Psalm 55


Psalm 55:1–23

David is Betrayed by Friends


These studies are designed for believers in Jesus Christ only. If you have exercised faith in Christ, then you are in the right place. If you have not, then you need to heed the words of our Lord, Who said, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only-begotten [or, uniquely-born] Son, so that every [one] believing [or, trusting] in Him shall not perish, but shall be have eternal life! For God did not send His Son into the world so that He should judge the world, but so that the world shall be saved through Him. The one believing [or, trusting] in Him is not judged, but the one not believing has already been judged, because he has not believed in the Name of the only-begotten [or, uniquely-born] Son of God.” (John 3:16–18). “I am the Way and the Truth and the Life! No one comes to the Father except through [or, by means of] Me!” (John 14:6).


Every study of the Word of God ought to be preceded by a naming of your sins to God. This restores you to fellowship with God (1John 1:8–10). If there are people around, you would name these sins silently. If there is no one around, then it does not matter if you name them silently or whether you speak aloud.


These exegetical studies are not designed for you to read each and every word. For instance, the Hebrew exegesis is put into greyish tables, so that if you want to skip over them, that is fine. If you question a translation, you can always refer back to the appropriate Hebrew tables to sort it all out.

 

The intent is to make this particular study the most complete and most accurate examination of 2Samuel 15 which is available in writing. The idea is to make every phrase, verse and passage understandable; and to make application of all that is studied.


Outline of Chapter 55:

 

         Introduction         An Introduction to Psalm 55

 

         Inscription            Psalm 55 Inscription

 

         vv.     1–3           David Calls Upon God Concerning His Enemy

         vv.     4–8           David is Fearful and He Wants To Get Away

         vv.     9–11         David Asks God for Help Because There is Lawlessness in the Streets

         vv.    12–15         David is Distressed Because His Enemy Was Once a Close Friend

         vv.    16–21         David Calls Upon God to Deliver Him From His Duplicitous Enemy

         vv.    22–23         David Trusts God With Every Burden and To Take Down His Enemies

 

         Addendum          Psalm 55 Addendum


Charts, Short Doctrines and Maps:

 

         Introduction         The Principals of Psalm 55

         Introduction         The Prequel of Psalm 55

         Introduction         A Synopsis of Psalm 55

         Introduction         Clarke’s Alternative Outline

 

         v.       1              Links to the Doctrine of Prayer

         v.       3              The Approach to the Revolution Against David

         v.       3              The Lies Spoken and False Charges Made Against Jesus Christ

         v.       8              David Thinks Only About Himself

         v.       8              The Davidic Covenant

         v.       9              Do We Pray for Our Enemies or Against Them?

         v.      15              The Abbreviated Doctrine of Sheol

         v.      17              The Uses of Sîyach in the Psalms

         v.      17              A Summary up to Psalm 55:17

         v.      17              Disaster Testing and the Faith Rest Technique by Stan Simonton

         v.      17              Fear vs. Faith by Stan Simonton

         v.      18              Translating and Explaining Psalm 55:18

         v.      18              A Possible Two-fold Explanation of 2Sam. 55:18

         v.      21              The Abuse of Words

         v.      22              Promises from God and Provisions by God

 

         Addendum          A Complete Translation of Psalm 55

         Addendum          The Parallels Found in Psalm 55


Chapter Outline

 

Charts, Maps and Short Doctrines

Forward

Doctrines Covered and Alluded to

Chapters of the Bible Alluded To

Psalms Appropriately Exegeted with this Chapter

Other Chapters of the Bible Appropriately Exegeted with this Chapter

Definition of Terms

Introduction

Text

Addendum

www.kukis.org

 

Exegetical Studies in the Psalms


Pre-Introduction Links

Doctrines Covered and Alluded To

Chapters of the Bible Alluded To or Psalms Appropriately Exegeted with this Chapter

Definition of Terms


Doctrines Covered

Doctrines Alluded To

Sheol

 

Evil

 

 

Imprecatory Psalms

Interlocking Systems of Arrogance

Laws of Divine Establishment

 

