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Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Psalms 55:1

 

 

Give ear to my prayer, O God; And do not hide Yourself from my supplication.

Adam Clarke Commentary

Give ear to my prayer - The frequency of such petitions shows the great earnestness of David's soul. If God did not hear and help, he knew he could not succeed elsewhere; therefore he continues to knock at the gate of God's mercy.


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Bibliography
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Psalms 55:1". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/psalms-55.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

Give ear to my prayer - See the notes at Psalm 5:1; Psalm 17:6. This is the language of earnestness. The psalmist was in deep affliction, and he pleaded, therefore, that God would not turn away from him in his troubles.

And hide not thyself from my supplication - That is, Do not withdraw thyself, or render thyself inaccessible to my prayer. Do not so conceal thyself that I may not have the privilege of approaching thee. Compare the notes at Isaiah 1:15. See also Ezekiel 22:26; Proverbs 28:27; Leviticus 20:4; 1 Samuel 12:3. The same word is used in all these places, and the general meaning is that of “shutting the eyes upon,” as implying neglect. So also in Lamentations 3:56, the phrase “to hide the ear” means to turn away so as not to hear. The earnest prayer of the psalmist here is, that God would not, as it were, withdraw or conceal himself, but would give free access to himself in prayer. The language is, of course, figurative, but it illustrates what often occurs when God seems to withdraw himself; when our prayers do not appear to be heard; when God is apparently unwilling to attend to us.


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Bibliography
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Psalms 55:1". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/psalms-55.html. 1870.

Coffman's Commentaries on the Bible

PSALM 55

PRAYER IN THE FACE OF A WICKED CONSPIRACY INVOLVING

A FORMERLY TRUSTED FRIEND

This is another psalm accredited to David; and as Maclaren stated it, "Davidic authorship has at least as much to say for itself as any of the other conjectures that have been offered."[1] The title we have selected is from Leupold.

Spurgeon declared that, "It would be idle to fix a time and occasion for this Psalm with any dogmatism; but it reads like a song of the times of Absalom and Ahithophel."[2]

"It could also be the prophetic prayer of Christ in his humiliation, despised and rejected of men, when he was made sin for his people that they might be made the righteousness of God `in Him,' when He was about to suffer their punishments, pay their debts, and discharge their sins, by giving His body upon the Cross as a ransom for the sins of the whole world."[3]

There is nothing whatever to prevent the psalm's being both a song of the times of Ahithophel, and a prophetic forerunner of the prayers of Jesus Christ. Also, Ahithophel in the story of David occupies a position very closely akin to that of Judas Iscariot, of whom he seems to have been a type.

We like the way Anthony Ash broke the psalm down into small units (seven in all); and shall follow the same pattern here.[4]

DAVID'S CRY TO GOD

Psalms 55:1-2

"Give ear to my prayer, O God;

And hide not thyself from my supplication.

Attend unto me, and answer me:

I am restless in my complaint, and moan."

"Give ear to my prayer, O God" (Psalms 55:1). These words teach us that God Himself hears and attends the prayers of his people, that he is accessible to hear their petitions, and that he will not hide his face from praying saints.

"I am restless ... and moan" (Psalms 55:2). Clarke translated a part of this verse as, "I am strongly agitated."[5] If our ascription of this psalm to David during the rebellion of Absalom is correct, then there can be no wonder at all of David's agitation and concern.


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James Burton Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.

Bibliography
Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on Psalms 55:1". "Coffman Commentaries on the Old and New Testament". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/psalms-55.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

Give ear to my prayer, O God,.... Which was for that which is just and right, and equitable to be given, as the wordF14תפלתי "orationem meam", i.e. "secundum judicium"; so Arana. used signifies; being promised in the covenant of grace, ratified and confirmed by the blood of Christ, Not only David was a man much given to prayer, as well as was the sweet psalmist of Israel; but the Messiah, as man, was much and often engaged in this work, in the days of his flesh, Luke 6:12;

and hide not thyself from my supplication; made for mercies and blessings, which spring from the free grace and goodness of God, which is the sense of the wordF15תחנתי "my supplication for grace", Ainsworth. here used; and such are all mercies, whether temporal or spiritual; for none are merited by men: and from his supplication for such things the psalmist desires, that as he would not be as one deaf to him, so that he would not hide his eyes, or refuse to look upon him, and deny his, requests; see Isaiah 1:15.


