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Bible Commentaries

Lange's Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical
Psalms 55

 

 

Verses 1-23

Psalm 55

To the chief Musician on Neginoth, Maschil, A Psalm of David

Give ear to my prayer, O God;

And hide not thyself from my supplication.

2 Attend unto me, and hear me:

I mourn in my complaint, and make a noise;

3 Because of the voice of the enemy, because of the oppression of the wicked:

For they cast iniquity upon me,

And in wrath they hate me.

4 My heart is sore pained within me:

And the terrors of death are fallen upon me.

5 Fearfulness and trembling are come upon me,

And horror hath overwhelmed me.

6 And I said, O that I had wings like a dove!

For then would I fly away, and be at rest.

7 Lo, then would I wander far off,

And remain in the wilderness. Selah.

8 I would hasten my escape

From the windy storm and tempest.

9 Destroy, O Lord, and divide their tongues:

For I have seen violence and strife in the city.

10 Day and night they go about it upon the walls thereof:

Mischief also and sorrow are in the midst of it.

11 Wickedness is in the midst thereof:

Deceit and guile depart hot from her streets.

12 For it was not an enemy that reproached me; then I could have borne it:

Neither was it he that hated me that did magnify himself against me;

Then I would have hid myself from him:

13 But it was thou, a man mine equal,

My guide, and mine acquaintance.

14 We took sweet counsel together,

And walked unto the house of God in company.

15 Let death seize upon them, and let them go down quick into hell:

For wickedness is in their dwellings, and among them.

16 As for me, I will call upon God;

And the Lord shall save me.

17 Evening, and morning, and at noon, will I pray, and cry aloud:

And he shall hear my voice.

18 He hath delivered my soul in peace from the battle that was against me:

For there were many with me.

19 God shall hear, and afflict them,

Even he that abideth of old. Selah.

Because they have no changes,

Therefore they fear not God.

20 He hath put forth his hands against such as be at peace with him:

He hath broken his covenant.

21 The words of his mouth were smoother than butter,

But war was in his heart:

His words were softer than oil,

Yet were they drawn swords.

22 Cast thy burden upon the Lord,

And he shall sustain thee:

He shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.

23 But thou, O God, shalt bring them down into the pit of destruction:

Bloody and deceitful men shall not live out half their days;

But I will trust in thee.

EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL

Its Contents and Composition.—The language of the Psalm is pictorial and powerful, its turns of thought bold, its expressions striking and peculiar, the meanings of the words in part obscure and disputed, the individual clauses abrupt, the transition in topics and thoughts is sudden and rapid; all this is in accordance with the excited feelings and the change in the experiences of a man who takes refuge in prayer to God, but in such great anxiety ( Psalm 55:1-5) that he wishes that he had wings to fly into the wilderness for safety ( Psalm 55:6-8), away from the city, which is full of violence, strife, and cunning ( Psalm 55:9-11), where a previously trusted friend has taken sides with his enemies ( Psalm 55:12-14), whose sudden and complete ruin the Psalmist desires, on account of their wickedness ( Psalm 55:15). Whilst he continually calls upon God, and in the assurance of being heard, gains confidence in his deliverance from the many enemies which fight against him, they do not turn away from their wickedness to God ( Psalm 55:16-19), but associate with flattering, hypocritical, and unfaithful men ( Psalm 55:20-21). With reference to all these afflictions I and pains the Psalmist keeps before his own soul the exhortation to persevering devotion to Jehovah, in the assurance of His assistance of the righteous, and His punishment of the evil doers ( Psalm 55:23). He concludes with a strong expression of his personal trust in God. All is so pithy, lively and individual that there is no reason to go back from the historical references to a typical reference to Jesus, the Jews and Judas (Stier, after older interpreters), or to let them pass out of view in the devotional interpretation of the Psalm as a model prayer of a pious man in affliction through the ungodly, particularly through unfaithful friends (Luther, Geier, J. H. Mich, Hengstenberg). The historical references, however, lead neither to the Maccabean times, with reference to the high-priest Alkimos (Olsh.), nor to the prophet Jeremiah and the anarchical period of the invasion of the Scythians, in which the prophet was at variance with the authorities (Hitzig), nor to a prince in the period of the internal commotion during the last century before the destruction of Jerusalem (Ewald). None of these references have any such evidence that we should abandon the Davidic composition. In retaining this reference to David, however, we are not to think of Doeg, Psalm 52, or the Ziphites, Psalm 54, or of David’s being shut up in Keilah in the time of Saul ( 1 Samuel 23), but of Ahithophel’s unfaithfulness and the rebellion of Absalom (Chald, the Rabbins, and most interpreters), and indeed not after the outbreak of the rebellion, but shortly before it. Its composition accordingly was shortly after Psalm 41(Delitzsch).

