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Psalms 14

1For the leader. Of David. The benighted man thinks, “Hashem does not care.” Man's deeds are corrupt and loathsome; no one does good.

lam-na-TZAY-akh l'-da-VID a-MAR na-VAL b'-li-BO AYN e-lo-HEEM hish-KHEE-tu hit-EE-vu a-lee-LAH AYN o-SAY TOV

אלַמְנַצֵּחַ לְדָוִד אָמַר נָבָל בְּלִבּוֹ אֵין אֱלֹהִים הִשְׁחִיתוּ הִתְעִיבוּ עֲלִילָה אֵין עֹשֵׂה־טוֹב׃

 14:1   The benighted man thinks

The psalmist paints a dim picture of humanity with corruption in command and desire reigning. Hashem peers from the heavens and wonders if any people still contemplate and seek the Creator. The Hebrew word for ‘benighted’ used in this verse is naval (נבל), which means ‘foolish’ or ‘senseless.’ It is also the name of the infamous wicked man described in Sefer Shmuel I 25. David encounters Naval, who lives only to please his desires and spares nobody his evil plans. He is indeed a fool, corrupt, immoral and unjust, and is ultimately condemned by his own hubris. His wife Avigail, however, acts with kindness and love. David sees redemption in Avigail and eventually, after Naval’s death, makes her his wife. The psalm concludes with the hope of the ultimate redemption, as the salvation of Israel will come when the nation of God returns to the land. Then, Yaakov will rejoice, Israel will be happy (verse 7).

2Hashem looks down from heaven on mankind to find a man of understanding, a man mindful of Hashem.

ביְהֹוָה מִשָּׁמַיִם הִשְׁקִיף עַל־בְּנֵי־אָדָם לִרְאוֹת הֲיֵשׁ מַשְׂכִּיל דֹּרֵשׁ אֶת־אֱלֹהִים׃

3All have turned bad, altogether foul; there is none who does good, not even one.

גהַכֹּל סָר יַחְדָּו נֶאֱלָחוּ אֵין עֹשֵׂה־טוֹב אֵין גַּם־אֶחָד׃

4Are they so witless, all those evildoers, who devour my people as they devour food, and do not invoke Hashem?

דהֲלֹא יָדְעוּ כָּל־פֹּעֲלֵי אָוֶן אֹכְלֵי עַמִּי אָכְלוּ לֶחֶם יְהֹוָה לֹא קָרָאוּ׃

5There they will be seized with fright, for Hashem is present in the circle of the righteous.

השָׁם פָּחֲדוּ פָחַד כִּי־אֱלֹהִים בְּדוֹר צַדִּיק׃

6You may set at naught the counsel of the lowly, but Hashem is his refuge.

ועֲצַת־עָנִי תָבִישׁוּ כִּי יְהֹוָה מַחְסֵהוּ׃

7O that the deliverance of Yisrael might come from Tzion! When Hashem restores the fortunes of His people, Yaakov will exult, Yisrael will rejoice.

זמִי יִתֵּן מִצִּיּוֹן יְשׁוּעַת יִשְׂרָאֵל בְּשׁוּב יְהֹוָה שְׁבוּת עַמּוֹ יָגֵל יַעֲקֹב יִשְׂמַח יִשְׂרָאֵל׃