Movement of the Ark and of the Tent of God

Revolution

Sexual Arrogance Gate


Chapters of the Bible Alluded To

Genesis 6

2Sam. 7

Psalm 89

 


Psalms Appropriately Exegeted with this Chapter

 

Psalm 41

 

 


Other Chapters of the Bible Appropriately Exegeted with this Chapter

2Samuel 14

2Samuel 15

 

 


Many who read and study this chapter are 1st or 2nd generation students of R. B. Thieme, Jr., so that much of this vocabulary is second nature. One of Bob’s contributions to theology is a fresh vocabulary along with a number of concepts which are theologically new or reworked, yet still orthodox. Therefore, if you are unfamiliar with his work, the definitions below will help you to fully understand all that is being said. In addition to this, I will use a number of other more traditional technical theological terms which will be used and therefore defined as well.

Definition of Terms

Client Nation

Client-Nation, is a national entity in which a certain number of spiritually mature Christians (the salt of the earth) have formed a pivot sufficient to sustain the nation and through which God specifically protects this nation so that believers can fulfill the divine mandates of evangelism, communication and custodianship of Bible doctrine, providing a haven for Jews, and sending missionaries abroad. The United States is a client-nation to God. A client nation must have freedom: Freedom to seek God, freedom to use one’s own volition and self-determination to succeed or fail, freedom from anarchy and tyranny, freedom for evangelism, freedom for believers to hear Bible teaching without government interference and, therefore, to grow spiritually, and freedom to send missionaries to other nations.

Cycles of Discipline (Stage of National Discipline)

A national entity which is a client nation to God is under both God’s protection and His discipline (much like the individual believer). As a nation moves further and further from God, God may impose disciplinary measures on that nation, which include economic disaster, illness, civil unrest, military defeat, and even invasion which may include a slavery or dispersion of the people. These cycles are found in Lev. 26. Although these warnings are designed for Israel, all client nations to God may face similar downward historical trends.

Doctrinal rationale

A doctrinal rationale is when you take doctrine that is in your soul and you come to a conclusion concerning the circumstances in your life, so that you are able to depend upon God’s promised provisions instead of spending time in worry or fear.

Evil

The word “Evil” has a distinct technical and categorical meaning in the Word of God. It is not simply a generic word referring to anything that is bad or sinful. The word “Evil” refers specifically to the policy of Satan as the ruler of this world. Evil is the modus operandi of Satan from the time of his fall throughout the angelic revolution and down to the point when be became the ruler of the world. Footnote This definition is probably right out of R. B. Thieme, Jr.’s notes.

Interlocking systems of arrogance

The interlocking systems of arrogance refers to many clusters of sins which have a tendency to interlock with one another. That is, a person may become involved in one cluster of sins, and that will interlock with another cluster of sins, so that he become vulnerable to this other cluster of sins that did not appeal to him in the first place.

Laws of Divine Establishment

These are the laws which cause any nation to prosper and to provide a maximum amount of freedom in that national entity for evangelism and Bible teaching.

Pivot

Those people in a national entity who are growing spiritually or who have entered into spiritual maturity.

Rebound (Restoration to fellowship with God)

In the New Testament, this is naming your sins to God, so that you are both restored to temporal fellowship with God and are then filled with the Spirit of God. In the Old Testament, naming your sins to God would result in a restoration of fellowship and, in some cases, the empowerment of the Holy Spirit once again (the Holy Spirit was not given to all Old Testament believers).

Fifth Cycle of Discipline (the 5th Stage of National Discipline)

The fifth cycle of discipline involves complete loss of personal and national sovereignty, the destruction of the family and the nation. Offerings to God are unacceptable. Nations which have undergone this destruction have experienced slavery, cannibalism, and the assimilation of its surviving citizens into other cultures.

Sin unto death

When a believer stays out of fellowship for an extended period of time and consistently acts against the plan of God, God may remove him from this life painfully using discipline that will result in his death.