Changes of Reading.—The supposition that in many passages single verses have been taken out of their original connection (Hupfeld), mistakes the character of the impassioned discourse; and the proposals to change many words are sometimes ingenious, but unnecessary, since the present readings may likewise be explained, and the change is immaterial to the sense.

Str. I. [Ver2. I reel to and fro in my complaint and must groan.—The reference here is to the movement of the soul, the restless reeling to and fro of thoughts and cares (Hupf.). Perowne: “אָרִיד, from a verb, רִיד (the Kal, not Hiphil, from רוּד), which occurs in three other passages, Genesis 27:40; Jeremiah 2:31; Hosea 12:1. The meaning assigned to it by the older versions and the Rabbins is different in different places. Here the LXX. have ἐλυπήθην, Chald. אֶתְרַעֵם, murmuro. Later commentators follow Schultens and Schröder in referring it to the Arab root=vagari, discurrere. Properly, it signifies to wander restlessly, especially as homeless, without fixed abode, etc. This is probably the meaning in Genesis 27:40, ‘when thou wanderest,’ i. e, becomest a free nomad people (not as in the A. V, ‘when thou shalt have the dominion’). Here it is used of the restless tossing to and fro of the mind, filled with cares and anxieties. The optative or the cohortative expresses the internal necessity, as in Psalm 88:15. Comp. Böttcher, Lehrb. 965, 5; Ewald, § 228 a.—C. A. B.]

Psalm 55:3. The burden of the wicked.—The parallelism does not compel us to read: צַעֲקַת cry (Olshausen, Hupfeld), since the reading: עָקַת, has been proved in Hebrew through the Hiphil in Amos 2:13, and a derivative, Psalm 66:11; and neither of these passages give the meaning of oppression, need (most interpreters), but that of burden, which is suitable here, so that we need not think of the Aramaic word which is used by the Chald. for צרה, Jeremiah 16:19; Jeremiah 19:9, and which is added, Jeremiah 13:21, so as to get the meaning of pressure (Hitzig) or anxiety (Delitzsch).—[They roll mischief upon me.—The idea is that their mischief was rolled down upon the Psalmist as from a wall or tower, the weight of which, its burden caused him to reel and groan.

Psalm 55:4. My heart writhes within me.—The trouble is not merely an external one, it affects his bowels, his vitals, his inmost soul.—Terrors of death.=those which threaten death (Hupfeld).

Psalm 55:5. Horror hath overwhelmed me.—Barnes: “That Isaiah, it had come upon him so as to cover or envelop him entirely. The shades of horror and despair spread all around and above him, and all things were filled with gloom. The word rendered horror occurs only in three other places: Ezekiel 7:18, rendered (as here) horror; Job 21:6, rendered trembling; and Isaiah 21:4, rendered fearfulness.”—C. A. B.]

Str. II [ Psalm 55:6. Wings like the dove.—Hupfeld: “This is a figure of rapid flight, as elsewhere the clouds, Isaiah 60:8, and eagle’s wings, Exodus 19:4; Deuteronomy 28:49; 2 Samuel 1:23; Revelation 12:14. A still stronger figure of far distant flight are the wings of the morning, Psalm 139:9.”—Fly away and abide.—So Hupfeld, Delitzsch, Moll, et al. This is more literal and more in accordance with the parallelism than the translation: “be at rest” of the A. V. and many ancient and modern interpreters.

