Verses of Psalms 14

Psalms 14 Summary - The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges

The deep and universal corruption of mankind is traced to its source in their failure to seek after God (Psa 14:1-3). This corruption is illustrated by the cruel treatment to which ‘the people of Jehovah’ have been subjected (Psa 14:4). But He proves Himself their defender (Psa 14:5-6); and the Psalm concludes with a prayer that He will gladden Israel with a full deliverance (Psa 14:7).

It is commonly supposed that the Psalmist is describing the depravity of his own age and his own country. But at least in Psa 14:1-3 it is of mankind at large ( the sons of men, Psa 14:2) that he is speaking. His words recall the great examples of corruption in the primeval world; in the days before the Flood, at Babel, in Sodom.

The reference of Psa 14:4-6 is less clear. It depends on the meaning assigned to ‘my people’ in Psa 14:4. (1) ‘My people’ may mean the faithful few in Israel, the godly poor, who were devoured by heartless oppressors. In this case Psa 14:5-6 must refer to the future, prophetically anticipating the judgement which will overtake these godless tyrants. (2) If however ‘my people’ means the nation of Israel, Psa 14:4-6 must refer either to some present oppression by foreign enemies and their anticipated discomfiture; or to a typical example of oppression and deliverance in the past, such as that of Israel in Egypt. If we are right in supposing that Psa 14:1-3 refer to the primitive history of mankind, the latter interpretation seems preferable. The Psalmist naturally passes on to the oppression of Israel in Egypt as the next great instance of defiant antagonism to Jehovah. Psa 14:5-6 are then to be explained as a historical allusion to the destruction of the Egyptians at the Red Sea: and the memory of that great national deliverance leads up to the concluding prayer of Psa 14:7.

The Psalm recurs in Book ii as Psalms 53, with some variations. Elohim (God) is substituted for Jehovah (Lord) in accordance with the general practice of the editor of that book (see Introd. p. lv f.): and Psa 14:5 differs widely from Psa 14:5-6. Is this difference due to corruption of text or to intentional change? The curious similarity of the letters is in favour of the view that the text of Psa 53:5 is a restoration of characters which had become partially obliterated: but it is equally possible that the editor of the collection intentionally altered the text in order to introduce a fresh historical reference, probably to the overthrow of Sennacherib.

The structure of the Psalm resembles that of Psalms 11: two equal stanzas of three verses each, with a concluding verse.

The title of Psalms 53 runs “For the Chief Musician; set to Mahalath. Maschil of David.” Mahalath (cp. title of Psalms 88) may mean sickness, and is best explained as the initial word of some well-known song, to the melody of which the Psalm was set; rather than as denoting a mournful style of music, or some kind of instrument. On Maschil see Introd. p. xix.

Verses of Psalms 14

Consult other comments:

Psalms 14:0 - Albert Barnes' Notes on the Bible

Psalms 14:0 - The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges

Psalms 14:0 - Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers (Old and New Testaments)

Psalms 14:0 - John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

Psalms 14:0 - Matthew Henry's Whole Bible Commentary

Psalms 14:0 - Jamieson, Fausset and Brown's Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

Psalms 14:0 - Keil & Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament

Psalms 14:0 - Commentary Series on the Bible by Peter Pett

Psalms 14:0 - English Annotations on the Holy Bible by Matthew Poole

Psalms 14:0 - Whedon's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments

The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges