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    PSALM 55

    Ps 55:1-23. In great terror on account of enemies, and grieved by the treachery of a friend, the Psalmist offers an earnest prayer for relief. He mingles confident assurances of divine favor to himself with invocations and predictions of God's avenging judgments on the wicked. The tone suits David's experience, both in the times of Saul and Absalom, though perhaps neither was exclusively before his mind.

    1. hide not thyself, &c.--(compare Ps 13:1; 27:9), withhold not help.

    2. The terms of the last clause express full indulgence of grief.

    3. oppression--literally, "persecution."
    - they . . . iniquity--literally, "they make evil doings slide upon me."

    4, 5. express great alarm.

    5. come upon--or literally, "into."

    6. be at rest--literally, "dwell," that is, permanently.

    7, 8. Even a wilderness is a safer place than exposure to such evils, terrible as storm and tempest.

    9. Destroy--literally, "swallow" (Ps 21:9).
    - divide their tongues--or, "confound their speech," and hence their counsels (Ge 11:7).
    - the city--perhaps Jerusalem, the scene of anarchy.

    10, 11. which is described in detail (compare Ps 7:14-16).

    11. Wickedness--literally, "Mischief," evils resulting from others (Ps 5:9; 52:2, 7).
    - streets--or literally, "wide places," markets, courts of justice, and any public place.

    12-14. This description of treachery does not deny, but aggravates, the injury from enemies.

    13. guide--literally, "friend" (Pr 16:28; 17:9).
    - acquaintance--in Hebrew, a yet more intimate associate.

    14. in company--literally, "with a crowd," in a festal procession.

    15. Let death, &c.--or, "Desolations are on them."
    - let them go--literally, "they will go."
    - quick--or, living in the midst of life, death will come (compare Nu 16:33).
    - among them--or, "within them," in their hearts (Ps 5:9; 49:11).

    16-18. God answers his constant and repeated prayers.

    18. many with me--that is, by the context, fighting with me.

    19. God hears the wicked in wrath.
    - abideth--or, "sitteth."
    - of old--enthroned as a sovereign.
    - Because . . . no changes--Prosperity hardens them (Ps 73:5).

    20, 21. The treachery is aggravated by hypocrisy. The changes of number, Ps 55:15, 23, and here, enliven the picture, and imply that the chief traitor and his accomplices are in view together.

    22. thy burden--literally, "gift," what is assigned you.
    - he shall sustain--literally, "supply food," and so all need (Ps 37:25; Mt 6:11).
    - to be moved--from the secure position of His favor (compare Ps 10:6).

    23. bloody . . . days--(compare Ps 5:6; 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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