Psalm 55:7. Flee far away, lodge in the wilderness.—This is the usual refuge place of the persecuted and the oppressed, whither David had often fled and wandered and lodged, comp. Jeremiah 9:2.—C. A. B.]

Psalm 55:8. A place of refuge from the violent winds, from the tempest.—The proposal to read סוּפּה (Hupfeld), instead of סֹעָה would give an easy expression, but an unendurable tautology, since the following word, סַעַר means precisely the same, namely, storm. In order to avoid this tautology, they then suppose a gloss (Clericus, Hupfeld), which is yet more objectionable than to take the last expression in the sense of an apposition, whereby the unusual word of the text would be more closely defined, whose meaning as “rushing, that is to say, violent” wind (Chald, and most ancient interpreters), may be gained through the Arabic (most recent interpreters after A. Schultens). רוּחַ סֹעָה is then a figure of the angry breath of enemies, Judges 8:3; Isaiah 25:4 (Hitzig), of the rude actions of those who surrounded David which were directed to his ruin (Delitzsch), against which the severely-visited king could oppose no weapons, from which he would flee away to a peaceful place of refuge, as the shy dove, unfitted for the battle, with, its wings, which are noiseless and hold out for a long time, 2 Samuel 1:23; Isaiah 60:8; Psalm 139:9. For this sense it makes no difference whether we take the verb as Kal after Psalm 71:12=I would hasten my escape (parallel with Psalm 55:7, I would flee far away), or whether we take it as Hiphil, after Isaiah 5:19; Isaiah 60:12=I would hastily provide a place of refuge for myself. In both interpretations it is again possible to regard the מִן as comparative=quicker than the wind (many interpreters after Vatab. and Drusius, likewise Hengstenberg and Hupfeld); but this is not advisable, because the haste of the flight has been already otherwise expressed.

[Str. III Psalm 55:9 ּ [FN2]Destroy, Lord, divide their tongues.—Alexander. “The first word properly means swallow up. See above, Psalm 21:9. The object to be supplied is not their tongue, but themselves. Divide their tongue, i. e, confound their speech, or make it unintelligible, and as a necessary consequence, confound their counsels. There is obvious reference to the confusion of tongues at Babel ( Genesis 11:7-9), as a great historical example of the way in which God is accustomed and determined to defeat the purposes of wicked men and execute His own.”

Psalm 55:10. They go about it upon the walls thereof.—Perowne: “Most probably ‘the wicked,’ mentioned Psalm 55:3, who are the subject, and hardly ‘violence and strife’ ( Psalm 55:9) personified, as the ancient versions render, and as the Rabbinical commentators generally suppose. The figure may perhaps be borrowed from sentinels keeping their watch upon the walls; others think from besiegers watching the walls in order to find some weak point. In the former case we must render ‘upon, in the latter, ‘round about’ the walls. But neither figure need be pressed. The walls in this clause of the verse are parallel to the interior of tie city in the next clause, so that the whole city may be represented in all its parts to be full of wickedness.”

Psalm 55:11. Depart not from her (public) places.—These were the large open squares or open spaces at the gates of the oriental cities, where were the markets, the courts of justice, and general places of public concourse. The Hebrew word corresponds with the Greek agora, the Latin forum, and is only imperfectly represented by the market-places and public squares of modern times.—C. A. B.]

[Str. IV Psalm 55:12. For not an enemy is it.etc.—Perowne: “For gives a special reason for the prayer in Psalm 55:9, his eye falling upon one in particular among the crowd of enemies and evil doers. This is a sufficient explanation of the use of the particle, which is often employed rather with reference to something in the mind of the speaker, than in direct logical sequence.”—I should bear it.—Hupfeld: “I should know how to bear it as an evil unavoidable among men, to which one finally submits; whilst such an experience from friends is to be endured with the utmost difficulty.”—I could hide myself from him,i.e, as David did from Saul when he used his power against him, but this he could not do from a secret, treacherous foe.

