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Bible Commentaries

Trapp's Complete Commentary

Psalms 53

Verse 1

Psalms 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.

Maschil, a Psalm of David ] Purposely set down here the second time see Psa 6:1 to instruct what every man is by nature, and that he who is scholar to his own carnal reason is sure to have a fool to his master. The heathens are very obstinate in propugning man’s nature, witness Cicero, and both the Senecas, saying, that if men would but follow the bent of their own natures they could not do amiss. And we have much ado to persuade people that their natures are so foul, their ways so wicked, &c. Twice, therefore, is this psalm recorded, that all may be convinced that there is no safety in such a condition; nothing better than to hasten out of it.

Ver. 1. The fool, &c. ] See Trapp on " Psa 14:1 "

Verse 2

Psa 53:2 God looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were [any] that did understand, that did seek God.

Ver. 2. God looked down, &c. ] See Trapp on " Psa 14:2 "

Verse 3

Psa 53:3 Every one of them is gone back: they are altogether become filthy; [there is] none that doeth good, no, not one.

Ver. 3. Every one of them is gone back ] Diogenes in a great assembly going backward of purpose, and seeing every one laughing him to scorn, asked them aloud, if they were not ashamed so to do? since he went backwards but once, they did so all the days of their life.

Verse 4

Psa 53:4 Have the workers of iniquity no knowledge? who eat up my people [as] they eat bread: they have not called upon God.

Ver. 4. Have the workers of iniquity no knowledge? ] Etiam scient in fine, et dolebunt, saith one, Know they shall, to their sorrow, in the end, that they have eaten that on earth which they must digest in hell.

Verse 5

Psa 53:5 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.

Ver. 5. There were they in great fear ] Heb. They feared a fear. God they feared not, of men they were greatly feared, and yet here they feared a fear where no fear was, viz. without themselves, only facti sunt a corde suo fugitivi, they feared and fled before their own consciences, their own trembling heart, Deuteronomy 28:65 ; the sound of fear that is in their ears, Job 15:21 ; the sound of a leaf chaseth them, Leviticus 26:36 ; they flee where none pursueth, Proverbs 28:1 . Naturalists tell us of a certain little bird, quae fertur metu ne in ipsam coelum ruat, imponere sibi semper dormienti alterum pedem, which for fear lest the sky should fall on her head, sleepeth still with one foot laid upon her head. The Gauls that dwelt near the Adriatic Sea, being asked by Alexander the Great what they most feared, answered, ne supra se coelum corruat, lest the sky should fall upon them. Galen writeth of a certain melancholic fellow, who hearing that Atlas supported heaven with his shoulders, was therefore sore afraid lest he should faint under the burden; and therefore carried his arm before him to save his head. Heraclides, out of Anacreon, telleth of one Artemon, a timorous man, who kept home as much as might be, having ever a couple of servants to hold a brazen buckler over his head, lest anything should fall upon him from above; and if he were at any time necessitated to go abroad, he was carried in a horse litter that touched the ground almost; and was thereupon called Periphoretus (Plut. in Pericle).

For God hath scattered the bones ] i.e. The strength, the strong troops, saith the Chaldee; they want decent burial, as Jeremiah 22:19 , saith the Syriac.

Thou hast put them to shame ] viz. The poor afflicted, Psalms 14:5 , because

God hath despised them ] i.e. Subjected them to the contempt of the wicked.

Verse 6

Psa 53:6 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.

Ver. 6. Oh that the salvation ] Heb. Salvations; indicat plenam salutem, Let it show full salvation, saith Kimchi.

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Bibliographical Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Psalms 53". Trapp's Complete Commentary. 1865-1868.