Psalm Fifty Five

by Dr. Henry M. Morris

(taken from the Defender's Study Bible)

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

Maschil. The five Davidic maschils (Psalms 32, 52, 53, 54, 55) culminate in this one. The occasion for writing it may have been the treachery of his friend Ahithophel (2 Samuel 15:31; 16:23; 1 Chronicles 27:33).

Psalm 55:1 Give ear to my prayer, O God; and hide not thyself from my supplication.

Psalm 55:2 Attend unto me, and hear me: I mourn in my complaint, and make a noise;

Psalm 55:3 Because of the voice of the enemy, because of the oppression of the wicked: for they cast iniquity upon me, and in wrath they hate me.

Psalm 55:4 My heart is sore pained within me: and the terrors of death are fallen upon me.

Psalm 55:5 Fearfulness and trembling are come upon me, and horror hath overwhelmed me.

Psalm 55:6 And I said, Oh that I had wings like a dove! for then would I fly away, and be at rest.

wings like a dove. One does not solve his problems by fleeing from them. Jonah, whose name means “dove,” learned this lesson by bitterly running from God only to find himself faced with possible death (Jonah 1:3, 15).

Psalm 55:7 Lo, then would I wander far off, and remain in the wilderness. Selah

wander far off. That was what Jonah attempted to do, as he boarded the ship sailing west and far away from Nineveh (Jonah 1:3).

Psalm 55:8 I would hasten my escape from the windy storm and tempest.

escape from the windy storm. When God sent a tempest after Jonah, he again sought to escape by having himself thrown into the stormy sea (Jonah 1:4, 12). But just as Noah's dove could find no rest until she returned to the ark (Genesis 8:9), so Jonah (“the Dove”) found no rest even in the great fish until he returned to the will of God.

Psalm 55:9 Destroy, O Lord, and divide their tongues: for I have seen violence and strife in the city.

divide their tongues. “Divide” here is the Hebrew palag, used elsewhere in Scripture only in Job 38:25 (“God hath divided a watercourse for the overflowing of waters”) and in Genesis 10:25 (with 1 Chronicles 1:19), which records that “in his days the earth was divided.” The patriarch Peleg was named after this division at Babel, when the primeval nations were divided by tongues. David was praying for an analogous division of tongues in the counseling of those who were advising Absalom in his rebellion against his father. This is exactly what happened (2 Samuel 16:20; 17:7, 14, 23).

Psalm 55:10 Day and night they go about it upon the walls thereof: mischief also and sorrow are in the midst of it.

Psalm 55:11 Wickedness is in the midst thereof: deceit and guile depart not from her streets.

Psalm 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:

Psalm 55:13 But it was thou, a man mine equal, my guide, and mine acquaintance.

Psalm 55:14 We took sweet counsel together, and walked unto the house of God in company.

sweet counsel together. David undoubtedly was writing about Ahithophel. However, his words in Psalm 55:12-14, 20-21, could very well fit the unspoken words of the Lord Jesus in relation to his disciple Judas, the betrayer. Psalm 55, in this portion at least, becomes another Messianic psalm.

Psalm 55:15 Let death seize upon them, and let them go down quick into hell: for wickedness is in their dwellings, and among them.

Psalm 55:16 As for me, I will call upon God; and the LORD shall save me.

Psalm 55:17 Evening, and morning, and at noon, will I pray, and cry aloud: and he shall hear my voice.

Psalm 55:18 He hath delivered my soul in peace from the battle that was against me: for there were many with me.

Psalm 55:19 God shall hear, and afflict them, even he that abideth of old. Selah Because they have no changes, therefore they fear not God.

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

Psalm 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.

Psalm 55:22 Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.

Cast thy burden. The Hebrew word for “burden,” used only here, actually means “gift” (compare Philippians 1:29; also note 1 Peter 5:7).

sustain thee. One should not complain about his problems (Psalm 55:2) or run away from them (Psalm 55:6), but cast them on the Lord.

Psalm 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.