Psalm 55:13. But thou,—a man of like estimation with myself.—Literally, according to my estimation, i. e, the estimation or worth which I put upon him, the suffix being regarded as the subject of the action. But this is not suitable here. It is better therefore to regard the suffix as objective=in accordance with the estimation in which I am held=of like estimation with me.—My companion and my intimate friend.—אַלּוּף is here not guide, as Genesis 36:15 (the Rabbins and the older interpreters, likewise A. V.), but companion, associate, one joined in intimate communion, Proverbs 2:17; Proverbs 16:28 et al., טְיְדָּעִי is the Pual part, of ידע, and means one well-known—one with whom one is familiar as an acquaintance and intimate as a friend.

Psalm 55:14. We made sweet together our intimacy.—The Hebrew word סוֹד is the same as that used in Psalm 25:14, of intimate communion with God. By the mutual enjoyment of this intimacy they made it sweet for one another. This clause refers to private intimacy, the next to association in public, at the great festivals when in the throngs of the temple they went side by side.—C. A. B.]

Psalm 55:15. Desolations upon them, let them go down to the world below alive.—יְשִימוֹת is confirmed by the local name, Ezekiel 25:9 (Clericus, Gesenius, Hengstenberg, Hupfeld)=desolaliones, and it is unnecessary to read: יַשִּיא מָוֵת, instead of it, although most MSS. by a division into two words point to this reading, which is followed by the ancient versions and Rabbins, and is approved by most interpreters. For the explanation is very different and uncertain. It is explained after the derivation: death brings upon them forgetfulness (Aben Ezra), or: mors debitum exigat s. exactorem agat (Kimchi, Piscator, J. D. Mich.), or: death comes upon them (Septuagint, Syriac), or surprises them (Luther), falls upon them (Sym, Calvin, Geier, Rosenm, et al.), ensnares them (Delitzsch), bounces upon them (Böttcher). Still less necessary is it to change the first word into יַשִּׁים=let death be torpid on their account[FN3] (Hitzig). For although the going down to Sheol alive is to take place, and this is not used=in full powers of life, Proverbs 1:12 (Hupfeld), of sudden and unexpected death in general (Calvin), but with a living body with reference to the ruin of the band of Korah, Numbers 16:30 sq, there is no inconsistency here with the preceding statement, whatever sense is given to it. The allusion is moreover to be accepted the more since there is likewise a reference to ancient times in Psalm 55:9, in פַּלַּג, Genesis 10:25, which explains the choice of the word בַּלַּע (comp. Isaiah 19:3), and reminds us of destruction by division and confusion of tongue =language (בַּלַל, Genesis 11); so likewise in Psalm 55:19, where God is called “the one sitting from primeval times,” with expressions which are used of the judicial sitting of God upon His throne, Deuteronomy 33:27; Psalm 9:4; Psalm 9:7; Psalm 74:12; Habakkuk 1:12. Yet it does not follow from this that the “desolations,” Psalm 55:15, allude to the ruin of Sodom and Gomorrah (Hengstenberg).—For wickedness is in their dwelling, within them.—There is no reason to make בְּקִרְבָּם here the same as בְּקִרְבָּהּ, Psalm 55:10-11, with the view that we are to think here likewise of the interior of the city, to regard it in connection with the preceding words, which do not mean=in their assembly (Aquila, Symm, Jerome), but=in their dwelling (Septuagint, Chald.), as a hendiadys=in the midst of their dwelling (Geier, Rosenm, et al.), or to explain it=in their midst, that is to say, among them (J. H. Mich.), which would render it really superfluous, and therefore it might be omitted (Luther). Moreover it is hardly a gloss (Hupfeld), but rather an explanatory apposition designating the breast of the enemy, as the true dwelling or more accurately the storehouse, the barn ( Haggai 2:19) of their wickedness. Yet it is easiest to regard it as a climax, since we cannot see why such a combination of dwelling and heart should be unsuitable, as Olshausen and Hupfeld contend.

