Psalm 52:4
You love all devouring words, O you deceitful tongue.
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(4) Devouring words.—Literally, words of swallowing, such as swallow down (comp. Psalm 5:9, where the throat is called “an open sepulchre”) a neighbour’s life, honour, and goods.

Psalm 52:4-5. Thou lovest all devouring words — Hebrew, דברי בלע, dibree balang, all the words of devouring, or destruction; that is, such calumnies as are the most pernicious in their nature, and as may most effectually involve others in utter destruction: such as might swallow up and destroy a whole family at once. God shall likewise destroy thee for ever — That is, totally and unavoidably, as thou didst destroy the priests. He shall pluck thee — Violently, irresistibly, and suddenly remove thee, as the word יסחךְ, jissachacha, signifies; out of thy dwelling-place — From thy house and lands, and all the wages of thy unrighteousness. Or, out of his, that is, the Lord’s tabernacle, from which thou didst cut off the Lord’s priests. Therefore God shall excommunicate thee from his presence, and from the society of the faithful. And though thou seemest to have taken very deep root, and to be more firmly settled in this barbarous cruelty; yet God shall root thee out of the land of the living, out of this world; shall pluck thee up by the very roots, and destroy thee, both root and branch. Which must have been very terrible to him who had his whole portion in this life.52:1-5 Those that glory in sin, glory in their shame. The patience and forbearance of God are abused by sinners, to the hardening of their hearts in their wicked ways. But the enemies in vain boast in their mischief, while we have God's mercy to trust in. It will not save us from the guilt of lying, to be able to say, there was some truth in what we said, if we make it appear otherwise than it was. The more there is of craft and contrivance in any wickedness, the more there is of Satan in it. When good men die, they are transplanted from the land of the living on earth, to heaven, the garden of the Lord, where they shall take root for ever; but when wicked men die, they are rooted out, to perish for ever. The believer sees that God will destroy those who make not him their strength.Thou lovest all devouring words - All words that tend to devour or "swallow up" reputation and happiness. Luther, "Thou speakest gladly all things (anything) that will serve to destruction." Anything, everything, that will serve to ruin people. The word rendered "devouring" - בלע bela‛ - occurs only here and in Jeremiah 51:44, though the verb from which it is derived occurs frequently: Isaiah 28:4; Exodus 7:12; Jonah 2:1 Jonah 1:17; Genesis 41:7, Genesis 41:24, et al. The verb means to swallow; and then, to consume or destroy.

O thou deceitful tongue - Margin, "and the deceitful tongue." The sense is best expressed in the text. It is an address to the tongue as loving deceit or fraud.

4. all-devouring—literally, "swallowing," which utterly destroy (compare Ps 21:9; 35:25).4 Thou lovest all devouring words, O thou deceitful tongue.

5 God shall likewise destroy thee for ever, he shall take thee away, and pluck thee out of thy dwelling place, and root thee out of the land of the living. Selah.

Psalm 52:4

"Thou lovest.", Thou hast a taste, a gusto for evil language. "All devouring words." There are words that, like boa constrictors, swallow men whole, or like lions, rend men to pieces; these words evil minds are fond of. Their oratory is evermore furious and bloody. That which will most readily provoke the lowest passions they are sure to employ, and they think such pandering to the madness of the wicked to be eloquence of a high order. "O thou deceitful tongue." Men can manage to say a great many furious things, and yet cover all over with the pretext of justice. They claim that they are jealous for the right, but the truth is they are determined to put down truth and holiness, and craftily go about it under this transparent pretence.

Psalm 52:5

"God shall likewise destroy thee for ever." Fain would the persecutor destroy the church, and therefore God shall destroy him, pull down his house, pluck up his roots, and make an end of him. "He shall take thee away." God shall extinguish his coal and sweep him away like the ashes of the hearth; he would have quenched the truth, and God shall quench him. "And pluck thee out of thy dwelling place," like a plant torn from the place where it grew, or a captive dragged from his home. Ahimelech and his brother priests were cut off from their abode, and so should those be who compassed and contrived their murder. "And root thee out of the land of the living." The persecutor shall be eradicated, stubbed up by the root, cut up root and branch. He sought the death of others and death shall fall upon him. He troubled the land of the living, and he shall be banished to that land where the wicked cease from troubling. Those who will not "let live" have no right to "live." God will turn the tables on malicious men, and mete to them a portion with their own measure. "Selah." Pause again, and behold the divine justice proving itself more than a match for human sin.

