christine's bible study

The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever. Isa 40:8

psalm 53

Read Psalm 53 at Bible Gateway.

I am not wise enough to see how Psa 53 forms its own chiastic structure. But as I was meditating on the psalm, I realized I had read something like it before: Psa 14 is an almost exact mirror of Psa 53. Almost:

Psa 14:1-7, The folly of the wicked + the hope of Israel
1) Psa 14:1a, The fool has said in his heart, “There is no God;”
2) Psa 14:1b-3, There are none who seek God + there are none who do good;
3) Psa 14:4, The workers of iniquity have no knowledge who eat up people as they eat bread;
4) Psa 14:5a, There they are in great fear;
5) Psa 14:5b, For God is with the generation of the righteous;
6) Psa 14:6, The wicked shame the counsel of the poor but the Lord is his refuge;
7) Psa 14:7, Salvation of Israel comes out of Zion + LORD brings back the captivity of His people.

Psa 53:1-6, The folly of the wicked + the hope of Israel
1) Psa 53:1, The fool has said in his heart, “There is no God;”
2) Psa 53:2-3, There are none who seek God + there are none who do good;
3) Psa 53:4, The workers of iniquity no knowledge who eat up people as they eat bread;
4) Psa 53:5a, There they are in great fear;
5) Psa 53:5b, For God has scattered the bones of him who encamps against you;
6) Psa 53:5c, God has put the wicked to shame because He has despised them;
7) Psa 53:6, Salvation of Israel comes out of Zion + God brings back the captivity of His people.

The 5th and 6th elements are slightly different. In Psa 14, the verses read:

There they [the wicked] are in great fear,
For God is with the generation of the righteous.
You [the wicked] shame the counsel of the poor,
But the Lord is his refuge. Psa 14:5-6

In Psa 14, the reason the wicked are in great fear, is because God is with the righteous, the very ones they have been eating up as one eats bread. The implication is, that the wicked embark on this course of iniquity without fear, believing that there is no God. But God begins to show Himself strong on the behalf of the righteous, and as the wicked see God’s mighty acts, they begin to be in fear because of what they have done to His beloved.

In Psa 53, the verses read:

There they [the wicked] are in great fear
Where no fear was,
For God has scattered the bones of him who encamps against you;
You have put them [the wicked] to shame,
Because God has despised them. Psa 53:5

In Psa 53, the reason the wicked are in great fear, is because God scatters the bones of him who emcamps against you, i.e., the people of God who the wicked eat up as one eats bread. The wicked again begins on their course of iniquity without fear, believing that there is no God, but as God begins to scatter the bones of the oppressors of His people, they begin to be in fear because of what they have done to His beloved.

In Psa 14, the wicked put the poor to shame. In Psa 53, the LORD puts the wicked to shame, in response. Even if the righteous suffer at the hands of the wicked for a season, God will not let the wicked continue forever and indefinitely; He will move on the behalf of the righteous to right wrongs!

Psa 14-53 likely forms a single chiastic structure, or else, Psa 14 and 53 are matching elements in a greater chiastic structure that might go even beyond them both backward and forward. If anyone finds any more of the structure, please post it in the comments!

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