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Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Psalms 55:13

But it is you, a man my equal, My companion and my familiar friend;
New American Standard Version
    Jump to:
  1. Bridgeway Bible Commentary
  2. Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible
  3. E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes
  4. Chuck Smith Bible Commentary
  5. John Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible
  6. Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable
  7. Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable
  8. Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable
  9. Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers
  10. Expositor's Dictionary of Texts
  11. F.B. Meyer's 'Through the Bible' Commentary
  12. Arno Gaebelein's Annotated Bible
  13. G. Campbell Morgan's Exposition on the Whole Bible
  14. John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible
  15. Gary H. Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures
  16. Geneva Study Bible
  17. George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary
  18. Ernst Hengstenberg on John, Revelation, Ecclesiastes, Ezekiel & Psalms
  19. Hamilton Smith's Writings
  20. Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible
  21. Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible
  22. Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged
  23. Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments
  24. John Trapp Complete Commentary
  25. Keil & Delitzsch Old Testament Commentary
  26. The Popular Commentary by Paul E. Kretzmann
  27. Lange's Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal and Homiletical
  28. Matthew Henry's Complete Commentary on the Bible
  29. Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Bible
  30. Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible
  31. Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible
  32. Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible
  33. Preacher's Complete Homiletical Commentary
  34. Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary
  35. Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments
  36. Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of the Bible
  37. The Biblical Illustrator
  38. The Biblical Illustrator
  39. Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible
  40. Expositor's Bible Commentary
  41. Treasury of David
  42. The Pulpit Commentaries
  43. Treasury of Scripture Knowledge
  44. Thomas Scott: Explanatory Notes, Practical Observations on the book Psalms
  45. Wesley's Explanatory Notes
  46. Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Afflictions and Adversities;   Ahithophel;   Friends;   Friendship;   Hypocrisy;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Prophecies Respecting Christ;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Ahithophel;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Friend, Friendship;   Know, Knowledge;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Ahithophel;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Absalom;   Ahithophel;   Judas Iscariot;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Greek Versions of Ot;   Psalms;   Sin;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Ahithophel;   God;   Psalms the book of;  
Encyclopedias:
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Abiathar;   Guide;   Kitto Biblical Cyclopedia - Ahithophel;  

Bridgeway Bible Commentary

Psalm 55 Betrayed by a friend

David is worried and uncertain. He has found that so-called friends have been plotting against him (e.g. Ahithophel; 2 Samuel 15:12; 2 Samuel 15:31; 2 Samuel 17:1-3) and he knows not which way to turn. He remembers things he saw certain people do and realizes now that they were treacherously aimed at his downfall (1-3).

Overwhelmed by a sense of helplessness, David fears that death is upon him (4-5). He wishes that he could escape from it all. He would like to fly away like a bird, so that he could find a quiet place where he could shelter from the storm (6-8). Then he thinks again of the murderous plans that people have laid against him. Along the city walls, around the streets, in the market places, people plot against him (9-11). Most heart-breaking of all is the knowledge that the person behind this plotting is the one he thought was his closest friend (12-14). Such traitors deserve a fitting punishment (15).

In his distress David turns to God and his faith awakens. He knows that God will save those who trust in him, and overthrow those who deliberately ignore him (16-19). But he cannot forget his false friend and the treacherous way his friend has lied to him (20-21). He decides finally that the only way to be relieved of the burden on his mind is to hand it over to God. He is confident that God will look after the righteous and punish the wicked (22-23).

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Bibliographical Information
Flemming, Donald C. "Commentary on Psalms 55:13". "Brideway Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bbc/psalms-55.html. 2005.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

But it was thou, a man mine equal - Margin, “a man according to my rank.” Septuagint, ἰσόψυχε isopsuche equal-souled, like-souled, “second self” (Thompson); Vulgate, “unanimus,” of the same mind; Luther, “Geselle,” companion. The Hebrew word used here - ערך ‛êrek - means properly a row or pile, as of the showbread piled one loaf on another, Exodus 40:23; then it would naturally mean one of the same row or pile; of the same rank or condition. The word also means price, estimation, or value, Job 28:13; Leviticus 5:15, Leviticus 5:18; Leviticus 6:6. Here the expression may mean a man “according to my estimation, value, or price;” that is, of the same value as myself (Gesenius, Lexicon); or more probably it means a man of my own rank; according to my condition; that is, a man whom I esteemed as my equal, or whom I regarded and treated as a friend.

My guide - The word used here properly denotes one who is familiar - a friend - from the verb אלף 'âlaph - to be associated with; to be familiar; to be accustomed to. The noun is frequently used to denote a military leader - the head of a tribe - a chieftain; and is, in this sense, several times employed in Genesis 36 to denote the leaders or princes of the Edomites, where it is rendered duke. But here it seems to be used, not in the sense of a leader or a guide, but of a familiar friend.

And mine acquaintance - The word used here is derived from the verb to know - ידע yâda‛ - and the proper idea is that of “one well known” by us; that is, one who keeps no secrets from us, but who permits us to understand him thoroughly. The phrase “mine acquaintance” is a feeble expression, and does not convey the full force of the original, which denotes a more intimate friend than would be suggested by the word “acquaintance.” It is language applied to one whom we thoroughly “know,” and who “knows us;” and this exists only in the case of very intimate friends. All the expressions used in this verse would probably be applicable to Ahithophel, and to the intimacy between him and David.

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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Psalms 55:13". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/psalms-55.html. 1870.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

a man = a mortal. Hebrew. "enosh. App-14.

mine equal = as mine equal: i.e. esteemed by David as such; refers to Ahithophel.

My guide: or counselor. Compare 2 Samuel 16:23 and Acts 1:17.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Psalms 55:13". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/psalms-55.html. 1909-1922.

Chuck Smith Bible Commentary

Psalm 55:1-23

Psalm 55:1-23 :

Give ear to my prayer, O God; and hide not thyself from my supplication. Attend unto me, and hear me: I mourn in my complaint, and make a noise; 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 ( Psalm 55:1-3 ).

I told you, David was capable of inspiring hate or love. You either loved the guy or hated the guy. And the feelings towards David were quite strong. And he was always praying about his enemies, and those that were after him, and those that were seeking to destroy him.

"For they cast iniquity upon me, in wrath they hate me."

My heart is sore pain within me: the terrors of death have fallen upon me. Fearfulness and trembling are come upon me, and horror hath overwhelmed me. And I said, Oh that I had the wings like a dove! for I would fly out of this place, and be at rest. Lo, then I would wonder far off, and remain in the wilderness. I would hasten my escape from the windy storm and the tempest. Destroy, O Lord, and divide their tongues: for I have seen violence and strife in the city. Day and night they go upon the walls thereof: and mischief also and the sorrows are in the midst of it. Wickedness is in the midst thereof: deceit and guile depart not from her streets ( Psalm 55:4-11 ).

Now David evidently wrote this psalm when he was fleeing from Absalom. For David"s close counselor and friend, Ahithophel, actually revolted against David when Absalom did. He went with Absalom. And Ahithophel began to counsel Absalom on how to destroy David. This is the thing that really hurt David, is that Absalom had turned against him. David said,

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: But it was you, a man mine equal, my guide, my acquaintance. We took sweet counsel together, we walked into the house of God in company ( Psalm 55:12-14 ).

So David is so hurt because it really wasn"t an enemy to David that had done such a dirty thing to him, but it was a fellow that he had had beautiful fellowship with. They had talked together. They had counseled together. They had gone into the house of God and fellowshipped together, and yet he turned himself against David. And that is always, I think, some of the greatest hurts that we experience, are when men that we have trusted and put our confidence, utmost confidence in, and we have trusted them unquestionably. And they have worked together with us and labored together with us. And we have given them great responsibilities. And suddenly they turn, and they begin to tell vicious lies. They violate the trust that you have put in them. They turn against you. They take from you, and that hurts. Because you have put all kinds of confidence in them. You have trusted them completely, implicitly. And suddenly you realize, as did David in verse Psalm 55:21, the words of his mouth were smoother than butter. But war was in his heart. His words were softer than oil, yet they were like a drawn sword.

And that"s what really hurts, is when someone that you have really placed complete confidence and trust in, and entrusted with a great part of the ministry. And then they turn and try to take it. That hurts beyond anything that I have ever had hurt, as far as the ministry goes.

And David felt this very hurt himself. The hurt of a friend, a comrade, an associate, one that you had fellowshipped and trusted, when they turn against you. So David speaks about this, the turning of Ahithophel. And David isn"t so kind with him after he turned. He said,

Let death seize upon them, let them go down quick into hell: for wickedness is in their dwellings, and among them. As for me, I will call upon God; and the LORD shall save me ( Psalm 55:15-16 ).

You know, it"s not going to destroy me. The Lord is going to take care of me. But the tragedies that will befall those.

Evening, and at morning, and at noon, will I pray, and cry aloud: and he shall hear my voice. He hath delivered my soul in peace from the battle that was against me: for there were many with me. God shall hear, and afflict them, even he that abideth of old. Because they have no changes, therefore they fear not God. He hath put forth his hands against such as be it peace with him: he hath broken his covenant ( Psalm 55:17-20 ).

Broken promises and covenants.

The words of his mouth were smoother than butter, but war was in his heart: his words were softer than oil, yet they were like drawn swords. [David said,] Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved. But thou, O God, shall 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 ( Psalm 55:21-23 ).

That is the only place to move, into the Lord. And there is comfort and blessing and joy. "

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Copyright © 2014, Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa, Ca.
Bibliographical Information
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on Psalms 55:13". "Chuck Smith Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/csc/psalms-55.html. 2014.

John Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible

The author of this Ps. can hardly be David, for he speaks as a citizen of a distracted city rather than as its king, and the friend of whom he complains is his equal and not his subject. There is really nothing to fix the date of the Ps., though some of the experiences of Jeremiah may illustrate it. It falls into three portions, which have been described as marked by despair (Psalms 55:1-8), indignation (Psalms 55:9-15), and trust (Psalms 55:16-23).

3. Cast iniquity upon me] attack me with wicked devices, as they might roll down stones on an enemy.

6. A dove] the wild rock-dove, which can fly fast and far.

8. Hasten my escape] RV 'haste me to a shelter.'

9. Divide their tongues] with a confusion like that of Babel.

13. Guide.. acquaintance] RV 'companion.. familiar friend.'

14. Unto.. company] RV 'in the house of God with the throng.'

15. Quick into hell] RM 'alive into Sheol.' For the light in which we are to regard such imprecations see Intro.

18. From the battle that was against me] RM 'so that none came nigh me.' There were many with me] RV 'they were many that strove with me.'

19. Because, etc.] RV (with comma after old) 'The men who have no changes, and who fear not God.' By 'changes' we may understand ups and downs of fortune, or pauses in their wickedness. A slightly different reading would give, 'who have no faithfulness.'

23. Bloody] RV 'bloodthirsty.'

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Dummelow, John. "Commentary on Psalms 55:13". "John Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcb/psalms-55.html. 1909.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

Psalm 55

The occasion that inspired the composition of this individual lament psalm was David"s betrayal by an intimate friend. We do not know with certainty who he was, though some commentators have suggested Ahithophel ( 2 Samuel 15:31). One manuscript of Jerome"s Latin Version has the title "The voice of Christ against the chiefs of the Jews and the traitor Judas." [Note: Kirkpatrick, p308.]

David prayed that God would deliver him from his plight. He also lamented his distress that a trusted friend had betrayed him, and he voiced confidence in God who redeems His elect.

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Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Psalms 55:13". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/psalms-55.html. 2012.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

2. A request out of deceit55:9-15

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Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Psalms 55:13". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/psalms-55.html. 2012.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

David addressed his former friend. Not only had he and David been good friends, they had also shared their deepest commitments in life, as worshipping together indicates.

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Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Psalms 55:13". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/psalms-55.html. 2012.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(13) But it was . . .—Better, But thou art a man of my own standing. The word erek is used (Exodus 40:23) of the row of loaves constituting the shewbread, and the cognate verb means “to arrange.” Here it may denote rank, but more probably the expression is man of my assessment, and so of the same importance in society. (Comp. Leviticus 5:15; 2 Kings 12:4.) The LXX. and Vulgate have “of one soul with me.” Symmachus, “of like disposition.” This sense may be implied, though not expressed in the Hebrew.

Guide.—So the old versions: the Hebrew word does denote the head of a tribe or family (Genesis 36:15, &c, “duke”), but that meaning seems excluded here by the previous description. Render, companion.

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Psalms 55:13". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/psalms-55.html. 1905.

Expositor's Dictionary of Texts

The Security of Insecurity

Psalm 55:19

Did you ever know so remarkable a reason assigned for irreligion? Here is the peril of a settled life. Here is the security of insecurity.

The idea of the word "changes" Isaiah, as Poole the Puritan indicates, "destructive changes". They have no unpleasant, painful, changes. They live securely. All is always well with them. And this smooth, unruffled life is the ruin of their souls: "They fear not God". The Revised Version simply renders it as a fact without asserting the reason: "The men who have no changes, and who fear not God". The idea is evidently the same. Their settled life is the secret of their practical atheism. Earthly tranquillity is infinite spiritual impoverishment.

"Because they have no changes, therefore they fear not God."

I. The Fact that "they have no Changes".—

1. They have no regenerative changes.

2. They have no changes of circumstance.

3. Some have no intellectual changes.

4. It is possible to have no emotional changes.

5. I have known Christians who hoped to have no experimental changes. It is a vain, delusive hope. The right use of changes is a wonderful instrument of sanctification. Tribulations give permanence to the fear of God. In the lack of a continuing city here we seek a city out of sight.

II. The Consequent Fact that "they fear not God".

1. "Because they have no changes, therefore they fear not God." It all but inevitably follows. There is an influence in changes which tends to the fear of God. Changes cast us upon God.

2. Changes make us pray.

3. Changes evoke praises.

4. Changes make us sympathetic.

5. Changes inspire hope in God.

—Dinsdale T. Young, The Gospel of the Left Hand, p123.

The Discipline of Change

Psalm 55:19

It is strange that this discipline of change should be such an important factor, for we almost feel it to be unnatural.

I. There is no real rest in the world for body or mind or heart or soul. We must admit also, if we are honest with ourselves, that we need the stimulus of constant change if life is to attain its best results. Changelessness would only lull the senses and the faculties to sleep. In the stress and strain of life character is formed. If all went smoothly and softly, if life knew no dread menace, if every wind were tempered for us, and an easy path ever prepared for the feet, would we be better men and women? If there were no changes would we fear God?

II. As a matter of fact, degeneracy has always set in with both nations and men when prosperity has been unalloyed. Science is the daughter of wonder, and wonder is the fruit of all the changes and movements of the world. Religion even has her secure empire in the hearts of men through the needs of men"s hearts, the need for which they crave of a changeless centre in the midst of change. Moral degeneracy creeps upon the man or the nation that sits at ease, as the stagnant pool breeds malaria. The cloudless sky is a mockery if it speak not to us of God.

III. The discipline of change is meant to drive us out beyond the changing hour to the thought of eternity, out from the restless things of sense to find rest in God. What failure is like that of those who have been chastened and yet never softened, who have gone through the fire without learning the lesson, who have tasted the sorrow without the sympathy, who have borne the cross without the love? If it be failure to have missed the fear of God, even though fortune has smiled its fairest, what failure is that which has been broken by chains, and come through all its discipline and yet is deaf to the lesson? Blessed are they who learn the Divine meaning of life"s limitations.

—Hugh Black, Homiletic Review, 1904, vol. XLVIII. p211.

References.— Leviticus 19.—J. Martineau, Hours of Thought, vol. i. p127. Preacher"s Monthly, vol. iv. p249.

The Religious Ground of Lightheartedness

Psalm 55:22

I. There has always been in the world a great admiration for carelessness. A young man has a great pride in saying "I don"t care". When a command is imposed on him by a higher authority, he often resists it; but his main motive in the resistance is to show the absence of care. When the advice of a friend arrests him in a downward path, he frequently brushes it aside; but he is not so much actuated by love of the downward path as by the wish to appear reckless and free. Recklessness is to him the synonym of manliness. Now, what is it that in our young days makes this spirit to us so attractive? It is its apparent resemblance to something which is really its contrary—the religious life.

II. There is such a thing as Christian absence of care—a freedom from weight, anxiety, depression. But it is an absence of care, not an annulling of it. The social epicurean tells his comrade to cast away his burden; the Christian tells his comrade, not to cast it away, but to lay it somewhere else: "Cast thy burden on the Lord". There is a very great difference between the two commands. It is the difference between throwing your money into the sea, and putting it in a bank beyond the possible risk of failure. A Christian"s care is always to him his money—his treasure. He does not want to lose it; he would place it nowhere except in hands where it had no chance of being neglected. Let us say, for example, that you are anxious about the future of your child. The social epicurean will tell you: "Live for the day; do not look forward; enjoy the present hour and let tomorrow shift for itself". But the Christian will say: "You will best live for the present by making tomorrow sure. If you want to enjoy the hour you need not become cold to your child"s future—you need not even think less about it. You have only to put tomorrow in other hands—in safer hands—in God"s hands."

III. It is not forgetfulness you need; it is mind fulness without mourning. It is not the trampling of care under your feet, but the transference of care to another bosom. Destroy it not, ignore it not, bury it not, escape it not; but take it up tenderly, fold it up cautiously, and lay it on the heart of the Lord.

—G. Matheson, Messages of Hope, p145.

References.— Leviticus 22.—J. Vaughan, Fifty Sermons (8th Series), p147. Preacher"s Monthly, vol. ii. p30. LV.—International Critical Commentary, vol. ii. p19. LVI.—3,4.—A. Maclaren, Weekday Evening Addresses, p103.

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Bibliographical Information
Nicol, W. Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on Psalms 55:13". Expositor's Dictionary of Text. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/edt/psalms-55.html. 1910.

F.B. Meyer's 'Through the Bible' Commentary

FRIENDS MAY FORSAKE, BUT GOD ABIDETH

Psalms 55:12-23

The streets and open spaces of the city were filled with conspirators. Violence, strife, deceit, and oppression trampled the virtuous and helpless under foot. The treachery of Ahithophel was worse than all. How different the hot anger of David from our Lord’s treatment of Judas, when He washed Judas’ feet, expostulated with him in the garden, and bade him pause to think to what he had come! Blessed is the soul that retires from the hubbub of the street-as David, Daniel, and all devout Israelites were wont to do-three times a day. Compare Psalms 55:17 with Daniel 6:10 and Acts 10:9. He will cover our heads in the day of battle and redeem our souls in peace, if only we will trust Him.

As the r.v. marginal rendering of Psalms 55:22 suggests, thy burden is that which God has given thee to carry. It did not come by chance nor from the evil intent of men. He cast it on thee; cast it back on Him. We cannot do our work so long as we stoop beneath the exhausting waste of anxiety and care. Hand all over to thy Father’s care. Let no burdens break the Sabbath-keeping of thy heart! Nehemiah 13:19.

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Meyer, Frederick Brotherton. "Commentary on Psalms 55:13". "F. B. Meyer's 'Through the Bible' Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/fbm/psalms-55.html. 1914.

Arno Gaebelein's Annotated Bible

Psalm 55

In the Throes of the Great Tribulation

1. Prayer for help (Psalms 55:1-3)

2. Longings to escape (Psalms 55:4-8)

3. The great tribulation (Psalms 55:9-21)

4. The comfort of hope (Psalms 55:22-23)

The man of sin, the Antichrist, stands out prominently in this Psalm. Because of him and his oppression, the godly remnant calls for help. They are overwhelmed with horror and beholding the abomination, they wish for wings like a dove and escape from the storm and the tempest of the great tribulation. This is in accordance with Matthew 24:15-16, which refers to the same time. They will actually flee to the mountain and will be away from Jerusalem as we learned in Psalms 42:1-11. The great tribulation has begun and of Jerusalem it will be true “wickedness is in the midst thereof, deceit and guile depart not from her streets.” And this wicked one, the Antichrist, is one of the nation, not a stranger, the man with a flattering tongue, who even walked in the house of God. And now his character and the character of his followers is exposed as they turn against the godly. Hence the imprecatory prayer (Psalms 55:15). Here is the 70th week of Daniel’s prophecy, the last seven years, divided into half. In the first half the Antichrist is the man who claims friendship, with words smooth as butter, but in the middle of the week he breaks the covenant and puts his hands against such as are at peace with him (Psalms 55:20). Psalms 56:1-13; Psalms 57:1-11; Psalms 58:1-11; Psalms 59:1-17; Psalms 60:1-12

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Gaebelein, Arno Clemens. "Commentary on Psalms 55:13". "Gaebelein's Annotated Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gab/psalms-55.html. 1913-1922.

G. Campbell Morgan's Exposition on the Whole Bible

This is the outcry of a man of faith in sore peril. The emotional nature is moved to its very center, and tides of deep feeling surge through his soul. He has been cruelly betrayed by his familiar friend, who would seem to have headed a conspiracy against him. It is really a revelation of how fellowship with God leads ultimately to the victory of faith.

Three movements are manifest. The first is fear. Appeal is made to God out of a consciousness of fearfulness, trembling, horror. So terrible is this fear that the man fain would fly away and escape it all (verses Psalms 55:1-8). The troubled heart then breaks forth into fury. So mean is the method of the foe that the anger of the man is aroused, and he cries for vengeance against the oppressor (verses Psalms 55:9-15). He then appeals to God, and at once declares that he is delivered. The wrong of the wicked is no less, but, calmly stated in the light of God, it is a burden to be cast on Him, and the conviction that He will deliver is created. Fear leads only to desire to flee. Fury only emphasizes the consciousness of wrong. Faith alone creates courage.

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Morgan, G. Campbell. "Commentary on Psalms 55:13". "G. Campbell Morgan Exposition on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gcm/psalms-55.html. 1857-84.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

But it was thou,.... The Targum is, "but thou Ahithophel"; of whom the words are literally to be understood, and so they are in the TalmudF21T. Bab. Sanhedrin, fol. 106. 2. Pirke Abot, c. 6. s. 3. ; and mystically and typically of Judas;

a man mine equal; "a man", and not a beast, nor a devil; but a man, from whom humanity, kindness, and tenderness might have been expected; though both Ahithophel and Judas acted the part of a devil; and the latter is expressly called one, John 6:70; "mine equal"; or like unto me; as the Targum. Ahithophel was not equal to David in dignity, as the king of Israel; nor in gifts, as the sweet psalmist of Israel; nor in grace as he; but as a man, a mortal dying man: kings and subjects are of the same blood, equally liable to death, and in the grave will be manifestly on a level: or rather the sense is, that he was in his esteem and affliction as himself; he was his friend that he loved as his own soul: so Judas could not be in every sense equal to Christ who is Jehovah's fellow, and thought it no robbery to be equal with God. Indeed as a man he was like unto him; a frail, mortal man, though not sinless as Christ. The word כערכי may be rendered "according to my appointment"F23"Secundum dispositionem, sc. ordinationem et constitutionem meam", Calvinus in Michaelis. , ordination, or constitution; Judas being a man appointed and ordained to be an apostle of Christ with the rest: or, "according to my esteem"F24"Juxta estimationem meam", Vatablus, Gejerus, Michaelis; "qui par mihi estimatus est", Piscator. ; being had in great esteem and familiarity with Christ: or, "according to my order"F25"Secundum ordinem meum", Mollerus. , rank and class; being taken into his family, admitted to his table, where be sat down and ate with him, as if he was his equal;

my guide: or "governor"F26אלופי "dux meus", Pagninus, Tigurine version, Junius & Tremellius, Piscator; "princeps meus", Cocceius. . Ahithophel was not governor over David; but was made a governor by him: he was one of his dukes or nobles, as the word is rendered in Genesis 36:15, was raised to great dignity by him; perhaps was chief minister of state: it is certain he was his counsellor, and his counsel was with him as the oracle of God, 1 Chronicles 27:33; he was his guide in civil affairs; he was directed by his advice, and it may be was president of his privy council. Judas was not only the guide of them to Christ who took him, Acts 1:16; but when the apostles were sent out two by two before the face of Christ, to preach where he himself should come, Judas was sent also, Mark 6:7;

and mine acquaintance: one well known to him, as Ahithophel was to David, and Judas to Christ, his friend and companion, in whom he confided, and who ate of his bread; and all these characters are so many aggravations of his treachery and wickedness.

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Gill, John. "Commentary on Psalms 55:13". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/psalms-55.html. 1999.

Gary H. Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures

Psalm 55

Psalm 55:1 (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.

Psalm 55:1Word Study on "Maschil" - Gesenius says the Hebrew word "Maschil" ( מַשְׂכִּיל) (H 4905) is a participle meaning, "a didactic poem." Strong it means, "instructive," thus "a didactic poem," being derived from ( שָׂכַל) (H 7919), which literally means, "to be circumspect, and hence intelligent." The Enhanced Strong says it is found 13times in the Old Testament being translated in the KJV all 13times as "Maschil." It is used as a title for thirteen of the 150 psalms ( Psalm 32; Psalm 42, 44, 45, 52through 55; 74; 78; 88; 89; 142).

Most modern translations do as the KJV and transliterate this Hebrew word as "maschil," thus avoiding the possibility of a mistranslation. The LXX reads "for instruction." YLT reads "An Instruction." Although some of these psalms are didactic in nature, scholars do not feel that all fit this category. The ISBE says, "Briggs suggests ‘a meditation,' Thirtle and others ‘a psalm of instruction,' Kirkpatrick ‘a cunning psalm.'" 75]

75] John Richard Sampey, " Psalm," in International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, ed. James Orr (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co, c 1915, 1939), in The Sword Project, v 1511 [CD-ROM] (Temple, AZ: CrossWire Bible Society, 1990-2008).

— Betrayal- Comments- The greatest hurts in life come from those who are closest to you, not from a stranger. The description here could very well be a reference to Ahithophel, who was King David"s counselor ( 2 Samuel 15:31). Note Psalm 55:14, "We took sweet counsel together." Note:

2 Samuel 15:31, "And one told David, saying, Ahithophel is among the conspirators with Absalom. And David said, O LORD, I pray thee, turn the counsel of Ahithophel into foolishness."

Psalm 55:17 Evening, and morning, and at noon, will I pray, and cry aloud: and he shall hear my voice.

Psalm 55:17Comments- The Hebrew day started at 6:00 p.m. in the evening. Therefore, Psalm 55:17 lists the times of prayer in the order of the day. Note these insightful words from Frances J. Roberts regarding Psalm 55:17 :

"See Me early; seek Me late; seek Me in the midst of the day. Ye need Me in the early hours for direction and guidance and for My blessing upon thy heart. Ye need Me at the end of the day to commit into My hands the day's happenings - both to free thyself of the burdens and to give them over into My hands that I may continue to work things out. And ye need Me more than ever in the busy hours, in the activities and responsibilities, that I may give thee My grace and My tranquility and My wisdom. I do not ask you to take time for Me with the intention of placing a burden upon thee in requiring thee to do so. Rather than adding a requirement, I seek to lift thy load. Rather than burdening thee with a devotional obligation, I desire to take from thee the tensions of life." 76]

76] Frances J. Roberts, Come Away My Beloved (Ojai, California: King's Farspan, Inc, 1973), 174.

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Everett, Gary H. "Commentary on Psalms 55:13". Gary H. Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ghe/psalms-55.html. 2013.

Geneva Study Bible

But [it was] thou, a man mine k equal, my guide, and mine acquaintance.

(k) Who was not only joined to me in friendship and counsel in worldly matters, but also in religion.
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Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Psalms 55:13". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/psalms-55.html. 1599-1645.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Living, in my own country, where I am no longer, as formerly during my banishment, in the region of the dead. (Calmet) --- The Fathers explain this of Jesus Christ, or of eternal glory. (Theodoret) (Calmet) --- In the true faith and good works, I will strive to please God. (Worthington)

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Psalms 55:13". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/psalms-55.html. 1859.

Ernst Hengstenberg on John, Revelation, Ecclesiastes, Ezekiel & Psalms

There follows in Psalms 55:9-15 the second part of the prayer: Let God judge, for the reigning wickedness cries aloud to heaven. The prayer for the destruction of the wicked is announced briefly at the beginning, at the end it comes out more at length in Psalms 55:15. In the middle part its grounding is given, inasmuch as, first, in a general way, the reigning wickedness is described, Psalms 55:9-11, then allusion is made to the faithlessness of the friend, as to a frightful symptom of prevailing corruption.

The numbers three and seven, which govern the arrangement of the whole, return again also in the arrangement of the particular strophes. As the first strophe falls into three parts 2. 2. 3, so also the second, 3. 3. 1.

Ver. 9. Devour, Lord, divide their tongue for I see violence and strife in the city. Ver. 10. They compass it day and night upon its walls, and mischief and sorrow are in the midst of it. Ver. 11. Iniquity is in the midst of it, and there depart not from its market oppression and deceit. Ver. 12. For it is not an enemy that reproaches me, else would I bear it, not my hater that magnifies himself against me, else would I conceal myself him. Ver. 13. But thou art my companion, my friend, and the man of my confidence. Ver. 14. We who took sweet counsel together, walked into the house of God in the tumult. Ver. 15. Desolation upon them, let them go down alive to hell, for evil is in their dwelling, in their midst.