Some of these definitions are taken from

http://gracebiblechurchwichita.org/?page_id=1556

http://www.bibledoctrinechurch.org/?subpages/GLOSSARY.shtml

http://rickhughesministries.org/content/Biblical-Terms.pdf

http://www.realtime.net/~wdoud/topics.html

http://www.wordoftruthministries.org/termsanddefs.htm

http://www.theopedia.com/

http://www.gbible.org/index.php?proc=d4d


——————————


An Introduction to Psalm 55


I ntroduction: Psalm 55 is written by David about being betrayed by a friend. Although we place this along side Psalm 41 for the Absalom revolution, who allied himself with Ahithophel; there is actually nothing in this context which undeniable points to that period of time. However, it is the closest narrative which would seem to fit this psalm, and this is where most expositors Footnote place it. Furthermore, the friend who has betrayed David in this psalm lives in the same city with him and the walls of a city are mentioned. Both of these things suggest that we are speaking of Jerusalem.


Others have associated this psalm with the period of time when King Saul was chasing David, which would have had to have been early on for David to have been upset by it (however, it is possible that this psalm simply takes in a long period of time of Saul’s constant search and destroy missions which he ran against David). The problem with this approach is, the person of this psalm is said to be a close friend of David’s who has turned against him. Saul has a rocky relationship with David from the beginning going back to 1Sam. 17. Secondly, David’s friend who betrayed him is said in this psalm to go with the House of God together. That would seem like an unlikely destination for David and Saul together; and the Tabernacle was not in Jerusalem during that time period. David did move the Ark of God into Jerusalem eventually—decades after Saul died—and David built a tent of sorts for the Ark (and this could have been the place of worship). Although one could possibly answer these objections, there does not appear to be anything which closely associates Saul with this psalm.

 

Barnes writes: The occasion on which the psalm was composed is not indicated in the title, nor can it be with certainty ascertained. The author of the Chaldee Paraphrase refers the psalm to the time of Absalom and to his rebellion, and this is also the opinion of the Jewish expositors in general. They suppose that the psalm was composed on occasion of the departure of David from Jerusalem, when he had heard of the rebellion, and that the psalm has special reference to the time when, having fled from the city, and having come to the ascent of the Mount of Olives, while all was consternation around him, he learned that Ahithophel also was among the conspirators, which was the consummation of his calamity (2Sam. 15:31). Others suppose that the psalm was composed when David was in Keilah, and when, surrounded by foes, he was apprehensive that the inhabitants of that place would deliver him into the hand of Saul (1Sam. 23:1–12). Of all the known events in the life of David, the supposition which regards the psalm as composed during the rebellion of Absalom, and at the special time when he learned that the man whom he had trusted - Ahithophel - was among the traitors, is the most probable. All the circumstances in the psalm agree with his condition at that time. Footnote

 

Jamieson, Fausset and Brown: The tone [of Psalm 55] suits David's experience, both in the times of Saul and Absalom, though perhaps neither was exclusively before his mind. Footnote And there are verses in this psalm which do not apply to Saul whatsoever.

 

The NIV Study Bible gives a nice summation of this psalm: A prayer for God’s help when threatened by a powerful conspiracy in Jerusalem under the leadership of a former friend. The situation describes is like that of Absalom’s conspiracy against the king (see 2Sam. 15–17). The city is in turmoil; danger is everywhere; there is uncertainty as to who can be trusted; rumors, false reports and slander are circulating freely. Under such circumstances, David longs for a quiet retreat to escape it all (vv. 6–8). That being out of the question, he casts his cares on the Lord, whom he knows he can trust. In its structure, the prayer is framed by a pleas for help (v. 1) and a simple confession of faith: “I trust in You” (v. 23). Footnote David’s escape from all of this intrigue will be casting his burdens upon the Lord, so in the midst of everything that is going on, David will have inner peace (which he clearly does not start out with).


We do not have to necessarily tie this directly to a specific set of historic incidents in order to understand the sort of thing that David is enduring in this psalm. However, since there are so many parallels to what David says and the Absalom revolution, I will proceed throughout most of this psalm as if that is the basis for this psalm.


