It does not appear upon what occasion this psalm was penned nor whether upon any particular occasion. Some say David penned it when Saul persecuted him; others, when Absalom rebelled against him. But they are mere conjectures, which have not certainty enough to warrant us to expound the psalm by them. The apostle, in quoting part of this psalm (Rom. 3:10) to prove that Jews and Gentiles are all under sin (Rom. 3:9) and that all the world is guilty before God (Rom. 3:19), leads us to understand it, in general, as a description of the depravity of human nature, the sinfulness of the sin we are conceived and born in, and the deplorable corruption of a great part of mankind, even of the world that lies in wickedness, 1 John 5:19. But as in those psalms which are designed to discover our remedy in Christ there is commonly an allusion to David himself, yea, and some passages that are to be understood primarily of him (as in Ps. 2:1-12, 16:1-11; 22:1-31, and others), so in this psalm, which is designed to discover our wound by sin, there is an allusion to David’s enemies and persecutors, and other oppressors of good men at that time, to whom some passages have an immediate reference. In all the psalms from the 3rd to this (except the 8th) David had been complaining of those that hated and persecuted him, insulted him and abused him; now here he traces all those bitter streams to the fountain, the general corruption of nature, and sees that not his enemies only, but all the children of men, were thus corrupted. Here is, I. A charge exhibited against a wicked world, Ps. 14:1. II. The proof of the charge, Ps. 14:2, 3. III. A serious expostulation with sinners, especially with persecutors, upon it, Ps. 14:4-6. IV. A believing prayer for the salvation of Israel and a joyful expectation of it, Ps. 14:7.
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