Psalms 52:0 ¶ To the chief Musician, Maschil, A Psalm of David, when Doeg the Edomite came and told Saul, and said unto him, David is come to the house of Ahimelech.
This is yet another of the psalms of David. We are told that he wrote it after Doeg the Edomite told Saul about David going to see Ahimelech when he was fleeing from Saul. The narrative of this incident is recorded in 1Samuel 21-22.
Maschil = instructive; a didactic poem, a poem with a moral instruction
Some say David’s subject was Saul, but I tend to think it was Doeg, as referenced in the preface. Consider Coffman’s comments: “Doeg did indeed speak with `a lying tongue'; he concealed from Saul the fact that Abimelech was truly loyal to King Saul and that his helping David was no act of treason whatever. That type of report by Doeg was as malicious and unprincipled a lie as any man ever told, despite the fact of what he said having been true. The falsehood consisted in the implications of what he slanderously reported. It was like the Mate who had charge of the ship's log during a brief illness of the Captain; and he wrote, ‘The Captain was sober today.’"
Psalms 52:1 ¶ Why boastest thou thyself in mischief, O mighty man? the goodness of God endureth continually.
Psalms 52:2 Thy tongue deviseth mischiefs; like a sharp razor, working deceitfully.
Psalms 52:3 Thou lovest evil more than good; and lying rather than to speak righteousness. Selah.
David is basically saying that no matter how much power a wicked man might wield, it in no way negates the goodness of God. This is a truth that many have a hard time processing. Many presume that because the LORD allows evil men to prosper, He must not be good. They totally refuse to accept that evil is a consequence of the sin of man when Adam, the father of all humans, chose to rebel against God in the very beginning.
David describes Doeg as a man with a wicked tongue that spoke with deceit that was as effective as a razor cut in accomplishing his objective. He chose evil over good and lying over truth telling. Why? Because he was out for number one, anything that might increase his influence and standing with King Saul; and he didn’t care who got hurt in the process.
That is still characteristic of wicked people today. It is so evident in headlines throughout the world—currently on prominent display in American politics and broadcast media.
Spurgeon: “The tyrant's fury cannot dry up the perennial stream of divine mercy. If priests be slain their Master lives. If Doeg for a while triumphs the Lord will outlive him, and right the wrongs which he has done.”
Selah – A pause, a time for meditation
Psalms 52:4 Thou lovest all devouring words, O thou deceitful tongue.
Psalms 52:5 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.
The psalmist describes Doeg as a man that loves to destroy people with a deceitful tongue. He declares that God will just as surely destroy Doeg and forever remove him from the land of the living.
Though David may have been thinking of physical life, I think the bigger truth is in reference to spiritual life. No one who dies without saving faith in the LORD will enjoy eternal life; their future is one of eternal destruction.
Matthew 7:13–14 “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.”
2 Thessalonians 1:7–9 “And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power;”
John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
Psalms 52:6 ¶ The righteous also shall see, and fear, and shall laugh at him:
Psalms 52:7 Lo, this is the man that made not God his strength; but trusted in the abundance of his riches, and strengthened himself in his wickedness.
I think the CJB is a bit easier to understand: “The righteous will see and be awestruck; they will jeer at him, saying, “This fellow would not make God his refuge, but trusted in his own great wealth, relying on his evil plots.”
In light of the previous verses, I believe David is referring to the response of the righteous at the judgment of God against wicked Doeg, a man of great wealth that trusted in self rather than in God. I could not find that scripture records what happened to Doeg.
Psalms 52:8 But I am like a green olive tree in the house of God: I trust in the mercy of God for ever and ever.
Psalms 52:9 I will praise thee for ever, because thou hast done it: and I will wait on thy name; for it is good before thy saints.
In contrast, David compares himself to a green olive tree in the house of God that trusts in the mercy, kindness and love (from the Hebrew) of God, and will continue to do so forever. He is healthy and flourishing in his relationship with God. This is quite a declaration of belief considering the fact that David was on the run for his life from Saul at the time.
In verse 9 it sounds like David is praising God for His judgment against Doeg, but it could be that he is praising God generally for all that He has done on David’s behalf. The Hebrew for “wait” makes reference to expectation and patient waiting. I think he is saying that he is determined to wait upon the LORD who is always good to His saints (even when circumstances tempt one to believe elsewise), those that place their trust in Him.