Psalm Fourteen – Translation of the Song


14,1: For the leader. For David.

Said the villain in his heart, “There is no God.”

They acted corruptly, acted abominably;

There is no doer of good.


14,2: Adonai from the heavens observed the sons of man

to see, is there someone wise, a seeker of God.


14,3: Everything and everyone, all, go astray;

They have become loathesome.

There is no doer of good, there is not even one.


14,4: Do they not know, all the doers of evil, eaters of my nation

[as they]eat bread, to Adonai to call out?


14,5: There they fearfully fear, for God dwells among

the generation of the righteous.


14,6: The counsel of the poor will bring you shame,

for Adonai is his shelter.


14,7: Who will give from Zion the deliverance of Israel?

When Adonai restores the dwelling of His nation,

Jacob will rejoice, Israel will be glad.


Notes, Psalm 14

14,1: The Hebrew for “villain” – נָבָ֣ל —has the same root as “carcass” – נְבֵלָה; thus a moral rebuke is built into the word “villain” itself.


14,2: The Hebrew for “observe” – הִשְׁקִ֪יף —has the same letters as “transparent” – שָׁקוּף  —suggesting that the actions and thoughts of humankind are clearly seen by God.


14,2: The Hebrew for “see” – לִ֖רְאוֹת  —has the same letters as “enlighten” – הֵאִיר  —indicating, as does “observe”, that sight, though physical, is also indicative of understanding.


14,2: The literal translation of the Hebrew phrase is “who seeks the God” – דֹּ֜רֵשׁ אֶת־אֱלֹהִֽים. Thus the Hebrew emphasizes that, for Israel, God is one, that God is the God.


14,3: The literal translation is “both”, not “all”.


14,3: “They” can refer to either persons or acts, or, indeed, both.


14,4: The Hebrew for “evil”, written without vowels –און —can also mean “power”.


14,4: The metaphor, “eaters of my nation”, has three implications: that the evildoers, who devour the nation with their rapacity, do so as thoughtlessly as they eat bread; that the evildoers devour both the nation and bread, one with the other, consuming each; that the bread the evildoers eat is itself a metaphor for the resources of the nation.


14,5: The repetition of “fear” is emphatic. The English translation is mirroring the Hebrew.


14,6: The meaning of “the counsel of the poor:” is ambiguous. It could mean either the counsel given by the poor or offered to them; if the latter, it could suggest that this counsel is of little worth.


14,7: “Dwelling”, in Hebrew – שְׁב֣וּת  —has the same root as the Hebrew “return” – שׁוּב .


14,7: In the Hebrew, the names “Jacob” and “Israel” come after the verbs, not before (literally, “will rejoice Jacob”, “will be glad Israel”). Jacob is renamed Israel, in the Torah, after wrestling with an angel, so that the line may be referring to the one individual, using both his names. Perhaps what the final line envisions is the blessing to be bestowed on the people Israel both as individuals and as a nation.

Click here to study “Literary analysis of Psalm 14”

King James Psalms 14 Translation:

[1] The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good.
[2] The LORD looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, and seek God.
[3] They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy: there is none that doeth good, no, not one.
[4] Have all the workers of iniquity no knowledge? who eat up my people as they eat bread, and call not upon the LORD.
[5] There were they in great fear: for God is in the generation of the righteous.
[6] Ye have shamed the counsel of the poor, because the LORD is his refuge.
[7] Oh that the salvation of Israel were come out of Zion! when the LORD bringeth back the captivity of his people, Jacob shall rejoice, and Israel shall be glad.