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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rightes Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855

Bibliography
Gill, John. "Commentary on Psalms 55:1". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/psalms-55.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

"To the chief Musician on Neginoth, Maschil, [A Psalm] of David." Give ear to a my prayer, O God; and hide not thyself from my supplication.

(a) The earnestness of his prayer declares the vehemency of his grief in so much as he is compelled to burst out into cries.

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Bibliography
Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Psalms 55:1". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/psalms-55.html. 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

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.


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This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.

Bibliography
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Psalms 55:1". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/psalms-55.html. 1871-8.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

1.Give ear to my prayer, O God! From the language with which the psalm opens, we may conclude that David at this time was laboring under heavy distress. It could be no ordinary amount of it which produced such an overwhelming effect upon a saint of his distinguished courage. The translation which has been given of אריד, arid, I will prevail, does violence to the context, for, so far from boasting of the fortitude which would govern his address, he is anxious to convey an impression of his wretchedness, by intimating that he was constrained to cry out aloud. What is added in the third verse, By reason of the voice of the enemy, may be viewed as connected either with the first verse or that immediately preceding, or with both. By the voice some understand such a noise as is occasioned by a multitude of men; as if he had said, that the enemy was mustering many troops against him: but he rather alludes to the threatenings which we may suppose that Saul was in the habit of venting upon this innocent prophet. The interpretation, too, which has been given of the casting of iniquity upon him, as if it meant that his enemies loaded him with false accusations, is strained, and scarcely consistent with the context. The words are designed to correspond with the succeeding clause, where it is said that his enemies fought against him in wrath; and, therefore, to cast iniquity upon him means, in my opinion, no more than to discharge their unjust violence upon him for his destruction, or iniquitously to plot his ruin. If any distinction be intended between the two clauses, perhaps the fighting against him in wrath may refer to their open violence, and the casting of iniquity upon him (296) to their deceitful treachery. In this case, און,aven, which I have rendered iniquity, will signify hidden malice. The affliction of the wicked is here to be understood in the active sense of persecution. And in applying the term wicked to his enemies, he does not so much level an accusation against them as implicitly assert his own innocence. Our greatest comfort under persecution is conscious rectitude, the reflection that we have not deserved it; for there springs from this the hope that we will experience the help of the Lord, who is the shield and defense of the distressed.


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Bibliography
Calvin, John. "Commentary on Psalms 55:1". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/psalms-55.html. 1840-57.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Psalms 55:1 « To the chief Musician on Neginoth, Maschil, [A Psalm] of David. » Give ear to my prayer, O God; and hide not thyself from my supplication.

A Psalm of David] Whether made upon occasion of his flight from Keilah, 1 Samuel 23:2, or from Absalom, 2 Samuel 15:16. Idem est argumentum, et idem usus huius Psalmi atque, superioris, saith Beza; this and the former psalm are of the same argument and for the same use. It is most probable that this psalm was written when Absalom was up, and Hushai related unto Zadock the troubled state of the city, 2 Samuel 17:15, with which compare Psalms 55:9-11 of this psalm. For thereupon David, put into a great perturbation, as Psalms 55:4-5, wished for the wings of a dove, not the pinions of a dragon, that he might fly far away.

Ver. 1. Give ear to my prayer, O God] David’s danger was present, his prayer therefore is pressing, being not the labour of his lips, but the travail of his heart. The breath that cometh from the lips is cold, not that which cometh from the lungs.

Hide not thyself] As men when they are not willing to be sued unto will not be seen.


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Bibliography
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Psalms 55:1". John Trapp Complete Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/psalms-55.html. 1865-1868.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Psalms 55.

David in his prayer complaineth of his fearful case: he prayeth against his enemies, of whose wickedness and treachery he complaineth: he comforteth himself in God's preservation of him, and confusion of his enemies.

To the chief Musician on Neginoth, Maschil, A Psalm of David.

