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NIV Psalm 52 – Villainous
For the director of music. A maskil of David. When Doeg the Edomite had gone to Saul and told him: ‘David has gone to the house of Ahimelek.’
1 Why do you boast of evil, you mighty hero? [Consider Stalin]
Why do you boast all day long,
you who are a disgrace in the eyes of God?
2 You who practice deceit,
your tongue plots destruction;
it is like a sharpened razor.
3 You love evil rather than good,
falsehood rather than speaking the truth.
4 You love every harmful word,
you deceitful tongue!
5 Surely God will bring you down to everlasting ruin:
he will snatch you up and pluck you from your tent;
he will uproot you from the land of the living.
6 The righteous will see and fear;
they will laugh at you, saying,
7 ‘Here now is the man
who did not make God his stronghold
but trusted in his great wealth
and grew strong by destroying others!’
8 But I am like an olive tree
flourishing in the house of God;
I trust in God’s unfailing love
for ever and ever.
9 For what you have done I will always praise you
in the presence of your faithful people.
And I will hope in your name,
for your name is good.
Historical Parallel - August 12, 1952
On August 12, 1952, thirteen Jews were murdered by Joseph Stalin’s regime, falsely accused of treason and espionage, which history refers to as “The Night of the Murdered Poets”. Half of these Jews were celebrated Yiddish writers and artists including David Bergelson, David Hofshteyn, Peretz Markish, Itsik Fefer and Benjamin Zuskin. This action marked proof of Stalin’s murderous anti-Semitism. For two months, the public mock trial of these Jews perpetrated anti-Semitism, and this came after the prisoners had endured interrogation and torture for two or three years in some cases. [i]
Joseph Stalin (1878 – 1953) ruled the Soviet Union from 1927 until 1953. Known for his anti-semitism, Joseph Stalin continued his persecution of Jews by any means possible throughout his life, culminating in the execution of the Jewish writers in August of 1952. An additional trial of Jewish Kremlin doctors, whom Stalin claimed were running a plot to murder top Soviet officials, was in progress when he died suddenly.
Towards the end of his life, Stalin had taken to living at his ‘dacha’ in the Moscow suburb of Kuntsevo. Keep in mind verse 5 that references a sudden "plucking from your tent" and being "uprooted from the land of the living" when studying the following.
The Bible Study Tools website states that the word tent in the Bible is used for reference to a ‘dwelling’ or ‘habitation’. A dacha is a dwelling place. [ii]
The specific details of Stalin’s death are shrouded in mystery and debate, however it is commonly acknowledged that on the night of February 28, 1953, Stalin and four of his comrades had dinner together. At that dinner, Stalin drank something that has been called fruit juice. Five days later, on March 5, 1953, Stalin was pronounced dead at 9:50 p.m after 5 days of violent, stroke-like symptoms, hemorrhaging, unresponsiveness, incontinence, paralysis, high-blood pressure, and vomiting. [iii]
[i] Cohen, Madeleine. “The Night of the Murdered Poets,” The Yiddish Book Center’s Great Jewish Books Teacher Resources, accessed December 26, 2021, http://teachgreatjewishbooks.org/resource-kits/night-murdered-poets
[iii] Mansky, Jackie. “The True Story of the Death of Stalin,” Smithsonian Magazine, last modified October 10, 2017, https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/true-story-death-stalin-180965119/