Ps 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
13:1; 27:9), withhold not
2. The terms of the last clause express full
indulgence of grief.
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
7, 8. Even a wilderness is a safer place than
exposure to such evils, terrible as storm and tempest.
9. Destroy—literally, "swallow" (Ps 21:9).
divide their tongues—or, "confound
their speech," and hence their counsels (Ge 11:7).
the city—perhaps Jerusalem, the scene
10, 11. which is described in detail (compare
11. Wickedness—literally, "Mischief,"
evils resulting from others (Ps 5:9; 52:2, 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" (Pr 16:28;
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
quick—or, living in the midst of life,
death will come (compare Nu 16:33).
among them—or, "within them," in their
hearts (Ps 5:9; 49:11).
16-18. God answers his constant and repeated
18. many with me—that is, by the
context, fighting with me.
19. God hears the wicked in wrath.
of old—enthroned as a sovereign.
Because … no changes—Prosperity
hardens them (Ps 73:5).
20, 21. The treachery is aggravated by
hypocrisy. The changes of number, Ps 55:15, 23, and here, enliven the picture, and
imply that the chief traitor and his accomplices are in view
22. thy burden—literally, "gift," what
is assigned you.
he shall sustain—literally, "supply
food," and so all need (Ps 37:25; Mt 6:11).
to be moved—from the secure position
of His favor (compare Ps 10:6).
23. bloody … days—(compare Ps 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.