Psalm 14, 29 Jul 18

Many of the psalms are quite dark. Psalm 13 is memorable for the cry: “How long (must I wait)?” This next Psalm 14, is a despairing plea — that things are falling apart, there is no God, no-one does any good —  surely another soul-felt expression of grief at the state of the world, whether at the time of writing or now.

A short 2015 post likening such psalms to a song of the blues in the night is recommended reading. Go there now…

Meanwhile back to this challenging text. The psalmist, said to be David, rails against those who reject divine influence altogether, and “eat up my people like bread.” After thus letting off steam for several verses, almost as an aside David drops the comment that anyway, God is the refuge of people so afflicted. (v.6) He then prays for restoration, fortune and rejoicing. (v.7)


It’s not easy to pick an inspiring verse as the people’s response to these sung verses: [SWUC is using the alternative reading, Psalm 145, described in the previous post.]

  • The refrain in New Century grasps this last prayer: “O that deliverance would come from Zion.”
  • The Emergent Psalter takes the first verses head on: “Fools say in their hearts there is no God”, but then adds another more hopeful verse from the almost identical Psalm 53.
  • In an interesting twist, PFAS chooses for the responsorial refrain an 18th century text “Prone to wander”.
  • This psalm is omitted from Together in Song.
  • Even the public domain has little to offer, unless you are enticed by an SATB with the mellifluous title of ‘Depravity’, from The Columbian Harmonist dated 1793. Hmm.

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