Psalm 55 Bible Commentary

John Wesley’s Explanatory Notes

(Read all of Psalm 55)

Verse 3

[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.

Voice — Their clamours and threats, and slanders.

Cast — They lay many crimes to my charge.

Verse 4

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

The terrors — Deadly terrors; such as seize upon men in the agonies of death.

Verse 8

[8] I would hasten my escape from the windy storm and tempest.

Tempest — From the force and fury of mine enemies.

Verse 9

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

Destroy — Destroy them by dividing.

Tongues — Their speech, as thou didst at Babel, Genesis 11:9, their votes, and opinions, and counsels. Which was eminently done among Absalom's followers, 2 Samuel 17:23.

Strife — Injustice and fraud, oppression and contention rule here, instead of that public justice and peace which I established.

City — In Jerusalem; which in Absalom's time was a sink of all sins.

Verse 10

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

They — Violence and strife.

Go about — Do encompass it, as it were a garrison.

Walls — In the outward parts, as also in the very midst of it. So that all parts were horribly corrupted.

Verse 11

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

Streets — The places of buying and selling, and of public commerce.

Verse 12

[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:

Hated — With a manifest or old hatred.

Verse 13

[13] But it was thou, a man mine equal, my guide, and mine acquaintance.

Equal — Not in power, but in reputation, for wisdom, and influence upon my people.

Guide — Whose counsel I highly prized, and constantly followed. All which agrees to Achitophel.

Verse 15

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

Them — All such as pretend to religion, and have manifestly apostatized both from the profession and practice of it.

The grave — Cut off by a sudden and violent death.

Among them — Heb. in their inwards. Wickedness is deeply rooted in their hearts.

Verse 17

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

Evening, … — The three stated times of prayer among the Jews.

Verse 18

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

He hath — He speaks of a future deliverance, as a thing done, because of the certainty of it. He hath restored me to my former peace and tranquility.

For — For there were more with me than against me; even the holy angels whom God employed to defend and deliver me.

Verse 19

[19] God shall hear, and afflict them, even he that abideth of old. /*Selah*/. Because they have no changes, therefore they fear not God.

Hear — My prayers.

Eternity — Who is eternal, and therefore unchangeable, and almighty.

Because — They meet with no crosses nor disappointments.

Therefore — Their success makes them go on securely, without any regard to God, or dread of his judgments.

Verse 20

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

He — They, the persons last mentioned.

Verse 22

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

Burden — All thy crosses, and cares, and fears, lay them upon the Almighty, by faith and prayer. He directs this speech to his own soul, and to all good men in like circumstances.

Suffer — As he doth wicked men. Tho' he may for a season suffer them to be shaken, yet not to be overwhelmed.

Verse 23

[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.

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.