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Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Psalms 55:12

 

 

For it is not an enemy who reproaches me, Then I could bear it; Nor is it one who hates me who has exalted himself against me, Then I could hide myself from him.

Adam Clarke Commentary

It was not an enemy - It is likely that in all these three verses Ahithophel is meant, who, it appears, had been at the bottom of the conspiracy from the beginning; and probably was the first mover of the vain mind of Absalom to do what he did.


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Bibliography
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Psalms 55:12". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/psalms-55.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

For it was not an enemy that reproached me - The word “reproached” here refers to slander; calumny; abuse. It is not necessarily implied that it was in his presence, but he was apprized of it. When he says that it is not an enemy that did this, the meaning is that it was not one who had been an avowed and open foe. The severest part of the trial did not arise from the fact that it was done by such an one, for that he could have borne. That which overwhelmed him was the fact that the reproach came from one who had been his friend; or, the reproach which he felt most keenly came from one whom he had regarded as a personal confidant. It is not to be supposed that the psalmist means to say that he was not reproached by his enemies, for the whole structure of the psalm implies that this was so; but his anguish was made complete and unbearable by the discovery that one especially who had been his friend was found among those who reproached and calumniated him. The connection leads us to suppose, if the right view (Introduction) has been taken of the occasion on which the psalm was composed, that the allusion here is to Ahithophel 2 Samuel 15:31; and the particular distress here referred to was that which David experienced on learning that he was among the conspirators. A case of trouble remarkably resembling this is referred to in Psalm 41:9. See the notes at that place.

Then I could have borne it - The affliction would have been such as I could bear. Reproaches from an enemy, being known to be an enemy, we expect; and and we feel them comparatively little. We attribute them to the very fact that such an one is an enemy, and that he feels it necessary to sustain himself by reproaching and calumniating us. We trust also that the world will understand them in that way; and will set them down to the mere fact that he is our enemy. In such a case there is only the testimony against us of one who is avowedly our foe, and who has every inducement to utter malicious words against us in order to sustain his own cause. But the case is different when the accuser and slanderer is one who has been our intimate friend. He is supposed to know all about us. He has been admitted to our counsels. He has known our purposes and plans. He can speak not “slanderously” but “knowingly.” It is supposed that he could have no motive to speak ill of us except his own conviction of truth, and that it could be only the strongest conviction of truth - the existence of facts to which not even a friend could close his eyes - that could induce him to abandon us, and hold us up to repreach and scorn. So Ahithophel - the confidential counselor and friend of David - would be supposed to be acquainted with his secret plans and his true character; and hence, reproaches from such a one became unendurable. “Neither was it he that hated me.” That avowedly and openly hated me. If that had been the case, I should have expected such usage, and it would not injure me.

That did magnify himself a against me - That is, by asserting that I was a bad man, thus exalting himself in character above me, or claiming that he was more pure than I am. Or, it may mean, that exalted himself above me, or sought to reach the eminence of power in my downfall and ruin.

Then I would have hid myself from him - I should have been like one pursued by an enemy who could hide himself in a cave, or in a fastness, or in the mountains, so as to be safe from his attacks. The arrows of malice would fly harmlessly by me, and I should be safe. Not so, when one reproached me who had been an intimate friend; who had known all about me; and whose statements would be believed.


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Bibliography
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Psalms 55:12". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/psalms-55.html. 1870.

Coffman's Commentaries on the Bible

PARENTHETICAL MENTION OF A TREACHEROUS FRIEND

"For it was not an enemy which reproached me;

Then I could have borne it:

Neither was it he that hated me that did magnify himself against me;

Then would I have hid myself from him:

But it was thou, a man mine equal, my companion, and my familiar friend,

We took sweet counsel together;

We walked in the house of God with the throng."

Leupold referred to this paragraph as "a parenthesis,"[13] inserted here for the purpose of explaining that among the enemies was a very important personal friend, comrade, fellow-worshipper, and mutual counselor. There are many Bible scholars who point to Ahithophel as such a person in the life of David.

Some have attempted to avoid the personal nature of this psalm by applying it to some abstract situation, or to the nation of Israel, or nearly anything else; but as Delitzsch wrote: "How could the faithless bosom friend, mentioned here with special sadness, be a mere abstract person; since it has in the person of Judas Iscariot its historical living antitype in the life and Passion of the Second David?"[14] Halley's Bible Handbook states that, "Psalms 55:12-14 refer specifically to Ahithophel, a foregleam of Judas."[15]

Opposed to this view one may find all kinds of `information' about what men do not know and may only guess at. Since all alike, the learned and the unlearned as well, are reduced to `guessing' in this matter, we unhesitatingly choose the guesses we have adopted here. When a better one comes along, we shall be happy to take it!


