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Wednesday, October 4th, 2023
the Week of Proper 21 / Ordinary 26
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Bible Commentaries
Psalms 53

Poole's English Annotations on the Holy BiblePoole's Annotations




This Psalm, some few words excepted, is wholly the same with Psalms 14:0, and therefore the reader must resort thither for the interpretation of it. And it is repeated, partly because the matter of it is so important and necessary to be known and considered; and partly because there arose some new and suitable occasion which made David sing it a second time, and that with some small alterations. And the compiler or compilers of David’s Psalms had so great a reverence for their composer, whom they knew to be guided by Divine inspiration, that they would not lose any of his fragments, and therefore repeated this Psalm with the variations which he had made.

Verse 1

Mahalath seems to be the name of a musical instrument, or tune; wherein, as in the rest of them, it is better to confess our ignorance, as the Hebrew doctors themselves do, than to give way to vain and groundless conjectures about them.

David describeth the atheism and corruption of men, &c. See Psalms 10:0; Psalms 14:0.

Verse 5

Where no fear was, i.e. where there was no great nor sufficient cause of fear. See Leviticus 26:36; Deuteronomy 28:65; Job 15:21; Proverbs 28:1. They who designed to secure themselves from all fear and danger by their contempt of God, and by the persecution of good men, and by other wicked courses, were by those means filled with the terrors which they sought to avoid.

Hath scattered the bones; hath not only broken their bones, i.e. their strength and force, which is oft noted by the bones, as Psalms 6:2; Psalms 31:10; Psalms 51:8, but also dispersed them hither and thither, so as there is no hopes of a reunion and restoration.

Against thee, i.e. against my people, expressed, Psalms 53:4, or Israel, or Zion, as it is in the next verse.

Thou, O Zion, or Jerusalem, which they besiege,

hast put them to shame, for the great and strange disappointment of their hopes and confidence. It was a great reproach to them, for such numerous and mighty forces to be baffled and conquered by those whom they thought to swallow up at a morsel.

Despised them; or, rejected them; cursed them. Therefore it is no wonder if they could not stand before thee.

Bibliographical Information
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Psalms 53". Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/mpc/psalms-53.html. 1685.
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