Jesus Creed

Both of our companions, John Goldingay’s commentary (Psalms, Vol. 1: Psalms 1-41 (Baker Commentary on the Old Testament Wisdom and Psalms) and Robert Alter, The Book of Psalms: A Translation with Commentary , translate Psalm 14:1 with “scoundrel.” We looked at that idea yesterday. Today we explore the rest of the psalm.

But David’s psalm is not so much dissection of who’s in and who’s out, though he clearly thinks he’s in (as Goldingay observes), as an opining over the lack of integrity and piety in the whole of society. It’s a dark psalm.
He imagines YHWH looking down to see if YHWH can find some integrity, and we think of Noah and Abraham’s concern for Sodom. Thus, v. 2. It’s a passionate if disconsolate set of lines. Is there anyone?, he is asking.
Why? Everyone is preoccupied with sin. They are eating the people of God, which makes one think even of exilic themes or perhaps only of the elective theme (the true people of God are persecuted). 
They however, in the midst of their devouring, think of YHWH being with Israel and they are seized with terror (v. 5). They can plot against the poor, but they are to learn or already have learned that YHWH is with the poor (v. 6).
Now the psalmist’s wish: may God rescue out of Zion. When that happens, Israel will rejoice.

For the music director; by David.

14:1 Fools say to themselves, “There is no God.”

They sin and commit evil deeds;

none of them does what is right.

14:2 The Lord looks down from heaven at the human race,

to see if there is anyone who is wise and seeks God.

14:3 Everyone rejects God;

they are all morally corrupt.

None of them does what is right,

not even one!

14:4 All those who behave wickedly do not understand –

those who devour my people as if they were eating bread,

and do not call out to the Lord.

14:5 They are absolutely terrified,

for God defends the godly.

14:6 You want to humiliate the oppressed,

even though the Lord is their shelter.

14:7 I wish the deliverance of Israel would come from Zion!

When the Lord restores the well-being of his people,

may Jacob rejoice,

may Israel be happy!

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