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Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Psalms 55:20

 

 

He has put forth his hands against those who were at peace with him; He has violated his covenant.

Adam Clarke Commentary

He hath put forth his hands - A farther description of Ahithophel. He betrayed his friends, and he broke his covenant with his king. He had agreed to serve David for his own emolument, and a stipulation was made accordingly; but while receiving the king's pay, he was endeavoring to subvert the kingdom, and destroy the life of his sovereign.


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Bibliography
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Psalms 55:20". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/psalms-55.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

He hath put forth his hands against such as be at peace with him - Against those who were his friends, or who had given him no occasion for war. The Septuagint and Vulgate render this, “He hath put forth his hands in recompensing;” that is, in taking vengeance. The Hebrew would bear this construction, but the more correct rendering is that in our common version. The “connection” here would seem to indicate that this is to be referred to God, as God is mentioned in the previous verse. But evidently the design is to refer to the enemies, or the principal enemy of the psalmist - the man whom he had particularly in his eye in the composition of the psalm; and the language is that of one who was “full” of the subject - who was thinking of one thing - and who did not deem it necessary to specify by name the man who had injured him, and whose conduct had so deeply pained him. He, therefore, begins the verse, “He hath put forth his hands,” etc.; showing that his mind was fixed on the base conduct of his enemy. The language is such as leads us to suppose that the psalmist had Ahithophel in view, as being eminently the man that had in this cruel and unexpected manner put forth his hands against one who was his friend, and who had always treated him with confidence.

He hath broken his covenant - He, Ahithophel. The margin, as the Hebrew, is, “He hath profaned.” The idea is, that he had defiled, or polluted it; or he had treated it as a vile thing - a thing to be regarded with contempt and aversion, as a polluted object is. The “covenant” here referred to, according to the views expressed above, may be supposed to refer to the compact or agreement of Ahithophel with David as an officer of his realm - as an adviser and counselor - that he would be faithful to the interests of the king and to his cause. All this he had disregarded, and had treated as if it were a worthless thing, by identifying himself with Absalom in his rebellion. See 2 Samuel 15:12, 2 Samuel 15:31.


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Bibliography
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Psalms 55:20". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/psalms-55.html. 1870.

Coffman's Commentaries on the Bible

A FINAL PARENTHESIS REGARDING THE TRAITOR

"He hath put his hands against such as were at peace with him:

He hath profaned his covenant.

His mouth was smooth as butter,

But his heart was war:

His words were softer than oil,

Yet were they drawn swords."

"He hath profaned his covenant" (Psalms 55:20). Ahithophel was a counselor of the King; he knew the will of God regarding the perpetual nature of the Davidic kingdom; yet he consciously violated what he knew to be the will of God by his participation in Absalom's futile rebellion.

The enemy in these two verses is addressed in the singular "enemy," but in Psalms 55:19,23, they are addressed in the plural "they." "However, this is no insuperable barrier to regarding the Psalm as a unity. One enemy stands out above all the others."[18]

"These two verses reveal another painful facet of the betrayal of friendship; he practiced hypocritical and deceitful flattery, described here with marvelous imagery. Perhaps the sting of the author's pain was intensified by its being such a long time before he found out the truth."[19]


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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 55:20". "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

He hath put forth his hands,.... The psalmist returns and describes, in this verse Psalm 55:3, the cruelty, perfidy, and hypocrisy of his false friend; who had stretched forth his hands

against such as be at peace with him, or he pretended to be at peace with. So Ahithophel put forth his hands against David, by whom he had been admitted into his privy council, and there had taken sweet counsel together, by entering into a conspiracy and rebellion against him, and by forming a scheme to smite the king only, 2 Samuel 17:1; and Judas, though he did not lay hands on Christ himself, yet he gave his enemies a sign by which they might know him, and seize him, and hold him fast, as they did; and him Christ calls the man of his peace, Psalm 41:9; they being at peace when he lifted up his heel against him;

he hath broken his covenant; of friendship that was made between them; he proved false and treacherous, broke through his engagements, and violated his faith.


Copyright Statement
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 55:20". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/psalms-55.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

He p hath put forth his hands against such as be at peace with him: he hath broken his covenant.

(p) I did not provoke him but was as at peace with him, yet he made war against me.

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Bibliography
Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Psalms 55:20". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/psalms-55.html. 1599-1645.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

He hath put forth his hands against such as be at peace with him: he hath broken his covenant.

