RECITING PSALMS Introduction: This brief comment is in memory of my late mother (Brainah Leah bat Moshe Aharon) and for all those who read Tehillim for the sake of others. [Note: Quoted verses are taken from the Mechon Mamre website.]
Authorship of the 14th Chapter of Psalms is attributed to King David. Nearly identical to Psalm 53, it laments fools who deny G-d and who caused David’s personal troubles.
Such people persuade themselves none will hold them to account for their deeds; thus they go about satisfying every evil intent. Psalm 14 decries the ‘disease of sinfulness’ infecting all of mankind.
ה– מִשָּׁמַיִם, הִשְׁקִיף עַל-בְּנֵי-אָדָם: לִרְאוֹת, הֲיֵשׁ מַשְׂכִּיל– דֹּרֵשׁ, אֶת-אֱלֹהִים.
The LORD looked forth from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any of understanding who sought after God. (Psalms 14:2)
Later commentators like the Malbim (1809-79 Ukraine) suggest this Psalm foretold the period of the destruction of the 1st Temple and the redemptive hope for its rebuilding. Accordingly, enemies like Nebuchadnezzar denying Divine Providence used his energies to attack Israel. Ultimately, only G-d could bring about Salvation.
מִי יִתֵּן מִצִּיּוֹן, יְשׁוּעַת יִשְׂרָאֵל: בְּשׁוּב ה, שְׁבוּת עַמּוֹ; יָגֵל יַעֲקֹב, יִשְׂמַח יִשְׂרָאֵל.
Would that the salvation of Israel come out of Zion! When the LORD returns the people from captivity; let Jacob rejoice, let Israel be glad. (Psalms 14:7)
A timely message as we begin the Book of Bereishith and read of the Almighty’s disappointment with the 1st 10-generations of humanity.