Psalm 55:23

 

EXPOSITION

Verse 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

Verse 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.

Verse 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.

Verse 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.

Verse 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 FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS

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

  1. When I pray, Psalms 55:1-3.
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  2. When I faint, Psalms 55:4-7.
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  3. When I am sore beset, Psalms 55:9-11.
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  4. When I am betrayed, Psalms 55:12-14 Psalms 55:20-21 .
  5. When others perish, Psalms 55:15.
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  6. After I am delivered, Psalms 55:18.
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  7. In every condition, Psalms 55:22 .