion. The workers of iniquity, whatever they pretend to, have no knowledge; those may truly be said to know nothing that do not know God, Psalms 53:4; Psalms 53:4. 5. The filthiness of sin. Sinners are corrupt (Psalms 53:1; Psalms 53:1); their nature is vitiated and spoiled, and the more noble the nature is the more vile it is when it is depraved, as that of the angels. Corruptio optimi est pessima--The best things, when corrupted, become the worst. Their iniquity is abominable; it is odious to the holy God, and it renders them so; whereas otherwise he hates nothing that he has made. It makes men filthy, altogether filthy. Wilful sinners are offensive in the nostrils of the God of heaven and of the holy angels. What decency soever proud sinners pretend to, it is certain that wickedness is the greatest defilement in the world. 6. The fruit of sin. See to what a degree of barbarity it brings men at last; when men's hearts are hardened through the deceitfulness of sin see their cruelty to their brethren, that are bone of their bone--because they will not run with them to the same excess of riot, they eat them up as they eat bread; as if they had not only become beasts, but beasts of prey. And see their contempt of God at the same time. They have not called upon him, but scorn to be beholden to him. 7. The fear and shame that attend sin (Psalms 53:5; Psalms 53:5): There were those in great fear who had made God their enemy; their own guilty consciences frightened them, and filled them with horror, though otherwise there was no apparent cause of fear. The wicked flees when none pursues. See the ground of this fear; it is because God has formerly scattered the bones of those that encamped against his people, not only broken their power and dispersed their forces, but slain them, and reduced their bodies to dry bones, like those scattered at the grave's mouth,Psalms 141:7. Such will be the fate of those that lay siege to the camp of the saints and the beloved city,Revelation 20:9. The apprehensions of this cannot but put those into frights that eat up God's people. This enables the virgin, the daughter of Zion, to put them to shame, and expose them, because God has despised them, to laugh at them, because he that sits in heaven laughs at them. We need not look upon those enemies with fear whom God looks upon with contempt. If he despises them, we may. 8. The faith of the saints, and their hope and power touching the cure of this great evil, Psalms 53:6; Psalms 53:6. There will come a Saviour, a great salvation, a salvation from sin. Oh that it might be hastened! for it will bring in glorious and joyful times. There were those in the Old-Testament times that looked and hoped, that prayed and waited, for this redemption. (1.) God will, in due time, save his church from the sinful malice of its enemies, which will bring joy to Jacob and Israel, that have long been in a mournful melancholy state. Such salvations were often wrought, and all typical of the everlasting triumphs of the glorious church. (2.) He will save all believers from their own iniquities, that they may not be led captive by them, which will be everlasting matter of joy to them. From this work the Redeemer had his name--Jesus, for he shall save his people from their sins,Matthew 1:21.

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.
Bibliographical Information
Henry, Matthew. "Complete Commentary on Psalms 53:3". "Henry's Complete Commentary on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mhm/psalms-53.html. 1706.