According to the current exposition בלע devour, must, as well as the divide, refer to the tongues; but that we must rather supply the enemies as the object, is clear from: "let them go down alive into hell," in Psalms 55:15, the more so, as there the first part of this verse is manifestly resumed again and expanded. If the reference there to the destruction of the company of Korah is generally recognised, it is here also not to be overlooked, the less so as in Numbers 16:32, our very בלע is used. Devour, is q. d. annihilate them, as formerly at thy command, the earth swallowed up the impious rebels of another time, comp. Psalms 55:19, where the Psalmist, upon what God had done since the days of old, grounds his confidence of a present interference. John Arnd: "It was a frightful thing for the earth to open and swallow up those wicked men, but it is a great consolation to the persecuted church, when she reflects upon the preceding examples of vengeance and of righteous judgment, as God by his word and appointments has always ordered it, and will certainly carry on matters to the end, if we betake to him for refuge." The relation of the expression: "divide their tongues," to the devouring, has Luther already discerned quite correctly, who by transposition of the sentence renders: make their tongue divided, Lord, and cause them to go down. The division of their tongue was one of the chief means, which the destroying agency of God should employ, q. d. precipitate them into destruction, especially in this way, by making them disunited among themselves, and so driving into collision with one another those, who were leagued together for the destruction of the righteous. A tongue is here attributed in figurative language to the ungodly, as in Genesis 11 a lip to the whole earth, This tongue is divided by the Lord, q. d. he effects, that their discourse becomes full of discord. The allusion here to Genesis 11 cannot be mistaken, comp. especially Genesis 11:7 : "let us confound their lip, that they may not understand one another's lip;" Genesis 11:9 : "then did the Lord confound there the lip of the whole earth;" then also Genesis 10:25, where the verb פלג occurs. This allusion to what God had already done in the days of old, gives a peculiar emphasis to the prayer. John Arnd: "This history is an image and figure of great pride and presumption, which impels man to undertake projects, which they cannot execute, and which are contrary to God, only for the sake of making to themselves a great name in the earth. Hence comes our blessed God and confounds such peoples thoughts and counsels, so that they devise plans only for their own destruction." The for is to be explained thus, that the grounding of the prayer for judgment carries a reference to guilt: where the carcase is, there the eagles will be gathered together. The article in בעיר manifestly stands generically, precisely as in במדבר in the wilderness, in Psalms 55:7. Every righteous man suffering assaults from the wicked, must think of his city. In Psalms 55:10 and Psalms 55:11, "the city" is further expanded. In order to express, that the city was wholly and utterly filled with wickedness, we have first in Psalms 55:10, the walls and the interior contrasted, then in Psalms 55:11, in the reverse order, proceeding from the interior to the exterior, the middle part and the market place lying before the gates, comp. Gesen. s. v. As the wickedness engrossed all the space, so did it also all time, comp. "day and night" in Psalms 55:10, and "there depart not," in Psalms 55:11. סובב in Psalms 55:10, sig. not properly to go about, but to compass, comp. on Psalms 26:6 : the compassing about and the interior form a very suitable contrast. That violence and strife—these are the subject to יסובבה—appear under the image of warriors, who environ the city round about its walls, appears from Psalms 55:19. But the point of comparison is altogether and alone the compassing about, the forming of a circle, and the supposition of an ironical representation, as to how matters now went in the city of God: "O happy city, in which such watchmen are placed," is to be rejected as far-fetched, and not supported by the connection. By און we are not here to understand, with many expositors, suffering, (De Wette: and evil and distress are in the midst of it,) not even though this meaning were generally established, which is not the case. For violence and strife upon the walls require for the interior a corresponding mark of wickedness. This is also demanded by Psalms 55:9, the expansion of which we have here before us, and by Psalms 55:11, where in like manner wickedness is described in both members. In reference to the הוות, wickedness, in Psalms 55:11, comp on Psalms 5:9. The mention of the market place is the more suitable, as there, in the place of justice, iniquity was concentrated.

The for in Psalms 55:12 is for the most part misunderstood by expositors; according to De Wette, "it is scarcely to be expressed:" the supposition of others, that it is co-ordinate with the distant for in Psalms 55:9, is also nothing more than a shift for the occasion. The Psalmist grounds the representation of the reigning wickedness given in the preceding context by narrating his own experience, which had led him, (who was a Psalmist, and not a prophet, and whose part it is to lay to heart the general state of things as such), to give that picture. Where poisonous herbs exist, such as are described by him in what follows, there also must be found a poisonous soil; where such things occur to the individual, the inference is not far to seek regarding the rampant moral dissipation. To the words: "for not my enemy reproaches me," we are not to supply: in the case, which I have at present before my eyes. The Psalmist has also enemies who had been such from the beginning. The אויב according to the connection, marks these—but here he looks away from what he has to suffer from them, because it was not so great as the suffering, which faithless friends caused him, and which bespoke the magnitude and depth of the reigning corruption. On the words: else would I bear it, the Berleb. Bible remarks: "for from such one would expect nothing better, and might still find consolation respecting it from one's friends." עדךְ in Psalms 55:13 signifies valuation, not precisely worth; for the former sig. also holds in the passages, Leviticus 27:3, Job 28:13. The valuing of any one, is partly the valuing, which has been taken of any one, Leviticus 5:15, etc., and partly that, which concerns any one. By the first we shall have: thou art a man, whom I value, but the כ appears strange, and elsewhere valuing does not stand, without something farther, for valuing highly. If we follow the latter, we must not render, with many expositors: whom I value like myself. For is this case the Psalmist must have been described more particularly than as the valuator. We must rather expound: "according to my valuing," that is: "valued like myself, as the Chaldee, Syriac, and Luther: my fellow. Friendship, according to the rule, "binds only equals," and these, wherever it actually obtains, with peculiarly intimate bonds.

In Psalms 55:14, we are also in the second member to supply the together. First, as the internal friendship manifested itself in the parlour, then as it came forth into public life, in the fellowship of devotion, which entwines the hearts of men with the most tender cords, such as only the rough hand of wickedness can rend asunder. In reference to סוד, confidence, comp. on Ps. 26:14; to make confidence sweet, for, to hold sweet confidence. The opposite to סוד forms רגש prop. shouting, then of the tumult of the multitude moving up and down in the outer courts of the temple, comp. המון, noise, then the holy-day keeping multitude in Psalms 42:4. In Psalms 64:2, סוד and רגשה are in like manner united together.

In bible: Psalms 55:15 the Psalmist resumes the prayer for the judgment of God against the wicked, after having assigned his motives for doing so. The reading of the text is יְשִׁימוֹת, desolations, (let them come) upon them, as formerly upon the hardened sinners in Sodom and Gomorrah. The marginal reading, which in many MSS. and editions has pressed itself into the text, and which also the older translators for the most part express, is יַשִּׁי מָוֶט, let death deceive upon them, ישי for ישיא, Hiphil from נשא to deceive. This reading is merely a bad conjecture, produced through a false endeavour to make the first member entirely conformed to the second: to scheol must correspond death, to the living ישי. It is the case also in Psalms 55:9, that the two members are not a synon. parallelism, but in each is allusion made to a particular judgment of bygone days, and its repetition desired; the construction of נשא with על is intolerably hard, and without example. The second member refers to the destruction of Korah and his company, comp. on Psalms 55:9, which easily explains the living, alive. An abbreviated comparison has place, q. d. let them be hurried away by death in the fulness of life and strength, comp Psalms 55:23, as once the transgressors of a bygone age went alive into hell. On the words: "for evil is in their dwelling," Muis: "Because they are so wicked, that wherever they set down their feet, they leave traces of their wickedness, and defile all places with their impurities." The dwelling and the heart do not stand in an ascending relation (Stier: in their dwelling, nay still more in their heart,) but rather of simple juxtaposition, comp. Psalms 55:10 and Psalms 55:11, and Psalms 55:14. It is a part of the individual physiognomy of this Psalm that it loves such heapings together—a peculiarity, which is an expression of its, fundamental character, of the excitement which pervades it.

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Hengstenberg, Ernst. "Commentary on Psalms 55:13". Ernst Hengstenberg on John, Revelation, Ecclesiastes, Ezekiel & Psalms. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/heg/psalms-55.html.

Hamilton Smith's Writings

Psalm 55

The prayer of a godly Prayer of Manasseh, expressing the exercises of the believing remnant of the Jewish nation, when antichrist apostatizes from God, breaks the covenant, and persecutes the godly.

(vv1-3) The psalm opens by presenting the supplication of the godly Prayer of Manasseh, and the cause of his sorrow- the voice of the enemy, and the oppression of the wicked. The voice of the wicked is raised in slander against the godly man; for he can say, "They cast iniquity upon me." As ever, slander is followed by persecution, "In anger they persecute me" (JND).

(vv4-8) The verses that follow present the misery of the godly remnant in Jerusalem, during the reign of antichrist. Within, the heart of the godly man is sore distressed; without he is faced with death. He longs to flee from the defiled city to some lonely spot where he may escape the storm and tempest of judgment about to break over the doomed city (see ).

(vv9-11) There follows a vivid description of the city of Jerusalem during the days of antichrist. The walls, that should have protected the city from every attack, are marked by violence and strife. Iniquity and mischief are in the midst of it, and the streets are marked by oppression and deceit. From the centre to the walls all is corruption and violence.

(vv12-15) There follows, what would appear to be a description of the apostate character of antichrist. He had professed to be amongst the godly, as an intimate and familiar friend. He had gone to the house of God in company with the people of God. Now he had turned against the godly, heaping reproaches upon them, and venting his hatred against them, while seeking to "magnify himself" (cp. ).

For this wicked Prayer of Manasseh, and those associated with him, the psalmist predicts a sudden and overwhelming judgment ( Revelation 19:20).

(vv16-21) In contrast with the wicked, who are marked by violence and strife, day and night (v10), the godly man will call upon the Lord, "evening and morning and at noon." He is conscious that God will hear and deliver his soul, and afflict those who refuse to repent and own God ( Revelation 16:9). Moreover the wicked, not only refuses to glorify God, but he puts forth his hand against the godly and breaks the covenant with them, in spite of all the smooth words he had uttered ( Daniel 11:31; Daniel 12:11; Matthew 24:15).

(vv22-23) The psalmist closes with a beautiful expression of confidence in Jehovah. Let the godly in their distress cast their burdens upon the unchanging One who will never break His covenant with His people, nor suffer the righteous to be moved, whatever the sorrows they may have to pass through. In contrast to the godly, the violent and deceitful Prayer of Manasseh, who has exalted himself, will be brought down to destruction. Well may the godly conclude by saying, "I will trust in thee."

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Smith, Hamilton. "Commentary on Psalms 55:13". "Hamilton Smith's Writings". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hsw/psalms-55.html. 1832.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

This description of treachery does not deny, but aggravates, the injury from enemies.

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Psalms 55:13". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/psalms-55.html. 1871-8.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

guide — literally, “friend” (Proverbs 16:28; Proverbs 17:9).

acquaintance — in Hebrew, a yet more intimate associate.

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Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

But it was thou, a man mine equal, my guide, and mine acquaintance.

But it was thou, a man mine equal - literally, 'a man according to my rank' or 'estimation.' Friendship binds only equals; these it unites in the closest bonds. The Septuagint and Muis take it 'one like-minded' (Philippians 2:20).

My guide - my counselor; as Ahithophel was to David (1 Samuel 15:12; 1 Samuel 16:23).

Mine acquaintance - whom I acquainted with my secret feelings; as Jesus did toward Judas, along with the rest of the twelve (John 15:15).

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Psalms 55:13". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/psalms-55.html. 1871-8.

Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments

Psalms 55:6. Oh that I had wings like a dove, to outfly the hawks which seek my life. The Latin reads, Who will give me wings like a dove? But the English is preferable, as uttering the heart before the Lord.

Psalms 55:13. But it was thou. The Chaldaic reads, “But thou, Ahithophel.”

Psalms 55:15. Let death, seize upon them. These are the usual prayers before a battle. They were just prayers, such as God answered in the wood of Ephraim, where the rebels were forced over a precipice, as stated in 2 Samuel 18:6-8.

Psalms 55:16-18. The Lord shall save me. Jerome reads, “from the battle that was fought against me; for there were many against me.”

Psalms 55:23. The pit of destruction. The Chaldee, The abyss of gehenna, which is a punishment beyond the grave.

REFLECTIONS.

We have here another psalm of grief and deep distress. It was written after David had fled from his capital, to avoid Absalom and the rebels. It is very useful to men under calumny and reproach, and cannot but remind us of what Christ suffered in the garden, and from the Jews.

We here see what was the conduct of those who originated this rebellion. While Absalom was conciliating popularity by degrading condescensions, those initiated into his plot were degrading the king throughout the city, by false and shameful imputations of wickedness; for rebellion unfolds the depravity of man on a full scale. It paints sometimes the grandeur, but oftener the enormity of his passions; and exhibits him as capable of perpetrating crimes, at which in a cooler moment every feeling of his soul would revolt.

When David was apprized of the nature and extent of the plot; indignation at the perfidy, horror at the crimes, and the terrors of the carnage seized his soul. He sighed not for the throne; he was weary of royalty; but he envied the happy liberty of the dove, who in a moment of danger, stretches her wings to a peaceful retreat. So Jeremiah, unsuccessful in his ministry in the like evil age, sighed for a shepherd’s hut, or even a tent in the desert among wayfaring men, that he might weep for their wickedness. So also the good man, long assailed with calamities and pains, sighs for a retreat at his master’s feet; and by and bye, his master will grant his utmost wish. He shall gain the peaceful shore, and smile to leave the raging floods behind.

David at first, having no adequate help in man, nor knowing whom to trust, sought his help in God. He prayed the Lord to destroy the slander of their tongues, and to divide their counsel. This the Lord did when Absalom’s officers preferred Hushai’s counsel before Ahithophel’s. No man succeeds as candidate for a throne but he who has first received his commission from above, and no prince falls but he whom the Lord forsakes.

The horror with which David viewed Ahithophel’s treason and hypocrisy is next finely painted. This man, consummate in address, and famed as an oracle of wisdom, had so far ingratiated himself with the king as to fill the first place in his council. David had made this man his equal and friend; he had imparted to him every secret, and allowed him to dictate in all the affairs of state. This man, to complete his ascendancy over the royal mind, had affected also to be religious. He daily walked with his master to the house of God; he talked delightfully on religious subjects, and the affairs of salvation. Thus while he flattered his sovereign, and seemed a saint of the first class, he was secretly plotting his destruction. What then must have been David’s indignation when he learned that this saint had joined Absalom; that this saint had advised the prince to dishonour his father’s bed? Well might he exclaim, Let death seize them; let them go down, like Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, alive into hell. But when David in this manner pours maledictions on his foes, we should remember that he had a right to speak as a prophet and a judge; and that his sentence or prediction was in a few days most awfully executed against them, as has already been explained. But we are not to rejoice in the destruction of those that hate us, nor indulge in a spirit of malevolence. Job 31:29.

We are farther told that bloody and deceitful men shall not live out half their days. As a candle in a calm place burns out its full time, but sweals away in a draft; so human life is shortened by intemperance, and the wicked destroy one another by contention and war. This more fully evinces that when David thus sentenced the rebels, he did it by the Holy Spirit. See Psalm 35. 59. 69.

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Sutcliffe, Joseph. "Commentary on Psalms 55:13". Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jsc/psalms-55.html. 1835.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Psalms 55:13 But [it was] thou, a man mine equal, my guide, and mine acquaintance.

Ver. 13. But it was thou, a man mine equal] Heb. according to my rank, my compeer, my colleague, mine Alter-ego, my bosom friend, one that stood even with me, and upon the same ground, as it were.

My guide] In all mine affairs and actions; so that I thought nothing well done that I did not by his advice and counsel; my duke, my doctor, my Rabbi Davidis, as Rabbi David hath it, out of Kabuenaki.

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Psalms 55:13". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/psalms-55.html. 1865-1868.

Keil & Delitzsch Old Testament Commentary

In the second group anger is the prevailing feeling. In the city all kinds of party passions have broken loose; even his bosom friend has taken a part in this hostile rising. The retrospective reference to the confusion of tongues at Babel which is contained in the word פּלּג (cf. Genesis 10:25), also in remembrance of בּלל (Genesis 11:1-9), involves the choice of the word בּלּע, which here, after Isaiah 19:3, denotes a swallowing up, i.e., annihilation by means of confounding and rendering utterly futile. לשׁונם is the object to both imperatives, the second of which is פּלּג (like the pointing usual in connection with a final guttural) for the sake of similarity of sound. Instead of חמס וריב, the pointing is חמס וריב, which is perfectly regular, because the וריב with a conjunctive accent logically hurries on to בּעיר as its supplement.

(Note: Certain exceptions, however, exist, inasmuch as ו sometimes remains even in connection with a disjunctive accent, Isaiah 49:4; Jeremiah 40:10; Jeremiah 41:16; and it is pointed ו in connection with a conjunctive in Genesis 45:23; Genesis 46:12; Leviticus 9:3; Micah 2:11; Job 4:16; Ecclesiastes 4:8.)

The subjects to Psalms 55:11 are not violence and strife (Hengstenberg, Hitzig), for it is rather a comical idea to make these personified run round about upon the city walls; but (cf. Psalms 59:7, Psalms 59:15) the Absalomites, and in fact the spies who incessantly watch the movements of David and his followers, and who to this end roam about upon the heights of the city. The narrative in 2 Sam. 15 shows how passively David looked on at this movement, until he abandoned the palace of his own free will and quitted Jerusalem The espionage in the circuit of the city is contrasted with the movements going on within the city itself by the word בּקרב . We are acquainted with but few details of the affair; but we can easily fill in the details for ourselves in accordance with the ambitious, base, and craftily malicious character of Absalom. The assertion that deceit ( מרמה ) and the extremest madness had taken possession of the city is confirmed in Psalms 55:13 by כּי . It is not open enemies who might have had cause for it that are opposed to him, but faithless friends, and among them that Ahithophel of Giloh, the scum of perfidious ingratitude. The futures ואשּׂא and ואסּתר are used as subjunctives, and ו is equivalent to alioqui , as in Psalms 51:18, cf. Job 6:14. He tells him to his face, to his shame, the relationship in which he had stood to him whom he now betrays. Psalms 55:14 is not to be rendered: and thou art, etc., but: and thou (who dost act thus) wast, etc.; for it is only because the principal clause has a retrospective meaning that the futures נמתּיק and נהלּך describe what was a custom in the past. The expression is designedly אנושׁ כּערכּי and not אישׁ כערכי ; David does not make him feel his kingly eminence, but places himself in the relation to him of man to man, putting him on the same level with himself and treating him as his equal. The suffix of כערכי is in this instance not subjective as in the כערכך of the law respecting the asham or trespass-offering: according to my estimation, but objectively: equal to the worth at which I am estimated, that is to say, equally valued with myself. What heart-piercing significance this word obtains when found in the mouth of the second David, who, although the Son of God and peerless King, nevertheless entered into the most intimate human relationship as the Son of man to His disciples, and among them to that Iscariot! אלּוּף from אלף, Arabic alifa , to be accustomed to anything, assuescere , signifies one attached to or devoted to any one; and מידּא, according to the Hebrew meaning of the verb ידע, an intimate acquaintance. The first of the relative clauses in Psalms 55:15 describes their confidential private intercourse; the second the unrestrained manifestation of it in public. סוד here, as in Job 19:19 (vid., supra on Psalms 25:14). המתּיק סוד, to make friendly intercourse sweet, is equivalent to cherishing it. רגשׁ stands over against סוד, just like סוד, secret counsel, and רגשׁה, loud tumult, in Psalms 64:3. Here רגשׁ is just the same as that which the Korahitic poet calls המון חוגג in Psalms 42:5.

In the face of the faithless friends who has become the head of the Absalomite faction David now breaks out, in Psalms 55:16, into fearful imprecations. The Chethîb is ישׁימות, desolationes ( super eos ); but this word occurs only in the name of a place (“House of desolations”), and does not well suit such direct reference to persons. On the other hand, the Kerî ישּׁיאמות, let death ensnare or impose upon them, gives a sense that is not to be objected to; it is a pregnant expression, equivalent to: let death come upon them unexpectedly. To this ישּׁיא corresponds the חיּים of the second imprecation: let them go down alive into Hades ( שׁאול, perhaps originally שׁאולה, the ה of which may have been lost beside the ח that follows), i.e., like the company of Korah, while their life is yet vigorous, that is to say, let them die a sudden, violent death. The drawing together of the decipiat (opprimat) mors into one word is the result of the ancient scriptio continua and of the defective mode of writing, ישּׁי, like יני, Psalms 141:5, אבי, 1 Kings 21:29. Böttcher renders it differently: let death crash in upon them; but the future form ישּׁי = ישׁאה from שׁאה = שׁאי is an imaginary one, which cannot be supported by Numbers 21:30. Hitzig renders it: let death benumb them ( ישּׁים ); but this gives an inconceivable figure, with the turgidity of which the trepidantes Manes in Virgil, Aenid viii. 246, do not admit of comparison. In the confirmation, Psalms 55:16, בּמגוּרם, together with the בּקרבּם which follows, does not pretend to be any advance in the thought, whether מגור be rendered a settlement, dwelling, παροικία (lxx, Targum), or an assembly (Aquila, Symmachus, Jerome). Hence Hitzig's rendering: in their shrine, in their breast (= ἐν τῷ θησαυρῷ τῆς καρδίας αὐτῶν, Luke 6:45), מגוּרם being short for מגוּרתם in accordance with the love of contraction which prevails in poetry (on Psalms 25:5). But had the poet intended to use this figure he would have written בּמגוּרת קרבם, and is not the assertion that wickedness is among them, that it is at home in them, really a climax? The change of the names of God in Psalms 55:17 is significant. He calls upon Him who is exalted above the world, and He who mercifully interposes in the history of the world helps him.

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The Keil & Delitzsch Old Testament Commentary is a derivative of a public domain electronic edition.
Bibliographical Information
Keil, Carl Friedrich & Delitzsch, Franz. "Commentary on Psalms 55:13". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/kdo/psalms-55.html. 1854-1889.

The Popular Commentary by Paul E. Kretzmann

A Complaint of False Friends.

To the chief musician on Neginoth, to be rendered with the accompaniment of stringed instruments in public worship, Maschil, a psalm of David.

v. 1. Give ear to my prayer, O God, as usual, a strong expression for listening attentively; and hide not Thyself from my supplication, pretending to withhold His answer to David's earnest and importunate pleading.

v. 2. Attend unto me, marking closely what he had to say, and hear me. I mourn in my complaint, reeling to and fro in painful meditation, which seemed to lead to no solution, and make a noise, groaning with pain,

v. 3. because of the voice of the enemy, as he was compelled to hear it, because of the oppression of the wicked, the burden laid upon him by their hatred; for they cast iniquity upon me, the picture being that of a heavy load rolled down from a tower or mountain, making him moan and groan with its weight, and in wrath they hate me, acting against him with deceit and treachery.

v. 4. My heart is sore pained within me, his inmost soul writhing with the agony laid upon him; and the terrors of death are fallen upon me, such as threatened death, taking away all hope of life.

v. 5. Fearfulness and trembling are come upon me, like enemies attacking him, and horror hath overwhelmed me, its shades enveloping him and filling him with the deepest gloom.

v. 6. And I said, Oh, that I had wings like a dove! a figure of powerful and rapid flight, for then would I fly away and be at rest, find a haven of security somewhere far from the oppression and treachery of the enemies.

v. 7. Lo, then would I wander far off, flee to a great distance, and remain in the wilderness, the usual place of refuge for the persecuted and oppressed. Selah.

v. 8. I would hasten my escape, hurrying with the greatest speed to a place of refuge, from the windy storm and tempest, for the rushing violence of the enemies intended his ruin. Such was the situation in which David found himself, not unlike that which sometimes threatens Christians even in our days; hence his pleading cry.

v. 9. Destroy, O Lord, and divide their tongues, swallowing them up and confounding their speech and therefore also their counsels; for I have seen violence and strife in the city, Jerusalem having become a hotbed of anarchy under the influence of the conspirators.

v. 10. Day and night they go about it upon the walls thereof, the enemies keeping a careful watch, spying upon the righteous; mischief also and sorrow, harm of every kind, are in the midst of it.

v. 11. Wickedness is in the midst thereof, due to the treacherous agitation of the conspirators; deceit and guile depart not from her streets, from the open spaces or public concourses near the gates where the treacherous plans were passed on to others.

v. 12. For it was not an enemy that reproached me, since in the case of an open adversary the situation would not have been so serious; then I could have borne it, for one expects no other treatment from an outspoken enemy, one endures his hostility; neither was it he that hated me that did magnify himself against me, seeking to carry out plans prompted by false ambition; then I would have hid myself from him, a course which he could not pursue with regard to a secret, treacherous foe, concerning whom one never knows when he will strike.

v. 13. But it was thou, a man mine equal, whom David esteemed of the same rank with himself, my guide and mine acquaintance, rather, "my companion and my intimate friend," the reference probably being to Ahithophel, the Gilonite, 2Sa_15:12.

v. 14. We took sweet counsel, enjoying the intimacy of friendship, together and walked into the house of God in company, associating also in public, at the great festivals of Israel, when their close companionship was witnessed by all the people. Such conduct in betraying the love of a pure friendship fills David with righteous anger, causing him to call upon God for revenge.

v. 15. Let death seize upon them, the treacherous friends, and let them go down quick into hell, into the realm of death, with a living body as in the case of Korah, Num_16:30; for wickedness is in their dwellings and among them, within the hearts. This was said without a feeling of personal hatred and vengeance, as a call for the punishment of God upon such as were wicked beyond the hope of correction.

v. 16. As for me, placing his own person in emphatic opposition to his enemies, I will call upon God, in fervent and constant prayer; and the Lord shall save me, that being the firm conviction of his faith.

v. 17. Evening and morning and at noon, the three principal periods of the day usually observed as special times of prayer, will I pray and cry aloud, complaining and moaning; and He shall hear my voice.

v. 18. He hath delivered my soul in peace from the battle, or war, that was against me, granting him peace and security; for there were many with me, rather, "for with many are they against me," a multitude being arrayed against him.

v. 19. God shall hear and afflict them, hearing their fierce tumult and answering them as the stern Judge, even He that abideth of old, the Refuge of the believers from everlasting to everlasting. Selah. Because they have no changes, were unwilling to turn from their evil conduct, their treacherous behavior, therefore they fear not God. It is such people whom the vengeance of the Lord will strike.

v. 20. He, the treacherous friend described above, hath put forth his hands against such as be at peace with him, profaning the solemn covenant of intimate friendship; he hath broken his covenant, that of mutual faithfulness.

v. 21. The words of his mouth were smoother than butter, with oily hypocrisy, but war was in his heart; his words were softer than oil, dripping smoothness and good will, yet were they drawn swords, his entire behavior being hypocrisy and deceit. For his own consolation David cries out:

v. 22. Cast thy burden upon the Lord, the word referring to every believer's lot in life, whatever may be laid upon him according to the gracious will of his heavenly Father, and He shall sustain thee; He shall never suffer the righteous to be moved, preventing the believer's sinking to the ground under the burden assigned him.

v. 23. But Thou, O God, shalt bring them, the false friends, down into the pit of destruction, to the pit or depth of the grave, a prey of an unwelcome death; bloody and deceitful men, who delight in treachery and violence, shall not live out half their days, not live half as long as ordinary conditions would seem to warrant. But I will trust in Thee, the believers of all times joining him in this implicit trust in God.

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Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Kretzmann, Paul E. Ph. D., D. D. "Commentary on Psalms 55:13". "Kretzmann's Popular Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/kpc/psalms-55.html. 1921-23.

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

             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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Bibliographical Information
Lange, Johann Peter. "Commentary on Psalms 55:13". "Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/lcc/psalms-55.html. 1857-84.

Matthew Henry's Complete Commentary on the Bible

Prophetic Imprecations.

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 not 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.

