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Bible Commentaries

Peake's Commentary on the Bible

Psalms 14

Verses 1-7

Psa 14. and 53. This Ps. occurs twice in the Psalter, and an examination of the double form in which we have it, is important for the light it throws on the value of MT. It proves that the text presented variants and corruptions which go back beyond the present compilation of the Heb. Pss. This Ps. was inserted in an early collection, and afterwards in the Elohistic Psalter, Psalms 42-83. In this latter collection the name Yahweh seldom occurs, Elohim (God) constantly replacing it. Hence whereas in Psalms 14 Yahweh is found four times, in Psalms 53 it is always replaced by “ God.” In Psalms 14:4 each recension is corrupt, for though EV gives good sense it is not philologically justified. The addition of one letter would make this translation possible. Either emend thus or read, “ though they have eaten the bread of Yahweh, on Yahweh they have not called.” In Psalms 14:5 the texts are in complete discord. Psalms 14 has, 53 has not, the words “ where no fear was.” In Psalms 14:6 mg. gives good sense; the Heb. particle translated “ but” cannot, however, bear that meaning, unless preceded by a negative. The corresponding line in Psalms 53 runs thus: “ For God hath scattered the bones of him that encampeth against thee.”

The Ps. falls into two parts.

Psalms 14:1-6 . The cruelty and practical atheism of wicked Jews, for it was Jews, not heathen, who could be expected to “ seek after God.”

Psalms 14:7 . The Messianic hope. The Psalmist anticipates a time when Yahweh will “ bring back the captivity of his people.” This expression need not mean more than a radical change for the better in the state of the people. “ Restore the fortune” would be an adequate translation ( cf. Job 42:10).

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Bibliographical Information
Peake, Arthur. "Commentary on Psalms 14". "Peake's Commentary on the Bible ". 1919.