David, when he writes this Psalm, is probably in his mid-20s. He has just had a tearful parting from Jonathan, his good friend. He is beginning, what I have called, the fugitive years. These are the years when he is fleeing from Saul, going from place to place. What a difficult road David has to the throne.
After leaving Jonathan, David went to Nob, to Ahimelech the priest. David asked Ahimelech for some bread and a weapon.
He was given the sacred bread and the sword of Goliath.
1 Samuel 22:7: "Now one of Saul's servants was there that day, detained before the Lord; he was Doeg the Edomite, Saul's head shepherd" (NIV).
Don Wyrtzen says: "Doeg's career as a terrorist was built on slander, deceit, and intrigue. The tongue of this self-satisfied, clever man revealed his evil, corrupt character. His words, sharp as a razor, were used to destroy people and bring disgrace to God."
Because of what Ahimelech did in providing the sword and the bread, King Saul finds out about it and we read in 1 Samuel 22:18, 19: "The king then ordered Doeg, 'You turn and strike down the priests.' So Doeg the Edomite turned and struck them down. That day he killed eighty-five men who wore the linen ephod. He also put to the sword Nob, the town of the priests, with its men and women, its children and infants, and its cattle, donkeys and sheep" (NIV).
When you read horrible atrocities like that, you are reminded of 9-11 and 3,000 innocent souls whose lives were taken. You think of Saddam Hussein and the thousands of lives he was responsible for. You think of Osama Bin Laden and the hundreds of thousands of lives he was responsible for. You also think of Hitler. Can you just image what it would be like to face eternity with past sin records like that? To stand before the eternal God in judgment?
It is this experience from the life of David that sets the stage for the writing of Psalm 52.
Verse 1: "Why do you boast of evil, you mighty man? Why do you boast all day long, you who are a disgrace in the eyes of God?"
This first verse is made up of 2 questions: (1) "Why do you boast of evil, you mighty man?" - You big shot! You big time operator! and (2) "Why do you boast all day long, you who are a disgrace in the eyes of God?"
Verse 2: "Your tongue plots destruction; it is like a sharpened razor, you who practice deceit."
David, speaking of Doeg's tongue, says 3 things about it. "Your tongue": (1) "plots destruction"; (2) "is like a sharpened razor"; and (3) "practice[s] deceit."
Psalm 10:7: "His mouth is full of curses and lies and threats; trouble and evil are under his tongue" (NIV).
John Phillips says:
What dreadful power there is in the tongue.
Speech is mightier than shot or sword,
A single word will stop and angry horde;
A crafty if, a but, a then or when
Will change the destinies and lives of men.
Its potency is subtle, strong and sure,
Against its might there's nothing can endure.