David here complains of his enemies, whose wicked plots had brought him, though not to his faith's end, yet to his wits' end, and prays against them by the spirit of prophecy. Observe here,

I. The character he gives of the enemies he feared. They were of the worst sort of men, and his description of them agrees very well with Absalom and his accomplices. 1. He complains of the city of Jerusalem, which strangely fell in with Absalom and fell off from David, so that he had none there but how own guards and servants that he could repose any confidence in: How has that faithful city become a harlot! David did not take the representation of it from others but with his own eyes, and with a sad heart, did himself see nothing but violence and strife in the city (Psalm 55:9) for, when they grew disaffected and disloyal to David, they grew mischievous one to another. If he walked the rounds upon the walls of the city, he saw that violence and strife went about it day and night, and mounted its guards, Psalm 55:10. All the arts and methods which the rebels used for the fortifying of the city were made up on violence and strife, and there were no remains of honesty or love among them. If he looked into the heart of the city, mischief and injury, mutual wrong and vexation, were in the midst of it: Wickedness, all manner of wickedness, is in the midst thereof. Jusque datum sceleri--Wickedness was legalized. Deceit and guile, and all manner of treacherous dealing, departed not from her streets, Psalm 55:11. It may be meant of their base and barbarous usage of David's friends and such as they knew were firm and faithful to him they did them all the mischief they could, by fraud or force. Is this the character of Jerusalem, the royal city, and, which is more, the holy city, and in David's time too, so soon after the thrones of judgment and the testimony of Israel were both placed there? Is this the city that men call the perfection of beauty? Lamentations 2:15. Is Jerusalem, the head-quarters of God's priests, so ill taught? Can Jerusalem be ungrateful to David himself, its own illustrious founder, and be made too hot for him, so that he cannot reside in it? Let us not be surprised at the corruptions and disorders of this church on earth, but long to see the New Jerusalem, where there is no violence nor strife, no mischief nor guilt, and into which no unclean thing shall enter, nor any thing that disquiets. 2. He complains of one of the ringleaders of the conspiracy, that had been very industrious to foment jealousies, to misrepresent him and his government, and to incense the city against him. It was one that reproached him, as if he either abused his power or neglected the use of it, for that was Absalom's malicious suggestion: There is no man deputed of the king to hear thee, 2 Samuel 15:3. That and similar accusations were industriously spread among the people and who was most active in it? "Not a sworn enemy, not Shimei, nor any of the nonjurors then I could have borne it, for I should not have expected better from them" (and we find how patiently he did bear Shimei's curses) "not one that professed to hate me, then I would have stood upon my guard against him, would have hidden myself and counsels from him, so that it would not have been in his power to betray me. But it was thou, a man, my equal," Psalm 55:13. The Chaldee-paraphrase names Ahithophel as the person here meant, and nothing in that plot seems to have discouraged David so much as to hear that Ahithophel was among the conspirators with Absalom (2 Samuel 15:31), for he was the king's counsellor, 1 Chronicles 27:33. "It was thou, a man, my equal, one whom I esteemed as myself, a friend as my own soul, whom I had laid in my bosom and made equal with myself, to whom I had communicated all my secrets and who knew my mind as well as I myself did,--my guide, with whom I advised and by whom I was directed in all my affairs, whom I made president of the council and prime-minister of state,--my intimate acquaintance and familiar friend this is the man that now abuses me. I have been kind to him, but I find him thus basely ungrateful. I have put a trust in him, but I find him thus basely treacherous nay, and he could not have done me the one-half of the mischief he does if I had not shown him so much respect." All this must needs be very grievous to an ingenuous mind, and yet this was not all this traitor had seemed a saint, else he had never been David's bosom-friend (Psalm 55:14): "We took counsel together, spent many an hour together, with a great deal of pleasure, in religious discourse," or, as Dr. Hammond reads it, "We joined ourselves together to the assembly I gave him the right hand of fellowship in holy ordinances, and then we walked to the house of God in company, to attend the public service." Note, (1.) There always has been, and always will be, a mixture of good and bad, sound and unsound, in the visible church, between whom, perhaps for a long time, we can discern no difference but the searcher of hearts does. David, who went to the house of God in his sincerity, had Ahithophel in company with him, who went in his hypocrisy. The Pharisee and the publican went together to the temple to pray but, sooner or later, those that are perfect and those that are not will be made manifest. (2.) Carnal policy may carry men on very far and very long in a profession of religion while it is in fashion, and will serve a turn. In the court of pious David none was more devout than Ahithophel, and yet his heart was not right in the sight of God. (3.) We must not wonder if we be sadly deceived in some that have made great pretensions to those two sacred things, religion and friendship David himself, though a very wise man, was thus imposed upon, which may make similar disappointments the more tolerable to us.

II. His prayers against them, which we are both to stand in awe of and to comfort ourselves in, as prophecies, but not to copy into our prayers against any particular enemies of our own. He prays, 1. That God would disperse them, as he did the Babel-builders (Psalm 55:9): "Destroy, O Lord! and divide their tongues that is, blast their counsels, by making them to disagree among themselves, and clash with one another. Send an evil spirit among them, that they may not understand one another, but be envious and jealous one of another." This prayer was answered in the turning of Ahithophel's counsel into foolishness, by setting up the counsel of Hushai against it. God often destroys the church's enemies by dividing them nor is there a surer way to the destruction of any people than their division. A kingdom, an interest, divided against itself, cannot long stand. 2. That God would destroy them, as he did Dathan and Abiram, and their associates, who were confederate against Moses, whose throat being an open sepulchre, the earth therefore opened and swallowed them up. This was then a new thing which God executed, Numbers 16:30. But David prays that it might now be repeated, or something equivalent (Psalm 55:15): "Let death seize upon them by divine warrant, and let them go down quickly into hell let them be dead, and buried, and so utterly destroyed, in a moment for wickedness is wherever they are it is in the midst of them." The souls of impenitent sinners go down quick, or alive, into hell, for they have a perfect sense of their miseries, and shall therefore live still, that they may be still miserable. This prayer is a prophecy of the utter, the final, the everlasting ruin of all those who, whether secretly or openly, oppose and rebel against the Lord's Messiah.

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Henry, Matthew. "Complete Commentary on Psalms 55:13". "Matthew Henry Complete Commentary on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mhm/psalms-55.html. 1706.

Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Bible

No wickedness so distresses the believer, as that which he witnesses in those who profess to be of the church of God. Let us not be surprised at the corruptions and disorders of the church on earth, but long to see the New Jerusalem. He complains of one that had been very industrious against him. God often destroys the enemies of the church by dividing them. And an interest divided against itself cannot long stand. The true Christian must expect trials from professed friends, from those with whom he has been united; this will be very painful; but by looking unto Jesus we shall be enabled to bear it. Christ was betrayed by a companion, a disciple, an apostle, who resembled Ahithophel in his crimes and doom. Both were speedily overtaken by Divine vengeance. And this prayer is a prophecy of the utter, the everlasting ruin, of all who oppose and rebel against the Messiah.

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Henry, Matthew. "Concise Commentary on Psalms 55:13". "Matthew Henry Concise Commentary

on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mhn/psalms-55.html. 1706.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

Mine equal; not in power and dignity, which could not be, but in reputation for his deep wisdom and excellent conduct, and the great influence which he had upon me, and upon all my people.

My guide; whose counsel I highly prized, and constantly sought and followed: all which agrees very well to Ahithophel. See 2 Samuel 15:12,31 16:23.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Psalms 55:13". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/psalms-55.html. 1685.

Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible

He Bewails The Fact That He Has Been Betrayed By A Comrade-In-Arms (Psalms 55:12-14).

The description of the city has prepared the way for the story of his own betrayal. What hurt him most was that he had been betrayed by a close comrade-in-arms who had responded to his love by seeking his death. We do not know who it was but it would have been surprising if a man like David had not had a few close friends as well as Jonathan. And clearly one of these close friends had turned against him and betrayed him.

Psalms 55:12-14

‘For it was not an enemy who reproached me,

Then I could have borne it,

Nor was it he who hated me who magnified himself against me,

Then I would have hid myself from him,

But it was you, a man my equal,

My companion, and my familiar friend.

We took sweet counsel together,

We walked in the house of God with the throng.’

He addresses the close friend who has betrayed him. This was either because his friend wanted to keep on the right side of Saul, or because he was jealous, either of David’s growing reputation, or his friendship with Jonathan. The fact that the man had reproached him may suggest that he had been persuaded by Saul that David was encroaching and a chancer. The fact that he magnified himself against him might suggest that he had ‘pulled rank’ or that he had heavily contributed towards David’s disgrace. Either way, to see his bosom friend treating him like this had hit David hard. He points out that he could have borne it from a man who was his enemy, and if it had been a man who hated him he would just have avoided him. But to be treated in this way by a man whom he saw as his equal, a constant companion and a close friend, had hurt him really deeply. He describes him as a friend with whom he had had many close personal conversations, and with whom he had walked side by side in festal processions. Indeed they had entered together into a covenant of friendship (Psalms 55:20). But now his friend had, as it were, stabbed him in the back. And it had hit him hard.

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Pett, Peter. "Commentary on Psalms 55:13". "Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pet/psalms-55.html. 2013.

Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible

LV. A Prayer for Deliverance from Treacherous Foes.

. The Psalmist tells God of his disquiet and terror. His desire to flee from Jerusalem to the wilderness.

. A description of the treacherous friend, ending with an imprecation: let them go down suddenly to the pit.

. The Psalmist's continuous prayer and his trust that God will defeat his enemies.

Psalms 55:20 f. The treachery of his foes described.

Psalms 55:22 f. God's care for the godly: His vengeance on the wicked.

On the traditional view that David wrote this Ps., commentators, beginning with T., have identified the treacherous friend with Ahitophel (2 Samuel 15-17). He, however, was not David's "equal" (Psalms 55:14). With better reason it has been suggested that Alcimus (pp. 385, 607) is the traitor intended. He being a descendant of Aaron became High Priest with the assent of the Hasidim (see Psalms 4), but afterwards took the side of the Hellenising party. He died in 159 B.C. But this ingenious conjecture is only a conjecture after all. We do not know even approximately the date of the Ps., though we cannot doubt that it is post-exilic, nor can we explain the historical reference with any confidence. The text is very corrupt, but the corruption leaves its general sense unaltered, and the difficulties are mostly grammatical merely. There is no sufficient reason for dividing the Ps. into two.

Psalms 55:6. A reminiscence of Jeremiah 9:2. The words "like a dove" are absent from Jer. and may be a gloss. Doves do not find their home in the wilderness.

Psalms 55:9. The Psalmist's enemies go about the city walls like watchmen, but with evil purposes.

Psalms 55:12. The traitor was apparently a high official in the Temple who, in the struggle between Jews of strict observance and Hellenising Jews, had changed sides.

Psalms 55:15. The Psalmist is thinking of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, and of their fate, as recorded in Numbers 16. The section ends with a sudden imprecation.

Psalms 55:18. Read "will redeem" and "strive."

Psalms 55:19. Translate, "He will hear" (i.e. "will hear" the Psalmist) and "will humble them, he that is enthroned of old." The rest of the verse is unintelligible. "The men who have no changes" is generally taken to mean "Men who do evil incessantly." But this is a far-fetched and unnatural mode of expression. The VSS gives no help and no plausible emendation has been made.

Psalms 55:22. Translate, "Cast thy lot" (i.e. the cares which are thy portion) "upon Yahweh."

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Bibliographical Information
Peake, Arthur. "Commentary on Psalms 55:13". "Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pfc/psalms-55.html. 1919.

Preacher's Complete Homiletical Commentary

INTRODUCTION

Superscription.—"To the Chief Musician on Neginoth." See introduction to Psalms 54 "Maschil," an instruction. Hengstenberg: "The Psalmist wishes to show how, in such a situation of excitement, a person should conduct himself; how he should carry up what has occasioned it to God, and compose himself to rest again through the consideration of God's love and righteousness."

Occasion.—We have no doubt that the psalm has an historical reference; but to what occasion it refers cannot now be determined with certainty. Barnes: "Of all the known events in the life of David, the supposition which regards the psalm as composed during the rebellion of Absalom, and at the special time when he learned that the man whom he trusted—Ahithophel—was among the traitors, is the most probable. All the circumstances in the psalm agree with his condition at that time, and the occasion was one in which the persecuted and much-afflicted king would be likely to pour out the desires of his heart before God" (2Sa ).

A CRY FROM A SOUL IN DISTRESS

(Psa .)

This cry of the troubled Psalmist reveals—

I. The cause of his distress. This was the conduct of his enemies as set forth in Psa :

1. Their evil speeches. "Because of the voice of the enemy." At this time David was assailed with reproaches, slanders, and threats (2Sa ). (See "The Hom. Com.," on Psa 41:5-9; Psa 42:2.)

2. Their wicked deeds. "Because of the oppression of the wicked; for they cast iniquity upon me." Hengstenberg renders the last clause thus: "for they bend mischief over me." And Conant: "For they cause mischief to impend over me." Absalom and Ahithophel and their followers were doing their utmost to take away both the kingdom and the life of the poet-king. Their evil doings were an intolerable burden to him, beneath which his heart fainted and his strength failed.

3. Their deadly hatred. "In wrath they hate me." Hengstenberg: "In wrath they persecute me." Conant: "In anger they lay a snare for me." They had nursed their ambitious and wicked schemes until their hearts were full of deep and deadly hatred against him who stood in the way and prevented their attainment. "There was in their enmity both the heat and violence of anger, or sudden passion, and the implacableness of hatred and rooted malice."

II. The description of his distress. The Psalmist represents himself as suffering—

1. Great mental anxiety. This seems to be the idea of the second clause of Psa . "I mourn in my complaint, and make a noise." Moll: "I reel to and fro in my complaint and must groan." Conant: "I am restless in my complaining and disquieted." Perowne: " אָרִיד from a verb, רִיד, which occurs in three other passages, Gen 27:40; Jer 2:31; Hos 12:1. Properly it signifies to wander restlessly, especially as homeless, without fixed abode, &c. Here it is used of the restless tossing to and fro of the mind, filled with cares and anxieties." The mind of David was at this time exercised by the most anxious thought as to the measures he should adopt, and the course he should pursue for his own safety and the good of his distracted realm.

2. Deep pain of heart. "My heart is sore pained within me." Moll: "‘My heart writhes within me.' The trouble is not merely an external one, it affects his bowels, his vitals, his inmost soul." David was deeply wounded in the innermost and most sensitive part of his nature. His own son whom he loved was the head and origin of the rebellion. "I have nourished and brought up children, and they have rebelled against me." And his bosom friend whom he trusted, Ahithophel, was chief counsellor of the rebels. Well may his "heart writhe within" him.

3. Overwhelming and unspeakable dread. "The terrors of death are fallen upon me. Fearfulness and trembling are come upon me, and horror hath overwhelmed me." Hengstenberg: "The terrors of death seize the Psalmist, because the enemies threaten his life." Barnes: "‘Horror hath overwhelmed me.' Marg., as in Heb., ‘covered me.' That is, 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; Eze, rendered (as here, horror; Job 21:6, rendered trembling; and Isa 21:4, rendered fearfulness. It refers to that state when we are deeply agitated with fear." If we think of the scenes and circumstances through which David was passing, we shall see that they were likely to occasion feelings so deep and painful and dreadful, that even the strong language here used does not adequately express them. "The ingratitude and rebellion of a son,—the fact of being driven away from his throne,—the number of his enemies,—the unexpected news that Ahithophel was among them,—and the entire uncertainty of the result, justified the use of this strong language."

III. His desire in his distress. "And I said, Oh that I had wings like a dove," &c. He desires to escape quickly from the wrath and strife of men to the peace and safety of Nature's retirements,—to get away from the falsity and cruelty of human society into the solitudes of true and kindly Nature. Jeremiah: "Oh that I had in the wilderness a lodging place of wayfaring men; that I might leave my people and go from them! for they be all adulterers, an assembly of treacherous men."

"Oh for a lodge in some vast wilderness,

Some boundless contiguity of shade,

Where rumour of oppression and deceit,

Of unsuccessful or successful war,

Might never reach me more. My ear is pain'd,

My soul is sick with every day's report

Of wrong and outrage with which earth is fill'd."—Cowper.

The Psalmist desired to depart

(1) quickly. "Wings like a dove" is a figure of rapid flight. "I would hasten my escape."

(2) Completely. "I would wander far off." "I would make the distance far by wandering." He would completely separate himself from the strife and tumult of the city and human society.

(3) Permanently. "I would flee away, and abide." "This is more literal, and more in accordance with the parallelism than the translation, ‘be at rest,' of the A. V.;" and is adopted by Delitzsch, Hengstenberg, Hupfield, Moll, et al.

1. This desire was natural. There was no feeling of revenge in it. He did not sigh for the wings of a hawk to fly upon the prey, but for those of the innocent dove, to escape from the birds of prey. Suffering as he was from men whom he had loved and trusted, it was natural that David should long to escape from man to nature, and to have done with the faithless and ungrateful.

2. This desire was mistaken. If he had obtained his wish, the issue would probably have been disappointing. Our well-being and joy depend on our inner condition, not on our outward circumstances. If the brain and heart be unquiet themselves, neither society nor solitude can give them rest. If the peace of God be in the soul, the world's most tumultuous and trying scenes cannot deprive us of it.

3. This desire was significant. To us it clearly suggests that there is for man a place as well as a state of rest. The longing of the heart for rest is prophetic of a realm where peaceful souls dwell amid peaceful circumstances. There is a world into which sin and sorrow and strife never enter; but it is not here. Our rest, our home, is not here. "Arise ye and depart; for this is not your rest," &c.

IV. His prayer in his distress. "Give ear to my prayer, O God; and hide not Thyself from my supplication. Attend unto me, and hear me." These petitions involve a large measure of faith in God.

1. In His accessibleness. David believed in the possibility and privilege of man speaking unto his Maker. He regarded God as the hearer of prayer.

2. In His intreatibleness. "Hide no Thyself," &c. Arnd: "In great straits, it seems as if God hides Himself from us, as the prophet Jeremiah speaks in chap. 3 of his Lamentations: ‘Thou hast covered Thyself with a cloud, that our prayer should not pass through.' But our gracious God cannot hide Himself from our prayer; the prayer does still press through the clouds and find Him. God's fatherly heart does not permit Him to hear us cry and beg, without turning to us, as a father when he bears his children cry." David regarded God as the answerer of prayer.

3. In His sufficiency. The Psalmist was convinced that if God graciously received his prayer and entertained his case, it would be well with him notwithstanding the malice and might and multitude of his foes. "He is able to do exceeding abundantly," &c.

CONCLUSION.—Learn:

1. That the best of men in this world are exposed to severest trials.

2. That religion does not make men insensible to pain and grief.

3. That religion provides for men an all-sufficient resource in trial. Prayer to a gracious, all-wise, and almighty Friend.

4. That religion faithfully promises full and blessed satisfaction to man's craving for rest.

(1) Here the rest of faith, satisfied affections, &c.—rest amidst trial, peace in conflict.

(2) Hereafter, in addition to this rest of soul, complete rest from conflict, trial, suffering, and sin.

"There shall no tempests blow,

No scorching noontide heat;

There shall be no more snow,

No weary wand'ring feet;

So we lift our trusting eyes

From the hills our fathers trod.

To the quiet of the skies

To the Sabbath of our God."

—Hemans.

SAD SCENES AND PAINFUL EXPERIENCES

(Psa .)

"The tone of sadness and melancholy now gives way to one of hot and passionate indignation;" and the poet sketches the sad scenes which he had witnessed in the city, and the painful experiences through which he had passed.

I. Sore evils in the city. "I have seen violence and strife in the city," &c., Psa .

1. The evils were manifold in form. Here we have:—

(1) Rebellion against the civil power. "Violence and strife in the city."

(2) Extortion and fraud in commerce. "Deceit and guile depart not from her streets." Hengstenberg: "There depart not from its market oppression and deceit." Conant: "From her market-place depart not extortion and deceit." The word which is rendered "streets" and "markets" denotes "the large open spaces at the gates of the oriental cities, where were the markets, the courts of justice, and general places of public concourse." Every phase of life seems to have become depraved. "Wickedness was in the midst" of the city.

2. The evils were universal in extent. They were "in the city" and going "about it upon the walls;" they were "in the midst thereof" and in the open spaces before the gates. "The city was wholly and utterly filled with wickedness."

3. The evils were continuous in their activities. "Day and night they go about," &c. They "depart not," &c. Wickedness was unwearied and incessant in its doings.

4. The evils were painful in their results. "Mischief and sorrow are in the midst of it." Conant: "Trouble and sorrow are within her." The whole city in all its parts and at all times was full of wickedness; and the result was distress and grief. Where wickedness abounds, misery will not be wanting. Sin is the fruitful parent of sorrow. It is well that trouble does follow transgression. We wonder not that David's heart was stirred with grief and indignation as he beheld the city so filled with untiring wickedness and sore anguish. No person of enlightened piety can contemplate the sins and sorrows of a great city without emotions of deep grief and earnest solicitude.

The poet also sketches some of his own painful experiences.

II. Base treachery in friendship. "For it was not an enemy that reproached me," &c., Psa . We see here:—

1. Friendship enjoyed. The Psalmist dwells upon this point with touching minuteness. He shows us a friendship:

(1) Of great intimacy and trust. "A man mine equal, my guide, and mine acquaintance." "Mine equal." "Friendship, according to the rule, ‘binds only equals,' and these, wherever it actually obtains, with peculiarly intimate bonds." "My guide." " אַלּוּף is here not guide, but companion, associate, one joined in intimate communion." Barnes: "The phrase ‘mine acquaintance' is a feeble expression, and does not convey the full force of the original, which denotes a more intimate friend than would be suggested by the word ‘acquaintance.' It is language applied to one whom we thoroughly know, and who knows us; and this exists only in the case of very intimate friends." David had regarded Ahithophel as such a friend.

(2) In holiest engagements. "We walked unto the house of God in company." More correctly: "We walked into the house of God in the festal crowd." They united as dear friends in acts of sacred worship to the one God. "The fellowship of devotion entwines the hearts of men with the most tender cords." Such friendships should triumph over death itself.

(3) Affording great pleasure. "We took sweet counsel together." Literally: "We sweetened counsel together." Their familiar converse was mutually delightful. In public and in private, in religion and in politics, their friendship had been most intimate and confiding and pleasurable.

2. Friendship violated.

(1) By slander. "It was not an enemy that reproached me." This trusted friend had taken part with his detractors and calumniators (2Sa ).

(2) By base and cruel opposition. "Magnify himself against me." Conant: "Hath acted proudly against me." The treacherous man was seeking to accomplish the downfall and ruin of David, that he might thereby rise to greater distinction and power. So the tender and holy bonds of friendship, which should ever be softer than gossamer, yet stronger than cable, were utterly outraged.

3. Friendship injured and complaining. David felt that he had been bitterly wronged, and very pathetically he complains of the wrong. His complaint suggests that the hostility of those we counted friends, is—

(1) More painful than that of enemies. "It was not an enemy that reproached me, then I could have borne it." Berleb. Bible: "For from such one would expect nothing better, and might still find consolation respecting it from one's friends." The treachery of those whom we have taken into our innermost confidence is one of the most bitter of life's experiences.

(2) More perilous than that of enemies. "Then I would have hid myself from him." We can guard against the injuries of an open, or of a suspected enemy; but who can guard against the injuries of a secret, treacherous foe, whom we regard and trust as a friend?

(3) More criminal than that of enemies. Such hostility outrages the tenderest and holiest feelings, and violates the most sacred obligations. Such were some of the painful experiences of the poet at this time. Alas, that thousands have drank of the same bitter cup!

"Where you are liberal of your loves and counsel

Be sure you be not loose; for those you make friends,

And give your hearts to, when they once perceive

The least rub in your fortunes, fall away

Like water from ye, never found again,

But where they mean to sink ye."

—Shakespeare.

"And what is friendship but a name,

A charm that lulls to sleep!

A shade that follows wealth or fame,

And leaves the wretch to weep!"

—Goldsmith.

See "The Hom. Com.," on Psa .

III. Earnest prayer in suffering. David prays for—

1. The defeat of his enemies' plans by the division of their counsels. "O Lord, divide their tongues." Alexander: "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 (Gen ), 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."

2. The sudden destruction of his enemies. "Destroy, O Lord." Hengstenberg: "Devour, Lord." The word properly signifies, swallow up. "Let death seize upon them, let them go down quick into hell." Conant's translation is more accurate: "Desolations are upon them; they shall go down alive to the under world." There is a reference here to the destruction of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram (Num ). David prays that a similar destruction may befall his enemies. And the reason upon which his prayer is based is that "wickedness is in their dwellings, among them." Let them perish because of their wickedness.

CONCLUSION.—

1. Be careful in the selection of friends and the formation of friendships.

2. Prize true friends.

"The friends thou hast, and their adoption tried,

Grapple them to thy soul with hooks of steel."—Shakespeare.

"A man that hath friends must show himself friendly," &c.

3. Yet confide not too fully in any human friend; for even the truest may fail us in life's great needs for lack of power to aid, &c.

4. God alone is supremely trust-worthy. He cannot fail either in faithfulness or in power, &c.

A TRIUMPHANT CONFIDENCE

(Psa .)

In this portion of the Psalm the poet expresses his assured hope of deliverance from all his enemies and dangers. Consider—

I. The nature of his confidence. "As for me, I will call upon God, and the Lord shall save me," &c.

1. His confidence was comprehensive. He trusted that

(1) God would destroy his enemies. "God shall hear and afflict them." Hengstenberg: "God shall hear and answer them." He would hear the angry voices of the wicked, and in judgment He would give them a sharp answer. "Thou, O God, shalt bring them down to the pit of destruction," &c. "The pit of destruction" is Sheol. The idea is, that God would cut them off even as the Psalmist had already prayed Him to do.

(2) God would save him. He regards this salvation as including ( α) Support and preservation during his trials and dangers. "He shall sustain thee, He shall never suffer the righteous to be moved." ( β) Deliverance from his trials and dangers. "The Lord shall save me … He hath delivered my soul in peace from the battle that was against me." He was quite confident that God would deliver him in safety from those who were making war against him. This confidence had brought peace to him in the midst of danger, and he had an assured hope of the restoration of outward peace. This is a confidence which every believer in the Lord may cherish as regards his salvation from inward and from outward enemies. If our trust is in the Lord Jesus Christ our complete triumph and our full salvation are gloriously certain.

2. His confidence was strong. There is no trace of hesitation or doubt in the declaration of the Psalmist. He speaks with the clear accent of assured conviction. He is so certain of his deliverance that he speaks of it as already accomplished. "He hath redeemed my soul in peace," &c. He is as sure of the victory as if it were already won. Such confidence

(1) honours God,

(2) imparts courage and strength, and

(3) insures a rich reward.

3. His confidence was intelligent. It was neither ignorant nor presumptuous, but intelligent and reverent. He does not helplessly and unreasonably look to God to save him by miracle; but recognises the fact that salvation is given to us in the use of the means. He mentions as means to his deliverance—

(1) Prayer. "As for me, I will call upon God," &c. He resolves to pray frequently. "Evening, and morning, and at noon, will I pray." Moll: "The three principal parts of the day, usually observed as the special times of prayer among the Orientals. Or it may, perhaps, be a practical expression for the whole day, equivalent to, at all times, without ceasing." He resolves to pray fervently. "I will pray and cry aloud." Hengstenberg: "I will meditate and cry aloud." Conant: "I will lament and sigh." Moll: "Complain and groan." The idea seems to be that his feelings were deep and strong, and that he would give to them appropriate expression in prayer to God. Deep emotions cannot be restrained in their utterance within the limits of formal and ordinary expressions. Such were the emotions of the Psalmist.

(2) Trust. He regarded the continuance of his confidence as essential to his salvation. Hence he exhorts himself—"Cast thy burden upon the Lord;" and he resolves, "I will trust in Thee." The continued exercise of faith is an essential condition of calmness and strength and conquest. And we know from the history that, in grappling with the rebellion of Absalom and the treachery of Ahithophel, David not only prayed and trusted, but planned and laboured also. To faith and prayer he added thought and effort (2 Samuel 15-18.). In all this the poet is an example to us. Our confidence in God should be intelligent. The faith which is inculcated and encouraged in the Bible, and which God has promised to reward, is sublimely reasonable. It is a discerning, strong, victorious thing. And God has promised to crown the exercise of it with His blessing.

II. The grounds of his confidence. The Psalmist shows to us that his faith was based on—

1. The number of his enemies. "For there were many with me." Moll: "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." The rebel army that was waging war against David was a numerous one (2Sa ; 2Sa 17:11; 2Sa 18:7). David took encouragement from this fact to expect the interposition of God for his salvation. When our enemies are many and strong, then God will interpose for us, if our cause be righteous, and our trust reposed in Him (2Ki 6:13-18; 2Ch 20:12; 2Ch 20:23-25).

2. The character of his enemies. They were—

(1) Irreligious. "They fear not God." They lived in open disregard of God.

(2) Persistent in evil. "They have no changes." The word חֲלִיפוֹת, translated "changes," is used in Job ; Job 14:14, in a military sense, signifying discharges, relief-troops. Accordingly Hengstenberg translates: "To whom there is no discharge," and interprets it as signifying "they who incessantly and constantly serve sin and fear not God." Or it may mean that there was no change in their conduct. They were not occasional, but persistent, evil doers. Thus in the latter part of Psa 55:19 we have a compendium of Psa 55:9-11.

(3) Treacherous. "He hath put forth his hands against such as be at peace with him: he hath broken his covenant. 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." The use of the singular points to some one who was pre-eminent in treachery, e.g., Ahithophel. These verses are a compendium of Psa .

(4) Cruel. The Psalmist speaks of them as "bloody and deceitful men." Violent and cruel were they in heart and in action. The wickedness of his enemies is to David a ground of assurance that God will deliver him from their base designs and doings. While God is God He must be hostile to men of such character. He must oppose and thwart their designs. He must deliver His servants from them.

3. The ancient sovereignty of God. "He that abideth of old." Hengstenberg: "He who is throned of old." Moll: "He that sitteth on the throne of old." (Comp. Psa ; Hab 1:12.) The deeds by which the Lord had manifested His righteous sovereignty in past ages encouraged the Psalmist to expect His interposition for his deliverance from present perils. M. Henry: "Mortal men, though ever so high and strong, will easily be crushed by an eternal God, and are a very unequal match for Him." Arndt "It is a great consolation when one is in trouble and persecution to think how God still lives, and has always proved Himself to be a gracious God towards those who fear Him."

Such, then, was the sure basis upon which the triumphant confidence of the distressed and imperilled poet-king rested.

CONCLUSION.—See the conquering power of faith in God, and exercise it. See it in David. In Paul (2Co ). "This is the victory that over-cometh the world, even our faith."

MAN'S BURDEN AND SUSTAINER

Psa . "Cast thy burden upon the Lord; and He shall sustain thee."

This verse is variously translated. Margin: "Cast thy gift upon the Lord," &c. Hengstenberg: "Cast upon the Lord thy salvation, and He shall take care of thee," &c. Gesenius: "Cast upon Jehovah what He hath given (or laid upon) thee; that is, thy lot." Fuerst: "Leave to God the lot, intrust God with it. According to another meaning of יָהַב (to give up, to impose) יְהָב may signify a burden." Moll: "That which is laid upon thee." Conant: "Cast thy burden on Jehovah," &c.

I. Man is burdened. This fact is too painfully obvious to require proof. Physically many are burdened by severe labours and sufferings. Mentally many are burdened by anxieties, perplexities, over-tasked brain, &c. Our social relations, which are frequently of much benefit and blessing to us, are seldom free from cares, sorrows, and distresses. Even the religious life has its burdens for man. Religion itself is not a burden; but, by becoming religious, a man becomes sensible of burdens that he did not feel before. The mysteries of the Divine administration of human affairs, the imperfection of our individual life, the seeming abortiveness of much of our effort for the good of ourselves and others, seasons of spiritual darkness, &c.—these are burdens. The fact that we are burdened is significant.