Str. V [ Psalm 55:17. Evening and morning and at noon.—The three principal parts of the day, usually observed as the special times of prayer among the Orientals. Or it may perhaps be a poetical expression for the whole day,=at all times, without ceasing.—Complain and groan.—The same words as in Psalm 55:2.

Psalm 55:18. From the war against me.—Some take קרב as an infinitive, and translate: that they may not draw nigh me (the ancient versions, Luther, Hitzig, Delitzsch, et al.) This gives a good sense. But it is better to take it as the substantive=war. Some again translate the לִי as the dative of reference (Perowne, Alexander, et al.), but it is better to consider it as the prep, against and translate with Hupfeld, Moll, et al.: war against me.—For with many are they against me.—The translation of the A. V. “with me” is literal, but conveys a wrong meaning. The Heb. preposition like the English with, has a double use, mutual action may be co-operative or antagonistic. Thus we say: fight with=against, to be angry with=against. The meaning here as determined by the context is clearly against.—C. A. B.]

Psalm 55:19. God will hear and answer them—and indeed He that sitteth on the throne of old, Selah!—those who have no change and who fear not God.—It is unnecessary to suppose that a short clause has fallen off before יַעֲנֵם somewhat as “the cry of the righteous,” to which the answer of God might refer (Olsh.); or to read יַעֲנֵנִי=He will answer me (Hupfeld). For the supposition of a play upon words for the sake of the explanation “He will humble them” (the ancient versions, Kimchi, Geier, et al.) is indeed scarcely tenable so far as the language is concerned, yet the idea of an answer in a real sense by judgments (Venema, Hengst.), or with allusion to the same in irony (Calv, Stier, De Wette) is indeed admissible, especially if the “hearing” is referred not to the complaining prayer of the Psalmist, but to the raging of the enemies (Hengstenberg, Delitzsch). Yet if hearing and answering are taken in the usual sense of prayer and its answer (for they certainly are in mutual relation to one another), then we are not forced to understand the close of the verse of the ungodly who continue in wickedness, but to change יָרְאוּ into יָלְאוּ (Hitzig) in order to be able to understand the clause as of (the pious “with whom there is no evil and who do not weary God,” Isaiah 7:13; Jeremiah 15:6. It is objectionable and unnecessary to explain away the first half of this clause after the Arabic, as “with whom there is no respect for oaths” (Ewald), although the reference to the ungodly is to be retained. The word חֲלִיפוֹת means not exactly change of mind (Chald.), but it may be referred to this (Delitzsch) or rather, since the word does not occur elsewhere in the moral sense, but designates a change of condition ( Job 14:14) and is used elsewhere of changing the clothing, of guards and laborers, it may refer to the fact that they have received no dismission from their posts upon the city walls (Hengst.), or better, in general of a change of their conduct and behaviour in every respect, to which likewise the plural refers. To think of ragged people, who have no clothing to change, and are ungodly from barbarousness (Cleric.) is as far from the context as the explanation that those who experience no change of fortune easily become proud, and have no fear of God (Aben Ezra, Calvin, J. D. Mich.) So likewise the following clause does not allow us to think of the unchangeableness of God, for which למוֹ is changed into לוֹ (Kimchi, Venema). The סֶלַה here is neither strange (Hupf.) nor to be changed into סִלָּה=auferet eos (Venema), more properly abstulit, rejecit, Lamentations 1:15 (Hupf.), comp. Psalm 68:32.

