For the Director.
A foolish one says in his heart, "There is no God."
They are spoiled. Their deeds abhorrent. None do good.
YAHVEH looks down from heaven on the children of Adam
to see if they are of understanding to seek out God.
The whole have turned aside, they are together corrupt.
None do good! Not a single one!
Do not all these troublemakers know they are devouring my people,
devouring them as bread. YAHVEH they never call upon.
There they are fearfully, fearful for God is among the upright.
You may mock the counsel of the humble, but YAHVEH is their refuge,
[He] who from out of Zion gives Israel salvation.
When YAHVEH brings back the captivity of His people, let Jacob rejoice. Be glad Israel.
Of the all the manuscripts transcribed and presented herein, Psalm 14 was certainly one of the more unique and difficult manuscripts to transcribe into a traditional musical format. Unlike many of the other manuscripts whose meter and phrasing was fairly consistent and predictable from section-to-section and verse-to-verse, Psalm 14 is more what we would call free-form, a type of song-poem1. Even though not included with the thirteen Psalm manuscripts specifically designated as a maskil2, it is reasonable to assume that Psalm 14 is also a maskil as it is the only manuscript within the Psalms that is duplicated in another work, "Psalm 53 - a maskil of David."
Comparing the melodies of Psalm 14 to Psalm 53, we find that with the exception of the superscription, the last phrase of section B and the beginning phrase of section C, the melodies are virtually identical. Also from a lyrical standpoint, with a few minor verbiage and spelling variations, the lyrics are identical to both manuscripts.
However, the most significant variation between the two manuscripts is the replacement of the proper Name of God, YAHVEH in Psalm 53, with the more generic Hebrew form: ë-lo-hem'3 in all instances where the Sacred Name, YAHVEH appears in Psalm 14 (see comparison of Psalm 14 to Psalm 53 below).
With an edgy and dark melody combined with the poignant lyrics, Psalm 14 stands out as one of the more diverse and distinctive manuscripts within the book of Psalms.
Comparison of Psalm 14 to Psalm 53
Jewish Publications Society
1. For the Leader. A Psalm of David. The fool hath said in his heart: 'There is no God'; they have dealt corruptly, they have done abominably; there is none that doeth good.
2. The LORD looked forth from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any man of understanding, that did seek after God.
3. They are all corrupt, they are together become impure; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.
4. 'Shall not all the workers of iniquity know it, who eat up My people as they eat bread, and call not upon the LORD?'
5. There are they in great fear; for God is with the righteous generation.
6. Ye would put to shame the counsel of the poor, but the LORD is his refuge.
7. Oh that the salvation of Israel were come out of Zion! When the LORD turneth the captivity of His people, let Jacob rejoice, let Israel be glad.
King James Version
1. To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David. 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.
1 i.e., the rhythmic sense of the individual phrases is driven by the lyrics and not the melody as is the case in many of the other manuscripts.
2 Psalm manuscripts designated as a maskil within the superscription: 32, 42, 44, 45, 52, 53, 54, 55, 74, 78, 88, 89, 142 (total 13 occurrences)
3 ë-lo-hem' - meaning God