1. It indicates that man is not in unison with the Divine order. God did not create man with a load, did not make him to be burdened, &c.

2. It indicates also the greatness of human nature. We feel the burden, we struggle against it, we bear up under it, we strive to be rid of it. In this we have a reminiscence of a free and blessed past, and a pledge of a free and glorious future. Our sense of the burden is an augury of approaching release from it.

II. Man is exhorted to cast his burden upon the Lord. We have a strong tendency to strive to bear our own burden "even when we are almost sinking beneath it. In itself this tendency is good. It is the principle of self-reliance leading us to attempt self-help. But this tendency has become corrupted by association with pride and a false independence. Hence, when man is being crushed by it, in imagined self-sufficiency, he refuses to take his burden to the Lord. Spiritual weakness is ever boastful, while spiritual strength is ever humble. We mistake weakness for strength when we refuse to cast our burden upon the Lord. There are some who do not take their burden to the Lord because their ideas of Him are false, arising from a heart alienated from Him. They say—"God does not care for man; we may suffer, we may perish; but He does not care. He is indifferent, even if He be not cruel to us." Estrangement from God explains this. David exhorts his soul to cast its burden upon the Lord, &c. "The strong part of the soul speaks to the weak." Or he speaks as one of the suffering righteous, and in their name. So let the troubled children of God do now. But how can we cast our burden upon the Lord? By believing prayer. Lay all at the foot of God's throne: tell Him all your troubles, even as a child tells all its sorrows to its mother. You know how the heart is relieved by unfolding its burdens to a dear friend. We can tell all to God—nothing is too secret, nothing too sacred.

III. Man is encouraged to cast his burden upon the Lord by the assurance of his support. "He shall sustain thee." How?

1. By removing the burden. The poverty that crushes, the mystery that bewilders, the suffering that distresses, in answer to prayer He sometimes removes.

2. By disclosing the design of the burden. When we know the reason of our troubles, in many instances their chief painfulness is gone, and we bow reverently to the will of God.

3. By increasing our strength, so that we shall not be crushed by its load. This is, perhaps, His most frequent method of relief. This the text distinctly promises, "He shall sustain thee." "My grace is sufficient for thee; for My strength is made perfect in weakness."

4. By unfolding to us a bright future. The toil and burden will not continue long: then rest and joy, &c.

CONCLUSION.—The character of God, the promises of His Word, and the experience of His people in all ages, unite in encouraging us to trust the assurance, and comply with the precept of the text.

PRECEPT AND PROMISE

(Psa .)

I. The duty enjoined. "Cast thy burden upon the Lord." A person's burden is his trouble, his care, or whatever disturbs the peace of his mind. There is no trouble in heaven; there was none in Eden; and believers in Christ will be delivered from trouble when they shall be delivered from sin (Isa ).

To have a refuge in trouble is a great privilege.… God has made Himself to be as a refuge through the mediation of Jesus Christ (Joh ; Eph 2:18), … God is a suitable refuge: He can sustain; He can deliver; He is all-sufficient, &c.… By precept, by promise, by the example of others, and the deliverances which they have experienced, we are encouraged to "cast our burden upon the Lord." We should do so—

1. When oppressed with a sense of sin and guilt.

2. In times of temptation.

3. In times of trouble. There are personal troubles, family troubles, troubles from providential changes, e.g., Job's, and troubles from the wickedness of our fellow-men, and the treachery of professed friends.

4. In seasons of affliction. "Cast thy burden upon the Lord." Go to Him as you would to your best friend, and pour out your wants before Him.

II. The promises with which this precept is enforced.

1. "He shall sustain thee." This implies that, if we make God our refuge,

(1) He will save us from despondency. He will sustain us with hope.

(2) He will impart to us spiritual strength. "As thy days so shall thy strength be."

(3) He will overrule all our trials and afflictions for our good.

2. "He shall never suffer the righteous to be moved." This promise applies to those who make God their refuge, and in all their trials pursue a course of holy obedience. It implies—

(1) That they shall not be drawn aside by their trials from the path of obedience.

(2) That they shall not be moved from the source of their comfort.

(3) Some read the words, they shall not be moved for ever, implying that they shall not be utterly cast down.

APPLICATION.—

1. Learn the importance of faith in the Divine promises.

2. In making God our refuge in our troubles we must be in the path of duty.

3. The miserable condition of those who have not God for their refuge.

4. The privilege of having God for our refuge shows the value and the importance of religion.

5. How awful will be the end of those who never make God their refuge!—Abridged from an unpublished MS.

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Bibliographical Information
Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on Psalms 55:13". Preacher's Complete Homiletical Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/phc/psalms-55.html. Funk & Wagnalls Company, 1892.

Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary

We must of necessity drop David's history in these verses, to attend to an infinitely greater; for surely what is here said by the Spirit of Christ, which was in the holy men of old, is said in prophecy concerning the Lord Jesus. Of Judas, Jesus might truly be supposed thus to speak. Christ had chosen him, as well as the rest, for a disciple, though from everlasting he knew him for the son of perdition. Admitted as he was into the same familiarity as the rest of the disciples, what could more strikingly mark his character? And his death how sudden, how awful! John 17:12; Joh_6:70-71; Luke 22:3-6; Acts 1:16-18.

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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Psalms 55:13". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pmc/psalms-55.html. 1828.

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

Psalms 55:12-14. It was not an enemy — Not an open and professed enemy, or, not an old and inveterate enemy, (as appears from the following description to be his meaning,) that reproached me — That misrepresented me, and my government, as if I either abused my power, or neglected the proper use of it, and who industriously spread other similar accusations to incense the people against me; then I could have borne it — With more patience, because I could have expected nothing better from such persons. Neither was it he that hated me — With a manifest or old hatred; then I would have hid myself from him — I would have stood upon my guard against him; would have concealed my counsels from him, and have prevented or avoided the effects of his hatred. But it was thou mine equal Not in power and dignity, which could not be; but in reputation for deep wisdom, and thy great influence upon me, and upon all my people; my guide — Whose counsel I highly prized, and constantly followed. The Chaldee paraphrase names Ahithophel as the person here meant, and certainly the description agrees perfectly well to him, whom David had used as his counsellor and friend, and to whom he had committed his most important secrets; and certainly nothing in the plot of the rebels seems to have discouraged David so much as to hear that Ahithophel was among the conspirators with Absalom. We took sweet counsel together — I imparted my secret counsels and designs to him with great delight and satisfaction. And we walked unto the house of God — We agreed no less in exercises of piety than in matters of state and policy; in company — Hebrew, ברגשׁ, beragesh, in, or with, the numerous congregation. The Seventy, however, render it, εν ομονοια, in concord, consort, or union, or with consent, as the ancients in general interpret the word.

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Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Psalms 55:13". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/psalms-55.html. 1857.

Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of the Bible

To the chief Musician on Neginoth, Maschil, A Psalm of David. It needed the chief musician to sing such a Psalm as this; it is so full of sorrow, and yet so full of confidence in God. It is a Psalm upon the stringed instruments, and it sings not of man only, but of that Son of man — that greatest of men, who was also greatest in grief as greatest in faith. Maschil: that is, “instructive,” “full of teaching.” The experience of one child of God is instructive to another, and especially the experience of the great First-born among many brethren. A Psalm of David — David, that many-sided man, who seemed not one, but “all mankind’s epitome.” Who has not found his own experience when he has read the Psalms of David? It is a looking-glass — this Book of Psalms — which reflects us all. See how he begins.

Psalms 55:1. Give ear to my prayer, O God;

All the saints pray. There is no exception to this rule. And in their times of trouble they pray with greater vehemence than ever. They delight in prayer. But observe how eager they are that God should hear them. It is not praying for praying’s sake — for the use of good words only. “Give ear to my prayer, O God.”

Psalms 55:1. And hide not thyself from my supplication.

When a man passes by his fellow in his distress, he is said to hide himself.

O God, do not pass me by, When thou hearest my plaintive voice, do not hurry on and leave me to my woes. Forget not, beloved, that our Lord Jesus Christ did suffer the hidings of God’s face. You and I may trust that in our hour of prayer we shall not have to do so. “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” But even if we should have to drink of that cup, better lips than ours have tasted its bitterness long ago.

Psalms 55:2. Attend unto me, and hear me:

That is three times he thus implores God to give him a hearing. It reminds me of that Gethsemane pleading of our Lord when thrice he prayed using the same words. Here David begins — makes his exordium in prayer with a threefold cry to God. “Give ear to me; hide not thyself from me; attend unto my prayer, and hear me.”

Psalms 55:2. I mourn in my complaint, and make a noise;

Sometimes prayer is scarcely articulate. “I make a noise.” He was very free with God. He spoke out his heart as best his heart would speak, and he seemed to ramble. I believe that some of our sweetly-composed prayers have no prayer in them, and some of our broken petitions are those that reach the heart of God. “Groanings that cannot be uttered” are prayers that cannot be refused. There may be most strength in the passion of the soul when there is least order in the expression of the soul. “I mourn in my complaints, and make a noise.”

Psalms 55:3. Because of the voice of the enemy,

He can speak, and speak clearly too. Malice is never short of language, “because of the voice of the enemy.”

Psalms 55:3. Because of the oppression of the wicked:

The best men have often been the most oppressed of men. Men have often spoken worst of those who have deserved the best. David is in that plight, and so was our Lord. He, too, knew the voice of the enemy and the oppression of the wicked.

Psalms 55:3. For they cast iniquity upon me,

They bespatter me with their mire; they slander me. They speak evil of my good.

Psalms 55:3. And in wrath they hate me.

It is the old story. The seed of the serpent naturally hates the seed of the woman. Even our Lord had a bruised heel. Know ye not that Ishmael persecutes Isaac, the child of the promise? All down history there runs this line — the mark of blood and suffering. It must be so, “for they cast iniquity upon me, and in wrath they hate me.”

Psalms 55:4. My heart is sore pained within me: and the terrors of death are fallen upon me.

I suppose that David may have written this after he had been driven out of Jerusalem by the party under the leadership of his son Absalom and Ahithophel. When it is all over he sings his song of dolour, and yet of confidence before his God. You know that our Lord Jesus Christ could use this language with very great emphasis. “My heart is sore pained within me, and the terrors of death have fallen upon me” — as if mid-night came down upon his soul — came down from God. “Are fallen upon me.” Descended therefore; and those are the heaviest of griefs which seem to come down just when we expected that showers of mercy would come down. Our Saviour knew what this meant.

Psalms 55:5-6. Fearfulness and trembling are come upon me, and horror hath overwhelmed me. And I said, Oh that I had wings like a dove! for then would I fly away, and be at rest.

If he could not have the wings of an eagle to fight out the conflict, he begged for the wings of a dove to fly from it. But what would you and I be if we had wings? Where could we go if we had wings, but, like the dove of Noah, fly to the Lord? And we can get there without wings, brethren. We can get there by faith in him. It is a vain wish, then, and yet how many have sighed: — “Oh! for a lodge in some vast wilderness, Some boundless contiguity of shade, Where rumor of oppression and deceit might never reach me more.” Ah! we sigh for solitude, and when we get solitude we sigh to get out of it.

Psalms 55:7. Lo, then would I wander far off, and remain in the wilderness. Selah.

Why, David had been in the wilderness, and then he sighed to get back to the temple of God; but such foolish creatures are we at our very wisest that we know not what we sigh for. It was good for David that he had not wings, and it is good for you that you cannot run away. God has made you no armor for your back because you must go forward. Long ago he burnt our boats. We cannot return. We must “forward” now to the eternal victories in his strength.

Psalms 55:8. I would hasten my escape from the windy storm and tempest.

But he that would fly away from slander must fly very fast. How can we escape it? That cruel tongue, that wicked tongue walks through the earth and smites with its sword the best of God’s people. Now, like a soldier, David prays as his Master would never pray.

Psalms 55:9. Destroy, O Lord, and divide their tongues: for I have seen violence and strife in the city.

That was not a bad prayer, for God heard it. He did divide their tongues. The counsels of the wicked were put to naught, and so they made a mistake, and David escaped through their divisions. I see not how a king driven from his throne and hunted by rebels, can pray differently from this.

If he be a warrior and fights at all, he must wish for victory. Yet let me remind you that these verses need not be read in the imperative, neither may they necessarily be understood to be prayers. They can be read as prophecies. “God will destroy and divide the tongues of the wicked.” The divisions of error are the hope of truth. God divides the tongues of those who use their tongues against his Word, and so his truth conquers.

Psalms 55:10. Day and night they go about upon the walls thereof: mischief also and sorrow are in the midst of it.

Remember, Jerusalem was in the hands of a band of wicked men.

Everywhere sin prevailed when David had quitted it.

Psalms 55:11-12. Wickedness is in the midst thereof: deceit and guile depart not from her streets. 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:

Here you get to the center of David’s grief. Ahithophel had betrayed him, and here you begin to see the portrait of Christ coming out on the canvas.

David seems to be painted first, and then there is painted an image of our Lord, which is seen here and there. “It was not an enemy; then I could have borne it.”

Psalms 55:13. But it was thou,

In the original it runs thus: “But thou.” The ardor of poetry is upon the Psalmist. He sees him: “Thou.” And he looks at him with indignation: “Thou.”

Psalms 55:13-14. A man mine equal, my guide, and mine acquaintance. We took sweet counsel together, and walked unto the house of God in company.

It is Ahithophel; it is Judas Iscariot; it is either; it is both. Oh! what a grief it is to be betrayed by one whom we have trusted, one whom we treated as our equal, one whom we followed as a trusted guide, one to whom we told our secret and linked our heart. “Mine acquaintance.” One whose friendship was sanctified by the sanctions of religion. “We took sweet counsel together, and walked to the house of God in company.” Have any of you had to suffer from this serpent’s tongue? Be not surprised. Your Master endured it before you. And now David bursts out in words of prayer, “Let death seize upon them. Let them go down quick into hell.”

Psalms 55:15. Let death seize upon them, and let them go down quick into hell: for wickedness is in their dwellings, and among them.

And this prayer also was heard, for Ahithephel was hanged with a rope,

and Absalom without one; and their followers perished by thousands in the wood of Ephraim; and so God swept away the good man’s slanderers.

Psalms 55:16. As for me,

What would I do? Plot against their plots, and set cunning against their cunning? No, not I.

Psalms 55:16-17. I will call upon God; and the LORD shall save me. Evening, and morning, and at noon, will I pray, and cry aloud: and he shall hear my voice.

He would pray often, but not too often. Where time sets her boundaries there are we to set up our altars: evening and morning, and at noon. It seems natural that our undertakings should be begun, continued, and ended in God, and that each day. Oh! pray much when your enemies plot much. If, morning, noon, and evening, they are seeking your ill, then just as often seek you good from God. How beautifully he puts it. “He shall hear my voice.” He does not pray at a peradventure. He is certain that prayer will come up to God. Yea, more than that, he anticipates a blessing; he foresees, nay, he sees the blessing.

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Bibliographical Information
Spurgeon, Charle Haddon. "Commentary on Psalms 55:13". "Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/spe/psalms-55.html. 2011.

The Biblical Illustrator

Psalms 55:1-23

Give ear to my prayer, O God; and hide not Thyself from my supplication.

The compassionable, the commendable, and the censurable in life

I. The compassionable. David appears here an object for pity and compassion, as the victim of--

1. Malignant oppression.

2. Overwhelming terror.

3. Foul treachery.

II. The commendable.

1. He lays all his troubles before Him who alone could help him. The fact that men in great trouble and danger, whatever be their theoretical beliefs, instinctively appeal to God for help, argues man’s intuitive belief--

2. Under all his troubles he strives to maintain his confidence in God.

III. The censurable--his imprecations. Revenge is a moral wrong; and what is morally wrong in the individual can never be right in any relationship or office that the individual may assume, or in any combination into which he may enter. (Homilist.)

The outcry of a soul in distress

I. The vivid complaint (Psalms 55:1-11). The singer’s case is a sad one. His mind is restlessly tossed to and fro. Full of cares and anxieties he nowhere finds solid foothold, but continues distracted, and hence he must pour out his heart in groans and complaints. The reason is the voice of the enemy, that is, the reproaches and calumnies to which he is subjected. But word is accompanied by deed, for there is persecution as well as slander. Overwhelmed with horror, the one thought of the sufferer is escape. He longs for the pinions of a dove--itself the emblem of peace and quiet--that he may fly away and find repose.

II. The treacherous friend (Psalms 55:12-15). The slanders of an avowed antagonist are seldom so mean and cutting as those of a false friend, and the absence of the elements of ingratitude and treachery renders them less hard to bear. “We can bear from Shimei what we cannot endure from Ahithophel.” So, too, we can escape from open foes, but where can one find a hiding-place from treachery? Hence the faithlessness of a professed friend is a form of sin for which there is not even the pretence of excuse. No one defends it or apologizes for it. Yet it occurs, and sometimes, like the case in the psalm, under the sanctions of a religious profession, so that the very altar of God is defiled with hypocrisy. It is right, therefore, that such atrocious wickedness should receive its appropriate recompense.

III. The anticipated result (Psalms 55:16-23). By a fine antithesis the speaker turns to describe his own course in opposition to that of others. They pursue wickedness and reach its fearful end. He, on the contrary, calls upon God, who is his one refuge in times of distress and anxiety. He lives in an atmosphere of prayer, which is expressed by his mention of the three principal divisions of the natural day. “Complain” and “moan” are the same words that occur in Psalms 55:2; only here they are accompanies by the assurance of being heard. God will assuredly redeem him from the heat of the conflict; and the interposition of His arm will be needed, for his adversaries are not few but many, too many for him to deal with alone. God therefore will hear and answer them just as He does to His own servant, but with a serious difference. His own He regards in mercy, others in judgment. God Himself so orders His providence that they are overtaken in their evil ways and plunged into the abyss. On the other hand, the sacred poet closes his lyric with a renewed asseveration of the only ground of his hope. As for me, whatever others may say or think, as for me, I trust in Thee. (T. W. Chambers, D. D.)

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Bibliographical Information
Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "Psalms 55:13". The Biblical Illustrator. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tbi/psalms-55.html. 1905-1909. New York.

The Biblical Illustrator

Psalms 55:1-23

Give ear to my prayer, O God; and hide not Thyself from my supplication.

The compassionable, the commendable, and the censurable in life

I. The compassionable. David appears here an object for pity and compassion, as the victim of--

1. Malignant oppression.

2. Overwhelming terror.

3. Foul treachery.

II. The commendable.

1. He lays all his troubles before Him who alone could help him. The fact that men in great trouble and danger, whatever be their theoretical beliefs, instinctively appeal to God for help, argues man’s intuitive belief--

2. Under all his troubles he strives to maintain his confidence in God.

III. The censurable--his imprecations. Revenge is a moral wrong; and what is morally wrong in the individual can never be right in any relationship or office that the individual may assume, or in any combination into which he may enter. (Homilist.)

The outcry of a soul in distress

I. The vivid complaint (Psalms 55:1-11). The singer’s case is a sad one. His mind is restlessly tossed to and fro. Full of cares and anxieties he nowhere finds solid foothold, but continues distracted, and hence he must pour out his heart in groans and complaints. The reason is the voice of the enemy, that is, the reproaches and calumnies to which he is subjected. But word is accompanied by deed, for there is persecution as well as slander. Overwhelmed with horror, the one thought of the sufferer is escape. He longs for the pinions of a dove--itself the emblem of peace and quiet--that he may fly away and find repose.

II. The treacherous friend (Psalms 55:12-15). The slanders of an avowed antagonist are seldom so mean and cutting as those of a false friend, and the absence of the elements of ingratitude and treachery renders them less hard to bear. “We can bear from Shimei what we cannot endure from Ahithophel.” So, too, we can escape from open foes, but where can one find a hiding-place from treachery? Hence the faithlessness of a professed friend is a form of sin for which there is not even the pretence of excuse. No one defends it or apologizes for it. Yet it occurs, and sometimes, like the case in the psalm, under the sanctions of a religious profession, so that the very altar of God is defiled with hypocrisy. It is right, therefore, that such atrocious wickedness should receive its appropriate recompense.

III. The anticipated result (Psalms 55:16-23). By a fine antithesis the speaker turns to describe his own course in opposition to that of others. They pursue wickedness and reach its fearful end. He, on the contrary, calls upon God, who is his one refuge in times of distress and anxiety. He lives in an atmosphere of prayer, which is expressed by his mention of the three principal divisions of the natural day. “Complain” and “moan” are the same words that occur in Psalms 55:2; only here they are accompanies by the assurance of being heard. God will assuredly redeem him from the heat of the conflict; and the interposition of His arm will be needed, for his adversaries are not few but many, too many for him to deal with alone. God therefore will hear and answer them just as He does to His own servant, but with a serious difference. His own He regards in mercy, others in judgment. God Himself so orders His providence that they are overtaken in their evil ways and plunged into the abyss. On the other hand, the sacred poet closes his lyric with a renewed asseveration of the only ground of his hope. As for me, whatever others may say or think, as for me, I trust in Thee. (T. W. Chambers, D. D.)

Copyright Statement
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Bibliographical Information
Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "Psalms 55:13". The Biblical Illustrator. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tbi/psalms-55.html. 1905-1909. New York.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Psalms 55:12-14. For it was not an enemy, &c.— Among other persons who joined in this conspiracy against David, there was one from whom he expected a quite different conduct, and whose infidelity and treachery were aggravated by the highest ingratitude. He was reproached by one whom he never suspected as an enemy; that would have been tolerable, and what might have been expected. It was not one who had ever expressed any hatred to him, that magnified himself against him; from such a one he would have withdrawn himself, and never have entrusted him with his secrets. This rebellion was raised and encouraged by spreading and propagating false reports concerning David, thereby to disaffect his people to his person and government. The original words הגדיל עלי alai higdil, which we render magnified himself against me, is rendered by the LXX, and Vulgate, spake haughtily and disdainfully of me, by calumniating my administration, and representing me as unfit for, or unworthy to be trusted with, or continued in, the kingdom: an almost constant method to spread disaffection, and spirit up a rebellion against the wisest and best of princes. The word כערכי keerkii, rendered mine equal, signifies properly, like myself; one whom I looked upon as almost in the same rank with myself, and honoured and esteemed as my equal: and the word אלופי alluphii, rendered my guide, signifies an intimate familiar friend. Proverbs 17:19. The true version of the first clause of the 14th verse is, We sweetly enjoyed our mutual secrets; one of the highest privileges and pleasures of friendship. We may observe here, that this description answers perfectly well to Achitophel, whom David had used as his counsellor and friend, and to whom he had committed his most important secrets; and accordingly the Chaldee paraphrase expressly names Achitophel as the person intended; And thou, Achitophel, a man like to myself. Chandler. As David bears the character of Jesus Christ in the type, and Achitophel of Judas, the application of this passage to the treachery of the latter is manifest. See more in the REFLECTIONS at the end of the Psalm.

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Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Psalms 55:13". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/psalms-55.html. 1801-1803.

Expositor's Bible Commentary

Psalms 55:1-23

THE situation of the psalmist has a general correspondence with that of David in the period of Absalom’s rebellion, and the identification of the traitorous friend with Ahithophel is naturally suggested. But there are considerable difficulties in the way of taking that view. The psalmist is evidently in the city, from which he longs to escape; but Ahithophel’s treachery was not known to David till after his flight. Would a king have described his counsellor, however trusted, as "a man my equal"? The doubt respecting the identity of the traitor, however, does not seriously militate against the ordinary view of the date and occasion of the psalm, if we suppose that it belongs to the period immediately before the outburst of the conspiracy, when David was still in Jerusalem, but seeing the treason growing daily bolder, and already beginning to contemplate flight. The singularly passive attitude which he maintained during the years of Absalom’s plotting was due to his consciousness of guilt and his submission to punishment. Hitzig ascribes the psalm to Jeremiah, principally on the ground of the resemblance of the prophet’s wish for a lodge in the wilderness [Jeremiah 9:2] to the psalmist’s yearning in Psalms 55:6-8. Cheyne brings it down to the Persian period; Olshausen, to the Maccabean. The Davidic authorship has at least as much to say for itself as any of these conjectures.

The psalm may be regarded as divided into three parts, in each of which a different phase of agitated feeling predominates, but not exclusively. Strong excitement does not marshal emotions or their expression according to artistic proprieties of sequence, and this psalm is all ablaze with it. That vehemence of emotion sufficiently accounts for both the occasional obscurities and the manifest want of strict accuracy in the flow of thought, without the assumption of dislocation of parts or piecing it with a fragment of another psalm. When the heart is writhing within, and tumultuous feelings are knocking at the door of the lips, the words will be troubled and heaped together, and dominant thoughts will repeat themselves in defiance of logical continuity. But, still, complaint and longing sound through the wailing, yearning notes of Psalms 55:1-8; hot indignation and terrible imprecations in the stormy central portion (Psalms 55:9-15); and a calmer note of confidence and hope, through which, however, the former indignation surges up again, is audible in the closing verses (Psalms 55:16-23).

The psalmist pictures his emotions in the first part, with but one reference to their cause, and but one verse of petition. He begins, indeed, with asking that his prayer may be heard; and it is well when a troubled heart can raise itself above the sea of troubles to stretch a hand towards God. Such an effort of faith already prophesies firm footing on the safe shore. But very pathetic and true to the experience of many a sorrowing heart is the psalmist’s immediately subsequent dilating on his griefs. There is a dumb sorrow, and there is one which unpacks its heart in many words and knows not when to stop. The psalmist is distracted in his bitter brooding on his troubles. The word means to move restlessly, and may either apply to body or mind, perhaps to both; for Eastern demonstrativeness is not paralysed, but stimulated to bodily tokens, by sorrow. He can do nothing but groan or moan. His heart "writhes" in him. Like an avalanche, deadly terrors have fallen on him and crushed him. Fear and trembling have pierced into his inner being, and "horror" (a rare word, which the LXX here renders darkness) wraps him round or covers him, as a cloak does. It is not so much the pressure of present evil, as the shuddering anticipation of a heavier storm about to burst, which is indicated by these pathetic expressions. The cause of them is stated in a single verse (Psalms 55:3). "The voice of the enemy" rather than his hand is mentioned first, since threats and reproaches precede assaults; and it is budding, not full-blown, enmity which is in view. In Psalms 55:3 b "oppression" is an imperfect parallelism with "voice," and the conjectural emendation (which only requires the prefixing of a letter) of "cries," adopted by Cheyne, after Olshausen and others, is tempting. They "fling down iniquity" on him as rocks are hurled or rolled from a height on invaders-a phrase which recalls David’s words to his servants, urging flight before Absalom, "lest he bring down evil upon us."

Then, from out of all this plaintive description of the psalmist’s agitation and its causes, starts up that immortal strain which answers to the deepest longings of the soul, and has touched responsive chords in all whose lives are not hopelessly outward and superficial-the yearning for repose. It may be ignoble, or lofty and pure; it may mean only cowardice or indolence; but it is deepest in those who stand most unflinchingly at their posts, and crush it down at the command of duty. Unless a soul knows that yearning for a home in stillness, "afar from the sphere of our sorrow," it will remain a stranger to many high and noble things. The psalmist was moved to utter this longing by his painful consciousness of encompassing evils; but the longing is more than a desire for exemption from these. It is the cry of the homeless soul, which, like the dove from the ark, finds no resting place in a world full of carrion, and would fain return whence it came. "O God, Thou hast made us for Thyself, and we are unquiet till we find rest in Thee." No obligation of duty keeps migratory birds in a land where winter is near. But men are better than birds, because they have other things to think of than repose, and must face, not flee, storms and hurricanes. It is better to have wings "like birds of tempest-loving kind," and to beat up against the wind, than to outfly it in retreat. So the psalmist’s wish was but a wish; and he, like the rest of us, had to stand to his post, or be tied to his stake, and let enemies and storms do their worst. The LXX has a striking reading of Psalms 55:8, which Cheyne has partially adopted. It reads for Psalms 55:8 a "waiting for Him who saves me"; but beautiful as this is, as giving the picture of the restful fugitive in patient expectation, it brings an entirely new idea into the picture, and blends metaphor and fact confusedly. The Selah at the close of Psalms 55:7 deepens the sense of still repose by a prolonged instrumental interlude.

The second part turns from subjective feelings to objective facts. A cry for help and a yearning for a safe solitude were natural results of the former; but when the psalmist’s eye turns to his enemies, a flash of anger lights it, and, instead of the meek longings of the earlier verses, prayers for their destruction are vehemently poured out. The state of things in the city corresponds to what must have been the condition of Jerusalem during the incubation of Absalom’s conspiracy, but is sufficiently general to fit any time of strained party feeling. The caldron simmers, ready to boil over. The familiar evils, of which so many psalms complain, are in full vigour. The psalmist enumerates them with a wealth of words which indicates their abundance. Violence, strife, iniquity, mischief, oppression, and deceit-a goodly company to patrol the streets and fill the open places of the city! Psalms 55:10 a-is sometimes taken as carrying on the personification of Violence and Strife in Psalms 55:9, by painting these as going their rounds on the walls like sentries; but it is better to suppose that the actual foes are meant, and that they are keeping up a strict watch to prevent the psalmist’s escape.

