Corruption and Punishment of the Godless
1 For the director.[b] Of David.
The fool says in his heart,[c]
“There is no God.”
People are depraved and their deeds are vile;
there is no one who does what is right.
2 The Lord[d] looks down from heaven
upon the entire human race,
to see if there are any who act with wisdom,
if even a single one seeks God.
3 But they have all left the right path;
all alike are corrupt.
There is no one who does what is right,
not even one.[e]
4 Have all these evildoers[f] no understanding?
They devour my people as they eat bread,
and they never call upon the Lord.
5 But later they will be filled with terror,
for God is on the side of the righteous.[g]
6 They sought to crush the hopes of the poor,[h]
but the Lord is their refuge.
7 Who will accomplish the salvation of Israel
that is to come out of Zion?[i]
When the Lord restores the fortunes of his people,
Jacob will rejoice and Israel will exult.
- Psalm 14:1 The psalmist envisions the world divided into “the fool[s]” (also termed “evildoers”) and “the company of the righteous” (also termed “the poor” and “[God’s] people”). Although the fools act as though there is no God and persecute the righteous, the psalmist is confident that God will eventually punish evildoers and reward the righteous. Psalm 53 is a somewhat revised duplicate of this psalm.
When Paul rereads this psalm, he will see in it a description of our sinful condition. No one is just in God’s sight; we all need to be saved by Jesus Christ (Rom 3:10-25).
- Psalm 14:1 For the director: these words are thought to be a musical or liturgical notation.
- Psalm 14:1 Elsewhere the psalmists included themselves among those who are not righteous in God’s eyes (see Pss 130:3; 143:2; see also 1 Ki 8:39; Job 9:2; Eccl 7:20). Heart: see note on Ps 4:8.
- Psalm 14:2 The Lord: in contrast with what “the fool” (v. 1b) thinks, the Lord is very much in evidence and has his eyes on the whole earth. Seeks God: see Ps 15 for a description of those who truly seek God.
- Psalm 14:3 After this verse, many Greek and Latin manuscripts add the Old Testament citations that were first combined in Rom 3:13-18.
- Psalm 14:4 Evildoers: live by the violence of their own doing rather than by reliance on the Lord (see Ps 10:2-4).
- Psalm 14:5 God is on the side of the righteous and, anytime he wishes, strikes sudden terror in the hearts of the wicked (see Deut 28:67; 1 Sam 14:15; 2 Chr 14:13; Job 3:25). Righteous: see note on Ps 1:5.
- Psalm 14:6 Poor: see note on Ps 22:27.
- Psalm 14:7 The righteous poor are identified with God’s people. Who will . . . Zion: another possible translation is: “Oh, if only salvation for Israel / will come forth from Zion.”