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Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Psalms 55:23

 

 

But You, O God, will bring them down to the pit of destruction; Men of bloodshed and deceit will not live out half their days. But I will trust in You.

Adam Clarke Commentary

But thou, O God, shalt bring them down into the pit of destruction - The Chaldee is emphatic: "And thou, O Lord, by thy Word (במימרך bemeymerach ) shalt thrust them into the deep gehenna, the bottomless pit, whence they shall never come out; the pit of destruction, where all is amazement, horror, anguish, dismay, ruin, endless loss, and endless suffering."

Bloody and deceitful men shall not live out half their days - So we find, if there be an appointed time to man upon earth, beyond which he cannot pass; yet he may so live as to provoke the justice of God to cut him off before he arrives at that period; yea, before he has reached half way to that limit. According to the decree of God, he might have lived the other half; but he has not done it.

But I will trust in thee - Therefore I shall not be moved, and shall live out all the days of my appointed time.

The fathers in general apply the principal passages of this Psalm to our Lord's sufferings, the treason of Judas, and the wickedness of the Jews; but these things do not appear to me fairly deducible from the text. It seems to refer plainly enough to the rebellion of Absalom. "The consternation and distress expressed in Psalm 55:4-8, describe the king's state of mind when he fled from Jerusalem, and marched up the mount of Olives, weeping. The iniquity cast upon the psalmist answers to the complaints artfully laid against the king by his son of a negligent administration of justice: and to the reproach of cruelty cast upon him by Shimei, 2 Samuel 15:2, 2 Samuel 15:4; 2 Samuel 16:7, 2 Samuel 16:8. The equal, the guide, and the familiar friend, we find in Ahithophel, the confidential counsellor, first of David, afterwards of his son Absalom. The buttery mouth and oily words describe the insidious character of Absalom, as it is delineated, 2 Samuel 15:5-9. Still the believer, accustomed to the double edge of the prophetic style, in reading this Psalm, notwithstanding its agreement with the occurrences of David's life, will be led to think of David's great descendant, who endured a bitter agony, and was the victim of a baser treachery, in the same spot where David is supposed to have uttered these complaints." - Bishop Horsley.


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Bibliography
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Psalms 55:23". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/psalms-55.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

But thou, O God, shalt bring them down into the pit of destruction - The word “them,” here evidently refers to the enemies of the psalmist; the wicked people who were arrayed against him, and who sought his life. The “pit of destruction” refers here to the grave, or to death, considered with reference to the fact that they would be “destroyed” or “cut off,” or would not die in the usual course of nature. The meaning is, that God would come forth in his displeasure, and cut them down for their crimes. The word “pit” usually denotes “a well,” or “cavern” Genesis 14:10; Genesis 37:20; Exodus 21:34, but is often used to denote the grave (Job 17:16; Job 33:18, Job 33:24; Psalm 9:15; Psalm 28:1; Psalm 30:3, Psalm 30:9, et al.); and the idea here is that they would be cut off for their sins. The word “destruction” is added to denote that this would be by some direct act, or by punishment inflicted by the hand of God.

Bloody and deceitful men - Margin, as in Hebrew, “Men of bloods and deceit.” The allusion is to people of violence; people who live by plunder and rapine; and especially to such people considered as false, unfaithful, and treacherous - as they commonly are. The special allusion here is to the enemies of David, and particularly to such as Ahithophel - men who not only sought his life, but who had proved themselves to be treacherous and false to him.

Shall not live out half their days - Margin, as in Hebrew, “shall not halve their days.” So the Septuagint, and the Latin Vulgate. The statement is general, not universal. The meaning is, that they do not live half as long as they might do, and would do, if they were “not” bloody and deceitful. Beyond all question this is true. Such people are either cut off in strife and conflict, in personal affrays in duels, or in battle; or they are arrested for their crimes, and punished by an ignominious death. Thousands and tens of thousands thus die every year, who, “but” for their evil deeds, might have doubled the actual length of their lives; who might have passed onward to old age respected, beloved, happy, useful. There is to all, indeed, an outer limit of life. There is a bound which we cannot pass. That natural limit, however, is one that in numerous cases is much “beyond” what people actually reach, though one to which they “might” have come by a course of temperance, prudence, virtue, and piety.