Several commentators consider that the burst of indignation against the psalmist’s traitorous friend in Psalms 55:12-14 interrupts the sequence, and propose rearrangements by which Psalms 55:20-21, will be united with Psalms 55:12-14, and placed either before Psalms 55:6 or after Psalms 55:15. But the very abruptness with which the thought of the traitor is interjected here, and in the subsequent reference to him, indicates how the singer’s heart was oppressed by the treason; and the return to the subject in Psalms 55:20 is equally significant of his absorbed and pained brooding on the bitter fact. That is a slight pain which is removed by one cry. Rooted griefs, overwhelming sorrows, demand many repetitions. Trouble finds ease in tautology. It is absurd to look for cool, logical sequence in such a heart’s cry as this psalm. Smooth continuity would be most unnatural. The psalmist feels that the defection of his false friend is the worst blow of all. He could have braced himself to bear an enemy’s reviling; he could have found weapons to repel, or a shelter in which to escape from, open foes; but the baseness which forgets all former sweet companionship in secret, and all association in public and in worship, is more than he can bear up against. The voice of wounded love is too plain in the words for the hypothesis that the singer is the personified nation. Traitors are too common to allow of a very confident affirmation that the psalm must point to Ahithophel, and the description of the perfidious friend as the equal of the psalmist does not quite fit that case.

As he thinks of all the sweetness of past intimacy, turned to gall by such dastardly treachery, his anger rises. The description of the city and of the one enemy in whom all its wickedness is, as it were, concentrated, is framed in a terrible circlet of prayers for the destruction of the foes. Psalms 55:9 a begins and Psalms 55:15 ends this part with petitions which do not breathe the spirit of "Father, forgive them." There may be a reference to the confusion of tongues at Babel in the prayer of Psalms 55:9. As then the impious work was stopped by mutual unintelligibility, so the psalmist desires that his enemies machinations may be paralysed in like manner. In Psalms 55:15 the translation "desolations" follows the Hebrew text, while the alternative and in some respects preferable reading "May death come suddenly" follows the Hebrew marginal correction. There are difficulties in both, and the correction does not so much smooth the language as to be obviously an improvement. The general sense is clear, whichever reading is preferred. The psalmist is calling down destruction on his enemies; and while the fact that he is in some manner an organ of the Divine purpose invests hostility to him with the darker character of rebellion against God, and therefore modifies the personal element in the prayer, it still remains a plain instance of the lower level on which the Old Testament saints and singers stood, when compared with the "least in the kingdom of heaven."

The third part of the psalm returns to gentler tones of devotion and trust. The great name of Jehovah appears here significantly. To that ever-living One, the Covenant God, will the psalmist cry, in assurance of answer. "Evening, and morning, and noon" designate the whole day by its three principal divisions, and mean, in effect, continually. Happy are they who are impelled to unintermitting prayer by the sight of unslumbering enmity! Enemies may go their rounds "day and night," but they will do little harm, if the poor, hunted man, whom they watch so closely, lifts his cries to Heaven "evening, and morning, and noon." The psalmist goes back to his first words. He had begun by saying that he was distracted as he mused, and could do nothing but groan, and in Psalms 55:17 he repeats that he will still do so. Has he, then, won nothing by his prayer but the prolongation of his first dreary tone of feeling? He has won this-that his musing is not accompanied by distraction, and that his groaning is not involuntary expression of pain, but articulate prayer, and therefore accompanied by the confidence of being heard. Communion with God and prayerful trust in his help do not at once end sadness and sobbing, but do change their character and lighten the blackness of grief. This psalmist, like so many of his fellows, realises deliverance before he experiences it, and can sing "He has redeemed my soul" even while the calamity lasts. "They come not near me," says he. A soul hidden in God has an invisible defence which repels assaults. As with a man in a diving bell, the sea may press on the crystal walls, but cannot crush them in or enter, and there is safe, dry lodging inside, while sea billows and monsters are without, close to the diver and yet far from him.

Psalms 55:19 is full of difficulty, and most probably has suffered some textual corruption. To "hear and answer" is uniformly an expression for gracious hearing and beneficent answering. Here it can only mean the opposite, or must be used ironically. God will hear the enemies’ threats, and will requite them. Various expedients have been suggested for removing the difficulty. It has been proposed to read "me" for "them" which would bring everything into order-only that, then, the last clauses of the verse, which begin with a relative ("who have no changes," etc.), would want an antecedent. It has been proposed to read "will humble them" for "will answer them," which, is the LXX translation. That requires a change in the vowels of the verb, and "answer" is more probable than "humble" after "hear." Cheyne follows Olshausen in supposing that "the cry of the afflicted" has dropped out after "hear." The construction of Psalms 55:19 b is anomalous, as the clause is introduced by a superfluous "and," which may be a copyist’s error. The Selah attached is no less anomalous. It is especially difficult to explain, in view of the relative which begins the third clause, and which would otherwise be naturally brought into close connection with the "them," the objects of the verbs in a. These considerations lead Hupfeld to regard Psalms 55:19 as properly ending with Selah, and the remaining clauses as out of place, and properly belonging to Psalms 55:15 or Psalms 55:18; while Cheyne regards the alternative supposition that they are a fragment of another psalm as possible. There is probably some considerable corruption of the text, not now to be remedied; but the existing reading is at least capable of explanation and defence. The principal difficulty in the latter part of Psalms 55:19 is the meaning of the word rendered "changes." The persons spoken of are those whom God will hear and answer in His judicial character, in which He has been throned from of old. Their not having "changes" is closely connected with their not fearing God. The word is elsewhere used for changes of raiment, or for the relief of military guards. Calvin and others take the changes intended to be vicissitudes of fortune, and hence draw the true thought that unbroken prosperity tends to forgetfulness of God. Others take the changes to be those of mind or conduct from evil to good, while others fall back upon the metaphor of relieving guard, which they connect with the picture in Psalms 55:10 of the patrols on the walls, so getting the meaning "they have no cessation in their wicked watchfulness." It must be acknowledged that none of these meanings is quite satisfactory; but probably the first, which expresses the familiar thought of the godlessness attendant on uninterrupted prosperity, is best.

Then follows another reference to the traitorous friend, which, by its very abruptness, declares how deep is the wound he has inflicted. The psalmist does not stand alone. He classes with himself those who remained faithful to him. The traitor has not yet thrown off his mask. though the psalmist has penetrated his still retained disguise. He comes with smooth words; but, in the vigorous language of Psalms 55:21, "his heart is war." The fawning softness of words known to be false cuts into the heart, which had trusted and knows itself betrayed, more sharply than keen steel.

Psalms 55:22 has been singularly taken as the smooth words which cut so deep; but surely that is a very strained interpretation. Much rather does the psalmist exhort himself and all who have the same bitterness to taste, to commit themselves to Jehovah. What is it which he exhorts us to cast on Him? The word employed is used here only, and its meaning is therefore questionable. The LXX and others translate "care." Others, relying on Talmudical usage, prefer "burden," which is appropriate to the following promise of being held erect. Others (Hupfeld, etc.) would read "that which He has given thee." The general sense is clear, and the faith expressed in both exhortation and appended promise has been won by the singer through his prayer. He is counselling and encouraging himself. The spirit has to spur the "soul" to heroisms of faith and patience. He is declaring a universal truth. However crushing our loads of duty or of sorrow, we receive strength to carry them with straight backs, if we cast them on Jehovah. The promise is not that He will take away the pressure, but that He will hold us up under it; and, similarly, the last clause declares that the righteous will not be allowed to stumble. Faith is mentioned before righteousness. The two must go together; for trust which is not accompanied and manifested by righteousness is no true trust, and righteousness which is not grounded in trust is no stable or real righteousness.

The last verse sums up the diverse fates of the "men of blood and deceit" and of the psalmist. The terrible prayers of the middle portion of the psalm have wrought the assurance of their fulfilment, just as the cries of faith have brought the certainty of theirs. So the two closing verses of the psalm turn both parts of the earlier petitions into prophecies; and over against the trustful, righteous psalmist, standing erect and unmoved, there is set the picture of the "man of blood and deceit," chased down the black slopes to the depths of destruction by the same God whose hand holds up the man that trusts in Him. It is a dreadful contrast, and the spirit of the whole psalm is gathered into it. The last clause of all makes "I" emphatic. It expresses the final resolution which springs in the singer’s heart in view of that dread picture of destruction and those assurances of support. He recoils from the edge of the pit, and eagerly opens his bosom for the promised blessing. Well for us if the upshot of all our meditations on the painful riddle of this unintelligible world, and of all our burdens and of all our experiences and of our observation of other men’s careers, is the absolute determination, "As for me, I will trust in Jehovah!"

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Bibliographical Information
Nicoll, William R. "Commentary on Psalms 55:13". "Expositor's Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/teb/psalms-55.html.

Treasury of David

Title. To the Chief Musician on Neginoth. Another song to be accompanied by stringed instruments. The strain is at one time mournful, and at another softly sweet. It needed the chief musician's best care to see that the music was expressive of the sentiment. Maschil. It is not a mere personal hymn, there is teaching in it for us all, and where our Lord shines through David, his personal type, there is a great deep of meaning. Of David. The man of many conditions, much tried, and much favoured, persecuted but delivered and exalted, was from experience enabled to write such precious verses in which he sets forth not only the sorrows of common pilgrims, but of the Lord of the way himself.

Subject. It would be idle to fix a time, and find an occasion for this Psalm with any dogmatism. It reads like a song of the time of Absalom and Ahithophel. It was after David had enjoyed peaceful worship (Psalms 55:14), when he was or had just been a dweller in a city (Psalms 55:9-11), and when he remembered his former roamings in the wilderness. Altogether it seems to us to relate to that mournful era when the King was betrayed by his trusted counsellor. The spiritual eye ever and anon sees the Son of David and Judas, and the chief priests appearing and disappearing upon the glowing canvas of the Psalm.

Division. From Psalms 55:1-8, the suppliant spreads his case in general before his God; in Psalms 55:9-11, he portrays his enemies; in Psalms 55:12-14, he mentions one special traitor, and cries for vengeance, or foretells it in Psalms 55:15. From Psalms 55:16-19 he consoles himself by prayer and faith; in Psalms 55:20-21 he again mentions the deceitful covenant breaker, and closes with a cheering exhortation to the saints (Psalms 55:22), and a denunciation of destruction upon the wicked and deceitful (Psalms 55:22).

EXPOSITION

Ver. 1. Give ear to my prayer, O God. The fact is so commonly before us, otherwise we should be surprised to observe how universally and constantly the saints resort to prayer in seasons of distress. From the Great Elder Brother down to the very least of the divine family, all of them delight in prayer. They run as naturally to the mercyseat in time of trouble as the little chickens to the hen in the hour of danger. But note well that it is never the bare act of prayer which satisfies the godly, they crave an audience with heaven, and an answer from the throne, and nothing less will content them.

Hide not thyself from my supplication. Do not stop thine ear, or restrain thy hand. When a man saw his neighbour in distress, and deliberately passed him by, he was said to hide himself from him; and the psalmist begs that the Lord would not so treat him. In that dread hour when Jesus bore our sins upon the tree, his Father did hide himself, and this was the most dreadful part of all the Son of David's agony. Well may each of us deprecate such a calamity as that God should refuse to hear our cries.

EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS

Title. Maschil. This is often prefixed to those Psalms in which David speaks of himself as being chastened by God, inasmuch as the end of chastisement is instruction. Simon de Muis, 1587-1644.

Whole Psalm. A prayer of the Man Christ in his humiliation, despised and rejected of men, when he was made sin for his people, that they might be made the righteousness of God in him, when he was about to suffer their punishment, pay their debt, and discharge their ransom. Utter depravity of the inhabitants of Jerusalem; betrayal of Messiah by one of the twelve whom he had ordained to the apostolical office, and who was Messiah's constant attendant in all his ministerial circuits. Premature and punitive death of the traitor Judas, and of others banded together to crucify the Lord of glory. John Noble Coleman, M.A., in "A Revision of the authorised English Version of the Book of Psalms, "1863.

Ver. 1. In the first clause he uses the word ytlkt, that he might indicate that he merely sought justice from God as a Judge; but in the second he implores the favour of God, that if perchance the prayer for justice be less becoming to himself as a sinner, God may not deny his grace. Hermann Venema.

Ver. 1. Hide not thyself from my supplication. A figure taken from the conduct of a king who debars an offender from seeing his face (2 Samuel 14:24), or from an enemy, who conceals himself from the ox, etc.; that is, pretends not to see it, and goes away, leaving it (see De 22:1,3,4, Isaiah 58:7); or, from a false friend, or an unkind person, who, foreseeing that he may be entreated by a miserable and needy man, will not let himself be seen, but seeks to make his escape. Martin Geier, 1614-1681.

HINTS TO THE VILLAGE PREACHER

Ver. 1. (second clause).

I. An evil to be dreaded: Hide not thyself, etc.

1. By long delay in an urgent case.

2. In the sinner's case by refusing to hear altogether. II. Causes which may produce it.

1. In the man.

2. In the prayer itself.

3. In the manner of the prayer. III. Evils which will follow a list which the preacher can readily think of. IV. Remedies for the evil. There is none of it should continue; but heart searching, repentance, importunity, pleading the name of Jesus, etc., will lead to its removal.

WORK UPON THE FIFTY-FIFTH PSALM

In CHANDLER'S "Life of David, "Vol. 2., pp. 305-315, there is an Exposition of this Psalm.

Psalms 55:2*

EXPOSITION

Ver. 2. Attend unto me, and hear me. This is the third time he prays the same prayer. He is in earnest, in deep and bitter earnest. If his God do not hear, he feels that all is over with him. He begs for his God to be a listener and an answerer.

I mourn in my complaint, and make a noise. He gives a loose to his sorrows, permits his mind to rehearse her griefs, and to pour them out in such language as suggests itself at the time, whether it be coherent or not. What a comfort that we may be thus familiar with our God! We may not complain of him, but we may complain to him. Our rambling thoughts when we are distracted with grief we may bring before him, and that too in utterances rather to be called

a noise than language. He will attend so carefully that he will understand us, and he will often fulfil desires which we ourselves could not have expressed in intelligible words. "Groanings that cannot be uttered, "are often prayers which cannot be refused. Our Lord himself used strong crying and tears, and was heard in that he feared.

EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS

Ver. 2. I mourn. As one cast down with sorrow, making a doleful noise. Henry Ainsworth, 1662.

Ver. 2. I mourn, etc. A mourning supplicant shall neither lose his prayers nor his tears; for, I mourn, is brought for a reason of his hope that God shall attend and hear him. David Dickson.

Ver. 2. I mourn in my complaint. The literal translation of these words is, I will suffer to wander in my thinking; i.e., I will let my mind wander, or my thoughts rove as they will. J. A Alexander.

Ver. 2. In my complaint. Saints have their complaints on account of their sins and corruptions, their barrenness and unfruitfulness, and the decay of vital religion in them, and because of the low estate of Zion, the declining state of the interest of Christ, and the little success of his gospel; and they mourn, in these complaints, over their own sins, and the sins of others, professors and profane, and under afflictions temporal and spiritual, both their own and the church's. Christ also in the days of his flesh, had his complaints of the perverseness and faithlessness of the generation of men among whom he lived; of the frowardness, pride, and contentions of his disciples; of the reproaches, insult, and injuries of his enemies; and of the dereliction of his God and Father; and he often mourned on account of one or other of these things, being a man of sorrows and acquainted with griefs. John Gill.

Ver. 2. In my complaint. The word here employed commonly means discourse, meditation. It here occurs in the sense of complaint, as in Job 7:13 9:27 21:4 23:2 Psalms 142:2, 1 Samuel 1:16. It is not used, however, to denote complaint in the sense of fault finding, complaining, accusing, or the idea that we have been dealt with unjustly. This is not the meaning in this place or in the Scriptures generally. It is the language of a troubled, not of an injured spirit. Albert Barnes, 1868.

Ver. 2. In confession, when the soul melts into a holy shame and sorrow for the sins he spreads before the Lord, he feels a holy smart and pain within, and doth not act a tragical part with a comical heart. Chrysostom saith, "To paint tears is worse than to paint the face." Here is true fervency, I mourn in my complaint and make a noise. There may be fire in the pan when there is none in the piece; a loud wind but no rain with it. David made a noise with his voice, and mourned in his spirit. William Gurnall, 1617-1679.

HINTS TO THE VILLAGE PREACHER

Ver. 2. The Great Hearer.

I. What address shall we present to him?

II. What sort of attention do we desire?

III. How shall we secure it?

IV. What is the reflex duty on our part? To attend and

hear him.

Ver. 2. (second clause). Allowable complaining.

I. Not of God but to God.

II. Mainly of ourselves.

III. Of the world as against God and right.

IV. Ever with holy grief, and not selfish vexation.

Psalms 55:3*

EXPOSITION

Ver. 3. Because of the voice of the enemy. The enemy was vocal and voluble enough, and found a voice where his godly victim had nothing better than a "noise." Slander is seldom short of expression, it prates and prattles evermore. Neither David, nor our Lord, nor any of the saints were allowed to escape the attacks of venomous tongues, and this evil was in every case the cause of acute anguish.

Because of the oppression of the wicked: the unjust pressed and oppressed the righteous; like an intolerable burden they crushed them down, and brought them to their knees before the Lord. This is a thrice told story, and to the end of time it will be true; he that is born after the flesh will persecute him that is born after the Spirit. The great seed of the woman suffered from a bruised heel.

For they cast iniquity upon me, they black me with their soot bags, throw the dust of their lying over me, cast the vitriol of their calumny over me. They endeavour to trip me up, and if I do not fall they say I do.

And in wrath they hate me. With a hearty ill will they detested the holy man. It was no sleeping animosity, but a moral rancour which reigned in their bosoms. The reader needs not that we show how applicable this is to our Lord.

EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS

Ver. 3. Because of the voice of the enemy, there is their railing; because of the oppression of the wicked, there is their violent robbing him of his estate; they cast iniquity upon me, there are their slanderous traducings of him, and charging him with faults falsely; in wrath they hate me, there is their cruel seeking to kill. David Dickson.

Ver. 3. For they cast iniquity upon me. They tumble it on me, as men do stones or anything else upon their besiegers, to endamage them; so did these sin, shame, anything, upon innocent David, to make him odious. John Trapp.

HINTS TO THE VILLAGE PREACHER

None.

Psalms 55:4*

EXPOSITION

Ver. 4. My heart is sore pained within me. His spirit writhed in agony, like a poor worm; he was mentally as much in pain as a woman in travail physically. His inmost soul was touched; and a wounded spirit who can bear? If this were written when David was attacked by his own favourite son, and ignominiously driven from his capital, he had reason enough for using these expressions.

And the terrors of death are fallen upon me. Mortal fears seized him, he felt like one suddenly surrounded with the glooms of the shadow of death, upon whom the eternal night suddenly descends. Within and without he was afflicted, and his chief terror seemed to come from above, for he uses the expression, "Fallen upon me." He gave himself up for lost. He felt that he was as good as dead. The inmost centre of his nature was moved with dismay. Think of our Lord in the garden, with his "soul exceeding sorrowful even unto death, " and you have a parallel to the griefs of the psalmist. Perchance, dear reader, if as yet thou hast not trodden this gloomy way, thou wilt do soon; then be sure to mark the footprints of thy Lord in this miry part of the road.

EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS

Ver. 4. Is sore pained, or, trembled with pain, The word usually meaneth such pains as a woman feels in her travail. Henry Ainsworth.

Ver. 4. The terrors of death are fallen upon me. My heart, said the afflicted psalmist, is sore pained within me: and though I am repeatedly assured of my interest in the divine love and favour, yet now the terrors of death are fallen upon me. The case of David is so far from being peculiar to himself, that it portrays, in the most striking colours, a state of mind to which many of the most exemplary Christians are frequently, if not constantly subject. Many, whose hopes are placed on the right foundation, even Christ Jesus, and whose conduct is uniform and consistent, are ye harassed almost continually by the tormenting fears of death... It will be an interesting and useful enquiry to examine into the real causes of a fear, which cultivates melancholy and despondency on the one hand and destroys our happiness on the other. To effect this design I shall consider,

I. The various causes of the fear of death.

II. The arguments calculated to remove it. There are few,

indeed, so hardened in the slavery of vice, or so

utterly regardless of every admonition, as to consider

the awful period of dissolution without some emotions

of terror and dismay. There is something so

peculiarly awful in the idea of a change hitherto

unknown, and of a state hitherto untried, that the

most hardy veterans have owned its tremendous aspects.

One of the first causes of the fear of death is conscious guilt. The most hardened are conscious of many things which they may not readily confess; and the most self righteous is conscious of many crimes which he artfully studies to conceal. Whilst the Christian is looking only to his own habits and temper, he may and will be always wretched; but if he looks to the great Surety, Christ Jesus, his gloomy prospect will soon be turned to joy. An attachment to this world is also a (second) cause of the fear of death. A principal of self preservation is also a (third) cause of the fear of death. That our bodies, which are pampered by pride and nourished by indulgence, should be consigned to the silent grave, and become even the food of worms, is a humbling reflection to the boasted dignity of man. Besides, nature revolts at the idea of its own dissolution; hence a desire of preserving life, evidently implanted in us. The devil is also (fourthly) often permitted to terrify the consciences of men, and thereby increase at least the fear of death. Unbelief is also a (fifth) cause of the fear of death. Were our faith more frequently in exercise, we should be enabled to look beyond the dreary mansions of the grave with a hope full of immortality. Our fears of death may be often caused by looking for that perfection in ourselves, which we shall never easily discover.

Consider the arguments calculated to remove the fear of death. It may be necessary to premise that the consolations of religion belong only to real Christians; for the wicked have just reason to dread the approach of death. But to such as are humbled under a sense of their own unworthiness, and who have fled to Christ for pardon and salvation, they have no cause to apprehend either the pain or the consequences of death; because first, the sting of death is taken away. Secondly, because death is no longer an enemy but a friend. Instead of threatening us with misery, it invites us to happiness. Thirdly, the safety of our state is founded on the oath, the purpose, and the promises of God. A fourth argument calculated to remove the fear of death, is the consideration of the benefits resulting from it. The benefits which believers receive from Christ at the resurrection also, is a fifth argument calculated to remove the fear of death. Condensed from a Sermon by John Grove, M.A., F.A.S., 1802.

Ver. 4-5, In the version of the Psalter used in the Prayer book, this verse stands with a more homely and expressive simplicity, "My heart is disquieted within me, and the fear of death is fallen upon me. Fearfulness and trembling are come upon me, and an horrible dread hath overwhelmed me." The fear of death is upon all flesh. It is no sign of manhood to be without it. To overcome it in the way of duty is courage; to meet death with patience is faith; but not to fear it is either a gift of special grace, or a dangerous insensibility. No doubt great saints have been able to say, "I have a desire to depart." And many have rushed to martyrdom as to the love and bosom of their Lord; but for the rest, the multitude of his flock, who are neither wilful sinners nor to be numbered among the saints, the thought of death is a thought of fear. We see that, on the first feeling of their having so much as set foot in the path leading to the grave, even good men feel "the terror of death, ""a horrible dread, "which makes every pulse to beat with a hurried and vehement speed. Their whole nature, both in body and in soul, trembles to its very centre; and their heart is "disquieted, ""sore pained, "within them. Let us see what are the causes or reasons of this "fear of death." The first must needs be a consciousness of personal sinfulness. A sense of unfitness to meet God, our unreadiness to die, a multitude of personal faults, evil tempers, thoughts, and inclinations; the recollection of innumerable sins, of great omissions and lukewarmness in all religious duties, the little love or gratitude we have to God, and the great imperfections of our repentance; all these make us tremble at the thought of going to give up our account. We feel as if it were impossible we could be saved. Shame, fear, and a "horrible dread" fall upon us. Henry Edward Manning, M.A., 1850.

HINTS TO THE VILLAGE PREACHER

Ver. 4. The terrors of death. See Sermon by Grove in the Notes.

Psalms 55:5*

EXPOSITION

Ver. 5. Fearfulness and trembling are come upon me. Like house breakers these robbers were entering his soul. Like one who feels a fainting fit coming over him, so the oppressed suppliant was falling into a state of terror. His fear was so great as to make him tremble. He did not know what would happen next, or how soon the worst should come. The sly, mysterious whisperings of slander often cause a noble mind more fear than open antagonism; we can be brave against an open foe, but cowardly, plotting conspiracies bewilder and distract us.

And horror hath overwhelmed me. He was as one enveloped in a darkness that might be felt. As Jonah went down into the sea, so did David appear to go down into deeps of horror. He was unmanned, confounded, brought into a hideous state of suspense and mortal apprehension.

EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS

Ver. 4-5, See Psalms on "Psalms 55:4" for further information.

Ver. 5. Fearfulness and trembling are come upon me. In this pitiful condition of mind, learn, that it is not a thing inconsistent with godliness to be much moved with fear in time of danger; natural affections are not taken away in conversion, but sanctified and moderated. David Dickson.

Ver. 5. Fearfulness. How natural is this description! He is in distress, he mourns, makes a noise, sobs and sighs, his heart is wounded, he expects nothing but death; this produces fear, this produces tremor, which terminates in that deep apprehension of approaching and inevitable ruin that overwhelms him with horror. No man ever described a wounded heart like David. Adam Clarke.

HINTS TO THE VILLAGE PREACHER

None.

Psalms 55:6*

EXPOSITION

Ver. 6. And I said, Oh that I had wings like a dove! for then would I fly away, and be at rest. If he could not resist as an eagle, he would escape as a dove. Swiftly, and unobserved, on strong, untiring pinions would he h away from the abodes of slander and wickedness. His love of peace made him sigh for an escape from the scene of strife.

"O for a lodge in some vast wilderness,

Some boundless contiguity of shade,

Where rumour of oppression and deceit

Might never reach me more."

We are all too apt to utter this vain desire, for vain it is; no wings of doves or eagles could bear us away from the sorrows of a trembling heart. Inward grief knows nothing of place. Moreover, it is cowardly to shun the battle which God would have us fight. We had better face the danger, for we have no armour for our backs. He had need of a swifter conveyance than doves' pinions who would outfly slander; he may be at rest who does not fly, but commends his case to his God. Even the dove of old found no rest till she returned to her ark, and we amid all our sorrow may find rest in Jesus. We need not depart; all will be well if we trust in him.

EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS

Ver. 6. And I said, Oh that I had wings like a dove! for then would I fly away, and be at rest. Wherever the psalmist cast his eye, the inscription was vanity and vexation. A deluge of sin and misery covered the world, so that like Noah's dove he could find no rest for the sole of his foot below, therefore does he direct his course toward heaven, and say, Oh that I had wings like a dove! for then would I fly away, and be at rest; but rest is not a denizen of this world, nothing but the heaven of heavens is at rest, and here does he fix only. Thomas Sharp (1630-1693), in "Divine Comforts."

Ver. 6. Oh that I had wings like a dove! for then would I fly away, and be at rest. King David, though for innocency not only a dove, but the phoenix of doves, and so a notable type of Christ, upon whom the Holy Ghost descended in the shape of a dove, yet was his whole life nothing else but bellum sine induciis, a perpetual persecution without intermission. Such was also the portion of Christ the Lord of David; and such to the world's end will ever be the lot of those that are the heritage of Christ. My text imports no less; which, taken historically, is the voice of David pursued by his enemies; prophetically, the voice of Christ at his passion; mystically, the voice of that mystical dove, the innocent soul, surrounded and environed with the snares of death; even generalis quoendam querela (saith Pellican), a general complaint of the malice of the wicked persecuting the righteous. For (alas that it should be! yet so it is) --

"Non rete accipitri tenditur, neque milvio,

Qui male facinunt nobis; illis qui nil faciunt tenditur." Terence.

"The net is not pitched for ravenous birds, as are the hawk and the kite; but for poor harmless birds, that never meditate mischief." And

"Dat veniam corvis, vexat censura columbas."

"The dove shall surely be shot at, when the carrion crow shall go shot free." Juvenal.

It will then be no news unto you, that here the faithful soul, the spouse, the dove of Christ, when trouble and heaviness take hold upon her, and the floods of Belial compass her about, Tanquam avis e cave liberari cupit as St. Austin speaks of the cloistered monks in his time), "Desireth like a bird to be loosed out of her cage." Or, that as Jonas (by interpretation a dove, after three days' and three nights' imprisonment in the whale's belly, could not but long after his enlargement. So the dove like soul of man, when not three, but many days, and months, and years, she hath been imprisoned in the body, hath a longing desire to be enlarged, and to fly unto God that made her; and so mourning like a dove in devout supplication, and mounting like a dove in divine speculation, breaks forth into these sad elegies: "Oh that I had wings!" and "Alas, that I have not wings! Woe is me that I am constrained to dwell with Mesech, and to have mine habitation among the tents of Kedar. Like as the hart desires the water brook, so longeth my soul to be with thee, O God. I desire to be dissolved and to be with Christ. Who will give me wings?" etc. Which is as if the poor distressed soul, pathetically bemoaning her forlorn estate of pilgrimage, should thus more plentifully enlarge herself. "My spouse is already ascended higher than the winds, than the clouds, than the highest heavens, and I, poor soul, as a husbandless widow, as a tutorless orphan, as a comfortless exile, am left desolate and disconsolate in this valley of tears; none to care for me, none to comfort me, till I have regained him whom I love, and in whom I live. Nay (which worse is), this mine own familiar friend, this nearest and dearest companion of mine, my body, is even a burden unto me. The weight of it, and oft the sins that hang so fast on it, doth so clog and shackle me, so glue and nail me to the earth, that I cannot raise or rear up myself towards heaven. Or let him therefore descend to relieve me, being fila, sponsa, soror, his daughter, and spouse, and sister; or let him give me wings wherewith I may ascend to him, under the shadow of whose wings I shall surely rest in safety." Psalms 16:4. "I must confess it was the very bitterness of extremity that first compelled me to love him, though of himself no less lovely than love itself. It was the sharp sauce of affliction that gave edge to mine affections, and sharpened mine appetite to that `sweet meat that endureth to everlasting life.' But now, having had some little foretaste of him, I am even in an holy ecstasy, so ravished, so transported with a fervent desire of him and of his presence, that ubi sum, ibi non sum; ubi non sum, ibi animus est:" "where I am, there I am not; and where I am not, there am I." For, anima est ubi amat, non ubi animat: (Erasmus). "The soul is where it loveth, not where it liveth." Now sigh I not so much for the present dangers, I would decline, as because of my absent love, whom I most desire. Who will give me wings? etc. In the scanning of which verse, ye will observe with me,

(a). The efficient or author of these wings

--God. Who will give me? Who? that it, who but

God?

