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Psalms 58:1 [study!]

American Standard Version (ASV 1901) [2]
— [[For the Chief Musician; [set to] Al-tashheth. [A Psalm] of David. Michtam.]] Do ye indeed in silence speak righteousness? Do ye judge uprightly, O ye sons of men?
King James Version (KJV 1769)
— [[To the chief Musician, Altaschith, Michtam of David.]] Do ye indeed speak righteousness, O congregation? do ye judge uprightly, O ye sons of men?
New American Standard Bible (NASB ©1995)
— [[For the choir director; [set to] Al-tashheth. A Mikhtam of David.]] Do you indeed speak righteousness, O gods? Do you judge uprightly, O sons of men?
Webster's Revision of the KJB (WEB 1833)
— [[To the chief Musician, Al-taschith, Michtam of David.]] Do ye indeed speak righteousness, O congregation? do ye judge uprightly, O ye sons of men?
Darby's Translation (DBY 1890)
— [[To the chief Musician. 'Destroy not.' Of David. Michtam.]] Is righteousness indeed silent? Do ye speak it? Do ye judge with equity, ye sons of men?
Rotherham's Emphasized Bible (EBR 1902)
— [[To the Chief Musician. "Do not Destroy." A precious Psalm, of David.]] Are ye, indeed, silent [when] righteousness, ye should speak? When, with equity, ye should judge, O ye sons of men?
Young's Literal Translation (YLT 1898)
— To the Overseer.—'Destroy not.'—A secret treasure, by David. Is it true, O dumb one, righteously ye speak? Uprightly ye judge, O sons of men?
Douay-Rheims Challoner Revision (DR 1750)
— Unto the end, destroy not, for David, for an inscription of a title. If in very deed ye speak justice: judge right things, ye sons of men.
Original King James Bible (AV 1611) [2]
— [[To the chiefe musician Al-taschith, Michtam of Dauid.]] Doe yee indeed speake righteousnesse, O congregation? doe ye iudge vprightly, O ye sonnes of men?
Brenton Greek Septuagint (LXX, Restored Names)
— [[For the end. Destroy not: by David, for a memorial.]] If ye do indeed speak righteousness, [then] do ye judge rightly, ye sons of men.
Full Hebrew Names / Holy Name KJV (2008) [2] [3]
— [[To the chief Musician, Al Tashcheth, Mikhtam of Dawid.]] Do ye indeed speak righteousness, O congregation? do ye judge uprightly, O ye sons of men?

Strong's Numbers & Hebrew NamesHebrew Old TestamentColor-Code/Key Word Studies
[[To the chief Musician, 5329
{5329} Prime
A primitive root; properly to glitter from afar, that is, to be eminent (as a superintendent, especially of the Temple services and its music); also (as denominative from H5331), to be permanent.
<8764> Grammar
Stem - Piel (See H8840)
Mood - Participle (See H8813)
Count - 685
Al Ta אַל־תַּשׁחֵת, 516
{0516} Prime
'Al tashcheth
{al tash-kayth'}
From H0408 and H7843; Thou must not destroy; probably the opening words of a popular song.
<8686> Grammar
Stem - Hiphil (See H8818)
Mood - Imperfect (See H8811)
Count - 4046
Mitm מִכתָּם 4387
{4387} Prime
From H3799; an engraving, that is, (technically) a poem.
of Dwi דָּוִד.]] 1732
{1732} Prime
From the same as H1730; loving; David, the youngest son of Jesse.
Do ye indeed 552
{0552} Prime
An orthographical variation of H0551.
speak 1696
{1696} Prime
A primitive root; perhaps properly to arrange; but used figuratively (of words) to speak; rarely (in a destructive sense) to subdue.
<8762> Grammar
Stem - Piel (See H8840)
Mood - Imperfect (See H8811)
Count - 2447
righteousness, 6664
{6664} Prime
From H6663; the right (natural, moral or legal); also (abstractly) equity or (figuratively) prosperity.
O congregation? 482
{0482} Prime
From H0481; silence (that is, mute justice).
do ye judge 8199
{8199} Prime
A primitive root; to judge, that is, pronounce sentence (for or against); by implication to vindicate or punish; by extension to govern; passively to litigate (literally or figuratively).
<8799> Grammar
Stem - Qal (See H8851)
Mood - Imperfect (See H8811)
Count - 19885
uprightly, 4339
{4339} Prime
From H3474; evenness, that is, (figuratively) prosperity or concord; also straightness, that is, (figuratively) rectitude (only in plural with singular sense; often adverbially).
O ye sons 1121
{1121} Prime
From H1129; a son (as a builder of the family name), in the widest sense (of literal and figurative relationship, including grandson, subject, nation, quality or condition, etc., (like H0001, H0251, etc.).
of men? 120
{0120} Prime
From H0119; ruddy, that is, a human being (an individual or the species, mankind, etc.).
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Commentary