God has fixed a limit beyond which we cannot pass; but, wherever that may be, as arranged in his providence, it is our duty not to cut off our lives “before” that natural limit is reached; or, in other words, it is our duty to live on the earth just as long as we can. Whatever makes us come short of this is self-murder, for there is no difference in principle between a man‘s cutting off his life by the pistol, by poison, or by the halter, and cutting it off by vice, by crime, by dissipation, by the neglect of health, or by those habits of indolence and self-indulgence which undermine the constitution, and bring the body down to the grave. Thousands die each year whose proper record on their graves would be “self-murderers.” Thousands of young people are indulging in habits which, unless arrested, “must” have such a result, and who are destined to an early grave - who will not live out half their days - unless their mode of life is changed, and they become temperate, chaste, and virtuous. One of the ablest lawyers that I have ever known - an example of what often occurs - was cut down in middle life by the use of tobacco. How many thousands perish each year, in a similar manner, by indulgence in intoxicating drinks!


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Bibliography
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Psalms 55:23". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/psalms-55.html. 1870.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

But thou, O God, shall bring them down,.... Ahithophel and his accomplices in the conspiracy against David, Judas and the wicked Jews concerned in Christ's death; and did not believe in him;

into the pit of destruction, or "corruption"F9שחת "corruptionis", Vatablus, Musculus, Junius & Tremellius, Piscator; so Ainsworth; approved by Gussetius, p. 850. ; either the grave, where bodies being put corrupt and putrefy; or hell, where the wicked are punished with everlasting destruction; see Psalm 55:15;

bloody and deceitful men shall not live out half their days; such as Ahithophel and Absalom, Judas, and the murderers of our Lord: or, "do not halve their days"F11יחצו "dividiabunt", V. L. Pagninus, Montanus, &c. ; do not come up to the half of the ordinary term of man's life, which is threescore years and ten. The Jews sayF12T. Bab. Sanhedrin, fol. 69. 2. & 106. 2. & Gloss. in Pirke Abot, c. 5. s. 19. , that all the years of Doeg were but thirty four, and of Ahithophel thirty three; and probably Judas might be about the same age. Or the sense is, that, generally speaking, such sort of men die in the prime of their days, and do not live half the time that, according to the course of nature, they might live; and which they promise themselves they should, and their friends hoped and expected they would:

but I will trust in thee; the Lord, that he would hear and save him, support him under his burden, supply him with his grace, and every thing needful, and not suffer him to be moved; and that he should live to fill up the measure of his days, do the will and work of God, and then be received to glory.


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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.
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Bibliography
Gill, John. "Commentary on Psalms 55:23". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/psalms-55.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

But thou, O God, shalt bring them down into the pit of destruction: bloody and deceitful men shall not live out r half their days; but I will trust in thee.

(r) Though they sometimes live longer, yet their life is cursed by God, unquiet, and worse than any death.

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Bibliography
Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Psalms 55:23". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/psalms-55.html. 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

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.


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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 55:23". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/psalms-55.html. 1871-8.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

But thou, O God, shalt bring them down into the pit of destruction: bloody and deceitful men shall not live out half their days; but I will trust in thee.

Them — The wicked.

Not live — But shall be cut off by an untimely and violent death.

Trust in thee — And in this confidence I will quietly wait for deliverance.


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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 55:23". "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

23Thou, O God! shalt cast them into the pit of corruption. He returns to speak of his enemies, designing to show the very different end which awaits them, from that which may be expected by the righteous. The only reflection which comforts the latter, when cast down at the feet of their oppressors, is, that they can confidently look for a peaceful issue to the dangers which encompass them; while, on the other hand, they can discern by faith the certain destruction which impends the wicked. The Hebrew word שחת, shachath, signifies the grave, and as there seems an impropriety in saying that they are cast into the pit of the grave, some read in preference the pit of corruption, (322) the word being derived from שחת , shachath, to corrupt, or destroy. It is a matter of little consequence which signification be adopted; one thing is obvious, that David means to assert that they would be overtaken not only by a temporary, but everlasting destruction. And here he points at a distinction between them and the righteous. These may sink into many a deep pit of worldly calamity, but they arise again. The ruin which awaits their enemies is here declared to be deadly, as God will cast them into the grave, that they may rot there. In calling them bloody men, (323) he adverts to a reason which confirmed the assertion he had made. The vengeance of God is certain to overtake the cruel and the deceitful; and this being the character of his adversaries, he infers that their punishment would be inevitable. “But does it consist,” may some ask, “with what passes under our observation, that bloody men live not half their days? If the character apply to any, it must with peculiar force to tyrants, who consign their fellow-creatures to slaughter, for the mere gratification of their licentious passions. To such very evidently, and not to common murderers, does the Psalmist refer in this place; and yet will not tyrants, who have butchered their hundreds of thousands, reach frequently an advanced period of life?” They may; but notwithstanding instances of this description, where God has postponed the execution of judgment, the assertion of the Psalmist is borne out by many considerations. With regard to temporal judgments, it is enough that we see them executed upon the wicked, in the generality of cases, for a strict or perfect distribution in this matter is not to be expected, as I have shown at large upon the thirty-seventh psalm. Then the life of the wicked, however long it may be protracted, is agitated by so many fears and disquietudes, that it scarcely merits the name, and may be said to be death rather than life. Nay, that life is worse than death which is spent under the curse of God, and under the accusations of a conscience which torments its victim more than the most barbarous executioner. Indeed, if we take a right estimate of what the course of this life is, none can be said to have reached its goal, but such as have lived and died in the Lord, for to them, and them alone, death as well as life is gain. When assailed, therefore, by the violence or fraud of the wicked, it may comfort us to know that their career shall be short, — that they shall be driven away, as by a whirlwind, and their schemes, which seemed to meditate the destruction of the whole world, dissipated in a moment. The short clause which is subjoined, and which closes the psalm, suggests that this judgment of the wicked must be waked for in the exercise of faith and patience, for the Psalmist rests in hope for his deliverance. From this it appears that the wicked are not cut off so suddenly from the earth, as not to afford us hope for the exhibition of patience under the severity of long-continued injuries.


