John Gills Exposition of the Bible Commentary

Verse 1 (Psalms 14:1)

The fool hath said in his heart ,.... This is to be understood not of a single individual person, as Nabal, which is the word here used; nor of some Gentile king, as Sennacherib, or Rabshakeh his general, as Theodoret; nor of Nebuchadnezzar, nor of Titus, as some Jewish writers F25 Vid. Jarchi, Kimchi & Ben Melech in loc. interpret it, making one to be here intended, and the other in the fifty third psalm: the same with this; but of a body, a set of men, who justly bear this character; and design not such who are idiots, persons void of common sense and understanding; but such who are fools in their morals, without understanding in spiritual things; wicked profligate wretches, apostates from God, alienated from the life of God; and whose hearts are full of blindness and ignorance, and whose conversations are vile and impure, and they enemies of righteousness, though full of all wicked subtlety and mischief: these say in their hearts, which are desperately wicked, and out of which evil thoughts proceed, pregnant with atheism and impiety; these endeavour to work themselves into such a belief, and inwardly to conclude, at least to wish,

there is no God ; though they do not express it with their mouths, yet they would fain persuade their hearts to deny the being of God; that so having no superior to whom they are accountable, they may go on in sin with impunity; however, to consider him as altogether such an one as themselves, and to remove such perfections from him, as may render him unworthy to be regarded by them; such as omniscience, omnipresence, &c.; and to conceive of him as entirely negligent of and unconcerned about affairs of this lower world, having nothing to do with the government of it: and thus to deny his perfections and providence, is all one as to deny his existence, or that there is a God: accordingly the Targum paraphrases it,

"there is no שולטנא , "government" of God in the earth;'

so Kimchi interprets it,

"there is no governor, nor judge in the world, to render to man according to his works;'

they are corrupt ; that is, everyone of these fools; and it is owing to the corruption of their hearts they say such things: they are corrupt in themselves; they have corrupt natures, they are born in sin, and of the flesh, and must be carnal and corrupt: or "they do corrupt", or "have corrupted" F26 השחיתו "corruperunt", Pagninus, Montanus, Vatablus, Gejerus; "corrumpunt", Junius & Tremellius; "corrumpunt se", Piscator. : they corrupt themselves by their atheistic thoughts and wicked practices, Judges 1:10 ; or their works, as the Chaldee paraphrase adds; or their ways, their manner and course of life, Genesis 6:12 ; and they corrupt others with their evil communications, their bad principles and practices, their ill examples and wicked lives;

they have done abominable works : every sinful action is abominable in the sight of God; but there are some sins more abominable than others; there are abominable idolatries, and abominable lusts, such as were committed in Sodom; and it may be these are pointed at here, and which are usually committed by such who like not to retain God in their knowledge; see Romans 1:24 ;

there is none that doeth good ; anyone good work in a spiritual manner; not in faith, from love, in the name and strength of Christ, and with a view to the glory of God: nor can any man do a good work without the grace of God, and strength from Christ, and the assistance of the Spirit of God: hence, whatsoever a wicked man does, whether in a civil or in a religious way, is sin; see Proverbs 21:4 . Arama takes these to be the words of the fool, or atheist, saying, there is no God that does good, like those in Zephaniah 1:12 .

- John Gills Exposition of the Bible Commentary