Psalms 58:1

_ _ Psalms 58:1-11. David’s critical condition in some period of the Sauline persecution probably occasioned this Psalm, in which the Psalmist teaches that the innate and actual sinfulness of men deserves, and shall receive, God’s righteous vengeance, while the pious may be consoled by the evidence of His wise and holy government of men.

_ _ O congregation — literally, “Oh, dumb”; the word used is never translated “congregation.” “Are ye dumb? ye should speak righteousness,” may be the translation. In any case, the writer remonstrates with them, perhaps a council, who were assembled to try his cause, and bound to give a right decision.

Matthew Henry's Commentary

Psalms 58:1-5

_ _ We have reason to think that this psalm refers to the malice of Saul and his janizaries against David, because it bears the same inscription (Al-taschith, and Michtam of David) with that which goes before and that which follows, both which appear, by the title, to have been penned with reference to that persecution through which God preserved him (Al-taschithDestroy not), and therefore the psalms he then penned were precious to him, MichtamsDavid's jewels, as Dr. Hammond translates it.

_ _ In these verses David, not as a king, for he had not yet come to the throne, but as a prophet, in God's name arraigns and convicts his judges, with more authority and justice than they showed in prosecuting him. Two things he charges them with:

_ _ I. The corruption of their government. They were a congregation, a bench of justices, nay, perhaps, a congress or convention of the states, from whom one might have expected fair dealing, for they were men learned in the laws, had been brought up in the study of these statutes and judgments, which were so righteous that those of other nations were not to be compared with them. One would not have thought a congregation of such could be bribed and biassed with pensions, and yet, it seems, they were, because the son of Kish could do that for them which the son of Jesse could not, 1 Samuel 22:7. He had vineyards, and fields, and preferments, to give them, and therefore, to please him, they would do any thing, right or wrong. Of all the melancholy views which Solomon took of this earth and its grievances, nothing vexed him so much as to see that in the place of judgment wickedness was there, Ecclesiastes 3:16. So it was in Saul's time. 1. The judges would not do right, would not protect or vindicate oppressed innocency (Psalms 58:1): “Do you indeed speak righteousness, or judge uprightly? No; you are far from it; your own consciences cannot but tell you that you do not discharge the trust reposed in you as magistrates, by which you are bound to be a terror to evil-doers and a praise to those that do well. Is this the justice you pretend to administer? Is this the patronage, this the countenance, which an honest man and an honest cause may expect from you? Remember you are sons of men; mortal and dying, and that you stand upon the same level before God with the meanest of those you trample upon, and must yourselves be called to an account and judged. You are sons of men, and therefore we may appeal to yourselves, and to that law of nature which is written in every man's heart: Do you indeed speak righteousness? And will not your second thoughts correct what you have done?” Note, It is good for us often to reflect upon what we say with this serious question, Do we indeed speak righteousness? that we may unsay what we have spoken amiss and may proceed no further in it. 2. They did a great deal of wrong; they used their power for the support of injury and oppression (Psalms 58:2): In heart you work wickedness (all the wickedness of the life is wrought in the heart). It intimates that they wrought with a great deal of plot and management, not by surprise, but with premeditation and design, and with a strong inclination to it and resolution in it. The moire there is of the heart in any act of wickedness the worse it is, Ecclesiastes 8:11. And what was their wickedness? It follows, “You weigh the violence of your hands in the earth” (or in the land), “the peace of which you are appointed to be the conservators of.” They did all the violence and injury they could, either to enrich or avenge themselves, and they weighed it; that is, 1. They did it with a great deal of craft and caution: “You frame it by rule and lines” (so the word signifies), “that it may effectually answer your mischievous intentions; such masters are you of the art of oppression.” 2. They did it under colour of justice. They held the balances (the emblem of justice) in their hands, as if they designed to do right, and right is expected from them, but the result is violence and oppression, which are practised the more effectually for being practised under the pretext of law and right.