Psalm 55 is one of David’s imprecatory psalms, which is a psalm where he prays against his enemies and asks for God to defeat them. There will be an ultimate end to the enemies of God. Therefore, it is important that we speak to the dichotomy of praying for our enemies and praying against them as well.


Theopedia lists Footnote the imprecatory psalms as follows: Psalms 7, 35, 55, 58, 59, 69, 79, 109, 137 and 139. John Piper Footnote is more specific: Psalm 5:10 10:15 28:4 31:17-18 35:4-6 40:14-15 58:6-11 69:22-28 109:6-15 139:19-22 140:9-10.


Matthew Henry suggests that David’s difficulties here are typical of Christ’s sufferings. Footnote Although I did not see that on the first read-through, I will keep my eyes open for it as I examine this chapter in its revision. Footnote Certainly there is the parallel of the betrayal of a close associate (vv. 12–14) to the betrayal of Judas. However, there is the immediate problem of David being the Christ-figure type, as he prays for the defeat and destruction of his enemies in this psalm (vv. 9, 15,23), which is hardly typical of our Lord. However, in the alternative, those who reject the Lord will be under eternal discipline.


In summarizing this psalm and in going through it, it appears to be rather disjointed. However, when organized in a slightly different fashion, matching the beginning of the psalm with the end of the psalm, it seems to flow, having still a reasonable beginning and a reasonable ending. One thing which is often true of the Davidic psalms is, their structure can be quite complex.


We need to know who the people are who populate this chapter.

The Principals of Psalm 55

Characters

Commentary

David

David is the writer of this psalm and the man who was betrayed by his friend.

Absalom

Absalom is the son of David who has led a rebellion against David, after they had reconciled and apparently had become closer.

Ahithophel

Ahithophel is Bathsheba’s grandfather who is seen by David as being a real threat to him as an ally of Absalom.

Amasa

Also a former soldier of David’s, who is now with Absalom.

The latter 3 men are never mentioned specifically in this psalm nor is there irrefutable Scriptural evidence which ties any one of them to this psalm. Absalom or Ahithophel are likely the ones whom David saw as close, but then betrayed him.

Again, we do not have to necessarily associate this psalm with specific men in order for us to learn from it.


Chapter Outline

Charts, Maps and Short Doctrines


It is important to understand what has gone before.

The Prequel of Psalm 55

A great deal of the Davidic narrative is related to his illicit relationship with Bathsheba, as are many of the psalms. We can pinpoint this psalm, but based upon some assumptions. If you will recall, King David took time while his army was at war to chase skirt in Jerusalem. He saw from his house roof a naked Bathsheba bathing and desired her, despite the fact that she turned out to be married to one of his soldiers (Uriah the Hittite). When she became pregnant and David was unable to manipulate this soldier, David had the man killed. 2Samuel 11 (HTML) (PDF).


Nathan spoke to David and David condemned himself by means of a parable. Part of his discipline was to include unrest in his home, which began with one son, Amnon, raping his half-sister, Tamar. Since David did not punish Amnon, Absalom, Tamar’s full-brother, killed Amnon, and then left the country for a few years. 2Samuel 12 (HTML) (PDF) 2Samuel 13 (HTML) (PDF).


Joab, David’s general, finally got David to bring Absalom back to Jerusalem, after several years; and David agreed to that, but he did not agree to see Absalom. Absalom then burned Joab’s field, and Joab went to David, and David finally agreed to see Absalom, where they reconciled. However, it is clear that, during that time, Absalom had become a sophisticated criminal. 2Samuel 14 (HTML) (PDF) (WPD).


Absalom puts a plan into motion to overthrow David’s kingdom. He is not going to wait any longer. Once Absalom puts this plan into motion, David is able to look back at his illness and how he was attended to, and he recognized that those who came to see him actually wanted him dead. 2Samuel 15 (HTML) (PDF) (WPD).


Furthermore, a great tactician, Ahithophel, who David considered a close friend, also went to Absalom’s side.

This is nearly identical to the prequel given for Psalm 41 (HTML) (PDF) (WPD).

That Absalom and Ahithophel are the men spoken of in this psalm is reasonable conjecture.