(b) The matter of the wish--wings. "Who

will give me wings?"

(c) The form of those wings--dove like.

Who will give me wings like unto a dove?

(d) The end mediate--flying. Then would I

fly away.

(e) The end ultimate--resting. And be at

rest.

(1) "Who will give me?" There's Christian humility.

(2) "Who will give me wings?" There's prudent

celerity.

(3) "Wings like unto a dove." There's innocent

simplicity.

(4) "Then would I fly away." There's devout

sublimity.

(5) "And be at rest." There's permanent security.

John Rawlinson, in "The Dove like Soule. A Sermon preached before the Prince's Highness at Whitehall, "Feb. 19, 1618.

Ver. 6. Oh that I had wings, etc. Some of the most astounding sermons ever delivered have been preached on this text, which was a very favourite one with the old divines. They ransacked Pliny and Aldrovandus for the most outrageous fables about doves, their eyes, their livers, their crops, and even their dung, and then went on to find emblems of Christians in every fact and fable. Griffith Williams, at considerable length, enlarges upon the fact that David did not desire wings like a grasshopper to hop from flower to flower, as those hasty souls who leap in religion, but do not run with perseverance; nor like an ostrich which keeps to the earth, though it be a bird, as hypocrites do who never mount towards heavenly things; nor like an eagle, or a peacock, or a beetle, or a crow, or a kite, or a bat; and after that he has shown in many ways the similarity between the godly and doves, he refers us to Hugo Cardinalis, and others, for more. We do not think it would be to edification to load these pages with such eccentricities and conceits. This one single sentence, from Bishop Patrick is worth them all, "He rather wished than hoped to escape." He saw no way of escape except by some improbable or impossible means. C. H. S.

Ver. 6. When the Gauls had tasted the wine of Italy, they asked where the grapes grew, and would never be quiet till they came there. Thus may you cry, Oh that I had wings like a dove! for then would I fly away, and be at rest. A believer is willing to lose the world for the enjoyment of grace; and he is willing to leave the world for the fruition of glory. William Secker.

Ver. 6. Wings like a dove. The pigeon, or dove, is one of the swiftest of birds. The Religious Tract Society's "Book of Psalms, with Preface and Explanatory Notes."

Ver. 6. An old writer tells us that it would have been more honourable for him to have asked for the strength of an ox to bear his trials, than for the wings of a dove to flee from them. William Jay, 1769-1853.

Ver. 6. Dove. The reference is to the turtle dove, I suppose. Their low, sad complaint may be heard all day long at certain seasons in the olive groves, and in the solitary and shady valleys among these mountains; I have, however, been more affected by it in the vast orchards round Damascus than anywhere else--so subdued, so very sorrowful among the trees, where the air sighs softly, and little rills roll their melting murmurs down the flowery aisles. These birds can never be tamed. Confined in a cage they droop, and like Cowper, sigh for

"A lodge in some vast wilderness--some boundless contiguity of shade."

and no sooner are they set at liberty than they flee, as a bird, to their mountain. Psalms 11:1. David refers to their habits in this respect when his heart was sore pained within him: Oh that I had wings like a dove! for then would I fly away, and be at rest. Lo, then would I wander far off, and remain in the wilderness. And there you will meet these timid birds far away from the haunts of cruel hunters, of whose society they are peculiarly suspicious. W. M. Thomson, in "The Land and the Book, "1859.

Ver. 6. Oh that I had wings, etc. --

At first her mother earth she holdeth dear,

And doth embrace the world and worldly things;

She flies close by the ground, and hovers there,

And mounts not up with her celestial wings.

Yet under heaven she cannot light on ought

That with heavenly nature doth agree;

She cannot rest, she cannot fix her thought,

She cannot in this world contented be:

Then as a bee which among weeds doth fall,

Which seem sweet flowers, with lustre fresh and gay;

She lights on that, and this, and tasteth all,

But pleased with none, doth rise and soar away;

So when the Soul finds here no true content;

And like Noah's dove, can no sure footing take,

She doth return from whence she first was sent,

And flies to him that first her wings did make. Sir John Davies, 1569-1626.

HINTS TO THE VILLAGE PREACHER

None.

Psalms 55:7*

EXPOSITION

Ver. 7. Lo, then would I wander far off. Yet when David was far off, he sighed to be once more near Jerusalem; thus, in our ill estate we ever think the past to be better than the present. We shall be called to fly far enough away, and perchance we shall be loath to go; we need not indulge vain notions of premature escape from earth.

And remain in the wilderness. He found it none such a dear abode when there, yet resolves now to make it his permanent abode. Had he been condemned to receive his wish he would ere long have felt like Selkirk, in the poet's verse--

"O solitude, where are the charms

That sages have found in thy face?

Better dwell in the midst of alarms

Than reign in this horrible place."

Our Lord, while free from all idle wishes, found much strength in solitude, and loved the mountain's brow at midnight, and the quiet shade of the olives of Gethsemane. It is better practically to use retirement than pathetically to sigh for it. Yet it is natural, when all men do us wrong, to wish to separate ourselves from their society; nature, however, must yield to grace, and we must endure the contradiction of sinners against ourselves, and not be weary and faint in our minds.

Selah. After such a flight well may the mind rest. When we are going too fast, and giving way too freely to regrets, it is well to cry, "halt, "and pause awhile, till more sober thoughts return.

EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS

Ver. 7. Lo, then would I wander far off, etc. A passage in the "Octavia" of Seneca has been referred to as being parallel to this of David. It is in the answer of Octavia to the Chorus, Acts 5:1-42., ver.

914-923.

My woes who enough can bewail?

O what notes can my sorrows express?

Sweet Philomel's self even would fail

To respond with her plaintive distress.

O had I her wings, I would fly

To where sorrows I never should feel more,

Upborne on her plumes through the sky,

Regions far from mankind would explore.

In a grove where sad silence should reign,

On a spray would I seat me alone;

In shrill lamentations complain.

And in wailings would pour forth my moan. J. B. Clarke (From Adam Clarke, in loc.)

HINTS TO THE VILLAGE PREACHER

Ver. 7. Solitude.

I. Its fancied benefits.

II. Its sore temptations.

III. Its occasional benefits.

IV. Its sweet solaces.

Psalms 55:8*

EXPOSITION

Ver. 8. I would hasten my escape. He tried to pause but could not, like a horse which when pulled up slips on a little because of the speed at which he was going. David declares that he would not waste a moment, or stay to bid adieu to his friends, but up and away at once, for fear he should be too late, and because he could bear the clamour of his foes no longer.

From the windy storm and tempest. A storm was brewing, and, like a dove, he would outfly it and reach a calmer region. Swifter than the storm cloud would he fly, to avoid the deluge of rain, and the flash of the lightning. Alas! poor soul, no such wings are thine, as yet thou must tarry here and feel the tempest; but be of good cheer, thou shalt stretch thy wings ere long for a bolder flight, heaven shall receive thee, and there thy sorrows shall have a finis of felicity among the birds of paradise.

EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS

Ver. 8. I would hasten my escape from the windy storm and tempest. There was a windy storm and tempest without, and which is worse, a tumult and combustion within in his thoughts. A man may escape from external confusions, but how shall he fly from himself? If he be out of the reach of all the blood suckers on earth, and all the furies in hell, yet be dogged and haunted with his own turbulent, ungovernable cogitations, he needs no other tormentors. This holy man was thus doubly distressed, a storm abroad and an earthquake at home rendered his condition most dolorous; but for both he hath en mega he goes not about with the foxes of this world to relieve himself with subtle stratagems and wiles, by carnal shifts and policies, a vanity tosses to and from by them that seek death. No, his one great refuge is to get aloft, to ascend to God. Thomas Sharp.

HINTS TO THE VILLAGE PREACHER

Ver. 8. Too hasty a flight from trial.

1. Would show rebellion against God.

2. Would manifest cowardly want of faith.

3. Would involve loss of useful experience.

4. Would land us in other and worse trials.

5. Would prevent our glorifying God.

6. Would mar our conformity to Christ and fellowship with his people.

7. Would lessen the value of heaven.

Psalms 55:9*

EXPOSITION

Ver. 9. Destroy, O Lord. Put mine enemies to the rout. Let them be devoured by the sword, since they have unsheathed it against me. How could we expect the exiled monarch to offer any other prayer than this against the rebellious bands of Absalom, and the crafty devices of Ahithophel?

Divide their tongues. Make another Babel in their debates and councils of war. Set them at cross purposes. Divide the pack that the hunted one may escape. The divisions of error are the hope of truth.

For I have seen violence and strife in the city. The rabble and their leaders were plotting and planning, raging and contending against their king, running wild with a thousand mad projects: anarchy had fermented among them, and the king hoped that now it might come to pass that the very lawlessness which had exiled him would create weakness among his foes. Revolution devours its own children. They who are strong through violence, will sooner or later find that their strength is their death. Absalom and Ahithophel may raise the mob, but they cannot so easily rule it, nor so readily settle their own policy as to remain firm friends. The prayer of David was heard, the rebels were soon divided in their councils; Ahithophel went his way to be hanged with a rope, and Absalom to be hanged without one.

EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS

Ver. 9. Destroy, O Lord, and divide their tongues. In the first place, their tongues were truly destroyed and they themselves divided, when the testimony of the two false witnesses agreed not so together. Then secondly, by the contradictory account of the soldiers that kept watch at the sepulchre. Michael Ayguan (1416) in J. M. Neal's Commentary, 1860.

Ver. 9. Divide their tongues: i.e., cause them to give conflicting opinions. French and Skinner, 1842

HINTS TO THE VILLAGE PREACHER

Ver. 9. (first clause). The Babel of heresies. Essential, for truth is one. Inevitable, for the motives of heretics clash. Providential, for so they weaken each other. Judeicial, for so they torment each other.

Psalms 55:10*

EXPOSITION

Ver. 10. Day and night they go about it upon the walls thereof. The city, the holy city had become a den of wickedness; conspirators met in the dark, and talked in little knots in the streets even in broad daylight. Meanwhile the country was being roused to revolt, and the traitors without threatened to environ the city, and act in concert with the rebels within. No doubt there was a smothered fire of insurrection which Absalom kindled and fanned, which David perceived with alarm some time before he left Jerusalem; and when he quitted the city it broke out into an open flame.

Mischief also and sorrow are in the midst of it. Unhappy capital to be thus beset by foes, left by her monarch, and filled with all those elements of turbulence which breed evil and trouble. Unhappy king to be thus compelled to see the mischief which he could not avert laying waste the city which he loved so well. There was another King whose many tears watered the rebellious city, and who said, "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!"

EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS

Ver. 10. Mischief also and sorrow are in the midst of it. The city, as Abenezra observes, was like a circle; violence and strife were as a line round about it, and mischief and sorrow the centre of it; and these two commonly go together: where mischief is, sorrow soon follows. John Gill.

HINTS TO THE VILLAGE PREACHER

Ver. 10. (first clause). The activity of evil.

Ver. 10. (second clause). The diabolical twins, or cause and effect.

Psalms 55:11*

EXPOSITION

Ver. 11. Wickedness is in the midst thereof. The very heart of the city was base. In her places of authority crime went hand in hand with calamity. All the wilder and more wicked elements were uppermost; the canaille were commanders; the scum floated uppermost; justice was at a discount; the population was utterly demoralized; prosperity had vanished and order with it.

Deceit and guile depart not from her streets. In all the places of concourse crafty tongues were busy persuading the people with cozening phrases. Crafty demagogues led the people by the nose. Their good king was defamed in all ways, and when they saw him go away, they fell to reviling the governors of their own choosing. The forum was the fortress of fraud, the congress was the convention of cunning. Alas, poor Jerusalem, to be thus the victim of sin and shame! Virtue reviled and vice regnant! Her solemn assemblies broken up, her priests fled, her king banished, and troops of reckless villains parading her streets, sunning themselves on her walls, and vomiting their blasphemies in her sacred shrines. Here was cause enough for the sorrow which so plaintively utters itself in these verses.

EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS

None.

HINTS TO THE VILLAGE PREACHER

None.

Psalms 55:12*

EXPOSITION

Ver. 12. The reader will do well to observe how accurately the psalmist described his own Psalm when he said, "I mourn in my complaint, "or rather "give loose to my thoughts, "for he proceeds from one point of his sorrow to another, wandering on like one in a maze, making few pauses, and giving no distinct intimations that he is changing the subject. Now from the turbulent city his mind turns to the false hearted councillor.

For is was not an enemy that reproached me; then I could have borne it. It was not an open foe, but a pretended friend; he went over to the other camp and tried to prove the reality of his treachery by calumniating his old friend. None are such real enemies as false friends. Reproaches from those who have been intimate with us, and trusted by us, cut us to the quick; and they are usually so well acquainted with our peculiar weaknesses that they know how to touch us where we are most sensitive, and to speak so as to do us most damage. The slanders of an avowed antagonist are seldom so mean and dastardly as those of a traitor, and the absence of the elements of ingratitude and treachery renders them less hard to bear. We can bear from Shimei what we cannot endure from Ahithophel.

Neither was it he that hated me that did magnify himself against me; then I would have hid myself from him. We can find a hiding place from open foes, but who can escape from treachery? If our enemies proudly boast over us we nerve our souls for resistance, but when those who pretended to love us leer at us with contempt, whither shall we go? Our blessed Lord had to endure at its worst the deceit and faithlessness of a favoured disciple; let us not marvel when we are called to tread the road which is marked by his pierced feet.

EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS

Ver. 12. Then I could have borne it. It is remarkable that the Lord, who endured the other unspeakable sorrows and agonies of his passion in perfect and marvellous silence, allowed his grief at this one alone to escape him, bewailing himself to his disciples that one of them should betray him, and addressing that one, when he was taken, in these words of reproach--"Judas, betrayest thou the Son of Man with a kiss?" Frau Thome de Jesu,,1582.

Ver. 12. Then I would have hid myself from him. It is generally easy to get out of the way of an avowed enemy, but how can one be on his guard against a treacherous friend? A. R. Fausset, in "A Commentary, Critical, Experimental, and Practical, "1866.

HINTS TO THE VILLAGE PREACHER

None.

Psalms 55:13*

EXPOSITION

Ver. 13. But it was thou. He sees him. The poetic fury is upon him, he sees the traitor as though he stood before him in flesh and blood. He singles him out, he points his finger at him, he challenges him to his face.

But thou. Et tu, Brute. And thou, Ahithophel, art thou here? Judas, betrayest thou the Son of Man?

A man mine equal. Treated by me as one of my own rank, never looked upon as an inferior, but as a trusted friend.

My guide, a counsellor so sage that I trusted thine advice and found it prudent to do so.

And mine acquaintance, with whom I was on most intimate terms, who knew me even as I knew him by mutual disclosures of heart. No stranger occasionally conversed with, but a near and dear friend admitted to my secret fellowship. It was fiendish treason for such a one to prove false hearted. There was no excuse for such villainy. Judas stood very much in this relation to our Lord, he was treated as an equal, trusted as treasurer, and in that capacity often consulted with. He knew the place where the Master was wont to spend his solitude; in fact, he knew all the Master's movements, and yet he betrayed him to his remorseless adversaries. How justly might the Lord have pointed at him and said,

But thou; but his gentler spirit warned the son of perdition in the mildest manner, and had not Iscariot been tenfold a child of hell he would have relinquished his detestable purpose.

EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS

Ver. 13. A man mine equal. The LXX here not badly, isoquce (of equal soul), Jerome, unanimus mens (of one mind). Hermann Venema.

HINTS TO THE VILLAGE PREACHER

None.

Psalms 55:14*

EXPOSITION

Ver. 14. We took sweet counsel together. It was not merely the counsel which men take together in public or upon common themes, their fellowship had been tender and confidential. The traitor had been treated lovingly, and trusted much. Solace, mutual and cheering, had grown out of their intimate communings. There were secrets between them of no common kind. Soul had been in converse with soul, at least on David's part. However feigned might have been the affection of the treacherous one, the betrayed friend had not dealt with him coldly, or guarded his utterance before him. Shame on the wretch who could belie such fellowship, and betray such confidence!

And walked unto the house of God in company. Religion had rendered their intercourse sacred, they had mingled their worship, and communed on heavenly themes. If ever any bonds ought to be held inviolable, religious connections should be. There is a measure of impiety, of a detestable sort, in the deceit which debases the union of men who make profession of godliness. Shall the very altar of God be defiled with hypocrisy? Shall the gatherings of the temple be polluted by the presence of treachery? All this was true of Ahithophel, and in a measure of Judas. His union with the Lord was on the score of faith, they were joined in the holiest of enterprises, he had been sent on the most gracious of errands. His cooperation with Jesus to serve his own abominable ends stamped him as the firstborn of hell. Better had it been for him had he never been born. Let all deceitful professors be warned by his doom, for like Ahithophel he went to his own place by his own hand, and retains a horrible preeminence in the calendar of notorious crime. Here was one source of heart break for the Redeemer, and it is shared in by his followers. Of the serpent's brood some vipers still remain, who will sting the hand that cherished them, and sell for silver those who raised them to the position which rendered it possible for them to be so abominably treacherous.

EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS

Ver. 14. We took sweet counsel. From qtx to be sweet, and the ordinary notion of dwo for secret, the phrase dwo qytmg will literally be read, we made our secret sweet. And so it may be an elegance, to signify the pleasure of his friendship, or of communicating secrets to him. Henry Hammond.

Ver. 14. The first clause speaks of private intimacy, the next of association in public acts, and especially in the great festivals and processions of the temple. J. J. Stewart Perowne, 1864.

Ver. 14. In company. In the end of the verse vgrk may be rendered with a noise: and so the Chaldee seems to have taken it, which reads with haste; and to that agree the Jewish doctors, who tell us men are to go in haste and with speed to the synagogue, but return thence very leisurely. Henry Hammond.

HINTS TO THE VILLAGE PREACHER

Ver. 14. The social companionships which grow out of religion.

1. They are on a good foundation.

2. They yield profit--counsel.

3. They yield pleasure--sweet.

4. They lead to enthusiasm--walked in company.

5. They ought to be sacredly maintained.

6. But they need to be carefully watched.

Psalms 55:15*

EXPOSITION

Ver. 15. Not thus would Jesus pray, but the rough soldier David so poured out the anguish of his spirit, under treachery and malice seldom equalled and altogether unprovoked. The soldier, as such, desires the overthrow of his foes, for this very end he fights; and viewed as a matter of law and justice, David was right in his wish; he was waging a just, defensive war against men utterly regardless of truth and justice. Read the words as a warrior's imprecation.

Let death seize upon them. Traitors such as these deserve to die, there is no living with them, earth is polluted by their tread; if spies are shot, much more these sneaking villains.

Let them go down quick into hell. While in the vigour of life into sheol let them sink, let them suddenly exchange the enjoyment of the quick or living for the sepulchre of the dead. There is, however, no need to read this verse as an imprecation, it is rather a confident expectation or prophecy: God would, he was sure, desolate them, and cast them out of the land of the living into the regions of the dead.

For wickedness is in their dwellings, and among them. They are too bad to be spared, for their houses are dens of infamy, and their hearts fountains of mischief. They are a pest to the commonwealth, a moral plague, a spiritual pestilence, to be stamped out by the laws of men and the providence of God. Both Ahithophel and Judas soon ended their own lives; Absalom was hanged in the oak, and the rebels perished in the wood in great numbers. 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 sympathises with evil, and counts punishment to be cruelty, than against the harshness of a former age. We have steered so far from Scylla that Charybdis is absorbing us.

EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS

Ver. 15. Let death seize upon them, and let them go down quick into hell. The last part and end of sinners' lives is worst with them. They have in their lives been busily trading in the world, buying and selling, and getting gain and ruffling it in the world, but meanwhile by their sins they run deep in debt with God, and for want of interest in Christ to be their surety at death (it may be on the sudden) it comes to that of the psalmist, Let death seize upon them, and let them go down quick into hell. Death seizes on them unawares, as a sergeant or pursevant, casts them into prison, which is expressed by their going down quick into hell (as it is said Numbers 16:32-33), that Korah and his company did. Anthony Tuckney, 1599-1670.

Ver. 15. Let death seize upon them by divine warrant, and let them go quick into hell; let them be dead and buried, and damned in a moment; for wickedness is wherever they are, it is in the midst of them. The souls of impenitent sinners go down quick, or alive, into hell; for they have a perfect sense of their miseries, and shall therefore live still, that they may be still miserable. This prayer is a prophecy of the utter, the final, the everlasting ruin of all those who, whether secretly or openly, oppose and rebel against the Lord's Messiah. Matthew Henry.

Ver. 15. Quick, that is alive, like Korah, Dathan and Abiram. From "The Psalms chronologically arranged, By Four Friends, " 1867.

Ver. 15. Throughout this series of Psalms, there appears to be a peculiar penalty attached to each class of transgressions, or, each variety of opposition against God meets a suitable end. The ungodly, that is, the irreligious and indifferent, lay up for themselves an evil recompense when the wrath of God shall be revealed (Psalms 54:5): but an instant punishment falls upon false and treacherous professors; as Paul denounced "anathema" against any who perverted the gospel of Christ in the churches of Galatia; so in this Psalm, Let death seize upon them, and let them go down quick into hell, announces the awful judgment of Jehovah, as once it was shown upon Dathan and Abiram; a punishment that will by its suddenness and notoriety at the same time expose the guilt, and make manifest the displeasure of the Almighty against it. R. H. Ryland, in "The Psalms restored to Messiah, "1853.

HINTS TO THE VILLAGE PREACHER

None.

Psalms 55:16*

EXPOSITION

Ver. 16. As for me, I will call upon God. The psalmist would not endeavour to meet the plots of his adversaries by counterplots, or imitate their incessant violence, but in direct opposition to their godless behaviour would continually resort to his God. Thus Jesus did, and it has been the wisdom of all believers to do the same. As this exemplifies the contrast of their character, so it will foretell the contrast of their end--the righteous shall ascend to their God, the wicked shall sink to ruin.

And the Lord shall save me. Jehovah will fulfil my desire, and glorify himself in my deliverance. The psalmist is quite sure. He knows that he will pray, and is equally clear that he will be heard. The covenant name is the pledge of the covenant promise.

EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS

None.

HINTS TO THE VILLAGE PREACHER

Ver. 16. The contrast.

I. A child of God will not wrong others as they do him.

II. He will call upon God as they do not.

III. God will hear him as he does not the wicked.

IV. God will deal with him at last otherwise than with

them.

Psalms 55:17*

EXPOSITION

Ver. 17. Evening and morning, and at noon, will I pray. Often but none too often. Seasons of great need call for frequent seasons of devotion. The three periods chosen are most fitting; to begin, continue, and end the day with God is supreme wisdom. Where time has naturally set up a boundary, there let us set up an altar stone. The psalmist means that he will always pray; he will run a line of prayer right along the day, and track the sun with his petitions. Day and night he saw his enemies busy (Psalms 55:10), and therefore he would meet their activity by continuous prayer.

And cry aloud. He would give a tongue to his complaint; he would be very earnest in his pleas with heaven. Some cry aloud who never say a word. It is the bell of the heart that rings loudest in heaven. Some read it, "I will nurse and murmur; "deep heart thoughts should be attended with inarticulate but vehement utterances of grief. Blessed be God, moaning is translatable in heaven. A father's heart reads a child's heart.

And he shall hear my voice. He is confident that he will prevail; he makes no question that he would be heard, he speaks as if already he were answered. When our window is opened towards heaven, the windows of heaven are open to us. Have but a pleading heart and God will have a plenteous hand.

EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS

Ver. 17. Evening, and morning, and at noon, will I pray. This was the custom of the pious Hebrews. See Daniel 6:10. The Hebrews began their day in the evening, and hence David mentions the evening first. The rabbins say, men should pray three times each day because the day changes three times. This was observed in the primitive church; but the times in different places were various. The old Psalter gives this a curious turn: "At even I sall tell his louing (praise) what the Christ was on the Crosse; and at morn I sall schew his louing, what tim he ros fra dede. And sua he sall here my voice at midday, that is sitand at the right hand of his fader, wheder he stegh (ascended) at midday." Adam Clarke.

Ver. 17. Evening and morning, etc. The three principle parts of the day are mentioned, not as marking special times set apart for prayer, but as a poetical expression for "the whole day, ""at all times, ""without ceasing." J. J. Stewart Perowne.

Ver. 17. If our poor, frail bodies need refreshment from food three times a day, who, that knows his own weakness, will say that we need not as frequent refreshment for our poor frail spirits? William S. Plumer, 1867.

Ver. 17. I can no more believe him to be frequent and spiritual in ejaculatory prayer, who neglects the season of solemn prayer, than I can believe that he keeps every day in the week a Sabbath, who neglects to keep that one which God hath appointed. William Gurnall, 1617-1679.

Ver. 17. There is no limited time in the court of heaven for hearing petitions. It is not like the court of earthly princes, for there is a free access any day of the week, any hour of the day, or the night, any minute of the hour. As the lawyer saith of the king, for having his due, Nullum tempus occurrit regi: so may I say of the godly, for making his prayers and granting his requests, Nullum tempus occurrit fidelibus, no time unseasonable, so the heart be seasoned with faith; no non term in God's court of requests. He keeps continually open house for all comers and goers; and indeed, most for comers, then goers. His eyes are always open to behold our tears; his ears are always open to hear our groans; his heart also and his bowels are always open, and never shut up so fast, but they will yearn and turn within him, if our misery be never so little. For as we have not an High Priest to pray by "that cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; "so neither have we a God to pray to, that shall see us in distress, and hear us call and cry, and never be moved. Zachary Bogan (1625-1659), in "Meditations of the Mirth of a Christian Life."

Ver. 17. And cry aloud. The word here employed properly means to murmur; to make a humming sound; to sigh; to growl; to groan. Here the language means that he would give utterance to his deep feelings in appropriate tones--whether words, sighs, or groans. Albert Barnes.

Ver. 17. And he shall hear. And what will this loud cry obtain? A hearing without doubt, so he assures himself, He shall hear me. Not that God hears any prayers whether he will or no (as men sometimes do that upon importunity which they have no mind to), but he hath no will, no mind not to hear such prayers, the prayers of those who cry aloud to him. Joseph Caryl, 1602-1673.

HINTS TO THE VILLAGE PREACHER

Ver. 17.

1. David will pray fervently; I will pray and cry aloud.

2. He will pray frequently; every day, and three times a day, evening, and morning, and at noon. Matthew Henry.

Psalms 55:18*

EXPOSITION

Ver. 18. He hath delivered my soul in peace from the battle that was against me. The deliverance has come. Joab has routed the rebels. The Lord has justified the cause of his anointed. Faith sees as well as foresees; to her foresight is sight. He is not only safe but serene,

delivered in peace --peace in his inmost soul.

For there were many with me; many contending against me. Or it may be that he thankfully acknowledges that the Lord raised him up unexpected allies, fetched him succour when he most needed it, and made the friendless monarch once more the head of a great army. The Lord can soon change our condition, and he often does so when our prayers become fervent. The crisis of life is usually the secret place of wrestling. Jabbok makes Jacob a prevailing prince. He who stripped us of all friends to make us see himself in their absence, can give them back again in greater numbers that we may see him more joyfully in the fact of their presence.

EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS

Ver. 18. He hath delivered my soul in peace from the battle. In the midst of war the Lord can keep a man as safe as in the time of peace, and in extreme perils preserve him from danger. He that depends upon God in the time of trouble, albeit he had an host against him, yet hath he more with him when God is with him, than can be against him. David Dickson.

Ver. 18. For. The for implies the reason why God interposed to deliver him; namely, because of the general principle that God ministers relief when his people come to an extremity. A. R. Fausset.

Ver. 18. There were many with me. This is doubtful whether it be meant of foes or friends. If of foes, it may be resolved thus: for with many (with a great multitude) they were fighters with me. If of friends, it may be understood of God's angels, that in a great number were with him, pitching camp for his aid (Psalms 34:7); as Elisha said, "Many more are with us than with them." 2 Kings 6:16-17. The Chaldee explains it, "For in many afflictions his word was for my help." Henry Ainsworth.

HINTS TO THE VILLAGE PREACHER

Ver. 18. Our battles, our almost rout, our helper, our deliverances, our praise.

Psalms 55:19*

EXPOSITION

Ver. 19. God shall hear, and afflict them. They make a noise as well as I, and God will hear them. The voice of slander, malice, and pride, is not alone heard by those whom it grieves, it reaches to heaven, it penetrates the divine ear, it demands vengeance, and shall have it. God hears and delivers his people, he hears and destroys the wicked. Their cruel jests, their base falsehoods, their cowardly insults, their daring blasphemies are heard, and shall be repaid to them by the eternal judge.

Even he that abideth of old. He sits in eternity, enthroned judge for evermore; all the prayers of saints and profanities of sinners are before his judgment seat, and he will see that justice is done.

Selah. The singer pauses, overwhelmed with awe in the presence of the everlasting God.