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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 55:12". "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

For it was not an enemy that reproached me,.... An open and avowed one; a Moabite or a Philistine; such an one as Goliath, who cursed him by his gods; but one of his own country, city, court, and family, who pretended to be a friend; his son Absalom, according to Arama: so it was not one of the Scribes and Pharisees, the sworn enemies of Christ, who rejected him as the Messiah, and would not have him to reign over them, that reproached him, but one of his own apostles;

then I could have borne it; reproach from an enemy is to be expected, and may be patiently endured; and, when it is for righteousness' sake, should be accounted an happiness, and rejoiced at; but the reproaches of one that has been thought to be a friend are very cutting, wounding, heartbreaking, and intolerable, Psalm 69:7; the calumnies and reproaches of the Scribes and Pharisees were borne by Christ with great patience, and were answered with great calmness and mildness, Matthew 11:19. Or, "I would have lifted up"F20ואשא. ; that is, my hand, and defended myself; I should have been upon my guard, ready to receive the blow, or to have put it off, or repelled it;

neither was it he that hated me: openly, but secretly in his heart;

that did magnify himself against me; made himself a great man, and set himself at the head of the conspiracy and opposition against him, and spoke great swelling words, in way of raillery and reproach;

then I would have hid myself from him; as David did from Saul, when he became his enemy, 1 Samuel 20:24; and as Christ from the Jews, John 8:59; but as for Judas, he knew the place he resorted to; and therefore easily found him, John 18:2; the sense may be, that he would have shunned his company, refused conversation with him; much less would he have admitted him to his privy councils, by which means he knew all his affairs, and there was no hiding and concealing things from him.


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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 55:12". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/psalms-55.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

For [it was] not an i 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:

(i) If my open enemy had sought by hurt, I could better have avoided him.

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Bibliography
Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Psalms 55:12". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/psalms-55.html. 1599-1645.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

For 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:

Hated — With a manifest or old hatred.


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These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.

Bibliography
Wesley, John. "Commentary on Psalms 55:12". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/psalms-55.html. 1765.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

12Of a truth, it was not an enemy that cast reproach upon me He informs us of one circumstance which added bitterness to the injuries under which he suffered, that they came from the hands not only of his professed enemies, but of such as pretended to be his friends. Those mistake the meaning of נשא,nasa, who interpret it as if David had said, that he could patiently have borne the reproach of an open enemy. What he says is, that had an open enemy reproached him, he could then have met it, as one meets and parries off a blow which is aimed at him. Against a known foe we are on our watch, but the unsuspected stroke of a friend takes us by surprise. By adopting this view of the word, we shall find that the repetition in the verse is more perfect; reading in the one member, I would have met it; and in the other, I would have hidden myself When he speaks of the enemy magnifying himself against him, he does not simply mean that he used insulting language, but in general, that he summoned all his violence to overthrow him. The sum of David’s complaint in this passage is, that he was assailed by treachery of that secret description which rendered self-defense impossible. With regard to the individual whom he had particularly in view, when he preferred this accusation, I do not imagine that it was Ahitophel, for the psalm itself would not appear to have been written upon the persecution of Absalom. Whether it may have been some notorious traitor in the city of Keilah, it is impossible to determine. Not the least probable conjecture is, that it may have been some great man at court, whose intimacy with David was generally known. Possibly he may have had more than one in his eye, courtiers who had sacrificed former friendship to a desire of rising in the royal favor, and lent their influence to destroy him. These, with some more eminent person at their head, may be the parties aimed at. At any rate, we are taught by the experience of David, as here represented to us, that we must expect in this world to meet with the secret treachery of friends, as well as with undisguised persecution. Satan has assaulted the Church with sword and open war, but he has also raised up domestic enemies to injure it with the more secret weapons of stratagem and fraud. This is a species of foe which, as Bernard expresses it, we can neither fly from nor put to flight. Whoever might be the individual referred to, David calls him a man of his own order, for so the term ערך,erach, should, in my opinion, be translated, and not as some, his equal in estimation, or as by others, a man esteemed by him to be his second self. (308) He complains of the violation of the common bond of fraternity, as none needs to be told that there are various bonds, whether of relationship, profession, or office, which ought to be respected and held sacred. He makes mention also of his having been his leader and commander, of their having enjoyed sweet interchange of secret counsel together, and of their having frequented the religious assemblies in company, — all of which he adverts to as circumstances which lent an additional aggravation to his treachery. The term רגש (309), regesh, does not seem to signify here the stir attending the convention of an assembly, but rather company, intimating, that he was his close companion when they went to the house of God. Thus he would inform us, that he was betrayed by one who had been his intimate associate, and to whom he had looked up as a leader, in matters not only secular but religious. We are taught by the Spirit to reverence all the natural ties which bind us together in society. Besides the common and universal one of humanity, there are others of a more sacred kind, by which we should feel ourselves attached to men in proportion as they are more nearly connected with us than others by neighborhood, relationship, or professional calling, the more as we know that such connections are not the result of chance, but of providential design and arrangement. Need I say that the bond of religious fellowship is the most sacred of all?