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Bibliography
Calvin, John. "Commentary on Psalms 55:23". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/psalms-55.html. 1840-57.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Psalms 55:23 But thou, O God, shalt bring them down into the pit of destruction: bloody and deceitful men shall not live out half their days; but I will trust in thee.

Ver. 23. But thou, O God, shalt bring them down into the pit of destruction] Into the deep Gehenna, saith the Chaldee; thou shalt hurl them into hell, from their lofty tops here.

Bloody and deceitful men shall not live out half their days] Heb. shall not half their days; that is, shall be soon cut off, die in the flower of their age, come to an untimely end ( Ad generum Cereris, &c.); either the sword in battle or the sword of justice shall cut them off; or some treachery of men, or their own intemperance, or God’s immediate hand, shall make an end of them betimes, and before they come to the full age of a man, or before they have effected their evil designs (Luther rendereth it, Non dimidiabunt negotia), or before they are in fit case to die, Tempore non sue, Ecclesiastes 7:17, then when it were better for them to do anything than to die. Our Richard III and Queen Mary reigned the shortest while of any other since the conquest. Charles IX of France, that bloody prince, died young, of a bloody disease, &c. Absalom and Ahithophel came to tragic and unhappy ends; so did all the primitive persecutors, those cruel crafties.

But I will trust in thee] For safety here and for salvation hereafter.


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Bibliography
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Psalms 55:23". John Trapp Complete Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/psalms-55.html. 1865-1868.

Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary

REFLECTIONS

MY soul! leave every other subject, and every other consideration, in the perusal of this Psalm, to ponder over the several parts of it, and to contemplate thy God and Saviour as here typically set forth, and prophetically represented. David, king of Israel, was indeed betrayed by false friends, and persecuted by his unnatural son: and good men in all ages have been exercised with similar trials in their pilgrimage state. But what were David's trials, or the afflictions of others, compared to thee, thou patient Lamb of God, when bulls of Bashan compassed thee about, and all thy disciples forsook thee, and fled; when one denied thee, and another betrayed thee?

But chiefly, while I behold David going over the brook Kidron, and walking up barefoot, with his head covered, the ascent of Mount Olivet, let my soul call to mind how thou, my adored Redeemer, didst pass over the same memorable spot in the dolorous night of thy conflict in the garden. Oh! for my soul to take the wing of faith, and fly thither to behold thy sufferings! Was there ever sorrow like unto thy sorrow, wherewith the Lord afflicted thee in the day of his fierce anger? And chiefly, precious Jesus, let me connect with this view the interest I have in it. Let me recollect that in all this, thou wast the surety, the sponsor, the representative of thy people: thou didst bear the whole for thy redeemed. And did Judas betray thee? did Peter deny thee? did all forsake thee? And so have I. - Didst thou drink of the brook in the way? And shall not I? And as into this brook the filth of the temple sacrifices emptied itself; so, Lord, all my guilt and defilement emptied upon thee; and through all thou madest a way for the salvation of thy redeemed. Precious Jesus! let me have grace to behold thee in all this as my surety, and may my soul pass on through all the trifling persecutions I meet with in this pilgrimage state, with a wise indifference, losing sight of all in the contemplation of thy unequalled sorrows, and reading in everyone of them the Holy Ghost's declaration, by his servant the apostle, Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us.


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Bibliography
Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Psalms 55:23". "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

Shalt bring them down; my wicked enemies, of whom I have hitherto spoken.

Bloody and

deceitful men; that colour their cruel intentions with specious and deceitful pretences; which are most hateful to God and all men.

Shall not live out half their days; not half of what others live, and they by the course of nature might live; but shall be cut off by God’s just judgment, by an untimely and violent death.

