We have to be careful at this point, of course, because we are sinners too, and it is fatally easy for us to forget our own evil when we see how others are brought down and find improper satisfaction in it. Which is why we have the third and final stanza. In it David suggests what the proper attitude of the righteous should be, using himself as an example. He says, “But I am like an olive tree flourishing in the house of God; I trust in God's unfailing love for ever and ever. I will praise you forever for what you have done; in your name I will hope, for your name is good. I will praise you in the presence of your saints.”

Having described Doeg's evil character, David next prophecies his end. For it is an important principle in the psalms, often stated by David but also by others, that in a moral universe ultimately evil does not prosper but is instead brought down. And by contrast, the righteous excel.

Doeg used words as his weapon. This is the third aspect of Doeg’s evil character. At first glance this does not seem so bad to us. In fact, it seems out of place. We know that boasting is bad, and loving evil is bad by definition. But words? Words seem relatively harmless. Yet when we look carefully at the stanza we see that this is the vice most emphasized: “Your tongue plots destruction; it is like a sharpened razor, you who practice deceit. You love evil rather than good, falsehood rather than speaking the truth. You love every harmful word, O you deceitful tongue” (vv. 2-4).

The story of David and Doeg is told in this brief section of 1 Samuel 22 and is never mentioned again anywhere else in the Bible, except in the psalm we are studying, which is introduced, as I noted above, by these words: "When Doeg the Edomite had gone to Saul and told him: ‘David has gone to the house of Ahimelech.’”

The heading for Psalm 52 gives the historical setting as one of the most bitter experiences in the life of David: "When Doeg the Edomite had gone to Saul and told him: 'David has gone to the house of Ahimelech.’"