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Bibliography
Calvin, John. "Commentary on Psalms 55:12". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/psalms-55.html. 1840-57.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Psalms 55:12 For [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:

Ver. 12. For it was not an enemy that reproached me] Ahithophel’s perfidy and villany troubled David more than all the rest; there not being any wound worse, as Sophocies saith, than the treachery of a friend, ουδεν μειζον ελκος η φιλος αδικων; he being such a kind of enemy, quem neque fugere, neque fugare possumus, as Bernard hath it, whom we cannot easily prevent. See Psalms 41:9.

Then I could have borne it] Though as a burden; but nothing so grievous; I should not have much mattered it.


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Bibliography
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Psalms 55:12". John Trapp Complete Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/psalms-55.html. 1865-1868.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

Not an enemy; either,

1. Not an open and professed enemy; or rather,

2. Not an old and inveterate enemy, as may be gathered from the following description.

I could have borne it with more patience, because I could expect nothing else from such persons.

Hated me with a manifest or old hatred.

I would have hid myself from him; I could and should easily have prevented or avoided the effects of his hatred.


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Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Psalms 55:12". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/psalms-55.html. 1685.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

12. For… not an enemy— “For” indicates the reason of the imprecation, Psalms 55:9. From this rapid survey of the general calamity, David turns to the chief supporter of the rebellion, his former chief counsellor, Ahithophel, whom he describes, Psalms 55:12-14. Nothing can excel this touching reminiscence of former friendship, or the base ingratitude and perfidy of the chief conspirator. Mr. Blunt, however, (Undesigned Coincidences, pages 144, 145,) offers this explanation, which, if true, relieves somewhat the character of the arch traitor. “Eliam the son of Ahithophel the Gilonite,” and “Uriah the Hittite,” both belonged to David’s guard. 2 Samuel 23:34-39. In 2 Samuel 11:3 we learn that Uriah had married “Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam.” If this latter Eliam is identical with the former, then Bathsheba was the granddaughter of Ahithophel, and the conduct of David in causing Uriah to be slain, and taking Bathsheba to wife, inflicted a wound and an insult upon the family honour, which Ahithophel probably never forgave, and which perhaps led him to join Absalom’s rebellion in revenge of the injury. This may have been; but the sudden popularity of Absalom’s party would naturally attract one like Ahithophel, who seems to have given more attention to politics than to moral principles.


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Bibliography
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Psalms 55:12". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/psalms-55.html. 1874-1909.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

Such antagonism would have been easier for David to bear had it come from someone he disliked. However, his adversary had been an intimate friend who had just "stabbed him in the back."


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Bibliography
Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Psalms 55:12". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/psalms-55.html. 2012.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

To thee. Literally, "thy vows." (Haydock) --- Houbigant chooses rather to follow the Syriac, "with thee, O God, are my vows:" which is clearer, though our version may be well explained, "I will perform my vows to thee," (Berthier) the sacrifice of praises, in this psalm. (Calmet) --- I will endeavour to comply with my engagements and vows. (Worthington)


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Bibliography
Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Psalms 55:12". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/psalms-55.html. 1859.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

For 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:

For. In proof of the depth and universality of the corruption in the city, he instances the treacherous conduct of his own professing friend (Jeremiah 9:4).

It was not an enemy that reproached me; then I could have borne it - for I could not expect anything better from such, and I might still find consolation from it in the sympathy of friends (Psalms 41:9).

Then I would have hid myself from him. It is generally easy to get out of the way of an avowed enemy; but how can one be on his guard against a treacherous friend?


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These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Psalms 55:12". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/psalms-55.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(12) For.—The ellipse must be supplied from Psalms 55:9, I invoke destruction for, &c

Then I could . . .—Better, then (or else) I might bear it.


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Bibliography
Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Psalms 55:12". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/psalms-55.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

For 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:
For
41:9
magnify
35:26; 38:16; Isaiah 10:15
then I
Matthew 26:21-23; John 13:18; 18:2,3

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Bibliography
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Psalms 55:12". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/psalms-55.html.

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