The word oil, it appears, was derived from the latin word for olive.  The oil of the olive was a major financial component of the ancient world.  Olive trees were valuable, especially when they bore much fruit.  Today olives are still a big component of the Mediterranean agricultural economy.  Many of the best olives in the world come from the coasts of The Great Sea.

Today oil wells generate a lot of revenue.  In the USA there have historically been a lot of small oil companies running local wells.  When the psalmist says that they are an olive tree, I think the parallel would be a strong oil well that produces good oil and a strong income.

Psalm 52

For the director of music. A maskil[b] 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?
   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.[c]
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.


  1. What is the young hero boasting about?
  2. What kind of strength does the foolish man trust in?
  3. Accoring to the entry above, how might we understand olive trees?
  4. How would you describe your finances?
  5. How do people use their wealth as a source of power?

About Plymothian

I teach at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. My interests include education, biblical studies, and spiritual formation. I have been married to Kelli since 1998 and we have two children, Daryl and Amelia. For recreation I like to run, play soccer, play board games, read and travel.
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