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The Fate of Cynics

For the Pure and Shining One

A song of instruction by King David composed when Doeg the Edomite betrayed David to Saul, saying, “David has come to the house of Ahimilech!”[a]

52 You call yourself a mighty man, a big shot?
    Why do you boast in the evil you have done?
    Yet God’s loyal love will protect me and carry the day!
Listen, O deceiver, trickster of others:
    Your words are wicked, harming and hurting all who hear them.
You love evil and hate what is good and right.
    You would rather lie than tell the truth.
Pause in his presence
You love to distort, devour, and deceive,
    using your sly tongue to spin the truth.
But the Almighty will strike you down forever!
    He will pull you up by your roots
    and drag you away to the darkness of death.
Pause in his presence
The godly will see all this and will be awestruck.
    Then they will laugh at the wicked, saying,
“See what happens to those great in their own eyes
    who don’t trust in the Most High to save them!
    Look how they trusted only in their wealth
    and made their living from wickedness.”[b]
But I am like a flourishing olive tree, anointed in the house of God.[c]
    I trust in the unending love of God;
    his passion toward me is forever and ever.
Because it is finished,[d]
    I will praise you forever and give you thanks.
    Before all your godly lovers I will proclaim your beautiful name!


  1. 52 For this episode in David’s life, see 1 Sam. 21:1–9; 22:9–23. The Edomites, although close relatives to the Hebrews, were bitter enemies to God’s people. In spite of Doeg’s lineage, he became a high-ranking official in Saul’s kingdom. Herod the Great, who slaughtered the babies of Bethlehem, was an Edomite. At the time David wrote this psalm, Saul had already attempted to kill him sixteen times. Ahimilech, the caretaker of the sword of Goliath, was a descendant of Eli.
  2. 52:7 Or “and [was] strong in [his] destruction.”
  3. 52:8 The olive tree was the source of the sacred anointing oil.
  4. 52:9 Or “You have acted [finished it].” The words “It is finished” were the last words of Jesus on the cross.

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