Psalm 58:1
Parallel Verses
New American Standard Bible
For the choir director; set to Al-tashheth. A Mikhtam of David. Do you indeed speak righteousness, O gods? Do you judge uprightly, O sons of men?

King James Bible
To the chief Musician, Altaschith, Michtam of David. Do ye indeed speak righteousness, O congregation? do ye judge uprightly, O ye sons of men?

Darby Bible Translation
{To the chief Musician. 'Destroy not.' Of David. Michtam.} Is righteousness indeed silent? Do ye speak it? Do ye judge with equity, ye sons of men?

World English Bible
Do you indeed speak righteousness, silent ones? Do you judge blamelessly, you sons of men?

Young's Literal Translation
To the Overseer. -- 'Destroy not.' -- A secret treasure, by David. Is it true, O dumb one, righteously ye speak? Uprightly ye judge, O sons of men?

Psalm 58:1 Parallel
Commentary
Barnes' Notes on the Bible

Do ye indeed speak righteousness, O congregation? - Luther renders this, "Are you then dumb, that you will not speak what is right, and judge what is proper, ye children of men?" The meaning of the verse is exceedingly obscure; but probably the whole sense of the psalm turns on it. The word rendered "congregation," אלם 'êlem - occurs only in this place and in the title to Psalm 56:1-13, "Jonath-elem-rechokim." See the notes at that title. The word properly means "dumbness, silence." Gesenius (Lexicon) renders it here, "Do ye indeed decree dumb justice?" that is, "Do ye really at length decree justice, which so long has seemed dumb?" Professor Alexander renders it, "Are ye indeed dumb when ye should speak righteousness?" The allusion is clearly to some public act of judging; to a judicial sentence; to magistrates and rulers; to people who "should" give a righteous sentence; to those in authority who "ought" to pronounce a just opinion on the conduct of others.

The "fact" in the case on which the appeal is made seems to have been that they did "not" do this; that their conduct was wicked and perverse; that no reliance could be placed on their judicial decisions. Rosenmuller renders it, "There is, in fact, silence of justice;" that is, justice is not declared or spoken. Perhaps the meaning of the phrase may be thus expressed: "Is there truly a dumbness or silence of justice when ye speak? do you judge righteously, O ye sons of men?" That is, "You indeed speak; you do declare an opinion; you pronounce a sentence; but justice is, in fact, dumb or silent when you do it. There is no correct or just judgment in the matter. The opinion which is declared is based on error, and has its origin in a wicked heart." There is no expression in the original to correspond to the words "O congregation" in our translation, unless it is the word אלם 'êlem, which never has this signification.

It is not so rendered in any of the versions. It is not easy to determine "who" is referred to by this question. It cannot be, as is implied in our common version, that it is to any "congregation," any people gathered together for the purpose of pronouncing judgment. Yet it is evidently a reference to some persons, or classes of persons, who were expected to "judge," or to whom it pertained to pass judgment; and the most natural supposition is that the reference is to the rulers of the nation - to Saul, and the heads of the government. If the supposition is correct that the psalm was composed, like Psalm 56:1-13; Psalm 57:1-11; 59, in the time of the Sauline persecutions, and that it belongs to the same "group" of psalms, then it would have reference to Saul and to those who were associated with him in persecuting David. The subject of the psalm would then be the unjust judgments which they passed on him in treating him as an enemy of the commonwealth; in regarding him as an outlaw, and in driving him from his places of refuge as if hunting him down like a wild beast. The contents of the psalm well accord with this explanation.

Do ye judge uprightly? - Do you judge right things? are your judgments in accordance with truth and justice?

O ye sons of men - Perhaps referring to the fact that in their judgments they showed that they were people - influenced by the common passions of people; in other words, they showed that they could not, in forming their judgments, rise above the corrupt passions and prejudices which usually influence and sway mankind.

Psalm 58:1 Parallel Commentaries

Library
Peaceable Principles and True: Or, a Brief Answer to Mr. D'Anver's and Mr. Paul's Books against My Confession of Faith, and Differences in Judgment About Baptism no Bar to Communion.
WHEREIN THEIR SCRIPTURELESS NOTIONS ARE OVERTHROWN, AND MY PEACEABLE PRINCIPLES STILL MAINTAINED. 'Do ye indeed speak righteousness, O congregation? do ye judge uprightly, O ye sons of men?'--Psalm 58:1 SIR, I have received and considered your short reply to my differences in judgment about water baptism no bar to communion; and observe, that you touch not the argument at all: but rather labour what you can, and beyond what you ought, to throw odiums upon your brother for reproving you for your error,
John Bunyan—The Works of John Bunyan Volumes 1-3

Moral Depravity.
VIII. Let us consider the proper method of accounting for the universal and total moral depravity of the unregenerate moral agents of our race. In the discussion of this subject, I will-- 1. Endeavor to show how it is not to be accounted for. In examining this part of the subject, it is necessary to have distinctly in view that which constitutes moral depravity. All the error that has existed upon this subject, has been founded in false assumptions in regard to the nature or essence of moral depravity.
Charles Grandison Finney—Systematic Theology

Cross References
Psalm 57:1
For the choir director; set to Al-tashheth. A Mikhtam of David, when he fled from Saul in the cave. Be gracious to me, O God, be gracious to me, For my soul takes refuge in You; And in the shadow of Your wings I will take refuge Until destruction passes by.

Psalm 82:2
How long will you judge unjustly And show partiality to the wicked? Selah.

Micah 3:9
Now hear this, heads of the house of Jacob And rulers of the house of Israel, Who abhor justice And twist everything that is straight,

Habakkuk 1:4
Therefore the law is ignored And justice is never upheld. For the wicked surround the righteous; Therefore justice comes out perverted.

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