Psalms 55:0 ¶ To the chief Musician on Neginoth, Maschil, A Psalm of David.
It is noted that this is another psalm of David sent to the chief Musician and designated to be played on a stringed instrument (from Hebrew for Neginoth). Maschil makes reference to an instructive poem.
Psalms 55:1 ¶ Give ear to my prayer, O God; and hide not thyself from my supplication.
Psalms 55:2 Attend unto me, and hear me: I mourn in my complaint, and make a noise;
Psalms 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.
As with many of David’s psalms, this one opens as a prayer. He is again asking God to pay attention to what he is saying. He knows that God can hear him, but it seems to him that God is not listening. He is anxious for his prayer to be answered. I can relate!
As one translation puts it, David is overwhelmed by his troubles. His enemies are treating him with cruel injustice (from the Hebrew for “oppression”). They are persistent in their wickedness because they hate him.
Sweet quote from Spurgeon: “From the Great Elder Brother down to the very least of the divine family, all of them delight in prayer. They run as naturally to the mercy seat in time of trouble as the little chickens to the hen in the hour of danger. But note well that it is never the bare act of prayer which satisfies the godly, they crave an audience with heaven, and an answer from the throne, and nothing less will content them.”
Psalms 55:4 My heart is sore pained within me: and the terrors of death are fallen upon me.
Psalms 55:5 Fearfulness and trembling are come upon me, and horror hath overwhelmed me.
I like the CJB for these two verses: “My heart within me is pounding in anguish, the terrors of death press down on me, fear and trembling overwhelm me, horror covers me.”
David is in fear for his life.
Psalms 55:6 And I said, Oh that I had wings like a dove! for then would I fly away, and be at rest.
Psalms 55:7 Lo, then would I wander far off, and remain in the wilderness. Selah.
Psalms 55:8 I would hasten my escape from the windy storm and tempest.
David expresses his desire to escape; if only he had wings like a dove and could fly away and go somewhere alone.
Selah – a pause, an opportunity for meditation
David’s desire is to escape from all his trouble as quickly as possible.
Good quote from Coffman: “Who is there who never experienced such a yearning as this? Just to say ‘good-bye’ to all the problems, just to walk out of the mess and never return - attractive as such thoughts may seem to be, God's servants must stand up to life like it is.”
Psalms 55:9 ¶ Destroy, O Lord, and divide their tongues: for I have seen violence and strife in the city.
Psalms 55:10 Day and night they go about it upon the walls thereof: mischief also and sorrow are in the midst of it.
Psalms 55:11 Wickedness is in the midst thereof: deceit and guile depart not from her streets.
Regarding his enemies, David asks God to destroy them and cause a split in their unity against him.
I like the wording of the NLT: “…for I see violence and strife in the city. Its walls are patrolled day and night against invaders, but the real danger is wickedness within the city. Murder and robbery are everywhere there; threats and cheating are rampant in the streets.”
How sad it is that the truth for those that place their faith in the LORD is that the greatest dangers often come from within—be it church, family or friendships. Jesus warned us about this truth.
Luke 12:51–53 “Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division: For from henceforth there shall be five in one house divided, three against two, and two against three. The father shall be divided against the son, and the son against the father; the mother against the daughter, and the daughter against the mother; the mother in law against her daughter in law, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.”
John 15:18 “If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you.”
Psalms 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:
Psalms 55:13 But it was thou, a man mine equal, my guide, and mine acquaintance.
Psalms 55:14 We took sweet counsel together, and walked unto the house of God in company.
David is especially hurt because his enemy was one accounted among his friends, one with whom he had enjoyed fellowship at the house of God. Ahithophel comes to mind (2Samuel 15). In fact, the whole psalm seems to fit that time in David’s life. Many commentators agree.
Psalms 55:15 Let death seize upon them, and let them go down quick into hell: for wickedness is in their dwellings, and among them.
We must remember that David was a warrior that lived under the law. In his mind, his enemies deserved to die and go to hell for all their wickedness.
Psalms 55:16 ¶ As for me, I will call upon God; and the Lord shall save me.
Psalms 55:17 Evening, and morning, and at noon, will I pray, and cry aloud: and he shall hear my voice.
Psalms 55:18 He hath delivered my soul in peace from the battle that was against me: for there were many with me.
David was confident that God would answer his prayer and save him. He was determined to be constant in prayer as he waited for God to answer him. He was confident of God’s salvation, no matter how great the odds might be against him.
Psalms 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.
David was just as confident that God would answer his prayer to punish his enemies.
Selah – a pause, an opportunity for meditation
These men would never change; they had no fear of God.
That is still so true today. Those that speak out against God and blatantly defy His word have no fear of Him. Because He does not strike His enemies down immediately, they seem to think He is powerless against them. Oh, how sad the day when they are made to bow before Him!
Isaiah 45:22–23 “Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else. I have sworn by myself, the word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, That unto me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear.”
Romans 14:11–12 “For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God. So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.”
Psalms 55:20 He hath put forth his hands against such as be at peace with him: he hath broken his covenant.
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.
These verses describe the character of those that are his enemies. They are hypocrites and traitors. They speak flattering words of deceit, while inside they are planning evil against you.
Sad to say, this characteristic is prevalent throughout our culture today—especially in government and politics!
Psalms 55:22 Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.
What a beautiful promise! David knew His Lord as his sustainer, the One who protects those that belong to Him.
There is a beautiful counterpart to this verse in the New Testament.
1 Peter 5:6–7 “Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.”
It should be noted that one can choose to continue to try to carry his/her own burdens. One has to make the choice to throw them off and give them to the Lord. Only then will one benefit from His willingness to carry the weight of those burdens for us.
Important observation from the New Bible Commentary: “Sustain, the promise is not to remove the burden but to sustain the person.”
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.
Just as surely as David knew that he could give all his burdens to the Lord and experience His sustenance, he knew that God would destroy the wicked; they will never truly experience a good life in God’s presence.
David was committed to trusting in God; he was unwavering in his faith.