What does Psalm 14:4 mean?
ESV: Have they no knowledge, all the evildoers who eat up my people as they eat bread and do not call upon the LORD?
NIV: Do all these evildoers know nothing? They devour my people as though eating bread; they never call on the LORD.
NASB: Do all the workers of injustice not know, Who devour my people as they eat bread, And do not call upon the Lord?
CSB: Will evildoers never understand? They consume my people as they consume bread; they do not call on the Lord.
NLT: Will those who do evil never learn? They eat up my people like bread and wouldn’t think of praying to the Lord.
KJV: Have all the workers of iniquity no knowledge? who eat up my people as they eat bread, and call not upon the LORD.
NKJV: Have all the workers of iniquity no knowledge, Who eat up my people as they eat bread, And do not call on the Lord?
Verse Commentary:
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).
Verse Context:
Psalm 14:4–7 continues the description of the foolish persecutors of God's people. The focus shifts from their evil works to God's judgment and Israel's hope of deliverance. David contemplates the inauguration of the kingdom and Israel's prosperity and joy.
Chapter Summary:
David begins this psalm by describing those who live as if God does not exist as "fools." From God's perspective, the entire human race has become corrupt and estranged from God. Especially heinous are the evildoers who persecute the poor and weak. However, God stands up for the righteous and subjects the wicked to the terror of His judgment. Believers find their protection in the Lord. David concludes with a bright hope: a longing for God's kingdom to arrive. At that time, the Lord will bless Israel with fortunes, and Jacob's descendants will rejoice and be glad.
Chapter Context:
This psalm and Psalm 53 are extremely similar. Romans 3:10–12 quotes from these passages. Like previous psalms, this describes David's enemy as corrupt, ignorant of God, and thoroughly evil. The psalm ends with David's prayer for God to establish the kingdom for Israel.
Book Summary:
The book of Psalms is composed of individual songs, hymns, or poems, each of which is a ''Psalm'' in and of itself. These works contain a wide variety of themes. Some Psalms focus on praising and worshipping God. Others cry out in anguish over the pain of life. Still other Psalms look forward to the coming of the Messiah. While some Psalms are related, each has its own historical and biblical context.
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