Because they have no changes, therefore they fear not God. His own reverential feeling causes him to remember the daring godlessness of the wicked; he feels that his trials have driven him to his God, and he declares that their uninterrupted prosperity was the cause of their living in such neglect of the Most High. It is a very manifest fact that long continued ease and pleasure are sure to produce the worst influences upon graceless men: though troubles do not convert them, yet the absence of them makes their corrupt nature more readily develop itself. Stagnant water becomes putrid. Summer heat breeds noxious insects. He who is without trouble is often without God. It is a forcible proof of human depravity that man turns the mercy of God into nutriment for sin: the Lord save us from this.

EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS

Ver. 19. Even he that abideth of old. The deeds by which God had already showed himself from of old as the righteous King and Judge, the judgments, for example, upon the wicked in the land of Shinar (Psalms 55:9), the company of Korah (Psalms 55:9; Psalms 55:18), the cities of the plain (Psalms 55:15), pledge his still ready interposition. He who had already so long held the throne, must now also show himself as King and Judge; he cannot now, at so late a period, be another. E. W. Hengstenberg, 1845.

Ver. 19. Because they have no changes, therefore they fear not God. That is, there is no new thing among them, no extraordinary providential turns, no judiciary changes, their prosperity keeps a settled course, and because they find all things going on in the old course of providence, therefore they go on in their old course of sinfulness, they fear not God; intimating, that as such changes always should, so usually they do, awaken fear; and that, if the Lord would but change, and toss, and tumble them about, by various troublesome dispensations, surely they would fear him. Joseph Caryl.

Ver. 19. Because they have no changes, etc. Or, with whom also there be no changes, yet they fear not God. If changes be referred to their temporal estates and welfare, as Job 10:17 (it is the same word there as here, twkylx), "changes and war are against me:" then, according to the first translation, because etc., a reason is given of their perseverance in wickedness, and contempt of God; to wit, their constant and uninterrupted worldly prosperity. Or, according to the second, With whom there are no changes, yet, etc.; it is a great aggravation of their impenitency, that notwithstanding so much goodness vouchsafed unto them, they should continue so unthankful as to requite so ill, or so stupid and insensible as not to acknowledge the author. But if changes be referred, as by many, to the soul, then the meaning is--that through long use and continuance of sinning, they are, through God's just judgment, become altogether obdurate and inflexible; and therefore, no wonder if nothing work upon them to their conversion. "Can the Ethiopian change his skin?" etc. Jeremiah 13:23. But this changes might also have another meaning. The Grecians used to say, streptai esylwn, that the minds or hearts of good men are changeable; their meaning is, that good men are merciful. Quos quisque est major, magis est placabilis ira: et faciles motus mens generosa capit, as the Latin proverb expresses it. He may therefore say, that they show by their cruel unmercifulness, that they have no fear or sense of God at all; else they would fear him, of whose mercy themselves stood in so much need, and consider that they whom they so fiercely persecute are his creatures as well as they. Westminster Assembly's Annotations.

Ver. 19. They have no changes, etc. Who are they who have no changes? Apparently those whom God is said to humble or chastise. And what is the meaning of the word, changes as here used? Many understand it of a moral change; "who are without change of heart or reformation." But the word never occurs in this sense. It means, properly, "a change" in the sense of succession; as of garments, of troops relieving guard, servants leaving work, and the like. Hence it would rather mean in a moral sense: "They who have no cessation in their course (by being relieved guard, for instance), who always continue, and persevere in their evil life." Calvin and others understand it of change of fortune, i.e., "who are always prosperous; "but this again is not supported by usage. J. J. Stewart Perowne.

Ver. 19. They fear not God. The fear required here, is to fear him as God, and as God presented in this name, Elohim; which though it be a name primarily rooted in power and strength (for El is Deus fortis, The powerful God; and as there is no love without fear, so there is no fear without power), yet properly it signifies his judgment, and order, and providence, and dispensations and government of his creatures. It is that name which goes through all God's whole work of the creation, and disposition of all creatures in the first of Genesis: in all that he is called by no other name than this, the name God; not by Jehovah, to present an infinite majesty; nor by Adonai, to present an absolute power; nor by Tzebaoth, to present a force, or conquest; but only the name of God, his name of government. All ends in this; to fear God is to adhere to him, in his way, as he hath dispensed and notified himself to us;, that is, as God is manifested in Christ, in the Scriptures, and applied to us out of those Scriptures, by the church: not to rest in nature without God, nor in God without Christ. John Donne, 1573-1631.

HINTS TO THE VILLAGE PREACHER

Ver. 19. The eternal government of God a threat to the ungodly.

Ver. 19. (second part). Prosperity creating atheism. This involves--

1. Ingratitude--they ought to be the more devout.

2. Impudence--they think themselves as God.

3. Forgetfulness--they forget that changes will come.

4. Ignorance--they know not that unbroken prosperity is often for awhile the portion of the accursed.

5. Insanity--for there is no reason in their conduct.

6. Rottenness--preparing them to be cast away for ever.

Psalms 55:20*

EXPOSITION

Ver. 20. The psalmist cannot forget the traitor's conduct, and returns again to consider it.

He hath put forth his hands against such as be at peace with him. He smites those to whom he had given the hand of friendship, he breaks the bonds of alliance, he is perfidious to those who dwell at ease because of his friendly profession.

He hath broken his covenant. The most solemn league he has profaned, he is regardless of oaths and promises.

EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS

None.

HINTS TO THE VILLAGE PREACHER

None.

Psalms 55:21*

EXPOSITION

Ver. 21. The words of his mouth were smoother than butter. He lauded and larded the man he hoped to devour. He buttered him with flattery and then battered him with malice. Beware of a man who has too much honey on his tongue; a trap is to be suspected where the bait is so tempting. Soft, smooth, oily words are most plentiful where truth and sincerity are most scarce.

But war was in his heart. He brought forth butter in a lordly dish, but he had a tent pin ready for the temples of his guest. When heart and lip so widely differ, the man is a monster, and those whom he assails are afflicted indeed.

His words were softer than oil. Nothing could be more unctuous and fluent, there were no objectionable syllables, no jars or discords, his words were as yielding as the best juice of the olive;

yet were they drawn swords, rapiers unsheathed, weapons brandished for the fray. Ah! base wretch, to be cajoling your victim while intending to devour him! entrapping him as if he were but a beast of prey; surely, such art thou thyself.

EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS

Ver. 21. The words of his mouth were smoother than butter, etc. Of this complexion are the cant of hypocrites, the charity of bigots and fanatics, the benevolence of atheists, the professions of the world, the allurements of the flesh, and the temptations of Satan, when he thinks proper to appear in the character of an angel of light. George Horne, 1730-1792.

Ver. 21. Butter. The Eastern butter is by no means like the solid substance, which is known by that name in these colder climates; but is liquid and flowing as appears from different passages in Scripture, particularly Job 29:6 20:17; and as is confirmed by the accounts of modern travellers; so that in fact it more resembles "cream, "which Vitringa says is the genuine sense of the word here used. Richard Mant, 1776-1849.

Ver. 21. To avoid all difficulties, the readiest expedient is to receive the Septuagint rendering of wqlx diemerisyhsan, they were, or are divided, viz., the members of the wicked man there spoken of, they are at great distance one from the other; wyk tamxm, butter their mouth, or their mouth is butter, wklkrqw and war their heart, or their heart is war; and this seems to be the fairest rendering of it. Henry Hammond, 1605-1660.

Ver. 21. A feigned friend is much like a crocodile who, when he smiles, poisons; and when he weepeth, devoureth; or the hyaena, having the voice of a man and the mind of a wolf, speaking like a friend and devouring like a fiend; or the flattering sirens that sweetly sing the sailor's wreck; or the fowler's pipe that pleasantly playeth the bird's death; or the bee, who carrieth honey in her mouth and a sting in her tail; or the box tree, whose leaves are always green, but the seeds poison. So his countenance is friendly and his words pleasant, but his intent dangerous, and his deeds unwholesome.

His fetch is to flatter, to catch what he can;

His purpose obtained, a fig for his man. L. Wright, 1616.

Ver. 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. Well, when I came to the justice again, there was Mr. Foster, of Bedford, who coming out of another room, and seeing me by the light of the candle, for it was dark night when I came thither, he said unto me, "Who is there? John Bunyan?" with much seeming affection, as if he would have leaped in my neck and kissed me, (A right Judas.), which made me somewhat wonder that such a man as he, with whom I had so little acquaintance, and, besides, that had ever been a close opposer of the ways of God, should carry himself so full of love to me, but afterwards when I saw what he did, it caused me to remember those sayings, Their tongues were softer than oil, yet were they drawn swords, and again, "Beware of men, "etc. When I had answered him that, blessed be God, I was well, he said, "What is the occasion of your being here?" or to that purpose. To whom I answered that I was at a meeting of people a little way off, intending to speak a word of exhortation to them; but the justice hearing thereof (said I) was pleased to send his warrant to fetch me before him, etc.

John Bunyan. In relation to J.B.'s imprisonment: written by himself. Offor's edit., Vol. 1. p. 52.

Ver. 21. (first clause). --

Smooth are his words, his voice as honey sweet,

Yet war was in his heart, and dark deceit. Moschus (B.C. 250.)

HINTS TO THE VILLAGE PREACHER

Ver. 21. The hypocrite's mouth.

1. It has many words.

2. They are only from his mouth.

3. They are very smooth.

4. They conceal rather than reveal his purpose.

5. They are cutting and killing.

6. They will kill himself.

Psalms 55:22*

EXPOSITION

Ver. 22. Thy burden, or what thy God lays upon thee, lay thou it

upon the Lord. His wisdom casts it on thee, it is thy wisdom to cast it on him. He cast thy lot for thee, cast thy lot on him. He gives thee thy portion of suffering, accept it with cheerful resignation, and then take it back to him by thine assured confidence.

He shall sustain thee. Thy bread shall be given thee, thy waters shall be sure. Abundant nourishment shall fit thee to bear all thy labours and trials. As thy days so shall thy strength be.

He shall never suffer the righteous to be moved. He may move like the boughs of a tree in the tempest, but he shall never be moved like a tree torn up by the roots. He stands firm who stands in God. Many would destroy the saints, but God has not suffered it, and never will. Like pillars, the godly stand immoveable, to the glory of the Great Architect.

EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS

Ver. 22. Cast thy burden upon the Lord, etc. The remedy which the Psalm suggests, and, perhaps, the only resource in a difficulty of the kind, where the enemies of true religion are fighting under the semblance of friendship, is announced in an oracular voice from God: "Cast thy care upon Jehovah, for he will sustain thee; he will not suffer the just one to be tossed about for ever." R. H. Ryland.

Ver. 22. Cast thy burden upon the Lord, etc. The best way to ease thyself is to lay thy load upon God; he will take it up and also carry thee. There is many a man would be willing to go of himself if another would but carry his burden for him; but if you throw your burden upon God he will not only carry that, but will also carry you. He cares not how much weight a Christian layeth on his back; a true Israelite may ease himself, and best please his God at once. God delights not to see tears in thine eyes, or paleness in thy countenance; thy groans and sighs make no music in his ears. He had rather that thou wouldst free thyself of thy burden by casting it upon him, that he might rejoice in thy joy and comfort. Now, true confidence in God, and resting upon God, will both free thee of thy burden and also bring in the strength of God to sustain and bear thee up from falling. Wouldst thou, therefore, own God as thy strength, and fetch strength from God to thy soul? rest upon God, roll thyself upon him, and that

1. In time of greatest weakness.

2. In time of greatest service.

3. In times of greatest trials. Samuel Blackerby, 1674.

Ver. 22. Cast thy burden upon him in the same way that the ship in a storm casts her burden on the anchor, which anchor holds on to its sure fixing place. And to my mind, that is the more beautiful sense of the two--a sense which once entered into, may be followed out in these glorious verses: --

And I see the good ship riding, all in a perilous road; The low reef booming on her lee; the swell of ocean poured Sea after sea, from stem to stern; the mainmast by the board; The bulwarks down; the rudder gone; the boats stove by the chains. But courage still, brave mariners, the ANCHOR yet remains: And he will flinch--no, never an inch--until ye pitch sky high; Then he moves his head, as if he said, "Fear nought; for here am I!"

J. M. Neale's Commentary.

HINTS TO THE VILLAGE PREACHER

Ver. 22. (first clause). Here we see the believer has--

1. A burden to try him.

2. A duty to engage him, "Cast thy burden, "etc.

3. A promise to encourage him, "He shall sustain, "etc. Ebenezer Temple, 1850.

Ver. 22. (last clause). Who are the righteous? What is meant by their being moved? Whose permission is needful to accomplish it? Will he give it? "Never." Why not?

Psalms 55:23*

EXPOSITION

Ver. 23. For the ungodly a sure, terrible, and fatal overthrow is appointed. Climb as they may, the pit yawns for them, God himself will cause them to descend into it, and destruction there shall be their portion.

Bloody and deceitful men, with double iniquity of cruelty and craft upon them,

shall not live out half their days; they shall be cut off in their quarrels, or being disappointed in their artifices, vexation shall end them. They were in heart murderers of others, and they became in reality self murderers. Doubt not that virtue lengthens life, and that vice tends to shorten it.

But I will trust in thee. A very wise, practical conclusion. We can have no better ground of confidence. The Lord is all, and more than all that faith can need as the foundation of peaceful dependence. Lord, increase our faith evermore.

EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS

Ver. 23. Shalt bring them down. Indicating a violent death, like that of the slain ox, which is said to descend, when it falls under the stroke. The pit of putrefaction is meant, in which the corpse decays, nor does it here merely denote the sepulchre, but the ignominious condition of a corpse cast forth, as when it is thrown into a pit. Hermann Venema.

Ver. 23. Bloody and deceitful men shall not live out half their days. A wicked man never lives out half his days; for either he is cut off before he hath lived half the course of nature, or he is cut off before he hath lived a quarter of the course of his desires; either he lives not half so long as he would; and therefore let him die when he will, his death is full of terror, trouble, and confusion, because he dies out of season. He never kept time or season with God, and surely God will not keep or regard his time or season. Joseph Caryl.

Ver. 23. Half their days. In the Jewish account threescore years was the age of a man, and death at any time before that was looked upon as untimely, and deemed and styled trd excision, of which they made thirty-six degrees; so that not to live out half one's days, is in their style to die before thirty years old. Henry Hammond.

Ver. 23. (second clause). The more sins we do commit, the more we hasten our own death; because as the wise man saith, "The fear of the Lord prolongeth days, but the years of the wicked shall be shortened" (Proverbs 10:27); and the prophet David saith, Bloody and deceitful men shall not live out half their days; for sin is an epitomiser or shortener of everything: it consumes our wealth, it confines our liberty, it impeaches our health, and it abbreviates our life, and brings us speedily unto our grave. Griffith Williams, 1636.

HINTS TO THE VILLAGE PREACHER

Ver. 23. (last clause). The grand "I WILL." Sum up the Psalm. --

I. When I pray, Psalms 55:1-3.

II. When I faint, Psalms 55:4-7.

III. When I am sore beset, Psalms 55:9-11.

IV. When I am betrayed, Psalms 55:12-14; Psalms 55:20-21.

V. When others perish, Psalms 55:15.

VI. After I am delivered, Psalms 55:18.

VII. In every condition, Psalms 55:22.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.
Bibliographical Information
Spurgeon, Charles H. "Commentary on Psalms 55:13". "C.H. Spurgeons's The Treasury of David". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tod/psalms-55.html. 1865-1885

The Pulpit Commentaries

EXPOSITION

THIS psalm has been assigned to Jeremiah by Hitzig, and by others to an unknown writer of the seventh century b.c. But no solid grounds have been shown for setting aside the traditionary evidence of the "title," which ascribes it to David. It is Davidic in its depth of feeling, in its abrupt transitions (verses 9, 15, 20), and in its reference to a faithless friend, who is the chief cause of the writer's sufferings (verses 12-14, 20, 21; comp. Psalms 41:9). The Davidic authorship is accepted by Hengstenberg, Dr. Kay, and Canon Cook. The probable date of the psalm is the time of Absalom's rebellion. David, still a dweller at Jerusalem (verses 9-11), has become aware of the conspiracy which has been formed against him (verses 3-8), and of the participation in it of his "familiar friend," Ahithophel (verses 12-14). He is already contemplating flight from Jerusalem (verses 6-8), since he knows that his enemies seek his life (verse 4). Under these circumstances, he pours out his soul to God, first depicting in eight verses (verses 1-8) his desperate condition and longing for deliverance; then, in seven verses (verses 9-15), describing the prevailing wickedness and ungodliness; and finally, in eight verses (verses 16-23), giving vent to a feeling of confidence that God will come to his aid in answer to his earnest prayers," afflict" his enemies, and rescue him from their hands.

Psalms 55:1

Give ear to my prayer, O God; and hide not thyself from my supplication (comp. Psalms 54:2; and, for the second clause, see Psalms 13:1; Psalms 27:8; Psalms 69:17; Psalms 89:46, etc.).

Psalms 55:2

Attend unto me, and hear me. A very special need is indicated by these four petitions to be heard (Psalms 55:1, Psalms 55:2). I mourn in my complaint, and make a noise; rather, I wander in my musing, and moan aloud. "I wander," i.e. "from one sad thought to another" (Kay); and, unable to constrain myself, I give vent to meanings. Orientals are given to open displays of their grief (Herod; 8.99; AEschylus, 'Persae,' passim).

Psalms 55:3

Because of the voles of the enemy, because of the oppression of the wicked. Professor Cheyne says that by "the wicked" heathen men are primarily intended. But רשׁע—the word used—is" the wicked man," in the simplest and widest sense (see Psalms 1:1, Psalms 1:4, Psalms 1:5, Psalms 1:6; Psalms 7:9; Psalms 9:16, etc.). For they cast iniquity upon me; or, "hurl wickedness at me" (Cheyne). And in wrath they hats me; rather, they persecute me (Hengstenberg, Kay, Cheyne, Revised Version).

Psalms 55:4

My heart is sore pained within me. The attacks of his enemies (Psalms 55:3) deeply grieve and pain the heart of the psalmist. It is not as if they were foreigners, whose hostility was to be expected. They are his own countrymen; one of them is his own familiar friend (Psalms 55:12). Yet they threaten his life. And the terrors of death are fallen upon ms. When a king is the object of a conspiracy, he well knows, especially in the East, that nothing but his death will satisfy the conspirators. So on David, long before he made up his mind to quit Jerusalem (2 Samuel 15:14), the "terrors of death" must have fallen.

Psalms 55:5

Fearfulness and trembling are come upon me, and horror hath overwhelmed me. A graphic description of the feelings which the apprehension of death naturally excites in a man. Where the expectation of a life beyond the grave was so dim and shadowy as in Judaea at this time, the "horror" of death would be the greater.

Psalms 55:6

And I said, Oh that I had wings like a dove! The beauty of this passage has sunk deep into the Christian heart. Great composers have set to it some of their most exquisite music. The desire is one which finds an echo in almost every human breast, and the expression of it here has all the beauty of the best Eastern poetry. Jeremiah's words are far tamer, "Oh that I had in the wilderness a lodging-place of wayfaring men, that I might leave my people, and go from them!" For then would I fly away, and be at rest. The desire of "rest" is universal. Whatever the delights of action, they can only charm us for a time. In our hearts we are always longing to have done with action, and to be at rest.

Psalms 55:7

Lo, then would I wander far off, and remain in the wilderness; rather, and lodge in the wilderness. Doves, ring-doves, and others, are abundant in Palestine, and frequent wild and rocky places, far from the haunts of man. Speaking of a rocky gorge near the Lake of Gennesaret, Canon Tristram says, "But no description can give an adequate idea of the myriads of rock-pigeons. In absolute crowds they dashed to and fro in the ravine, whirling round with a rush and a whirr that could be felt like a gust of wind".

Psalms 55:8

I would hasten my escape from the windy storm and tempest. As doves fly from storm and tempest to their nests in the rocks, so the psalmist would fain haste away from the passions and perils of the city to some safe refuge in the wilds. What he here anticipates, he afterwards accomplished, when he fled from Absalom over Jordan (2 Samuel 15:14).

Psalms 55:9-15

With a sudden transition, the writer passes from his own suffering, fears, and longings, to imprecations on his enemies, and a description of their wicked proceedings. In the course of his description he singles out one individual for special remark—one who had been his own guide, companion, and friend—but who had turned against him, and joined the company of his adversaries (Psalms 55:12-14).

Psalms 55:9

Destroy, O Lord, and divide their tongues. The second clause contains a reference to the confusion of tongues at Babel (Genesis 11:7). "Introduce confusion into their counsels, and disperse them, as thou didst with the wicked ones who were forced to leave off to build the Tower." For I have seen violence and strife in the city. Such quarrels and broils, i.e; as usually precede revolutionary disturbance.

Psalms 55:10

Day and night they go about it upon the walls thereof. "It is not a siege or blockade that is described; and the persons spoken of are not foreign, but native enemies. These are compared to watchmen on the walls; only, instead of keeping watch against the enemy, they 'watch for iniquity' "(Cheyne). Mischief also and sorrow are in the midst of it; rather, iniquity also and trouble. Compare the "violence and strife" of Psalms 55:9. Society is disorganized. It is not only that wickedness prevails, but throughout the city there is violence and contention.

Psalms 55:11

Wickedness is in the midst thereof; deceit and guile depart not from her streets; literally, out of her street (rehob)"the open square, where justice ought to have been administered "(Kay), "adjoining the vaulted passage of the city gate" (Cheyne); comp. Job 29:7.

Psalms 55:12

For it was not an enemy that reproached me; then I could have borne it. The psalmist passes from the general to the particular—from the great mass of his opponents to one special individual. Even Professor Cheyne allows this, and suggests that we have here Jeremiah inveighing against Pashur. But the general sentiment of commentators has always been that Ahithophel is intended. And, if we allow the psalm to be David's, we can scarcely give any other explanation. Ahithophel was known as "David's counsellor" (2 Samuel 15:12), i.e. his chief adviser, his "grand vizier," his "prime minister? What he counselled was considered as a sort of "oracle of God" (2 Samuel 16:23). His defection was the bitterest drop in the cup of the unhappy king. Anything else he "could have borne;" but this was too much. Neither was it he that hated me that did magnify himself against me. It was not one among my professed and open enemies—not one of those whose hatred I had long known and reckoned on. Then I would have hid myself from him. Instead of opening all my heart to him, as I have done to Ahithophel.

Psalms 55:13

But it was thou, a man mine equal; literally, a man according to my valuing; i.e. one of my social rank, with whom I was on familiar terms. My guide; or, "my companion." But the LXX. have ἡγέμων. And mine acquaintance. "My confidant" (Kay); "my familiar friend" (Cheyne, and Revised Version).

Psalms 55:14

We took sweet counsel together. And walked unto the house of God in company; rather, in the throng (Cheyne, Revised Version); i.e. in the midst of the crowd of worshippers. When David went up to the house of God, who is more likely to have accompanied him than his chief "counsellor"?

Psalms 55:15

Let death seize upon them. As this strophe begins (Psalms 55:9), so it ends, with an imprecation. The psalmist calls on God to bring destruction upon the whole mass of his enemies. Of the two readings in the original, the one adopted by our translators seems the best, "Let death come suddenly upon them." Let them go down quick (i.e. alive) into hell. There is an allusion to the fate of Korah and his company (Numbers 16:30-33), who "went down quick into the pit;" but probably the psalmist neither expected nor desired a literal fulfilment of his imprecation. The deaths of Ahithophel (2 Samuel 17:23) and Absalom (2 Samuel 18:14, 2 Samuel 18:15), and of so many of Absalom's followers (2 Samuel 18:7, 2 Samuel 18:8), were quite a sufficient fulfilment. For wickedness is in their dwellings, and among them. (comp. Psalms 55:3, Psalms 55:9-11).

Psalms 55:16-23

In conclusion, the psalmist turns altogether to God, whom he now addresses as "Jehovah" (Psalms 55:16, Psalms 55:22), and expresses his confidence that, in answer to his continual prayers (Psalms 55:17), God will come to his aid, will deliver his soul from the machinations of his enemies, and will visit them with "affliction" (Psalms 55:19) and "destruction" (Psalms 55:23). Still grieved chiefly by the defection of his unfaithful friend, he once more describes the treachery and heinousness of his conduct (Psalms 55:20, Psalms 55:21), before winding up with a word of comfort for all the righteous (Psalms 55:22), and of menace against all the ungodly (Psalms 55:23).

Psalms 55:16

As for me, I will call upon God; and the Lord (Jehovah) shall save me. The call is upon the God known to man by nature as the Almighty Ruler of the universe; the answer is from the covenant God of Israel, the Self-existent One, in whom Israel trusts. The two are different aspects of one and the same Being.

Psalms 55:17

Evening, and morning (comp. Genesis 1:5, Genesis 1:8, etc.), and at noon, will I pray, and cry aloud. From this passage and from Daniel's conduct (Daniel 6:10) we learn that devout Israelites habitually offered prayer to God at these three times of the day. The "morning "and "evening" devotions were doubtless suggested by the law of the morning and evening sacrifice (Exodus 29:38-42); but the midday prayer, being nowhere commanded, can only be ascribed to natural piety. And he shall hear my voice. Constant unremitting prayer is certain of an answer. Compare the parable of the importunate friend (Luke 11:5-8).

Psalms 55:18

He hath delivered my soul in peace from the battle that was against me. Once mere "the preterite of prophetic certainty.'' David sees his deliverance effected. He beholds the coming battle (2 Samuel 17:11; 2 Samuel 18:6-8). He sees that there are many with him; i.e. "many that contend with him;" but his courage does not fail—he is assured of being "delivered" and re-established in his kingdom "in peace."

Psalms 55:19

God shall hear, and afflict them; i.e. "God will hear my prayers, and will afflict my adversaries;" or, perhaps, "God will hear me and answer me." But this requires a change in the reading. Even he that abideth of old; or, "he that is enthroned of old;" he, i.e; that sitteth, and has always sat, on his eternal throne in the heavens. Selah. The "selah" here marks probably a pause for adoration of the great and eternal King enthroned in all his glory. Because they have no changes; rather, the men who have no changes—exegetical of "them" in the first clause of the verse. The wicked "have no changes," i.e. no great reverses of fortune, until their end comes (see Job 21:7-15). Therefore they fear not God; rather, and who do not fear God.

Psalms 55:20

He hath put forth his hands against such as be at peace with him. Some explain "he" as "the wicked collectively,'' and maintain that in this verse and the next no particular person is pointed at; but it seems better to regard the psalmist as "suddenly reverting to the fixed and deepest thought in his heart—the treachery of his friend" (Canon Cook). Ahithophel had put forth his hand against such as were at peace with him." He hath broken his covenant. The covenant of friendship with David (Psalms 55:14), not, perhaps, a formal one, but involved in the terms on which they stood one towards the other.

Psalms 55:21

The words of his mouth wore smoother than butter; literally, smooth were the butters of his mouthi.e; his flattering utterances. But war was in his heart; literally, but his heart was war. His words were softer than oil, yet were they drawn swords; i.e. keen, cutting—according to our own idiom, "like daggers."

Psalms 55:22

Cast thy burden upon the Lord; rather, thy portionor, the lot assigned thee—that which God has given thee to bear. And he shall sustain thee. God will support thee under the lot which he assigns, however hard it is. He shall never suffer the righteous to be moved; i.e. to be disturbed, shaken, unsettled from their faith in him. Note that these promises are made to the righteous only; and, among them, only to those who cast themselves in full faith upon God.

Psalms 55:23

But thou, O God, shalt bring them down into the pit of destruction. We must understand by "them" the ungodly, the thought of whom is associated with that of the righteous by the law of contrast. While God sustains and supports the righteous, he "brings down" and crushes the ungodly. The "pit of destruction" is the grave. Bloody and deceitful men shall not live out half their days (comp. Jeremiah 17:1). Of course, the statement is not intended for a universal law, and indeed was probably pointed especially at the "bloody and deceitful men" of whom the psalmist had been speaking. The suicide of Ahithophel, and the slaughter of Absalom with so many of his followers, furnished a striking commentary on the statement. But I will trust in thee; i.e. but I, for my part, will put no trust in violence or deceit—I will trust in nothing and no one but God (comp. Psalms 7:1; Psalms 11:1, etc.).

HOMILETICS

Psalms 55:6-8

A pathetic prayer.

"Oh that I had wings," etc.! A very natural wish, pathetically and beautifully expressed. The Prophet Jeremiah gave utterance to the same wish, and for similar reasons (Jeremiah 9:2). Hence some have conjectured he was the author of this psalm. The title, ascribing it to David, represents ancient Jewish tradition, which there is no adequate ground for rejecting. But the psalm contains nothing certainly to indicate at what time in David's history it was composed, or who was the treacherous friend referred to. The fact is, the Book of Psalms is a treasury, not of history, but of spiritual experience; a manual of prayer, praise, meditation, faith, for the Church in all ages. Its perennial meaning and value are rather raised than lowered by the uncertainty besetting special occasions and dates which keen critics labour to drag to light.

I. THESE WORDS PICTURE FOR US A HEART WEARY OF THE WORLD. The writer longs passionately to be quit of it, out of sight and hearing, in restful solitude. He feels as our English poet, when taking up Jeremiah's thought he wrote—

"Oh for a lodge in some vast wilderness,

Some boundless contiguity of shade,

Where rumour of oppression and deceit,

Of unsuccessful or successful war,

Might never reach me more!"

