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Bible Commentaries

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

Psalms 55



Verse 1

Psalm 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.

hide not thyself, etc. — (compare Psalm 13:1; Psalm 27:9), withhold not help.

Verse 2

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

Verse 3

oppression — literally, “persecution.”

they … iniquity — literally, “they make evil doings slide upon me.”

Verse 4-5

express great alarm.

Verse 5

come upon — or literally, “into.”

Verse 6

be at rest — literally, “dwell,” that is, permanently.

Verse 7-8

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

Verse 9

Destroy — literally, “swallow” (Psalm 21:9).

divide their tongues — or, “confound their speech,” and hence their counsels (Genesis 11:7).

the city — perhaps Jerusalem, the scene of anarchy.

Verse 10-11

which is described in detail (compare Psalm 7:14-16).

Verse 11

Wickedness — literally, “Mischief,” evils resulting from others (Psalm 5:9; Psalm 52:2, Psalm 52:7).

streets — or literally, “wide places,” markets, courts of justice, and any public place.

Verses 12-14

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

Verse 13

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

acquaintance — in Hebrew, a yet more intimate associate.

Verse 14

in company — literally, “with a crowd,” in a festal procession.

Verse 15

Let death, etc. — 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 (Psalm 5:9; Psalm 49:11).

Verses 16-18

God answers his constant and repeated prayers.

Verse 18

many with me — that is, by the context, fighting with me.

Verse 19

God hears the wicked in wrath.

abideth — or, “sitteth.”

of old — enthroned as a sovereign.

Because … no changes — Prosperity hardens them (Psalm 73:5).

Verse 20-21

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

Verse 22

thy burden — literally, “gift,” what is assigned you.

he shall sustain — literally, “supply food,” and so all need (Psalm 37:25; Matthew 6:11).

to be moved — from the secure position of His favor (compare Psalm 10:6).

Verse 23
days — (compare Psalm 5:6; Psalm 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.


Copyright Statement
These files are a derivative of an electronic edition prepared from text scanned by Woodside Bible Fellowship.
This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.

Bibliography Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Psalms 55:4". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". 1871-8.

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