Title. לדוד משׂכיל בנגינת למנצח lamnatseach binginoth maskiil ledavid. This Psalm was written on account of the perfidy and treason of Achitophel. The Psalmist begins with earnest prayers to God for support and relief, upon account of the greatness of his distress, through the conspiracy which was formed against him under Absalom, and the confusion and clamour, the treachery and violence, which abounded in the city on that unhappy occasion. These made such an impression on his mind, and excited within him such strong apprehensions of his own danger, that he wished, as it were, for the wings of a dove, that he might immediately hasten his escape, from that scene of confusion and wickedness, which excited his abhorrence, and threatened his destruction. The circumstance which gave him peculiar distress, was the baseness and treachery of one, who had been his particular intimate and friend, who loaded him with calumnies, and treacherously joined in the conspiracy against him; and he describes their former mutual friendship by such tender and affecting circumstances, that the reader will scarcely be able to refrain from joining in the imprecations [or prophesies] of the Psalmist, against such a monster of ingratitude and perfidy, and wishing he might be made a public example of the divine vengeance. As to himself, he expresses his firm confidence that God would protect and save him, and that sooner or later he would avenge his cause, and cut off his bloody and deceitful enemies by a sudden and unexpected destruction; as in our version. There are many excellencies in this Psalm.

The description of David's own distress is very pathetic, and the occasion of it such as must deeply affect any men of real virtue; viz. the undeserved reproaches with which his enemies loaded him. His wishing for the wings of a dove to carry him into the wilderness, and representing the confusions and violences which were occasioned by the rebellion, under the similitude of a sweeping storm, and furious tempest, is truly poetical. The character and treachery of his false friend is painted in such strong colours, that no one who reads it can help detesting the man, and abhorring his falsehood and treason. His conduct in casting his cares upon God, under all the distresses he was involved in, and his assurance that God would sustain him, and cause him at last to triumph over all his treacherous and bloody enemies, discover his high sentiments of the benevolence and faithfulness of God, and shew us, that the principles of religion will support good men under the greatest afflictions, and most threatening dangers, to which they can be exposed. Chandler. We just observe, that the title of this Psalm, in the Syriac version, tells us, "It is a prophesy of those who sought the destruction of Christ."


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Bibliography
Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Psalms 55:1". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/psalms-55.html. 1801-1803.

Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary

CONTENTS

The Psalmist is still at the mercy-seat, praying for strength against his enemies; and for strength and grace in his own soul. Here are some sweet things in this Psalm, typically considered, which refer to Christ, David's Lord, and also of the enemies of God's Anointed.

To the chief musician on Neginoth, Maschil, A Psalm of David.


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Bibliography
Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Psalms 55:1". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/pmc/psalms-55.html. 1828.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

PSALM 55

THE ARGUMENT

This Psalm was certainly composed by David, when he was greatly distressed and persecuted, either by Saul, or rather by Absalom, and betrayed by some pretended or former friend.

David, being surrounded and surprised with danger and distress, complaineth to God, Psalms 55:1-8, prayeth for the frustrating the practice of his cruel and false enemies, Psalms 55:9-15, and strengtheneth himself with God’s protection, Psalms 55:16-18, and his enemies’ utter destruction, Psalms 55:19-23.

Turn not away thy face and ear, as one resolved not to hear nor help.


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Bibliography
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Psalms 55:1". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/psalms-55.html. 1685.

Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible

Heading (Psalms 55:1 a).

‘For the Chief Musician; on stringed instruments. Maschil of David.’

As with Psalms 54 we have a Psalm dedicated to the Choirmaster, or chief musician, which was to be played on stringed instruments, and was a Maschil of David. No indication is given of the specific ‘situation in life’ of the Psalm. It does, however, describe the bitter attacks in some way of the Psalmist’s enemies and his betrayal by a close and formerly trusted friend who has become a bitter enemy (compare Psalms 41:5). It would fit well into the time when David, having been one of Saul’s leading commanders, had to flee from him for his life, and would suggest that at that time, not only did those who were jealous of him seek to undermine him, but one of his trusted companions turned against him. We have no indication in the Book of Samuel of any such person, but it is a very likely scenario, and it may have in mind a situation like that in 1 Samuel 19:11-17. He was probably well admired, and it is quite possible that one who professed to be his loyal friend was sent by Saul to kill him. A similar kind of rejection would also happen to great David’s greater son, our Lord, Jesus Christ.