Chapter Outline

Charts, Maps and Short Doctrines


Let’s look forward and get an idea as to what we are going to be studying.

A Synopsis of Psalm 55

David begins by making this a very personal psalm, to the point of even revealing mental attitude sins which he ruminated on. He first asks God to listen to him (vv. 1–2a) and then he summarizes his complaints against those who have betrayed him (vv. 2b–3).

Then David admits to the mental attitude sins of fear and sublimation (vv. 4–6); and how he might just get away from it all (vv. 7–8).

David then asks God to destroy his enemies and also to first confuse them, much the way that those on the Tower of Babel were confused (v. 9a). His reason for such a request is the crime and lack of justice in the city of Jerusalem (vv. 9b–11) (which is, incidentally, exactly the opposite of what Absalom had promised).

David then laments that part of his problem is, the man who has turned against him was once his close friend and they even shared spiritual communion (vv. 12–14).

David then prays for their deaths (v. 15).

David then calls for God to rescue him (vv. 16–17a) and then gives assurance that God heard him and answered his prayer (vv. 17b–19a).

David then calls his enemies recalcitrant and phoney (vv. 19b–21).

In the end, David pronounces a doxology, where he knows that he can put his burdens upon the Lord and the Lord will bear them (v. 22); on the other had, God will bring down the wicked (v. 23a) while he trust in God (v. 23b).

This psalm, from the synopsis, and from the corrected translation, seems somewhat scattered to me; and it is possible that I do not recognize the organization of it. I think that we have a parallels between the beginning of the psalm and the end of the psalm (that is, this may be a psalm set up as a chiasmos).

Matching up passages of this psalm going forward with those going backward actually yields an easier psalm to follow which is less disjointed. See The Parallels Found in Psalm 55 at the end of this exegetical study.


Chapter Outline

Charts, Maps and Short Doctrines


Although this psalm appears to be to break in very specific places, Clarke did divide things up differently.

Clarke’s Alternative Outline

Scripture

Text/Commentary

Psalm 55:1–5

David, in great danger and distress from the implacable malice of his enemies, calls on God for mercy

Psalm 55:6–8

David wishes he had the wings of a dove, that he might flee away, and be at rest

Psalm 55:9–11

David prays against his enemies, and describes their wickedness

Psalm 55:12–14

David speaks of a false friend, who had been the principal cause of all his distresses

Psalm 55:15

David again prays against his enemies

Psalm 55:16–18

David expresses his confidence in God

Psalm 55:19–21

David gives a farther description of the deceitful friend

Psalm 55:22–23

David encourages himself in the Lord, and foretells the destruction of his foes,

From Adam Clarke, Commentary on the Bible; from e-Sword, Psalm 55 introduction.


Chapter Outline

Charts, Maps and Short Doctrines


Let me suggest one of the keys to this psalm: David is describing his thinking as he leaves Jerusalem and as he climbs the Mount of Olives. He is suffering from fear and other mental attitude sins. However, David prays and he thinks things through, and he comes to the understanding that God has already answered his prayers; God has already made provision for his difficulties.


Another way of putting this is, this is a doctrinal rationale which David develops in his thinking. Footnote David takes his circumstances, which are certainly dire, and he considers what he knows about God and God’s plan and God’s power. God even answers one of David’s prayers early on, so that David has confidence in God and God’s solutions for all of his problems (David prays for God to frustrate the counsel of Ahithophel, and, when David get to the top of the Mount of Olives, there is Hushai waiting for him). As 1Cor. 10:13 reads (R. B. Thieme, Jr. translation): Testing has not caught up with you except the human kind; moreover, God is faithful, who will not permit you to be tested beyond your capabilities, but with the testing will also provide a solution. Prov. 3:5–6 (HCSB): Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding; think about Him in all your ways, and He will guide you on the right paths. Prov. 34:19 Many adversities come to the righteous one [the believer in Jesus Christ], but Yehowah delivers him from them all. David’s situation combined with the application of doctrine leads him to this final conclusion: Cast your burden on the LORD, and He will support you; He will never allow the righteous to be shaken (Psalm 55:22; HCSB).


