Psalm 53:4
Have the workers of iniquity no knowledge? who eat up my people as they eat bread: they have not called upon God.
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(4) Notice the omission of the expressive “all” found in Psalms 14

53:1-6 The corruption of man by nature. - This psalm is almost the same as the 14th. The scope of it is to convince us of our sins. God, by the psalmist, here shows us how bad we are, and proves this by his own certain knowledge. He speaks terror to persecutors, the worst of sinners. He speaks encouragement to God's persecuted people. How comes it that men are so bad? Because there is no fear of God before their eyes. Men's bad practices flow from their bad principles; if they profess to know God, yet in works, because in thoughts, they deny him. See the folly of sin; he is a fool, in the account of God, whose judgment we are sure is right, that harbours such corrupt thoughts. And see the fruit of sin; to what it brings men, when their hearts are hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. See also the faith of the saints, and their hope and power as to the cure of this great evil. There will come a Saviour, a great salvation, a salvation from sin. God will save his church from its enemies. He will save all believers from their own sins, that they may not be led captive by them, which will be everlasting joy to them. From this work the Redeemer had his name JESUS, for he shall save his people from their sins, Mt 1:21.Have the workers of iniquity no knowledge? - See the notes at Psalm 14:4. The only change in this verse is in the omission of the word "all." This word, as it occurs in Psalm 14:1-7 ("all the workers of iniquity"), makes the sentence stronger and more emphatic. It is designed to affirm in the most absolute and unqualified manner that none of these workers of iniquity had any true knowledge of God. This has been noticed by critics as the only instance in which the expression in Psalm 14:1-7 is stronger than in the revised form of the psalm before us. PSALM 53

Ps 53:1-6. Upon Mahalath—(See on [595]Ps 88:1, title). Why this repetition of the fourteenth Psalm is given we do not know.

1-4. with few verbal changes, correspond with Ps 14:1-4.

No text from Poole on this verse.

Have the workers of iniquity no knowledge?.... In Psalm 14:4, it is, "have all the workers", &c. There are none of them but what have, unless given up to judicial blindness, and hardness of heart, to believe a lie, as antichrist and his followers, 2 Thessalonians 2:10; See Gill on Psalm 14:4;

who eat up my people, as they eat bread; and drink their blood, and are drunken with it, Revelation 17:6;

they have not called upon God; but upon their idols, upon the Virgin Mary, and saints departed. In Psalm 14:4, it is, "upon the Lord".

Have the {d} workers of iniquity no knowledge? who eat up my people as they eat bread: they have not called upon God.

(d) David pronounces God's vengeance against cruel governors who having charge to defend and preserve God's people, cruelly devour them.

4. God is the speaker. The first clause may be taken as in A.V., ‘Have the workers of iniquity no knowledge?’ Are they so ignorant that they cannot distinguish between right and wrong? Cp. Psalm 53:2, and Psalm 82:5. But a much better connexion with Psalm 53:5 is gained by rendering, Have not the workers of iniquity been made to know? i.e. taught by sharp experience to recognise their error. Then Psalm 53:5 follows as an answer to the question, pointing to the plain white with the bones of Jerusalem’s besiegers. For this pregnant sense of know cp. Hosea 9:7; Jdg 8:16 (taught, lit. made to know).

who eat up &c.] The A.V. follows the Ancient Versions in understanding this to mean, ‘they devour my people as naturally as they take their daily food.’ And this they do without regard to God (in Psalms 14, Jehovah). Cp. for the phrase, Numbers 14:9, “the people of the land are bread for us”; Numbers 24:8; and for the fact, Isaiah 1:7; Jeremiah 10:25; Jeremiah 30:16; Habakkuk 3:14; Psalm 79:7. The reference to national deliverance in the following verse excludes (at any rate in this recension of the Ps.) the explanation of ‘my people’ as the godly few in Israel (Micah 2:9; Micah 3:3; Micah 3:5, and often in the prophets), and of ‘the workers of iniquity’ as the nobles who impoverished them by unjust extortions (Micah 3:1 ff; Isaiah 3:14 f; Proverbs 30:14).

4, 5. The corruption of mankind exemplified in their treatment of God’s people; and His Providence demonstrated in the deliverance of them.

Verse 4. - For "the workers of iniquity" in this verse, Psalm 14. has "all the workers of iniquity " - a difference wholly unimportant. Psalm 53:4Here in the first line the word כּל־, which, as in Psalm 5:6; Psalm 6:9, is in its right place, is wanting. In Psalm 14:1-7 there then follow, instead of two tristichs, two distichs, which are perhaps each mutilated by the loss of a line. The writer who has retouched the Psalm has restored the tristichic symmetry that had been lost sight of, but he has adopted rather violent means: inasmuch as he has fused down the two distichs into a single tristich, which is as closely as possible adapted to the sound of their letters.
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