Devouring words, such as might swallow up and destroy a whole family at once. Thou lovest all devouring words,.... Or "words of swallowing up" (y); such as lies, calumnies, and detractions are, which devour the characters and reputations of men, and are the cause sometimes of their utter ruin and destruction; of the devouring and blasphemous words of antichrist see Revelation 13:5;

O thou deceitful tongue; See Gill on Psalm 52:2.

(y) "verba absorptionis", Vatablus, Gejerus, Schmidt.

Thou lovest all devouring words, O thou deceitful tongue.
4. devouring words] Lit., words of swallowing up. Cp. the use of the verb in Psalm 35:25, “We have swallowed him up”: and Psalm 53:4.

O thou deceitful tongue] This rendering is certainly preferable to that of the margin, ‘and the deceitful tongue.’ The bold identification of the offender with the offending member is far more vigorous, and perfectly legitimate. Cp. Psalm 120:2-3; Psalm 12:3; 1 Kings 19:18.Verse 4. - Thou lovest all devouring words. "Devouring words" are words that cause ruin and destruction. O thou deceitful tongue! or (as in the margin), and the deceitful tongue. The third part now begins with a doubly urgent prayer. The invocation of God by the name Elohim is here made more urgent by the addition of אלהי תשׁוּעתי; inasmuch as the prayers for justification and for renewing blend together in the "deliver me." David does not seek to lessen his guilt; he calls it in דּמים by its right name, - a word which signifies blood violently shed, and then also a deed of blood and blood-guiltiness (Psalm 9:13; Psalm 106:38, and frequently). We have also met with הצּיל construed with מן of the sin in Psalm 39:9. He had given Uriah over to death in order to possess himself of Bathsheba. And the accusation of his conscience spoke not merely of adultery, but also of murder. Nevertheless the consciousness of sin no longer smites him to the earth, Mercy has lifted him up; he prays only that she would complete her work in him, then shall his tongue exultingly praise (רנּן with an accusative of the object, as in Psalm 59:17) God's righteousness, which, in accordance with the promise, takes the sinner under its protection. But in order to perform what he vowed he would do under such circumstances, he likewise needs grace, and prays, therefore, for a joyous opening of his mouth. In sacrifices God delighteth not (Psalm 40:7, cf. Isaiah 1:11), otherwise he would bring some (ואתּנה, darem, sc. si velles, vid., on Psalm 40:6); whole-burnt-offerings God doth not desire: the sacrifices that are well-pleasing to Him and most beloved by Him, in comparison with which the flesh and the dead work of the עולות and the זבחים (שׁלמים) is altogether worthless, are thankfulness (Psalm 50:23) out of the fulness of a penitent and lowly heart. There is here, directly at least, no reference to the spiritual antitype of the sin-offering, which is never called זבה. The inward part of a man is said to be broken and crushed when his sinful nature is broken, his ungodly self slain, his impenetrable hardness softened, his haughty vainglorying brought low, - in fine, when he is in himself become as nothing, and when God is everything to him. Of such a spirit and heart, panting after grace or favour, consist the sacrifices that are truly worthy God's acceptance and well-pleasing to Him (cf. Isaiah 57:15, where such a spirit and such a heart are called God's earthly temple).

(Note: The Talmud finds a significance in the plural זבחי. Joshua ben Levi (B. Sanhedrin 43b) says: At the time when the temple was standing, whoever brought a burnt-offering received the reward of it, and whoever brought a meat-offering, the reward of it; but the lowly was accounted by the Scriptures as one who offered every kind of sacrifice at once (כאילו הקריב כל הקרבנות כולן). In Irenaeaus, iv. 17, 2, and Clemens Alexandrinus, Paedag. iii. 12, is found to θυσία τῷ Θεῷ καρδία συντετριμμένη the addition: ὀσμὴ εὐωδίας τῷ Θεῷ καρδία δοξάζουσα τὸν πεπλακότα αὐτήν.)

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