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55. Psalm 55

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

2Attend unto me, and hear me: I mourn in my complaint, and make a noise;

3Because 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.

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

5Fearfulness and trembling are come upon me, and horror hath overwhelmed me.

6And I said, Oh that I had wings like a dove! for then would I fly away, and be at rest.

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

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

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

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

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

12For 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:

13But it was thou, a man mine equal, my guide, and mine acquaintance.

14We took sweet counsel together, and walked unto the house of God in company.

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

16As for me, I will call upon God; and the Lord shall save me.

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

18He hath delivered my soul in peace from the battle that was against me: for there were many with me.

19God shall hear, and afflict them, even he that abideth of old. Selah. Because they have no changes, therefore they fear not God.

20He 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.

22Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.

23But 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.

18 He hath redeemed my soul into peace Those who read the two preceding verses in the perfect instead of the future tense, are apparently led to this by considering that David here proves his former prayers to have been answered, from the fact of deliverance having been granted. But there is no difficulty involved in adopting the other reading. We may suppose that either he was so confident of being delivered that he speaks as if he actually were so already, or that he inserts what was the substance of his meditations at different times; it being sufficiently common, when mention is made of prayers, to subjoin a statement of the event which followed from them. Having spoken, then, of his prayers, he adverts to the result of them, with the view of expressing his thankfulness for the mercy which he had received. He says that he had been redeemed into peace — a strong expression, signifying the danger to which he had been exposed, and the almost miraculous manner in which he had been delivered from it. What is added, they were in great numbers with me, admits of a double meaning. Some understand him as referring to enemies; with me being, according to them, equivalent to against me. He represents himself as having been beset, by a host of adversaries, and commends the goodness manifested by God in accomplishing his deliverance. Others think that he refers to the angels, whose hosts are encamped round about those that fear the Lord, (Psalm 34:7.) The letter ב, beth, which I have rendered in, they consider to be here, as in many other places, merely expletive; 313313     Rogers is of this opinion; and observes, that “in the Appendix to the first volume of Glassius, many instances are adduced of the redundancy of the prefix כ; as Exodus 32:22; Psalm 68:5; Ezra 3:3.” so that we may read the words, great numbers were with me. The last of these interpretations conveys a comfortable truth, as God, although he cannot stand in need of auxiliaries, has seen fit, in accommodation to our infirmity, to employ a multitude of them in the accomplishment of our salvation. But David would appear rather to speak of enemies, and to refer to the number of them, with the view of magnifying the deliverance which he had received. 314314     Walford renders the sentence, “Though multitudes be in opposition to me.” “The sense,” says he, “which is here given, is evidently required, and is fairly deducible from the Hebrew text.” Bishop Horsley’s rendering is, “For they who stood on my side told for many;” — “they who stood on my side,” denoting the Divine assistance described under the image of numerous auxiliaries. See 2 Kings 6:16; 1 John 4:4. Bishop Mant is satisfied that this is the Psalmist’s meaning, and he accordingly turns the verse thus: —
   “And he shall hear me, he shall shield,
And he with peace shall crown;
My guardian in the battle-field,
An host himself alone.”


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