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Psalms 55

PSALM 55

Psalms 55:1-23 . In great terror on account of enemies, and grieved by the treachery of a friend, the Psalmist offers an earnest prayer for relief. He mingles confident assurances of divine favor to himself with invocations and predictions of God's avenging judgments on the wicked. The tone suits David's experience, both in the times of Saul and Absalom, though perhaps neither was exclusively before his mind.

1. hide not thyself, &c.--(compare Psalms 13:1 , 27:9 ), withhold not help.

2. The terms of the last clause express full indulgence of grief.

3. oppression--literally, "persecution."
they . . . iniquity--literally, "they make evil doings slide upon me."

4, 5. express great alarm.

5. come upon--or literally, "into."

6. be at rest--literally, "dwell," that is, permanently.

7, 8. Even a wilderness is a safer place than exposure to such evils, terrible as storm and tempest.

9. Destroy--literally, "swallow" ( Psalms 21:9 ).
divide their tongues--or, "confound their speech," and hence their counsels ( Genesis 11:7 ).
the city--perhaps Jerusalem, the scene of anarchy.

10, 11. which is described in detail (compare Psalms 7:14-16 ).

11. Wickedness--literally, "Mischief," evils resulting from others ( Psalms 5:9 , Psalms 52:2 Psalms 52:7 ).
streets--or literally, "wide places," markets, courts of justice, and any public place.

12-14. This description of treachery does not deny, but aggravates, the injury from enemies.

13. guide--literally, "friend" ( Proverbs 16:28 , 17:9 ).
acquaintance--in Hebrew, a yet more intimate associate.

14. in company--literally, "with a crowd," in a festal procession.

15. Let death, &c.--or, "Desolations are on them."
let them go--literally, "they will go."
quick--or, living in the midst of life, death will come (compare Numbers 16:33 ).
among them--or, "within them," in their hearts ( Psalms 5:9 , 49:11 ).

16-18. God answers his constant and repeated prayers.

18. many with me--that is, by the context, fighting with me.

19. God hears the wicked in wrath.
abideth--or, "sitteth."
of old--enthroned as a sovereign.
Because . . . no changes--Prosperity hardens them ( Psalms 73:5 ).

20, 21. The treachery is aggravated by hypocrisy. The changes of number, Psalms 55:15 Psalms 55:23 , and here, enliven the picture, and imply that the chief traitor and his accomplices are in view together.

22. thy burden--literally, "gift," what is assigned you.
he shall sustain--literally, "supply food," and so all need ( Psalms 37:25 , Matthew 6:11 ).
to be moved--from the secure position of His favor (compare Psalms 10:6 ).

23. bloody . . . days--(compare Psalms 5:6 , 51:14 ), deceit and murderous dispositions often united. The threat is directed specially (not as a general truth) against the wicked, then in the writer's view.

Read Psalm 55