Psalm 14:4 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Psalm 14:4, NIV: Do all these evildoers know nothing? They devour my people as though eating bread; they never call on the LORD.

Psalm 14:4, ESV: Have they no knowledge, all the evildoers who eat up my people as they eat bread and do not call upon the LORD?

Psalm 14:4, KJV: Have all the workers of iniquity no knowledge? who eat up my people as they eat bread, and call not upon the LORD.

Psalm 14:4, NASB: Do all the workers of injustice not know, Who devour my people as they eat bread, And do not call upon the LORD?

Psalm 14:4, NLT: Will those who do evil never learn? They eat up my people like bread and wouldn't think of praying to the LORD.

Psalm 14:4, CSB: Will evildoers never understand? They consume my people as they consume bread; they do not call on the Lord.

What does Psalm 14:4 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

David marvels at the willful ignorance of evildoers, as do other psalmists (Psalm 82:5). Living as if God doesn't exist, they can persecute God's people without a twinge of conscience. The expression "eat up my people as they eat bread" is a metaphor for abusing others through oppression and hardship, especially the poor and the helpless (Proverbs 30:14; Psalm 27:1–2). This idea can also encompass other abuses of power, such as court cases (Psalm 72:2; James 2:6) or military violence (Psalm 79:1).

Micah chapter 3 scolds the rulers of Jacob and Israel for choosing sin over goodness. This included corruption and injustice (Micah 3:9–11). Their abuse of those whom they were supposed to lead is pictured in graphic terms similar to Psalm 14. Symbolically, they tear the flesh from God's people. They "flay their skin from off them, and break their bones in pieces and chop them up like meat in a pot, like flesh in a cauldron" (Micah 3:3). Whether through outright atheism or indifference, such leaders clearly see no reason to call on the Lord (Psalm 14:1).

Down through the ages, God has had a remnant of believers who honor Him (Genesis 45:7; Romans 11:5). However, evil unbelievers have also been present in every age to persecute the faithful (John 16:33).