Str. VI [ Psalm 55:20. The individual traitor again becomes prominent as the profaner of the solemn covenant of intimate friendship.—C. A. B ]

Psalm 55:21. Smooth are the words of butter of his mouth.—מַחֲמָאת is a denominative of חֶמְאָה (for its formation comp. Hupfeld)=made or consisting of butter or cream (Hitzig, Delitz.) The things of butter of the mouth are not the lips (Ewald), but the words, and we have a very usual metaphor (Hupf.) instead of a comparison. In order to gain a comparison here in strong parallelism with the following clause of the verse=smooth as butter (Chald, Symm, Jerome, Luther, Calvin) the first syllable has sometimes been changed into מֵ after2 codd. de Rossi (De Wette, Maurer, Olsh.), or the usual reading has been explained in this sense as a comparative (Aben Ezra, Kimchi, Gesenius). But this gives rise to difficulties of construction which call for further alterations of the text, or inadmissible and forced explanations.[FN4]

Str. 7 Psalm 55:22. That which is laid upon thee.—The interpretation of יְחָבְךָ as a perfect and an elliptical clause=what He has given thee, that is to say, imparted to thee (Hupfeld), hence: thy gift (Calvin), or thy lot (Kimchi, J. H. Mich.); or as an imperfect=and He will endow thee (Hitzig), is not so good as the interpretation of it as an accusative of the object (Delitzsch). But yet its derivation from יהב =give, impart, must be maintained (Böttcher), which explains the Chald. translation of מְנַת, Psalm 11:6; Psalm 16:5, by a word from this root and the use of it in the Talmud for a burden. To accept this latter meaning here, (Jerome, Aben Ezra, Isaki, Ewald) is an unnecessary limitation of the idea. It is the same with the translation: care, trouble (Sept, Syr, Luther, et al.) which besides seem to regard יָהַב as = יָאַב, Psalm 119:131, whose radical meaning is: desire. 1 Peter 5:7 does not enable us to decide; still less the following verb, which not only means sustentare, to support with nourishment (Hengst.), but properly tenere, sustinere, and hence likewise “maintain,” Psalm 112:5 (Hupf, Delitzsch), and it agrees well with the “to be moved” which is directly mentioned.

Psalm 55:23. Depth of the pit.—This is not to be translated: well or pit, or depth of destruction (most interpreters after the ancient versions [so A. V.]), but: pit of the grave (Hitzig), or since the reference is to Sheol (Cleric.) and not to the grave, better: hole of sinking (Delitzsch) Ezekiel 36:3; Proverbs 8:31, or depth of the grave. The connection of synonyms serves to strengthen the idea. The meaning “well” is derived from the idea that it is dug out.

DOCTRINAL AND ETHICAL

1. There are times of trouble, when terrible and harassing appearances may put even a believer in great uneasiness of heart, anxiety, and excitement, so that he knows not how to advise or help himself, and would rather flee away ; but at last his soul is quieted and comforted by taking refuge with God in prayer, and whilst he sinks back in faith into the assurance of the love and righteousness of God he regains courage for further warfare, patience to persevere in sufferings, hope in the delivering and judging interposition of God, and confidence in the hearing of his prayer.

2. Among the phenomena of evil times, “under the pressure of which even a David” is somewhat dejected, and thinks not as usual of springing over the walls (Berl. Bib.), belong particularly on the one side the rapid increase and the bold advance of ungodliness and unrighteousness in all classes of society, on the other side, the no less relentless than inconsiderate rupture of the bands of previous communion whereby love is changed into hate, friendship into hostility, trust into treachery and hypocrisy.

3. Prayer has so great importance for the sanctification of the life and strengthening in the communion with God on the one hand, and the danger is so great on the other hand of being distracted by the pressure of the world and the pliability of human nature, that we can hardly dispense with a daily exercise of prayer in connection with a fixed order of prayer. And although the three periods of prayer, evening, morning, and noon, did not appear as legally prescribed until later times ( Daniel 6:11; Acts 10:9), yet they have been connected with the characteristic changes of the day from the most ancient times.

