*Cruel Words

Psalm 52

An EasyEnglish Translation with Notes (about 1200 word vocabulary) on Psalm 52


Gordon Churchyard

Words in boxes are from the Bible.

Words marked with a *star are described in the word list at the end.

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Jesus said, "Did you not hear what David did? He was hungry and so were the men that were with him. He went into the house of God. He ate the special bread that was there. He broke the rules when he did this, so did all the men that were with him. The rule was that only the *priests should eat the bread". (Matthew 12:3-4) (The special bread told the people that God had fed them with manna. He did this when they came out from Egypt. Manna was another special bread that God sent from *heaven.)

Psalm 52

  (This is) for the music leader.
  (It is) a *maskil for David.
  (It is about) Doeg, the man from Edom.
  He went to Saul and told him,
  "David went to the house of (the *priest) Ahimelech".

v1   Why do you say how great you are, you strong but *evil man?
  The kind love of God is always (with us).

v2   Your *tongue talks about ideas to destroy (people).
  (It is) *like a sharp knife.
  You are always doing (something) to hurt (people).

v3, v4   You love:
  ·   to do *evil things
  ·   not to do good things
  ·   to say *lies
  ·   not to say what is true   *SELAH
  ·   every *cruel word
  ·   a false *tongue.

v5   So, God will destroy you completely. He will catch you.
  He will tear you away from your home.
  He will pull you out from the earth where people live.   *SELAH

v6   And good people will see it and be afraid.
  But then they will laugh at him.

v7   "Look at the man that did not make God his *fortress.
  Instead, he *trusted that all his money would make him safe.
  He became strong by destroying (people)".

v8   But I am *like an olive tree that is growing well in the house of God.
  I will always *trust in the kind love of God.

v9   I will always *praise you for what you have done.
  I will tell your people what a good name that you have.

The Story of Psalm 52

Saul was trying to kill David. David and his men ran away from Saul. They came to a house of God in Nob. They asked Ahimelech the *priest for food. He gave them the special bread that only the *priests should eat. He also gave David Goliath's *sword. It was in the house of God at Nob.

Doeg was a man from the country of Edom. He saw what Ahimelech did. Doeg worked for Saul. He went and told Saul what had happened. Saul thought that Ahimelech was giving David help to kill Saul. Doeg knew that this was not true, but he did not tell Saul. Saul told Doeg to kill Ahimelech and the other *priests in Nob. *Priests were special servants of God. They worked in the houses of God, or *temples. Doeg killed 85 *priests, and their wives and children.

Doeg was an important man. He worked for Saul at Saul’s farm. He was the leader (or boss) of all the men that kept Saul’s animals. He got a lot of money for his job. He became a rich and powerful man. But he was also a very *cruel man. He said things that hurt people. What he said about Ahimelech was true, but Saul thought that he meant something else! Doeg was clever *like this.

In the psalm, David tells us that God will destroy people that say bad things and hurt other people. But people that *trust in God instead of money will always *praise God. The "always" means that they will *praise God in *heaven after they die.

What Psalm 52 means

Verse 1: The answer to the question may seem strange. But it is not! The strong, *evil man will not always be with us. But the kind love of God will be!

Verse 2: Our *tongue is the part of our mouth that we eat and speak with. David says that Doeg’s *tongue is *like a sharp knife. The Hebrew word means "razor". A razor is the sharp knife that men shave (or cut off) their beards with!

Doeg’s words cut and hurt people’s feelings.

Verses 3 – 4: Here are some of the bad things that Doeg does.

Verse 5: But God will *punish Doeg. He will also *punish (or hurt) everybody else that is *cruel. "Pull out" is what you do to plants: you pull them out of the ground, or you uproot them. Plants cannot live if their roots are not in the ground. Doeg cannot live either!

Verse 6: "Good people" is "the *righteous" in Hebrew. Look after Psalm 5 (in Psalms 1-41) to see what *righteous means. When God does something it often makes us feel afraid. But then we begin to understand what he has done. Then we are happy!

Verse 7: A *fortress is a strong building. Enemies cannot catch you in it. Look at Psalm 18:2 of Psalms 1-41. People are wrong if they think that God will not catch them because:

  ·   they are very strong and powerful

  ·   they have a lot of money.

Doeg was powerful and had a lot of money. But God *punished him. This means that God hurt Doeg because Doeg had done wrong things.

Verses 8 – 9: There are two important words here:

  ·   kind love (hesed in Hebrew)

  ·   your people (hasidim in Hebrew).

You can see that in Hebrew they use the same word in two ways. "Kind love" (hesed) is what God gives to people. "Your people" (hasidim) accept the kind love that God offers.

Something to do

1.  If you have a Bible, read 1 Samuel 21:1-9 and 22:9-23. It will tell you the story of David, Ahimelech, Saul and Doeg.

2.  Accept God's hesed and become one of the hasidim. What does this mean? Have you done it?

Word list

cruel ~ not kind, hurting people.

evil ~ very very bad people (or the things that they do).

fortress ~ a safe place built of stones and rocks.

heaven ~ the home of God.

lies ~ words that are not true.

like ~ another word for "as".

maskil ~ a psalm that teaches you something.

praise ~ (noun, or being something) words that say that someone or something is very good.

praise ~ (verb, or doing something) say that someone or something is very good.

praise God ~ say how great that God is.

priest ~ servant of a god in a *temple (here servant of true God).

punish ~ hurt someone when they do something wrong (hit them with a stick or put them in prison).

righteous ~ very very good; only God is very righteous (or has righteousness); doing what is right.

righteousness ~ being very good.

SELAH ~ a word often used in the psalms; we do not know what it means, probably stop and think, or pray, or make music.

sword ~ a long sharp knife that soldiers used.

temple ~ a special building where people *worship God.

tongue ~ the bit in the mouth that speaks or tastes.

trust ~ (noun, or being something) believing that someone will help.

trust ~ (verb, or doing something) believe that someone will help.

worship ~ say that someone is very wonderful.


© 2000-2001, Wycliffe Associates (UK)

This publication is written in EasyEnglish Level A (1200 words)

July 2001

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