This world-weariness may be of different kinds—from widely opposite causes. There is the case of the man who has loved the world with all his heart, and is sick and sated, and still hungry and unsatisfied. He has loved pleasure, laid the reins on the neck of his lusts; and his reward is a diseased body, a worn-out heart, a blighted character, a guilty conscience. Or money; and while he has been piling up what men call a fortune, his heart has dried up, friends have grown estranged, the power of enjoyment has dwindled as the material means of buying it grew. Or political power; and has learned how thankless a task it is to serve people against their prejudices, how futile is popularity, party allegiance, how unstable earthly greatness. Like many a monarch and statesman, he is longing for freedom and rest. It is not these kinds of world-weariness the Holy Spirit depicts here. Those tired-out worldlings do not write psalms. They have sown to the flesh, and reaped corruption. What David and Jeremiah were so weary of was the wickedness of the world (verses 3, 9, 11, 19). This is the key to the tremendous denunciations of the guilt and fate of sinners, in other psalms as well as here. Intense personal feeling is no doubt implied; but it is as rebels against God, not as private foes, they are described. The king—the Lord's anointed—ought to have punished them if he could; feeling his inability, he appeals to God. And be it borne in mind, God did punish them; as (e.g.) Ahithophel and Absalom. It is often asked—How can we reconcile these denunciations with our Lord's prayer, "Father, forgive them"? Answer: Remember the ground on which this forgiveness was possible: "They know not what they do." They were to have room for repentance. Remember, that only two or three days before, Jesus had uttered, in the temple, denunciations more severe than any in the Psalms; and, lastly, that these woes were fulfilled to the letter, after forty years, in the destruction of Jerusalem.

II. EVERY REAL CHRISTIAN MUST KNOW SOMETHING OF THIS HEART-SICKNESS, SOUL-WEARINESS, ON ACCOUNT OF THE PREVALENCE OF SIN IN THE WORLD. The better he knows the world, the more he feels this. Once our Saviour gave a momentary glimpse of the daily burden this was to him (Matthew 17:17). If so very imperfect a saint as Lot "vexed his righteous soul from day to day" (2 Peter 2:7, 2 Peter 2:8), what must the Holy One of God have endured in the hourly contact with sin! He was the "Friend of sinners." The Christian Church of the present day—and society outside the Church—shows more than in any former age of the likeness of his compassion for sinners. But are we not sorely lacking in that righteous indignation against wrong, and deep grief at the dishonour offered to God's Name, which are no less part of "the mind that was in Christ Jesus"?

III. WE MUST NOT ALLOW THIS HEART-WEARINESS TO SLIDE INTO DESPAIR. It must not abate hope, slacken effort, hinder prayer. The temptation may be strong—partly from forgetfulness or ignorance of the past. When a great poet allows himself to exclaim, "When was age so crammed with meanness, madness, written, spoken lies?" the reply is—What former age was less so? Not the age of Isaiah, or of Jeremiah, or of Malachi. Not the age which cried, "Not this Man, but Barabbas!" Nor the ages of the decline and fall of Rome. Nor what some call "the age of faith;" others, more justly, "the dark ages." Nor of the Tudors and Stuarts. Nor the coldhearted, cruel eighteenth century. No! It is an old story, "The whole world lieth in wickedness." It is an ancient cry, "How long, O Lord, how long?" We are "as they that watch for the morning." But courage! "The night is far spent" (Romans 13:12). Armour is not for flight, but fight. "Like a dove!" Yes, David; if thou wert a dove! But thou art a king—God's servant, Israel's champion and prophet (Ephesians 6:13).

If this prayer is David's, it is pathetic and instructive to remember that it was granted, though not as he desired (2 Samuel 17:23). God can show us the unwisdom of our prayers by granting as well as denying. For the present, our Saviour's prayer for his own is not that they be taken out of the world (John 17:15). But whatever is right and true in this prayer shall in due time be answered (Revelation 21:3, Revelation 21:4, Revelation 21:27).

Psalms 55:16

Prayer.

"As for me, I will call," etc. In this verse—the crisis or turning-point of the whole psalm—you see the storm-tossed vessel making for the harbour, and casting anchor in safe shelter. A sorely wounded soul, vexed and out of heart with the tumult and strife of life, the wickedness of men, longs for

"A lodge in some vast wilderness,

Some boundless contiguity of shade;"

where, far from the sight of violence and fraud, the din of business, politics, or war, he might be alone with God. But he discerns that if he cannot flee from mankind, he can take refuge in God. He appeals from an unjust and cruel world to eternal righteousness, infinite love, Divine faithfulness. He pours out his heart to God, and lays hold on him; and light and peace begin to stream in (Psalms 55:18, Psalms 55:22, and closing words of psalm). The text suggests some very important views of prayer.

I. ITS PERSONAL CHARACTER; as expressing individual need and desire; the voluntary confidential converse of the heart with God. Custom, fashion, human sympathy, and opinion are all out of court. If in the whole world not another heart or voice were raised in prayer, the believer would yet say, "As for me, I will call upon God." There are other kinds of prayer: the united prayer of two or three, agreed touching what they shall ask; the public prayer of the assembled Church. In private prayer, too, all is not petition for one's self or others; there is confession, thanksgiving, consecration, submission, adoration. Worship may be wordless, silent. But the most wonderful, instructive, encouraging examples of prayer recorded in the Bible show us some strong earnest spirit face to face with God, in direct petition; alone with the Father of spirits, the Almighty Creator, even though a multitude were looking on. Abraham; Jacob; Moses; Joshua; Elijah; Hezekiah; Paul. This is what makes this Book of Psalms so precious a manual for the Church and for each Christian; a storehouse of liturgies, a magazine of prayers. This makes David's life, in spite of his faults and sins, so true and grand a type of real godliness; the clear, full sense and unhesitating utterance, of personal relationship to God; the reality, blessedness, duty, glorious privilege, of drawing nigh to God. Think of it. There is something more than sublime—appalling—in this view of prayer. That a child of dust, yesterday in the cradle, hanging on God's absolute power over the gulf of nothingness, whose voice can reach so few, even of his fellow-men, whose knowledge, thought, will, are bounded in such strait limits, should be able at will to speak with the Ruler and Author of the universe; to make his wish, weakness, misery, or his boldest hope and loftiest purpose, known beyond the stars, above the thrones of archangels, behind all the laws and causes and inmost springs of nature—to God himself; and that he should have a right to expect an answer! Is not this, I say, an amazing, sublime, appalling contemplation? How poor and low are all the heights of worldly dignity compared with the point to which these words lift our thoughts, to which you or I may soar if we make them our own! "As for me," etc.

II. THE CERTAINTY THAT GOD HEARS PRAYER; its sure warrant, reasonable assurance, joyful encouragement. "And the Lord shall save me." If this certainty were merely an inward persuasion, born of strong desire, it would be worthless. If based on any supposed claim of merit or special favouritism, it would be blind presumption. If on the experience of fact, that God does often answer prayer, it would rest on as sure foundation as the discoveries of science, and what we call "laws of nature" But the haunting uncertainty would paralyze faith—Will God hear my prayer? It rests:

1. On God's promises. If the Bible contains any Divine promises, they are promises to prayer.

2. On the mediation of the Lord Jesus. The Old Testament believer took his stand on the ground of God's covenant; and securely, because, though the priesthood and sacrifices were but shadows, they were shadows of the great Reality—Christ. How much more boldly may we draw near, to whom the reality stands unveiled (Hebrews 4:16; Romans 8:34)!

3. On the promised help of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 8:26, Romans 8:24.) Let us take up David's purpose (verse 17), and hold fast David's faith, "He shall hear my voice."

HOMILIES BY W. FORSYTH

Psalms 55:1

The godly man in three aspects.

"Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown." David felt this. Often had he been in trouble, but never perhaps had he been brought so low before. Evils dreaded had become realities. The dark clouds, long gathering, had now burst over him in furious tempest. Absalom, his dearly loved son, has risen in revolt, and multitudes flock to his standard. Even old companions in arms desert, and the very friend most trusted turns traitor. It was a terrible time. The aged monarch, sad and dispirited, his name traduced, his tenderest feelings outraged, his life and kingdom threatened, is compelled, with the few found faithful, to seek safety in flight (2 Samuel 15:1-37.). But even then there was no rest for the king. His mind is in a turmoil; his heart is borne down by cruel doubts and fears, and the sorrows of death compassed him about. But in the dark hour he found rest and hope in God. The good man is presented in this psalm as—

I. THE SUBJECT OF GREAT MENTAL DISTRESS. (Psalms 55:1-8.) The cares of a divided house and the complaints of a disaffected people pressed heavy on David's soul. But worse things still troubled him—private sorrows, which he could tell only to God. Human nature is not changed. Trials are much the same now as they were three thousand years ago. How thankful should we be for such a record as we have in this psalm! We are taught that when sorrow comes it is not as if any strange thing happened to us. We see as in a glass how others have suffered, and we learn from them not only how to be patient, but where to find sure relief. How many, in all ages, since the days of David, have found, in his confessions and prayers, words wherewith fitly to express the surging feelings of their hearts!

II. THE VICTIM OF SOCIAL TREACHERY. We mix with our fellow-men. We have our friends and, it may be, our enemies. However it be, we cannot live long without knowing something of the bitterness of disappointment and the pain of betrayal. In such circumstances we have need to walk circumspectly. We must watch and pray, lest our grief should pass into unholy passion, and our just resentment rise to cruel revenge. There is a better way. Bather let the sense of injury breed in us a hatred of all injury. Bather let the feeling that we suffer wrongfully move us to sympathy with all others suffering in like manner. Bather let the faithlessness of man make us rejoice the more in the faithfulness of God, whose care of us never ceases, and whose love never fails.

III. THE OBJECT OF DIVINE DELIVERANCE. "As for me" (Psalms 55:16) marks the difference between the godly and the ungodly, and points the way to the true Resource in every trouble. Help comes largely from prayer (Psalms 55:17). Recollection of past deliverances is reviving (Psalms 55:18). There is also comfort from a clearer insight into the purposes and doings of God (Psalms 55:19). But the great relief, even when face to face with the most grievous trials, is in casting all our cares upon God, who careth for us (Psalms 55:22). The burden which is too heavy for us, and which is crushing us to the earth, we roll upon God, and therefore enter into rest and assured hope. The last words of the psalm are a fit watchword for life and for death ' "But I will trust in thee."—W.F.

Psalms 55:6

Seeking rest.

"Oh that I had wings like a dove!" David was not the first nor the last to utter this cry. Men in all ages have suffered. Everywhere we find the game unconquerable desire for rest. This longing underlies all religions and philosophies. And there are times when the cry rises instinctively, and presses for an answer. Who is there who has not, in sorrow or in pain bodily and mentally, or when sick and weary and overborne by earthly troubles, been moved to cry, Oh for rest! And yet the wish may be vain. We need to examine and try ourselves. There is a wrong as well as a right way of seeking rest.

I. IT IS VAIN TO HOPE FOR REST BY SEEKING THE IMPOSSIBLE. Man was made "but a little lower than the angels;" and yet, though all things are said to have been put under him, there are points in which the "beasts of the field and the fowls of the air" have the advantage of him. Hence they may become objects of envy. We are limited beings; but we can conceive ourselves endowed with powers beyond what we possess. There is danger in such fancies. The dove flies past, and all seems peace. But this may be a delusion. We know not what fate awaits it. Besides, we cheat ourselves with a silly thought. We know we have not, and cannot have, "wings." Wishing for the impossible only leaves us the more weak and discontented. Better face difficulty manfully. Better do what God has made us capable of doing, if we are willing, than waste time and strength in idle fancies of what cannot be. The doubter wants a "sign." The anxious sinner craves some sensible proof of acceptance. The troubled mind, tossed to and fro amidst the endless strife of controversy, longs for some infallible guide. There is what Wordsworth calls, "the universal instinct of repose—the longing for confirmed tranquillity." But this is not God's way. "Every man shall bear his own burden" (Galatians 6:5).

III. IT IS VAIN TO HOPE FOR REST BY MERE CHANGE OF OUTWARD CONDITIONS. Place has much to do with feeling. What is near seems more real than what is far off. What we see touches us more keenly than what we only hear of from others (Lamentations 3:15). So with respect to "rest." We are prone to blame circumstances. We delude ourselves with the thought that, if things were altered, all would be well The "imagined otherwise" is the heaven of many. So it is with many of the sick, the poor, the oppressed, the discontented. Absalom played cunningly upon this feeling (2 Samuel 15:4). But "rest" is a state of the mind. It does not come from without, but from within. It is not won by change of condition, but by change of heart. So Paul learned (Philippians 4:11).

III. IT IS VAIN TO HOPE FOR REST BY FLIGHT FROM THE IMMEDIATE CAUSES OF DISTRESS. There are times when flight may be expedient (Matthew 10:23; 2 Timothy 2:22). Again, there are times when flight would be a sin (Nehemiah 6:11; 2 Timothy 4:10). Besides, flight may be a vain resource (Amos 5:19). The question is—What is our duty? Then, when we have settled that, like Paul, we should stand firm (Acts 20:24). There are people who would quiet conscience by silencing the preacher, like Herod; or get rid of an unpleasant duty by flying, like Jonah; or hasten their escape from trouble, like David. But this will not avail. It is better to stand than to fly; to do our duty humbly and quietly in the place where God calls us, than to seek an easier lot. Elijah was a nobler figure confronting singly the hosts of Baal, than hiding in the desert. Peter and Paul and Stephen were truer men, and did a grander work by not holding their lives dear, than if they had cared more for themselves than for Christ. The true way of rest is the way of self-sacrifice. It is when we surrender ourselves wholly to Christ, to be his and his only, and to love and do his will for evermore, that we enter into rest (Matthew 11:28-30). The psalmist in his better moments felt this. If his first impulse was "to flee away," when he came to himself he turned to the Lord as his sure Refuge (verse 9). And what he learned for himself he commends with confidence to others: "Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and he shall sustain thee" (verse 22).—W.F.

HOMILIES BY C. SHORT

Psalms 55:1-8

The true and the false way of encountering the difficulties of life.

Sorrow, danger, and terror had come upon the psalmist with the force of a tempest. He thinks of two ways of escape—casting himself upon God and flight. Suggests the true and the false way of encountering the difficulties of life.

I. TAKE THE FALSE FIRST. "Oh that I had wings," etc.! (Psalms 55:6-8). We must conquer difficulties, not fly from them:

1. Because the post of difficulty is often the post of duty. And we find no rest in flight, because we have sought to evade or neglect our duty.

2. The post of difficulty is the post of discipline. Difficulty is one of the Divine instruments of our training; gives health and strength.

3. Solitude brings an exchange of difficulties, and does not free us from the power of the world. It is better to fight the battle of life than for the heart to prey upon itself apart from the fellowship of men and women.

II. THE TRUE WAY OF ENCOUNTERING THE DIFFICULTIES OF LIFE. By seeking the help of God. (Psalms 55:1, Psalms 55:2.)

1. God will help us to a greater faith. "This is the victory that overcometh the world, even your faith' faith in Divine help, and faith in the good and righteous cause.

2. God will inspire us with a truer courage. "In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world."

3. God will give to those who are faithful all needed strength. Will fulfil the promise, "As thy day'[or, 'need'] is so shall thy strength be."

4. Victory is easier to us than to the psalmist, through Christ. Faith in God through faith in Christ will give every believer the victory.—S.

Psalms 55:9-15

A picture of corrupt city life and private life, and a denunciation of God's judgments upon them.

I. CORRUPT CITY LIFE. (Psalms 55:10, Psalms 55:11.)

1. Corrupt in every part, on the walls and in the interior. Violence and strife reign unchecked universally.

2. Falsehood and deceit ruled in the market-place. (Psalms 55:11.) In the square, or market-place, near the gates, where was the general place of concourse, men cheated and deceived each other in their ordinary intercourse.

II. PICTURE OF CORRUPT PRIVATE LIFE. The sanctities of friendship were openly violated and renounced. The offence was aggravated by two things.

1. That he who had become the psalmist's enemy had been a closely intimate friend. Love had turned to hate, because of the triumph of evil designs or passions, or of "the whispering tongues that can poison truth."

2. Their friendship had been consecrated by religious associations. (Psalms 55:14.) A depraved life can sweep out of the mind the tenderest memories and the most holy associations, human and Divine.

III. THE PSALMIST PRAYS FOR GOD'S JUDGMENTS UPON THIS CORRUPT LIFE. The two forms of judgment which he imprecates are:

1. The judgment that fell upon the builders of Babel. (Psalms 55:9.) Discord among themselves and their counsels, so that they might destroy one another.

2. That they might go down to the grave alive. (Psalms 55:15.) Like Korah and his company, let them be carried away by death in the fulness of life and strength. The psalmist knew of none but violent means and temporal judgments by which such wickedness could be removed.—S.

Psalms 55:16-23

Contrasts in the character and experience of the righteous and the wicked.

I. CHARACTER AND EXPERIENCE OF THE RIGHTEOUS.

1. His life is a continued exercise of prayer and faith. Calls upon God, evening, morning, and at noon. Carries all his anxieties and fears to God; casts upon him his burden (Psalms 55:22). And he does all this with an assured faith (Psalms 55:16, Psalms 55:17). "And he shall hear my voice." "The Lord shall save me."

2. He has been already delivered from great dangers. (Psalms 55:18.) "Many were against him." Every good man has a past full of such experiences.

3. He has confident assurance of future protection and guidance. "He shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved." God is good and righteous. and this is the foundation of his assurance.

II. CHARACTER AND EXPERIENCE OF THE WICKED.

1. Generally, they have no fear of God. Without God in the world; living, therefore, without restraint.

2. They are traitors to former vows of friendship. They violate without compunction former oaths and covenants.

3. They are guilty of the most cruel deceit. (Psalms 55:21.) Bloody and deceitful men.

4. God shall afflict and humble them. (Psalms 55:19.)

5. They shall die a premature death. (Psalms 55:23.)—S.

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Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Exell, Joseph S; Spence-Jones, Henry Donald Maurice. "Commentary on Psalms 55:13". The Pulpit Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tpc/psalms-55.html. 1897.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

But it was thou, a man mine equal, my guide, and mine acquaintance.
a man mine equal
Heb. a man according to my rank. my guide.
2 Samuel 15:12; 16:23; Jeremiah 9:4; Micah 7:5
mine acquaintance
John 19:13; Matthew 26:47-50; Mark 14:44,45; Luke 22:21,47,48
Reciprocal: Judges 14:20 - his friend;  1 Chronicles 27:33 - companion;  Psalm 62:9 - of high;  Jeremiah 20:10 - All my familiars;  Obadiah 1:7 - the men of;  Matthew 10:36 - GeneralMatthew 26:50 - Friend;  Mark 14:18 - One;  John 6:71 - being;  Philippians 2:20 - I have

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Bibliographical Information
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Psalms 55:13". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/psalms-55.html.

Thomas Scott: Explanatory Notes, Practical Observations on the book Psalms

.

V:1. Hide not thyself, &c.] That Isaiah, "Do not disregard my prayer, nor leave me to myself, when .cry for help in my extreme distiess." (Notes, Psalm 28:1 Lamentations 3:2-9; Lamentations 5:8.)

V:2. David"s prayer, under great discomposure o mind was attended by Lamentations, sighs, and groans

(Notes, . Psalm 32:3-5. Isaiah 38:14-15. Hosea 12:3-6. Romans 8:24-27. Hebrews 5:7-10.)

V:3. They cast iniquity, &c.] This psalm is suppose to have been composed during Absalom"s rebellion. Th< leaders of that faction, both out of malice, and to strength their party, charged David with various crimes of which h was not guilty. (Notes, 2 Samuel 15:16. P. O1 -12Note, Psalm 16:5-11.) Thus Christ was falsely accused those who had taken counsel to put him to death.

V:4- 8. In general David shewed the firmest courage in the most extreme dangers : but the unnatural rebellion of Absalom, which he knew to be the correction of his sin in the matter of Uriah, quite unmanned him; and lie was filled with terror and consternation. (Notes, .) Nay, he was become so weary of the treachery and ingratitude of men, and of the cares and disappointments of his high station; that he longed to have done with society, and to hide himself in some desert from the fury and fickleness of his people. He wished, in his haste, for the wings of the harmless dove, that he might " fly away and be at rest; " and his varied expressions, and the representation of the popular commotion cis a violent tempest, shew the vehement agitation of his mind. (Note, Psalm 116:10-11.) Yet in his more collected moments he could not approve of such a wish : he was not at liberty to leave his useful station; he could find no rest any where, but in God, with whom he might commune in the midst of society; and he must wait for his more perfect rest, till he had fully served his generation. " These words describe " the state of David"s mind, when he went over the brook " Cedron, and up mount Olivet, " weeping as he went," "and expecting speedily to be cutoff: . .. they describe " the agony of the son of David, when he likewise went " over the same brook Cedron, ... at the time of his passion, when his soul was " sore amazed, and very heavy, " " and exceeding sorrowful even unto death." " Bp. Home.

It may be added, that at that awful crisis the Saviour also prayed, " If it be possible, let this cup pass from me, " nevertheless not my will but thine be done:"

(Notes, ; Matthew 26:42-46. John 18:1-3 :) and David likewise speedily recovered his composure, and said, " Behold, here am I, let him do to me as seemeth good " unto him."

(Notes, .) The several expressions concur in fixing this period as the date of the psalm; and do not coincide with any thing, that is recorded of David, during his persecution by Saul.

This he perceived at the hreaking out of Absalom"s rebellion, and therefore he would not venture to continue there. (Note, .) And when the usurper had got possession, mischief and sorrow, wickedness and guile, occupied the city in every part, parading it day and night, and guarding it against every approach of piety, equity, and loyalty, as against the most dangerous foes. (Note, 2 Samuel 16:15-23.) David therefore prayed, that the Lord would render the devices of the usurpers like Babel, by confounding their language and counsels, and thus leaving them to disunion, and mutual jealousies and suspicions. This was granted, when Hushai"s counsel was preferred to Ahithophel"s; and when that crafty politician, the stay of the whole party, went and hanged himself. (Notes, 2 Samuel 15:3; 2 Samuel 17:1 to2Sa14:23.) Thus the nation of the Jews, after they had rejected Christ, were destroyed by being divided : and Jerusalem, having become the scene of every enormity, was miserably desolated by the Romans. (Notes, Matthew 23:34-39.)

V:12- 15. Ahithophel"s treachery was peculiarly distressing to David; and it was the more painful for being wholly unsuspected. So far from having been an avowed enemy, who now took occasion to reproach him, and to exult in his calamities, or menace his life; Ahithophel had been David"s counsellor and bosom-friend, and had been treated by him as an equal, or as one of his own rank : he had also been his chosen and pleasing companion, in the exercise of religion, and in pious conversation. Yet this very Prayer of Manasseh, without any affront, or previous quarrel, became an apostate and a traitor, and gave Absalom the most malicious and infernal counsel imaginable ! (Notes, .) Thus Christ was betrayed by one. whom he had honoured as a companion, a disciple, and an apostle; and who resembled Ahithophel in his crimes and in his doom : for both were speedily overtaken by divine vengeance, in the same dreadful manner. (Note, 2 Samuel 17:23. Matthew 27:3-5. John 13:18-30.) This was foretold by David concerning Ahithophel, and by Jesus concerning Judas : for the words are in the future, and more naturally signify a prediction, than an imprecation. (Marg. Ref.) " The sudden destruction of Korah, " Dathan, and Abiram, who, for stirring up rebellion " against Moses and Aaron, " went down alive into the " " pit," seems here alluded to; as the grand representation of the manner, in which the bottomless pit shall " one day shut her mouth for ever upon all the impenitent enemies of the true King of Israel, and great High Priest of our profession." Bp. Horne.

V:16, 17. Notes, . Psalm 109:25. Luke 6:12. Evening, &c. (17) Probably this was David"s general practice; from which he was not diverted by any of his troubles, but was rather made the more earnest in it. (Marg-. Ref. Notes, Daniel 6:10-11. Acts 10:9-16.) ( I will never give over my importunity, till he graciously grant my petition, and send me relief." Bp. Patrick.

V:18. As this verse is in the past tense, while those which precede and follow it are future; the Psalmist seems to refer to his former experience of the Lord"s goodness and faithful care of him; and tlius to encourage himself and his friends to expect a happy event to their present perils. (Notes, . 2 Corinthians 1:8-11.) In former instances, when far superior forces had attacked him, God had delivered him in peace, and made him triumphant; for his invisible protectors and helpers were more numerous and powerful than all his visible foes.

(Notes, Thus our Lord said, "Think" est thou, that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he " shall presently give me more than twelve legions of " angels ? " And angels terrified and drove away the Roman soldiers, rolled away the stone from the sepulchre, and attended his resurrection and ascension. (Notes, Matthew 26:47-56; Matthew 28:1-8.)

V:19. He who inhabiteth eternity," (Notes, . Isaiah 57:15-16. Micah 5:2,) hearing the prayers of his distressed servants, would certainly punish their persecutors; who had been hardened in impiety, by uninterrupted prosperity. Or, God would certainly afflict them, because they would not turn and fear him. V:20, 21. Absalom, or Ahithophel, seems to have been here intended : but the character and language of crafty flattering courtiers, and of malicious dissemblers, in all ages, is emphatically described. Thus Judas betrayed Christ, while he said, " Hail, Master, and kissed him." (Marg. Ref.)

V:22. " Whatever God has given or allotted thee, commit it all to his keeping by faith and prayer." This is the way of peace and safety.

(Notes, . Matthew 6:25-34. Philippians 4:5-7. 1 Peter 5:5-7.)" He will not " suffer the righteous, to be moved for ever."

(Note, .)

V:23. Half their days."] Such persons, as are here described, generally come to a violent end, before half the years are elapsed, which they might otherwise have been expected to live. (Marg. Ref. Notes, 2 Samuel 17:23; 2 Samuel 18:9; 2 Samuel 18:14.)

PRACTICAL OBSERVATIONS.

The most excellent persons have always experienced the basest treatment in this evil world : and the more any mere man has resembled the Son of God, in heavenly zeal and purity; the more has he been traduced and hated by them, whose crimes he opposed, or whose hypocrisy he detected. The clamours and oppression, the calumnies and malice, of ungodly men may, however, be the more easily endured, if we possess peace of conscience, and a sweet sense of the livine favour. But when our sufferings from men excite in us the sense, or the dread, of the anger of our offended God; when a guilty conscience gives Satan advantage in assaulting our peace, and sapping the foundations of our hope; we must needs " mourn in our complaint," and the thoughts of our hearts will often become like the tempestuous waves of the restless ocean : so that, in this case, even eminent believers have been rilled for a time with in- expressible horror and consternation. Yet none of them was ever so overwhelmed with terror and anguish, as the holy Jesus was; when " it pleased the LORD to bruise " him, to put him to grief, and to make his soul an offering for our sins." But in " his agony he prayed more " earnestly," and was heard and delivered : and if we trust in his merits, and copy his example, we too shall be supported under all, and carried through all. Those, who are most conversant with mankind, will see the most to disquiet, discourage, and disgust them; if they have a spiritual judgment, and are labouring to do pood. Disappointment and vexation, arising from the experience of the inconstancy, ingratitude, and treachery of mankind in general, will sometimes render them weary of the most eminent stations, and honourable services; and make them long for retirement and obscurity, where they may no longer witness the miseries and crimes which they cannot prevent. This should induce us all to seek our rest in God, and to be willing to depart hence to a better world when he pleases : but we must not be " weary of well-doing," or relinquish our work, till our Lord and Master release us : and at last no change can add to our present continued happiness, except that which augments our holiness. No wickedness so distresses the believer, as that which he witnesses in the visible church of God : with anguish of heart he often perceives violence and discord in the congregations, where the gospel of peace is preached and professed; by which the common cause is weakened, the truth disgraced, and far more mischief done than by all the fury of persecutors. When professed Christians forsake God, and give way to malice, wickedness, and deceit; destruction and sorrow are at hand : disunion of heart, and intestine quarrels, make way for further evils; and, instead of a holy city, a Babel will be erected, which must also be destroyed. The true Christian must expect trials from professed friends, from those whom he has most trusted and served, and even from those, with whom he has taken sweet counsel, and associated in the ordinances of God. This will be very painful, but by looking unto Jesus he will be enabled to bear it. Though we must not pray for the destruction of our most treacherous injurers; yet we may warn them of the doom of those, who before them have trodden in the same path : and in every possible trial let us " call upon the LORD, and he will save us." Our souls need spiritual nourishment at least as often as our bodies need food : but we generally starve in the midst of abundance; because we pray so seldom, so superficially, and so formally. David had more loyal subjects than he expected; Christ had more favourers than appeared, when the general cry was, " Crucify him, crucify " him : " and there are more true Christians, and believers have more real friends, than in their gloomy hours they suppose. If however God be for us, he will deliver our souls in peace from every conflict, whether few or many side with us : and it is better to have changes and afflictions, than to be hardened by uninterrupted prosperity, and thus emboldened to treachery and cruelty; which generally end in untimely death, and bring men down into the pit of destruction. Flatterers, whose words are soft and insinuating, are always to be suspected and dreaded for many of this company " have war in their hearts : " and by smooth, deceitful language do more harm, than they could have done with their dra, u swords. But let us learn to trust only in the Lord, and to cast every burden upon him, by faith and prayer : for he will never suffer the righteous to be moved, either for want of inward sup- ports, or outward protection. And, having thus found comfort ourselves, let us exhort and encourage our afflicted brethren to apply for the same relief.

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Scott, Thomas. "Commentary on Psalms 55:13". Thomas Scott: Explanatory Notes, Practical Observations on the book Psalms. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsp/psalms-55.html. 1804.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

But it was thou, a man mine equal, my guide, and mine acquaintance.

Equal — Not in power, but in reputation, for wisdom, and influence upon my people.

Guide — Whose counsel I highly prized, and constantly followed. All which agrees to Achitophel.

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Wesley, John. "Commentary on Psalms 55:13". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/psalms-55.html. 1765.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

13.A man mine equal—A man of my rank.

Guide—A word indicating at once his princely rank and his familiar friendship with the king.

 

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Psalms 55:13". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/psalms-55.html. 1874-1909.