Psalm 52 (NIV)
For the director of music. When Doeg the Edomite had gone to Saul and told him: “David has gone to the house of Ahimelek.”
The terrible events that prompted this chapter are recorded in 1 Samuel 21 and 22. Doeg informed Saul regarding David’s presence at the tabernacle of God and regarding the help he received from the priest there. In an evil and paranoid response, Saul sent Doeg to kill the priests and others at the tabernacle, and Doeg did — 85 people in total (1 Samuel 22:18-19). This is David’s contemplation upon the incident, a careful examination of the root and end of Doeg’s evil.
1 Why do you boast of evil, you mighty hero?
Do not miss the sarcasm here. Doeg killed unarmed men, men who were weak in that they were untrained for war.
Why do you boast all day long,
you who are a disgrace in the eyes of God?
2 You who practice deceit,
your tongue plots destruction;
it is like a sharpened razor.
5 Surely God will bring you down to everlasting ruin:
He will snatch you up and pluck you from your tent;
he will uproot you from the land of the living.
For emphasis and for the sake of good poetry, David used four vivid images of judgment against wicked men like Doeg.
- The wicked will be demolished (destroy you)
- The wicked will be snatched up like a coal from a fire (take you away)
- The wicked will have their abode taken away (pluck you out of your dwelling place)
- The wicked will be uprooted like a tree (uproot you)
6 The righteous will see and fear;
they will laugh at you, saying,
7 “Here now is the man
who did not make God his stronghold
but trusted in his great wealth
and grew strong by destroying others!”
But the righteous, like David, can anticipate and enjoy God’s peace and joy and love!
8 But I am like an olive tree
flourishing in the house of God;
I trust in God’s unfailing love
for ever and ever.
HERE are verses 8 and 9 sung in Hebrew by KeZeit Ra’anan. Enjoy, too, the pictures of the old olive trees on the Israeli hillsides. I wonder what the singer-songwriter David would think to hear his psalms being sung some 3000 years after he lived!