_ _ II. The corruption of their nature. This was the root of bitterness from which that gall and wormwood sprang (Psalms 58:3): The wicked, who in heart work wickedness, are estranged from the womb, estranged from God and all good, alienated from the divine life, and its principles, powers, and pleasures, Ephesians 4:18. A sinful state is a state of estrangement from that acquaintance with God and service of him which we were made for. Let none wonder that these wicked men dare do such things, for wickedness is bred in the bone with them; they brought it into the world with them; they have in their natures a strong inclination to it; they learned it from their wicked parents, and have been trained up in it by a bad education. They are called, and not miscalled, transgressors from the womb; one can therefore expect no other than that they will deal very treacherously; see Isaiah 48:8. They go astray from God and their duty as soon as they are born, (that is, as soon as possibly they can); the foolishness that is bound up in their hearts appears with the first operations of reason; as the wheat springs up, the tares spring up with it. Three instances are here given of the corruption of nature: — 1. Falsehood. They soon learn to speak lies, and bend their tongues, like their bows, for that purpose, Jeremiah 9:3. How soon will little children tell a lie to excuse a fault, or in their own commendation! No sooner can they speak than they speak to God's dishonour; tongue-sins are some of the first of our actual transgressions. 2. Malice. Their poison (that is, their ill-will, and the spite they bore to goodness and all good men, particularly to David) was like the poison of a serpent, innate, venomous, and very mischievous, and that which they can never be cured of. We pity a dog that is poisoned by accident, but hate a serpent that is poisonous by nature. Such as the cursed enmity in this serpent's brood against the Lord and his anointed. 3. Untractableness. They are malicious, and nothing will work upon them, no reason, no kindness, to mollify them, and bring them to a better temper. They are like the deaf adder that stops her ear, Psalms 58:4, Psalms 58:5. The psalmist, having compared these wicked men, whom he here complains of, to serpents, for their poisonous malice, takes occasion thence, upon another account, to compare them to the deaf adder or viper, concerning which there was then this vulgar tradition, that whereas, by music or some other art, they had a way of charming serpents, so as either to destroy them or at least disable them to do mischief, this deaf adder would lay one ear to the ground and stop the other with her tail, so that she could not hear the voice of the enchantment, and so defeated the intention of it and secured herself. The using of this comparison neither verifies the story, nor, if it were true, justifies the use of this enchantment; for it is only an allusion to the report of such a thing, to illustrate the obstinacy of sinners in a sinful way. God's design, in his word and providence, is to cure serpents of their malignity; to this end how wise, how powerful, how well-chosen are the charms! How forcible the right words! But all in vain with most men; and what is the reason? It is because they will not hearken. None so deaf as those that will not hear. We have piped unto men, and they have not danced; how should they, when they have stopped their ears?

John Wesley's Explanatory Notes

Psalms 58:1

O congregation — The word seems to point at Saul's judges and counsellors; who met together to consult what they should do against David. Sons of men — So he calls them; to mind them that they were men, and must give an account to God for all their hard speeches.