(Some connect it with Absalom and the treacherous Ahithophel, but the language is hardly suitable. Absalom was not David’s equal, he was his son, nor would David as king have spoken of Ahithophel in such terms. Indeed, it is difficult to see how David could have spoken of his son whom he loved so dearly without making that fact clear. As suggested it could rather possibly have in mind the incident in 1 Samuel 19:11-17).

A strange thing about the Psalm is that the use of Selah is unusual in that it does not, as in most cases, bring about a pause at a place which indicates an immediate change of emphasis in the Psalm. On the other hand, in each case good reason can be seen for the pause.


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Bibliography
Pett, Peter. "Commentary on Psalms 55:1". "Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible ". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/pet/psalms-55.html. 2013.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

1. Give ear… hide not thyself—Strong, anthropomorphic words. His urgent cause requires instant personal attention and public action. God seems to conceal himself, or not to hear, when he withholds or delays the sensible answer of prayer. Isaiah 1:15; Lamentations 3:56


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Bibliography
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Psalms 55:1". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/psalms-55.html. 1874-1909.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Geth. Before (Berthier) or after his escape to the cave of Odollam, (Calmet) he composed this psalm, to comfort his followers with the consideration of God's protection. (Haydock) --- See 1 Kings xxii., and Psalm x. The title is variously rendered. St. Jerome, "to the victor for the dumb dove," &c. Protestants, "upon Jonath elem rechokim Michtam of David." This is to elude the difficulty, and we might as well adhere to the Septuagint, who seem to have only added, "from the sanctuary." The psalm may suit any one in distress, (Berthier) unable to attend the public service, (Worthington) or it may be understood of our Saviour's passion. (Berthier)


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Bibliography
Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Psalms 55:1". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/psalms-55.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes


Title. Maschil = Instruction. The eighth of thirteen so named. See note on Title, Psalms 32:1, and App-65. The occasion of this Psalm is seen in 2Sam. 15. Hence 934BC.

God. Hebrew Elohim. App-4.


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Bibliography
Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Psalms 55:1". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/psalms-55.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

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

Psalms 55:1-23.-Introduction (Psalms 55:1); prayer grounded on his deaperate condition (Psalms 55:2-8); such is the wickedness in the city that his own intimate acquaintance turned against him (Psalms 55:9-15); his confidence in the unchanging God, who will afflict the covenant-breakers, and not let the righteous be moved (Psalms 55:16-22); closing recapitulation (Psalms 55:23). Absalom's rebellious occupation of the city, and Ahithophel's treachery, are the groundwork (2 Samuel 15:12; Psalms 41:9). The details find their fullest realization in Messiah's trials, and in those of His people under Antichrist.

Neginoth - see note on title, Psalms 54:1-7.

Hide not thyself from my supplication - i:e., do not purposely ignore it. See on the phrase Deuteronomy 22:3; Isaiah 58:7; Psalms 10:1; Lamentations 3:8; Lamentations 3:44.


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Bibliography
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Psalms 55:1". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/psalms-55.html. 1871-8.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

Give ear to my prayer, O God; and hide not thyself from my supplication.
A. M. 2983. B.C. 1021. (Title.) Neginoth
6:1; 54:1; *titles
Give
5:1; 17:1; 64:1; 80:1; 84:8; 1 Peter 3:12
hide
28:1; 80:4; 143:7; Lamentations 3:8

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Bibliography
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Psalms 55:1". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/psalms-55.html.

To the chief musician, upon stringed instrument music, an instruction of David; Ver. 1. Attend to my prayer, O God, and hide thyself not from my supplication. התעלם, prop. to hide one's self from any thing, purposely not to notice, to be ignorant of it, compare Deuteronomy 22:1-4, Isaiah 58:7, and on Psalms 10:1. John Arnd: "In great straits, it seems as if God hides himself from us, as the prophet Jeremiah speaks in Lamentations 3 of his Lamentations: Thou hast covered thyself with a cloud that our prayer should not pass through. But our gracious God cannot hide himself from our prayer, the prayer does still press through the clouds and find him. God's fatherly heart does not permit him to hear us cry and beg, without turning to us, as a father, when he hears his children cry."


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Bibliography
Hengstenberg, Ernst. "Commentary on Psalms 55:1". Ernst Hengstenberg on John, Revelation, Ecclesiastes, Ezekiel & Psalms. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/heg/psalms-55.html.

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