What does Psalm 52:6 mean?
ESV: The righteous shall see and fear, and shall laugh at him, saying,
NIV: The righteous will see and fear; they will laugh at you, saying,
NASB: The righteous will see and fear, And they will laugh at him, saying,
CSB: The righteous will see and fear, and they will derisively say about that hero,
NLT: The righteous will see it and be amazed. They will laugh and say,
KJV: The righteous also shall see, and fear, and shall laugh at him:
NKJV: The righteous also shall see and fear, And shall laugh at him, saying,
Verse Commentary:
The assumed judgment of Doeg (Psalm 52:1; 1 Samuel 22:9–10, 17–19) would be his dramatic death (Psalm 52:5). David anticipates a particular reaction to this outcome. In short, he expects godly people to further honor and respect the Lord, while shaking their heads at someone who arrogantly ignored what was good.

"The righteous," in this context, are those who submit to the Lord and follow His will (Psalm 1:6). Seeing the earthly punishment of an evil person would cause such persons to further praise God and affirm their respect for His sovereignty (Deuteronomy 6:1–9; 13:1–5; 1 Timothy 5:20). While God is saddened when a person turns from Him (Ezekiel 18:32), He entirely rejects their arrogant attitude (Psalm 2:1–6). In the same way, those who love God can "laugh" at this fate—but in a sense of dismissal and vindication, not amusement.

Psalm 40:4 says, "Blessed [happy] is the man who makes the Lᴏʀᴅ his trust, who does not turn to the proud, to those who go astray after a lie!" Scripture does not record any resolution to Doeg's heinous murder of Ahimelech and the other priests (1 Samuel 22:17–19). David seems convinced that well-deserved consequences will follow. Galatians 6:7 promises that "God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap." In Noah's era, mankind continually wallowed in evil (Genesis 6:5). Their depraved character and violent conduct caused the Lord to destroy them by bringing a flood (Genesis 6:6, 13). Yet not all retribution for sin happens during our earthly lives. What's certain is that God will judge the wicked, eventually. Second Thessalonians 1:7–10 promises that at Jesus' return the wicked will experience the Lord's vengeance in the form of the punishment of eternal destruction.
Verse Context:
Psalm 52:5–9 closes the song condemning Doeg, the herdsman who betrayed innocent priests to their deaths (Psalm 52:1; 1 Samuel 22:9–10, 17–19). David predicts God's punishment of the evil man. He expects the Lord to snuff out Doeg's life, to the satisfaction of the righteous. In contrast, David is confident God will prosper him, because he prefers what is good and right. In response to God's goodness, David will thank and praise Him.
Chapter Summary:
David addresses "mighty man," possibly with a touch of sarcasm. This person brags about his intentions, and his words destroy others. However, God will punish this wicked person by bringing about his death. The righteous will see this judgment and mock those who trusted in their resources instead of trusting in the Lord. By contrast, David trusts God's unfailing love forever, resulting in his continuous praise of the Lord. This song was written in response to the treachery of Doeg, who betrayed one of David's allies (1 Samuel 22:9–10) and killed many priests (1 Samuel 22:17–19).
Chapter Context:
This psalm describes the wicked character of someone addressed as "mighty man." This was Doeg, a herdsman who supported King Saul against David. Doeg slaughtered the household of Ahimelech because Ahimelech helped David by giving him provisions (1 Samuel 21:1–9; 22:6–23). While not as famous as others, this is one of the "imprecatory psalms" which call for God's judgment against evildoers (Psalm 35; 69; 109).
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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