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Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Psalms 55:21

 

 

His speech was smoother than butter, But his heart was war; His words were softer than oil, Yet they were drawn swords.

Adam Clarke Commentary

Were smoother than butter - He was a complete courtier, and a deep, designing hypocrite besides. His words were as soft as butter, and as smooth as oil, while he meditated war; and the fair words which were intended to deceive, were intended also to destroy: they were drawn swords. This is a literal description of the words and conduct of Absalom, as we learn from the inspired historian, 2 Samuel 15:2, etc. He was accustomed to wait at the gate; question the persons who came for justice and judgment; throw out broad hints that the king was negligent of the affairs of his kingdom, and had not provided an effective magistracy to administer justice among the people, and added that if he were appointed judge in the land, justice should be done to all. He bowed also to the people, and kissed them; and thus he stole the hearts of the men of Israel. See the passages referred to above.


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Bibliography
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Psalms 55:21". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/psalms-55.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

The words of his mouth were smoother than butter - Prof. Alexander renders this, “Smooth are the butterings of his mouth.” This is in accordance with the Hebrew, but the general meaning is well expressed in our common version. The idea is, that he was a hypocrite; that his professions of friendship were false; that he only used pleasant words - words expressive of friendship and love - to deceive and betray. We have a similar expression when we speak of “honeyed words,” or “honeyed accents.” This would apply to Ahithophel, and it will apply to thousands of similar cases in the world.

But war was in his heart - He was base, treacherous, false. He was really my enemy, and was ready, when any suitable occasion occurred, to show himself to be such.

His words were softer than oil - Smooth, pleasant, gentle. He was full of professions of love and kindness.

Yet were they drawn swords - As swords drawn from the scabbard, and ready to be used. Compare Psalm 28:3; Psalm 57:4.


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Bibliography
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Psalms 55:21". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/psalms-55.html. 1870.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

The words of his mouth were smoother than butter,.... Such were the words of Ahithophel, when in counsel with David; and such the words of Judas, when he said to Christ, "hail, master", and kissed him, Matthew 26:49;

but war was in his heart; even a civil war, rebellion against his prince; that was what Ahithophel meditated in his heart; and nothing less than to take away the life of Christ was designed by Judas. The words may be rendered, "they were divided"F5חלקו διεμερισθησαν, Sept. "divisi sunt", V. L. Hammond. ; that is, his mouth and his heart: "his mouth was butter, and his heart war"; the one declared for peace, when the other intended war; see Jeremiah 9:8;

his words were softer than oil; at one time full of soothing and flattery:

yet were they drawn swords: at another time sharp and cutting, breathing out threatening and slaughter, destruction and death.


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 55:21". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/psalms-55.html. 1999.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Psalms 55:21 [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.

Ver. 21. The words of his mouth were smoother than butter] Full finely he could soothe and smooth me up, while he was my counsellor, with his pithanology.

Mel in ore, verba lactis:

Fel in corde, fraus in factis.

But war was in his heart] Heb. His heart was war. So in another psalm David saith of himself, "I am peace"; but when I speak of it, they are for war.

His words were softer than oil] So were Joab’s to Amasa; Judas’s to Christ; Cambyses’ to his brother whom he slew; Andronicus’s to his nobles, put to death by him, while he wept over them, as if he had been the most sorrowfull man alive. Whereupon the historian crieth out, Oh deep dissimulation and crocodile’s tears, &c.! The wiser sort deemed Andronicus’s praisings to be the beginnings of a man’s disgrace; his bounty, his undoing, and his kindness, his death.


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Bibliography
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Psalms 55:21". John Trapp Complete Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/psalms-55.html. 1865-1868.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Psalms 55:21. The words of his mouth were smoother than butter, &c.— Smooth and deceitful are the buttery words of his mouth; but war is in his heart: his speeches are softer than oil; but they are drawn swords. See Chandler and Houbigant.


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Bibliography
Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Psalms 55:21". 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 covered his treasonable and bloody design with fair and flattering speeches.

Drawn swords; pernicious in their design and consequences.


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Bibliography
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Psalms 55:21". 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

21. The words of his mouth were smoother than butter—It would seem from this verse that Ahithophel had for a long time concealed from David his real purpose of revenge by his courtly address. This exactly suits the view suggested in note on Psalms 55:12, which see.


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Bibliography
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Psalms 55:21". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/psalms-55.html. 1874-1909.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

war was in his heart. Compare 2 Samuel 14:33 with 2 Samuel 15:5, 2 Samuel 15:6. Referring to Psalms 55:19.


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Bibliography
Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Psalms 55:21". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/psalms-55.html. 1909-1922.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(21) The words of his mouth.—The ancient versions and the grammatical anomalies point to a corruption of the text. Read, Smoother than butter is his face. The reading face for mouth is suggested by the LXX., though their version has wandered far from the text even thus amended.

Drawn swords.—The comparison of the tongue to a sword is frequent; that of the words themselves not so usual, but apt. We may compare Shakespeare’s

“I will speak daggers to her, but use none.”—Hamlet.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
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Bibliography
Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Psalms 55:21". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/psalms-55.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

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.
The words
28:3; 57:4; 62:4; 64:3; Proverbs 5:3,4; 12:18; 26:24-26,28; Matthew 26:25; Luke 20:20,21
war
John 13:2

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

Bibliography
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Psalms 55:21". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/psalms-55.html.

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