Geneva Bible Translation Notes

Psalms 58:1

"To the chief Musician, Altaschith, Michtam of David." Do ye indeed speak righteousness, O (a) congregation? do ye judge uprightly, O ye sons of men?

(a) You counsellors of Saul, who under pretence of consulting for the common wealth, conspire my death being an innocent.

Cross-Reference Topical ResearchStrong's Concordance

Psalms 72:1-4 [[[A Psalm] for Solomon.]] Give the king thy judgments, O God, and thy righteousness unto the king's son. ... He shall judge the poor of the people, he shall save the children of the needy, and shall break in pieces the oppressor.
Deuteronomy 16:18-19 Judges and officers shalt thou make thee in all thy gates, which the LORD thy God giveth thee, throughout thy tribes: and they shall judge the people with just judgment. ... Thou shalt not wrest judgment; thou shalt not respect persons, neither take a gift: for a gift doth blind the eyes of the wise, and pervert the words of the righteous.
2 Samuel 23:3 The God of Israel said, the Rock of Israel spake to me, He that ruleth over men [must be] just, ruling in the fear of God.
2 Chronicles 19:6-7 And said to the judges, Take heed what ye do: for ye judge not for man, but for the LORD, who [is] with you in the judgment. ... Wherefore now let the fear of the LORD be upon you; take heed and do [it]: for [there is] no iniquity with the LORD our God, nor respect of persons, nor taking of gifts.
Isaiah 11:3-5 And shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the LORD: and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears: ... And righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins, and faithfulness the girdle of his reins.
Isaiah 32:1 Behold, a king shall reign in righteousness, and princes shall rule in judgment.
Jeremiah 23:5-6 Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth. ... In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this [is] his name whereby he shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.

O congregation:

Psalms 82:1-2 [[A Psalm of Asaph.]] God standeth in the congregation of the mighty; he judgeth among the gods. ... How long will ye judge unjustly, and accept the persons of the wicked? Selah.
Numbers 11:16 And the LORD said unto Moses, Gather unto me seventy men of the elders of Israel, whom thou knowest to be the elders of the people, and officers over them; and bring them unto the tabernacle of the congregation, that they may stand there with thee.
Deuteronomy 1:15-16 So I took the chief of your tribes, wise men, and known, and made them heads over you, captains over thousands, and captains over hundreds, and captains over fifties, and captains over tens, and officers among your tribes. ... And I charged your judges at that time, saying, Hear [the causes] between your brethren, and judge righteously between [every] man and his brother, and the stranger [that is] with him.
2 Samuel 5:3 So all the elders of Israel came to the king to Hebron; and king David made a league with them in Hebron before the LORD: and they anointed David king over Israel.
Matthew 26:3 Then assembled together the chief priests, and the scribes, and the elders of the people, unto the palace of the high priest, who was called Caiaphas,
Matthew 27:1 When the morning was come, all the chief priests and elders of the people took counsel against Jesus to put him to death:
Luke 23:50-51 And, behold, [there was] a man named Joseph, a counsellor; [and he was] a good man, and a just: ... (The same had not consented to the counsel and deed of them;) [he was] of Arimathaea, a city of the Jews: who also himself waited for the kingdom of God.
Acts 5:21 And when they heard [that], they entered into the temple early in the morning, and taught. But the high priest came, and they that were with him, and called the council together, and all the senate of the children of Israel, and sent to the prison to have them brought.

O ye:

Psalms 82:6-7 I have said, Ye [are] gods; and all of you [are] children of the most High. ... But ye shall die like men, and fall like one of the princes.
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Nu 11:16. Dt 1:15; 16:18. 2S 5:3; 23:3. 2Ch 19:6. Ps 72:1; 82:1, 6. Is 11:3; 32:1. Jr 23:5. Mt 26:3; 27:1. Lk 23:50. Ac 5:21.

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