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The fool – The word “fool” is often used in the Scriptures to denote a wicked man – as sin is the essence of folly. Compare Job 2:10; Psa. 74:18; Gen. 34:7; Deut. 22:21. The Hebrew word is rendered “vile person” in Isa. 32:5-6. Elsewhere it is rendered “fool, foolish,” and “foolish man.” It is designed to convey the idea that wickedness or impiety is essential folly, or to use a term in describing the wicked which will, perhaps, more than any other, make the mind averse to the sin – for there is many a man who would see more in the word “fool” to be hated than in the word “wicked;” who would rather be called a “sinner” than a “fool.”
Says – That is, has “thought,” for the reference is to what is passing in his mind.
In his heart – See the note at Psa_10:11. He may not have said this to others; he may not have taken the position openly before the world that there is no God, but such a thought has passed through his mind, and he has cherished it; and such a thought, either as a matter of belief or of desire, is at the foundation of his conduct. He “acts” as if such were his belief or his wish.
There is no Jehovah – The words “there is” are not in the original. The literal rendering would be either “no God,” “nothing of God,” or “God is not.” The idea is that, in his apprehension, there is no such thing as God, or no such being as God. The more correct idea in the passage is, that this was the belief of him who is here called a “fool;” and it is doubtful whether the language would convey the idea of desire – or of a wish that this might be so; but still there can be no doubt that such is the wish or desire of the wicked, and that they listen eagerly to any suggestions or arguments which, in their apprehension, would go to demonstrate that there is no such being as God. The exact state of mind, however, indicated by the language here, undoubtedly is that such was the opinion or the belief of him who is here called a fool. If this is the true interpretation, then the passage would prove that there have been people who were atheists. The passage would prove, also, in its connection, that such a belief was closely linked, either as a cause or a consequent, with a corrupt life, for this statement immediately follows regarding the character of those who are represented as saying that there is no God. As a matter of fact, the belief that there is no God is commonly founded on the desire to lead a wicked life; or the opinion that there is no God is embraced by those who, in fact, lead such a life with a desire to sustain themselves in their depravity, and to avoid the fear of future retribution. A man who wishes to lead an upright life desires to find evidence that there is a God, and to such a man, nothing would be more dark and distressing than anything which would compel him to doubt the fact of God’s existence. It is only a wicked man who finds pleasure in an argument to prove that there is no God, and the wish that there was no God springs up only in a bad heart.
They are corrupt – That is, they have done corruptly; or their conduct is corrupt. “They have done abominable works.” They have done that which is to be abominated or abhorred; that which is to be detested, and which is fitted to fill the mind with horror.
Abomination; Detestable: (תּוֹעֵבָה toebah or תֹּעֵבָה toebah) It is a repulsion, abhorrence, that is, an object or person that is loathsome or repulsive. The sense of toebah is a detestable thing or person that causes horror and disgust in another person. (Dt 32:16; 2Ch 34:33; Jer 16:18; Eze 5:9; 7:20; 11:18, 21; 16:36) The Hebrew (תָּעַב taab) from (תּוֹעֵבָה toebah or תֹּעֵבָה toebah) means to behave in an abominable manner. To detest, abhor, loathe, despise, degrade, i.e., have a hate or very strong dislike for an object, implying contempt and low opinion of the value of the object (Dt 7:26; 23:8; Job 9:31; 19:19; 30:10; Ps 5:7; 106:40; 107:18; 119:163; Isa 49:7; Eze 16:25; Am 5:10; Mic 3:9+); (nif) be repulsive, be vile, be rejected (1Ch 21:6; Job 15:16; Isa 14:19+); (hif) behave in a vile manner, act. shamefully (1Ki 21:26; Ps 14:1; 53:2; Eze 16:52+).
There is no one who does good – Depravity is universal. All have fallen into sin; all fail to do good. None are found who are disposed to worship their Maker and to keep his laws. This was originally spoken, undoubtedly, with reference to the age in which the psalmist lived, but it is applied by the apostle Paul, Rom. 3:10 (see the note at that passage), as an argument for the universal depravity of mankind.
By Albert Barnes and Edward D. Andrews
 This is one of eight scribal changes from יהוה [JHVH] to אֱלֹהִים [Elohim].
 LXX adds, “there is not even one”