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.
--Psalter Hymnal Handbook
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…