Helen Ann (Brink) Otte Walter (b. Grand Rapids, MI, 1931) versified this psalm in 1982 for the Psalter Hymnal. She received her education at Calvin College, Grand Rapids, Michigan, and has worked as a teacher, proofreader, and librarian. She was a member of the Poets' Workshop that worked with the revision committee to prepare psalm versifications for the 1987 Psalter Hymnal. After her first husband died and she remarried, she remained active as a freelance writer, especially of children's stories and dramas, some of which have been published in Reformed Worship under the name Helen Walter.
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A godly man's denunciation of a rich and arrogant fool who has wronged him.
st. 1 = vv. 1-4
st. 2 = vv. 5-7
st. 3 = vv. 8-9
Tradition ascribes this psalm to David on the occasion "when Doeg the Edomite had gone to Saul and told him: 'David has gone to the house of Ahimelech'" (1 Sam. 21). The psalmist has been attacked by one who has grown wealthy and powerful by taking advantage of others with the most vicious of weapons, an evil tongue. Here the psalmist addresses him with the bluntness his folly deserves (st. 1). The fool is evil and arrogant, and God will bring him "down to everlasting ruin" (v. 5); then the righteous ones he disdained will mock his folly (st. 2). We join the psalmist in a testimony that only those who trust in the LORD will flourish like the long-lived olive tree, enjoying a ready welcome in God's house (st. 3). This psalm has much in common with Psalm 49. Helen Otte (PHH 17) versified Psalm 52 in 1985 for the Psalter Hymnal.
Whenever the church reflects on the folly of those who live by taking advantage of others. The confidence and hope of stanza 3 make the psalm useful for many occasions in Christian worship.
Aubrey Lee Butler (b. Noble, OK, 1933) composed MADILL to accompany Milburn Price's text "Stir Thy Church, 0 God, Our Father." Butler named the tune after Madill, Oklahoma, where he served as a minister of music at the First Baptist Church. MADILL first appeared in a pamphlet, New Hymns for This Day…