Psalms 14
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Listen to this chapter in Hebrew:

1  For the Leader. [A Psalm] of David. The fool hath said in his heart: ‘There is no God’; they have dealt corruptly, they have done abominably; there is none that doeth 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

א  לַמְנַצֵּחַ לְדָוִד אָמַר נָבָל בְּלִבּוֹ אֵין אֱלֹהִים הִשְׁחִיתוּ הִתְעִיבוּ עֲלִילָה אֵין עֹשֵׂה טוֹב.

14:1   The fool said in his heart

The psalmist paints a dim picture of humanity with corruption in command and desire reigning. God peers from the heavens and wonders if any people still contemplate the Creator. The Hebrew word for fool used in this verse, ‘naval,’ comes from the name of the infamous wicked one, Nabal, found in I Samuel 25. David encounters Nabal, 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 Abigail, however, acts with kindness and love. David sees redemption in Abigail and even 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, Jacob will rejoice, Israel will be happy (verse 7).

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2  Hashem looked forth from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any man of understanding, that did seek after God.

ב  יְהוָה מִשָּׁמַיִם הִשְׁקִיף עַל בְּנֵי אָדָם לִרְאוֹת הֲיֵשׁ מַשְׂכִּיל דֹּרֵשׁ אֶת אֱלֹהִים.

3  They are all corrupt, they are together become impure; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.

ג  הַכֹּל סָר יַחְדָּו נֶאֱלָחוּ אֵין עֹשֵׂה טוֹב אֵין גַּם אֶחָד.

4  ‘Shall not all the workers of iniquity know it, who eat up My people as they eat bread, and call not upon Hashem?’

ד  הֲלֹא יָדְעוּ כָּל פֹּעֲלֵי אָוֶן אֹכְלֵי עַמִּי אָכְלוּ לֶחֶם יְהוָה לֹא קָרָאוּ.

5  There are they in great fear; for God is with the righteous generation.

ה  שָׁם פָּחֲדוּ פָחַד כִּי אֱלֹהִים בְּדוֹר צַדִּיק.

6  Ye would put to shame the counsel of the poor, but Hashem is his refuge.

ו  עֲצַת עָנִי תָבִישׁוּ כִּי יְהוָה מַחְסֵהוּ.

7  Oh that the salvation of Israel were come out of Zion! When Hashem turneth the captivity of His people, let Jacob rejoice, let Israel be glad.

ז  מִי יִתֵּן מִצִּיּוֹן יְשׁוּעַת יִשְׂרָאֵל בְּשׁוּב יְהוָה שְׁבוּת עַמּוֹ יָגֵל יַעֲקֹב יִשְׂמַח יִשְׂרָאֵל.

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Psalms 13
Psalms 15

Comment ( 1 )

The comments below do not necessarily reflect the beliefs and opinions of The Israel Bibleā„¢.

  • Someone put up a billboard which quoted the first verse of Psalm 14: "The fool says in his heart: 'There is no God'."

    A passer-by found the message on the board so offensive that he submitted a complaint, saying that the board implied that atheists were stupid. He did not believe in the existence of God but he did not consider himself to be "foolish" or "stupid".

    The fact that he was a pilot proves that the passer-by was not dumb. However, a few classes in logic could have helped him interpret the sentence properly. The quoted sentence does not imply that atheists are fools, but the converse, namely that fools are atheists. Therefore only someone claiming to be a fool but not an atheist would have a valid reason to complain about the billboard.

    Actually the sentence on the billboard does not do justice to Psalm 14:1 as it was written in Hebrew. It could be translated into English to read "the fool says in his heart no god". The original language had no upper case letters or punctuation marks. The intended meaning could have been: "The fool says in his heart 'God, I say no to you'."

    Whichever translation is accepted as correct, the verse describes character traits of a fool, not an atheist. The Bible ignores atheists, treating them as if they did not exist

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Psalms 14