52:2 Doeg Ha’adomi came and informed Shaul
What is the definition of derogatory speech, known in Hebrew as lashon hara (לשון הרע)? It is often assumed that this refers to a person who makes up terrible things about someone else. That, however, is a different transgression, called ‘slander.’ The term lashon hara refers to a situation where one person harms others, intentionally or unintentionally, through true statements. A case in point is the biblical story of Doeg the Edomite, chief herdsman of King Shaul (I Samuel 22). When asked by Shaul if he knew the whereabouts of David, he replied that David is in the city of Nov, together with the High Priest Achimelech. To Shaul, it sounded like David and Achimelech were conspiring to rebel, and thus Shaul gave a directive to destroy all the priests of the city of Nov. Doeg’s misspoken words caused great sorrow, as it says in verse 4, “Your tongue devises mischief, like a sharpened razor that works treacherously.” In this psalm, David addresses a great man who falls because he used the power of his tongue inappropriately.