But I will trust in thee; and in this confidence I will quietly and patiently wait upon thee, for their downfall, and for my deliverance.


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Bibliography
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Psalms 55:23". 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

23. Thou… shalt bring them down into the pit of destruction—This verse must be taken as a repetition of the sense and intention of Psalms 55:15, “pit of destruction,” here, being equal to sheol there. The Hebrew words admit it, and the unity of the psalm requires it. The verbs should be translated in both cases declaratively, not optatively, as in our English version in Psalms 55:15. “Pit,” here, has allusion to the snare pit in which animals were entrapped and taken. The destruction of a conspiracy would follow from any cause which broke their harmony of counsel or unity of action as surely as a beast is taken when fallen into a snare pit. This conspiracy was virtually destroyed when Ahithophel withdrew. See 2 Samuel 17:14. The word translated “shall bring them down,” denotes an set of violence, as in Psalms 56:7, (where see note,) and this accords with what follows of “bloody and deceitful men.” But in Psalms 59:11 (where see note) it stands directly opposed to the death penalty. It is always right, while we trust alone in God for vindication and defence, to pray that wicked men may be brought to justice, but never from a feeling of revenge. See more on imprecations in Psalms 109.


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Bibliography
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Psalms 55:23". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/psalms-55.html. 1874-1909.

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

Psalms 55:23. Thou shalt bring them — My wicked enemies, of whom I have hitherto spoken; down into the pit of destruction — Not only to the dust, but to hell, called destruction, Job 26:6. God afflicted them, Psalms 55:19, to humble and reform them, but as that effect was not produced by their afflictions, he will at last bring them to ruin. Those that are not reclaimed by the rod of correction will certainly be brought into the pit of destruction. Bloody and deceitful men — That colour their cruel intentions with specious and deceitful pretences; which are most hateful to God and all men; shall not live out half their days — Not half so long as men ordinarily live, and as they, by the course of nature, might have lived, and as they themselves expected to live, but shall be cut off by God’s just judgment, by an untimely and violent death. But I will trust in thee — In thy providence, power, and mercy; and not in my own prudence, strength, or merit. When the wicked are cut off in the midst of their days, I shall still live by faith in thee. And in this confidence I will quietly and patiently wait on thee for their downfall, and for my deliverance.


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Bibliography
Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Psalms 55:23". Joseph Benson's Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/psalms-55.html. 1857.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

Bloody and deceitful men = men of bloods and deceit. Genitive of Character. Hebrew bloods = great bloodshed.

half their days. Referring to Absalom"s untimely death.

trust = confide. Hebrew. batah. App-69.

To the chief Musician. See App-64.

upon = relating to.

Jonath-elem-rechokim = The dove of the distant Terebinths. App-65. A pictorial description of David in the wilderness, fleeing from Absalom. Compare verses: Psalms 55:6-8; and the word hamah = to coo (as a dove). See note on "cry aloud" in Psalms 55:17.


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Bibliography
Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Psalms 55:23". "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

But thou, O God, shalt bring them down into the pit of destruction: bloody and deceitful men shall not live out half their days; but I will trust in thee.

Bloody and deceitful men shall not live out half their days - literally, 'men of bloods and of deceit shall not halve their days' (Psalms 102:23; Proverbs 10:27).

But I will trust in thee - and therefore shall be delivered (Psalms 52:8).


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Bibliography
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Psalms 55:23". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/psalms-55.html. 1871-8.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

But thou, O God, shalt bring them down into the pit of destruction: bloody and deceitful men shall not live out half their days; but I will trust in thee.
O God
7:15,16; 58:9; 59:12,13
pit
Proverbs 15:11; 27:20; Isaiah 38:17
bloody and deceitful men shall not live out half their days
Heb. men of bloods and deceit shall not halve their days.
5:6; 2 Samuel 3:27; 20:9,10; 1 Kings 2:5,6; 2 Samuel 3:27; 20:9,10; 1 Kings 2:5,6; Job 15:32; Proverbs 10:27; Ecclesiastes 7:17; Matthew 27:4,5

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Psalms 55:23". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/psalms-55.html.

There follows now the conclusion, in ver. 23. And thou, O God, wilt precipitate them into the well-pit. The men of blood and of deceit shall not bring their days to the half, but I confide in, thee. The well-pit is scheol, comp. on Psalms 55:15; חצה to halve, poet. to bring to the half, comp. Psalms 102:23. In the expression: I confide in thee, there is enclosed the idea: and shall be delivered, comp. on Psalms 52:8.


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Bibliography
Hengstenberg, Ernst. "Commentary on Psalms 55:23". Ernst Hengstenberg on John, Revelation, Ecclesiastes, Ezekiel & Psalms. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/heg/psalms-55.html.

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