HOMILETICAL AND PRACTICAL

So long as a man can pray, though anxious, he does not despair.—The wickedness of men may prepare much injury for us, but God’s righteousness does not endure the victory of evil.—When new enemies join old foes, and former friends are found among them, then we should search carefully for the causes of this hostility.—It is often worse in the world than we imagined in quiet times, but God can do infinitely more than all that we ask and understand.—We cannot escape that which our life brings with it in the world, but we may in the severest conflict gain the victory over the worst enemies through the assistance of God.—He who does not stand on God’s side cannot hope in God.—We should not rely upon the world, our friends, ourselves, but solely upon the faithful God alone.—We must oppose God’s righteousness, faithfulness, and truth, against the wickedness, unfaithfulness, and hypocrisy of men.—Strength of faith does not disclose itself as insensibility to suffering, but as the power to be comforted with God, to hope in God, overcome through God.

Starke: God lets us feel our weakness, when we fall into great fear and extreme anxiety, in order that we may see what we are without Him and what He is to us.—As long as the builders of Babel are united, they would take heaven by storm; but as soon as God divides their tongues all their prospects fail. Thus easily can God put His enemies to shame.—How cautious a Christian should be in the selection of friends.—The best friendship and union of spirits is when we are of one mind and heart before God.—Would you overcome by faith, then your heart must not depend upon any creature, but upon God alone, whose power is shown the most in weakness.

Osiander: Those who persecute the pious transgress the commandments of God in many ways, and become involved, generally, in horrid sins and blasphemies.—Franke: It is vain to talk of Christ and His sufferings if you remain far away from His mind and cross.—The true saving knowledge of sin is gained only by considering rightly the sufferings and death of Christ.—Arndt: God cannot hide Himself from our prayers, prayer finds Him out and presses through the clouds to Him. God’s fatherly heart does not admit of His hearing us crying and imploring and not turning to us.—Tholuck: When smitten by a friend we not only gain an enemy, but likewise lose a friend.—David cannot grasp the answer with his hands, but can with his faith.—Taube: The persevering prayer of faith finally gains the victorious assurance of a hearing.

[Matt. Henry: If we in our prayers sincerely lay open ourselves, our case, our hearts to God, we have reason to hope that He will not hide Himself, His favors, His comforts from us.—Gracious souls wish to retire from the hurry and bustle of this world, where they may sweetly enjoy God and themselves; and if there be any true peace on this side of heaven, it is they that enjoy it in those retirements.—Barnes: How often do we wish that we could get beyond the reach of enemies; of sorrows; of afflictions! How often do we sigh to be in a place where we might be assured that we should be safe from all annoyances; from all trouble! There is such a place, but not on earth.

Spurgeon: If our enemies proudly boast over us we nerve our souls for resistance, but when those who pretend to love us leer at us with contempt, whither shall we go?—If any bonds ought to be held inviolable, religious connections should be.—There is justice in the universe, love itself demands it; pity to rebels against God, as such, is no virtue.—We pray for them as creatures, we abhor them as enemies of God.—We need in these days far more to guard against the disguised iniquity which sympathizes with evil, and counts punishment to be cruelty, than against the harshness of a former age.—It is the bell of the heart that rings loudest in heaven.—A father’s heart reads a child’s heart.—The crisis of life is usually the secret place of wrestling.—He who is without trouble is often without God.—C. A. B.]

Footnotes:

FN#2 - Perowne: “The tone of sadness and melancholy now gives way to one of hot and passionate indignation. He would have escaped if he could from that city of sinners, who vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their ungodly deeds, but as he could not do this, he would gladly see God’s judgments executed upon them.”—C. A. B.]

FN#3 - That Isaiah, let them be years in dying, let them go down alive into hell, as those buried alive.—C. A. B.]

FN#4 - The metaphor of the butter that issues from the mouth is to be compared with the honey that drops from the strange woman’s lips, Proverbs 5:3. The comparison of the words with oil is in Proverbs 5:3 of her mouth. Comp. Sol. Song of Solomon 4:11, where milk is united with honey. The strong contrast of war in the heart and drawn swords here, may be compared with the bitterness of wormwood and the sharp two-edged sword, Proverbs 5:4,—C. A. B.]

 


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Bibliography Information
Lange, Johann Peter. "Commentary on Psalms 55:4". "Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/lcc/psalms-55.html. 1857-84.

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