Psalm 52: The Steadfast Love of God Endures

(9 verses, 1:03 to read)


What I am about to READ

  • David writes a lament about his enemies. The title of the psalm specifically references Doeg the Edomite, who informed King Saul of David’s coming to the high priest for provisions (see 1 Samuel 22).


  • vv. 1-7 directly address David’s enemy.
  • vv. 1-4 deals with the enemy’s tongue or his words.
  • vv. 5-7 deal with the enemy’s punishment and David’s reaction.
  • v. 8 contrasts David with the fate of the enemy.
  • v. 9 praises the salvific work of God for the righteous.


  • Doeg the Edomite informed King Saul of David’s movements. This included David’s encounter with the priest, Ahimelech. As a result of Doeg’s actions, Ahimelech and his family, including 85 other priests. 1 Samuel 22, which records this slaughter, specifically mentions the priestly garb the men would wear. This shows Saul’s utter rejection of God.
  • Even though Saul and Doeg probably rejoiced at the slaughter of their enemies, David reminds us that God’s steadfast love endures all the day. Even in the midst of death, God’s steadfast love for His people may be found in Christ, who has ransomed them from death by His death.
  • The first several verses dealing with Doeg’s tongue puts us in the realm of the 8th Commandment. We are reminded here that this commandment does have limits. Just as the 5th commandment does not prevent governments from punishing evil doers by putting them to death, the 8th Commandment does not prevent Ahimelech from withholding information about David from King Saul. Recently, Rev. Hans Fiene wrote a post dealing with this issue and the undercover reporting done by the Center for Medical Progress during their investigation of Planned Parenthood and its affiliates. Read it here. Ahimelech knew Saul’s murderous rage burned against David, the Lord’s anointed, and his omission was intended to protect him.
  • David warns that God will punish Doeg and all who are like him by removing him from the land of the living. This has a twofold impact. First, Doeg will lose land given to him as a result of the promise given to Abraham. The second is that Doeg will not inherit the eternal promise given to Adam and Eve in the Garden, which undergirds the promise given to Abraham. This is a warning to us, too, against such sin.
  • Though the wicked prosper now and seem to have the upper hand, the righteous man will have victory over his enemies if not in this life, then in the life to come.
  • David’s imagery of the green olive tree in the house of God is an image teaming with life. It cannot be uprooted or burned. It draws its life from the steadfast love of God. This tree is also not planted alone. It is in the company of the godly–a great cloud of witnesses, if you will. This reminds us that we are never alone in our suffering. The whole body of Christ suffers together. However, God will deliver them from their trials.
  • Luther tells us that this psalm is aimed at comforting us in the midst of our trials.


The Word they still shall let remain
Nor any thanks have for it;
He’s by our side upon the plain
With His good gifts and Spirit.
And take they our life,
Goods, fame, child, and wife,
Though these all be gone,
Our vict’ry has been won;
The Kingdom our remaineth.
(Lutheran Service Book, hymn 656, stanza 4)

Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Post below, or join the conversation in our Facebook group:

-Rev. Jordan McKinley, pastor
Trinity Lutheran Church, Vallonia, IN

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