He — They, the persons last mentioned.


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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 55:20". "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

20.He hath sent his hands against those that were at peace with him He afterwards speaks in verse 23d in the plural number, but here it is probable that he begins by addressing the leader and head of the wicked conspiracy. He accuses him of waging war in the midst of peace, and being thus guilty of a breach of faith. He had neither suffered provocation, nor had he announced in an open manner his intention to give battle, but had commenced the attack unexpectedly and with treachery. The same charge is insisted upon still further, when it is added, that butter and oil were in his lips, while war was in his heart, and his words themselves were darts. To appearance they were soft and agreeable, but they covered a hidden virulence and cruelty which wounded like a sword or like darts, (320) according to the common proverb, that deceivers carry on their lips poison besmeared with honey. It is well known how many fair promises and flatteries Saul addressed to David with a view to entrap him, and we may conjecture that the same arts were practiced by his courtiers. It is one special trial of the Lord’s people, that they are exposed to such attempts on the part of crafty men to seduce them into destruction. Here the Holy Spirit puts a mark of reprobation upon all subtilty of this kind, and particularly upon treacherous flatteries, exhorting us to cultivate simplicity of intention.


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Bibliography
Calvin, John. "Commentary on Psalms 55:20". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/psalms-55.html. 1840-57.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Psalms 55:20 He hath put forth his hands against such as be at peace with him: he hath broken his covenant.

Ver. 20. He hath put forth his hands, &c.] That wicked Ahithophel hath. The Fathers understand it of God and his judgments.

He hath broken his covenant] His oath of allegiance, and a particular oath when he was sworn of David’s counsel. The Scythians were strict covenant keepers (Herod. Melp.); and the Carthaginians infamous for the contrary; as now the Turks are.


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Bibliography
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Psalms 55:20". John Trapp Complete Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/psalms-55.html. 1865-1868.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Psalms 55:20. He hath broken his covenant He hath profaned, and violated his covenant; namely, of allegiance and friendship.


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Bibliography
Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Psalms 55:20". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/psalms-55.html. 1801-1803.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

He, i.e. they, the persons last mentioned. Before the singular number, Psalms 55:13,14, was suddenly changed into the plural, Psalms 55:15, that the punishment might reach not him only, but his partners, in those treacherous and treasonable actions; and here is as sudden a change from the plural into the singular, and he returns to that person who was the chief contriver and promoter of this rebellion under Absalom, even to Ahithophel, of whom he spoke Psalms 55:13; and though he doth not excuse the rest, as we have seen, yet he lays the chief blame upon him, and here he adds new aggravations of his treason.

Hath put forth his hands, in way of force or violence, as this phrase is used, Genesis 37:22 1 Samuel 26:9 Nehemiah 13:21 Acts 12:1.

Against such as be at peace with him; against me, who gave him no provocation nor disturbance, but lived in great peace, and security, and friendship with him.

Hath broken his covenant; all those solemn obligations by which he was tied to me, both as his king and as his friend.


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Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Psalms 55:20". 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

20. He hath broken his covenant—The covenant that was implied by their close friendship. Here again Ahithophel appears to view. See Psalms 55:14


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Bibliography
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Psalms 55:20". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/psalms-55.html. 1874-1909.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

He: i.e. Ahithophel.

broken his covenant: by his disloyalty.


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Bibliography
Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Psalms 55:20". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/psalms-55.html. 1909-1922.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(20) He hath.—As in Psalms 55:12, the individual specially prominent in the traitorous crew is here singled out, and his treachery exposed.

He hath broken . . .—Literally, he perforated. In a note in his work on the Creed, referring to Colossians 2:14, Bishop Pearson says one mode of cancelling a bond was to drive a nail through it.


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Bibliography
Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Psalms 55:20". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/psalms-55.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

He hath put forth his hands against such as be at peace with him: he hath broken his covenant.
put
1 Samuel 22:17; 24:10; 2 Samuel 18:12; Acts 12:1
at peace
7:4; 109:5; 120:6,7
broken
Heb. profaned.
89:28,34,38; 2 Samuel 2:4; 5:3; 14:32,33; 15:10-12; Ecclesiastes 8:2; Ezekiel 17:16-19

Copyright Statement
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Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Psalms 55:20". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/psalms-55.html.

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