When Doeg the Edomite Had Gone to Sha’ul

Psalm 52: 1-9

For the director of music. A maskil of David.
When Doeg the Edomite had gone to Sha’ul and told him,
has gone to the house of Ahimelech.”

DIG: What type of man was Doeg the Edomite? What was he willing to do that Sha’ul’s officials were not? What was Doeg’s boast? How does David account for Doeg’s success? Why are the righteous often compared to trees (see Psalm 1:3)? What did olive trees provide in David’s time? How is David’s trust in God evident in his actions?

REFLECT: Doeg was someone who “used people and loved things.” Do you see that attitude in yourself at all? In the past? What changed? Has anyone ever suffered for helping or taking a risk for you? What happened? Are you flourishing in the house of God? What is lacking in your spiritual life? What helps you flourish?

This Psalm relates to one of David’s bitterest experiences. In flight from Sha’ul, David had talked Ahimelek the priest into giving him a few provisions, but Ahimelek had been denounced to the king, and a whole priestly community was massacred. The informant was Doeg the Edomite, and it was he who carried out the slaughter (see Bd – Sha’ul Kills the Priests of Nov).103

The contrast between the godless and the godly is cast in the figurative language of an uprooted tree and a fallen tent over against the common olive tree in the house of YHVH. Such are the ends of folly and wisdom. Doeg serves as a symbol of all evildoers, who will meet their well-deserved judgment; whereas David represents the righteous who will be exalted. The righteous will prevail, regardless of the opposition.104

A. The Folly of Evil: By means of a question followed by a series of accusations, the folly of evil is shown for what it is. Why do you boast of evil, you mighty hero? Why do you boast all day long, you who are a disgrace in the eyes of God? He not only does evil, but also prides himself in it. The treacherous man, Doeg, had a deceitful tongue as sharp as a razor, for what he said put an end to others (James 3:6-8). He thrived on a wicked and false way of life, loving words that destroyed people. You who practice deceit, your tongue plots destruction; it is like a sharpened razor. You love evil rather than good, falsehood rather than speaking the truth. You love every harmful word, you deceitful tongue. Surely God will bring you down to everlasting ruin (Psalm 52:1-4).

B. God’s Complete Judgment: Because of such wickedness, David predicted that YHVH will snatch you up and pluck you from your tent. He will uproot you from the land of the living, that is, death would swiftly remove him forever (Psalm 52:5). A righteous God cannot and will not tolerate evil forever.

B. Wisdom Derived from God’s Judgment: The righteous learn a lesson from the judgments of YHVH. Those who live and act independently of Ha’Shem, who trust in themselves at the expense of others will be brought down. Their fleeting security of power, riches and houses will all be taken away and their lives will fall apart.105 The righteous will see and fear; they will laugh at you, saying, “Here now is the man who did not make Elohim his stronghold but trusted in his great wealth and grew strong by destroying others” (Psalm 52:6-7)! They would see what happens to a person who trusts not in ADONAI, but in his own ill-gotten riches for strength.

A. The Blessing of Righteousness: In striking contrast to Doeg, the treacherous man, David portrayed his own blessed state in the LORD. But I am like an olive tree flourishing in the house of God. In contrast to Doeg who is plucked out of his tent, David is a welcome guest in God’s house. David flourished because of God’s unfailing love, which he said lasted forever and ever. So he vowed to go on praising God for what He had done. David would always praise the name of God in the presence of His faithful people. The godly response to God’s righteousness is praise! And I will hope in Your name, for Your name is good (Ps 52:8-9). The name of God assures them that God is righteous and loving. In addition to praising God for what He had just done, David looked forward to future demonstrations of the LORD’s nature as the Protector of the righteous .


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