Psalm 52 - Doeg the Edomite

INTRODUCTION: Jacob and Esau were fraternal twin sons of Isaac, but Jacob was renamed Israel by the LORD and THE DESCENDENTS OF his SONS ARE the twelve tribes of the Jews. Esau was called Edom (Genesis 25:29-34) because he sold his birthright to Jacob for some red pottage when he was hungry. His descendents became known as the Edomites and they lived in territory adjacent to Israel. The report to King Saul and the subsequent murderous actions taken by Doeg the Edomite brought David to the writing of this Psalm.

NOTE: Scripture passages are from the World English Bible.


A - SOME BACKGROUND FOR THIS PSALM

While fleeing from Saul, David stopped at Nob to seek food and a weapon,and when Ahimelech the priest saw that he was alone, he was frightened by the situation. David fabricated the story that he had others with him, and that he had left on such urgent secret business for the king that he had carried no weapon. Doeg saw David with the priest, and when David left Nob he went briefly to Gath. (from 1 Samuel 21:1-15)

David left Gath and went to the cave of Adullam where his brothers and other men came to him , and their number grew to 400. David then took his father and mother to Mizpeh of Moab and the king there allowed his parents to stay. The prophet Gad advised David so he went to Judah to the forest of Hereth. Saul was in Gibeahwhen he heard that David and his men had been discovered, and he began to rant that his son was in league with David and the Benjamites were not willing to help him in this matter. Then Saul's chief shepherd Doeg the Edomite spoke up that he had seen David at Nob. Subsequently when Saul accused Ahimelech of conspiracy he replied, "Who among all your servants is so faithful as David, who is the king's son-in-law, and is taken into your council, and is honourable in your house? Have I today begun to inquire of God for him? Be it far from me! Don't let the king impute anything to his servant, nor to all the house of my father; for your servant knows nothing of all this, less or more." When Saul's guards were unwilling to kill the company of the priests, Doeg readily performed the deed and even wiped out all others living at Nob. The only one to escape was Abiathar and he fled to David. He told David that Saul had slain the LORD's priests. David said he had known that day that Doeg would surely tell Saul, and he therefore was responsible for the death of all the priests. David told Abiathar to stay with him where he would be safe. (from 1 Samuel 22:1-23)


B - INSCRIPTION AND OPENING VERSE

Psalm 52 "1 [For the Chief Musician. A contemplation by David, when Doeg the Edomite came and told Saul, "David has come to Abimelech's house."] Why do you boast of mischief, mighty man? God's loving kindness endures continually."

COMMENTS: David knew that Doeg the Edomite had seen him with Ahimelech the priest at Nob. He did not know all of the heinous details about Doeg until Abiathar, the only son of the priest to escape the subsequent slaughter, came to him. Doeg, the chief servant of King Saul, had been very quick to impune the priest who had helped David in innocence, for he desired his own benefit in the eyes of his master above the welfare of the priests. Despite this opening about boastful ways in those who considered themselves to be mighty, David added to these thoughts that God's loving kindness endures in an unbroken manner. Though David had not told Ahimelech the truth about his situation, he had no intent to bring harm to the priest. Perhaps he even thought that since the priest was unknowingly helping him to escape from Saul, he would not be guilty of conspiring against the king. There had been a terrible injustice resulting in the murder of many, but David knew that the LORD had a loving kindness that the godless can not understand because they consider only the present life.


C - THE DECEITFUL TONGUE PLOTS DESTRUCTION

Psalm 52 "2 Your tongue plots destruction, like a sharp razor, working deceitfully. 3 You love evil more than good, lying rather than speaking the truth. Selah. 4 You love all devouring words, you deceitful tongue. 5 God will likewise destroy you forever. He will take you up, and pluck you out of your tent, and root you out of the land of the living. Selah."

COMMENTS: Doeg had the opportunity to support what Ahimelech said in defence before King Saul, but his only desire was to get the most benefit for himself even if others would die because of his report. With this record of one who loved evil more than good, we should take pause to consider all that is in this as we come to the first "selah" in this Psalm. Then it is good to remember that those who are dedicated to only evil will be destroyed forever by God. He will take them away and they will not have a part in the land of the living. Thus we come to the second "selah" as we need to reflect on the ultimate end for those who do not know the LORD.


D - THE RIGHTEOUS WILL WITNESS THE JUDGMENT

Psalm 52 "6 The righteous also will see it, and fear, and laugh at him, saying, 7 "Behold, this is the man who didn't make God his strength, but trusted in the abundance of his riches, and strengthened himself in his wickedness." 8 But as for me, I am like a green olive tree in God's house. I trust in God's loving kindness forever and ever. 9 I will give you thanks forever, because you have done it. I will hope in your name, for it is good, in the presence of your saints."

COMMENTS: David reminds us that as believers in the true and living God we need to see that the end of those who trust only in their own strength, power, and wealth will have no reward at the end of their life. It may be hard to laugh when we see them in the time of their strength while we are having difficulties. But, as did Daivid, we need to remember that we are firmly planted and flourishing in the house of God. Because the Lord's lovingkindness is trustworthy forever, we can give thanks to the LORD for what he has done for us. It is also good to share the hope in the name of the Lord while we are with other saints. The Apostle Paul gives us a clear explanation about the house of God. 1 Timothy 3:14-15 "These things I write to you, hoping to come to you shortly; but if I wait long, that you may know how men ought to behave themselves in the house of God, which is the assembly of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth."

--- REFLECTIONS IN PRAYER ---

Though I may never face the extreme circumstances of great danger that threatened David and those who supported him, may I keep the proper perspective of my position in the house of God. Lord, you know the heart of each person in ways that we cannot fathom. Help me when I am thinking too much about some of the terrible things done by the ungodly, to remember that your mercy can overcome any manner of evil. How foolish are those who trust in the abundance of riches and go to extremes of wickedness not realizing that they will be plucked away from the opportunity they could have had for true eternal reward. My firm hope rests with my trust in your loving kindness forever which you have given to me through your mercy, Lord, therefore I will give you thanks continually. I also want to share in our mutual joy as I am in the presence of others saints because of the power of your name. Hallelujah, Amen!

Published 30 August 2014