Now, go back and understand how David got here. He sinned against God with regards to Bathsheba and her husband Uriah. God first began to discipline David, and then to put pressure on David’s life, years afterwards. Now, God is not vindictive; God is not looking to simply crush David for several years. This pressure that David is under is very much of his own making. Absalom is his son and David simply did not raise him right and never took any time to explain justice and the laws of divine establishment to Absalom. So Absalom is now in rebellion against David. God uses this opportunity, these circumstances, and His Word, to mix together for David’s benefit. That is, David is not simply under pressure, but God has him under pressure to make a better person out of David. Part of the problem here is the way that he raised Absalom (didn’t raise Absalom). How David, instead, chased skirt, and got a bunch of wives and mistresses, and then put them all on welfare. You cannot do that with your children. Society will pay the piper for doing this; and Absalom is what David has unleashed on society.


So, what is going to be the end result of all of this, after David has quashed this rebellion (God helping him)? He is going to raise Solomon as his son; he is going to teach Solomon doctrine. The book of Proverbs is essentially Solomon’s notebook from David teaching him. David will apparently be faithful to Bathsheba, as she will have 4 sons in all; but we do not hear of any more sons from any of David’s other wives or mistresses. Footnote


So God takes this mess—Absalom out of control and revolting against his own father, taking half of the nation with him—and works this to the benefit of David, of Solomon, of Bathsheba and of the nation Israel.


Application: Have you ever landed yourself into a giant jackpot as a result of a bunch of stupid decisions that you have made? Crazy as it sounds, not only is God able to fix it, but God is able to bring great good out of the mess that you made. Rom. 8:28 (MKJV): And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. Now, do you love God? Do you love His Word? David is going to think his way out of this situation; he is going to learn to think like God thinks, and God will take the mess in which David finds himself and resolve it for the good of nearly everyone in Israel (except for the revolutionaries, who chose that evil path).


In this psalm, we will actually look into the mind of David. We will see his fears and apprehension; we will see how he begins by thinking about himself too much. Then we will see how his thinking is turned around by focusing on God and calling upon God to deal with the mess that he made. However, David does not say, “Okay, God, you fix it; I will be sitting over here on this park bench while you take care of everything.” He says, instead, “Okay, God, I know that I have made a mess of things; I know that I did a crappy job raising Absalom and now he is leading a revolution against me. Take care of this mess and, in grace, please use me in any way that You can.”


——————————


Chapter Outline

Charts, Maps and Short Doctrines


Psalm 55 Inscription

 

Slavishly literal:

 

Moderately literal:

To the preeminent one; a negîynâh; a Maskil; to David.

Psalm

55 inscription

To the Preeminent One; a song [played on a stringed instrument]; a Maskil [instructive psalm] by David.

For the choir director; for stringed instruments; an instructive psalm, written by David.


Here is how others have translated this verse:

 

Ancient texts:                       Note: I compare the Hebrew text to English translations of the Latin, Syriac and Greek texts, using the Douay-Rheims translation Footnote ; George Lamsa’s translation, and Sir Lancelot Charles Lee Brenton’s translation as revised and edited by Paul W. Esposito, respectively. I often update these texts with non-substantive changes (e.g., you for thou, etc.). I often use the text of the Complete Apostles’ Bible instead of Brenton’s translation, because it updates the English text.

 

The Septuagint was the earliest known translation of a book (circa 200 b.c.). Since this translation was made before the textual criticism had been developed into a science and because different books appear to be translated by different men, the Greek translation can sometimes be very uneven.

 

When there are serious disparities between my translation and Brenton’s (or the text of the Complete Apostles’ Bible), I look at the Greek text of the Septuagint (the LXX) to see if a substantive difference actually exists (and I reflect these changes in the English rendering of the Greek text). I use the Greek LXX with Strong’s numbers and morphology available for e-sword. The only problem with this resource (which is a problem for similar resources) is, there is no way to further explore Greek verbs which are not found in the New Testament. Although I usually quote the Complete Apostles’ Bible here, I have begun to make changes in the translation when their translation conflicts with the Greek and note what those changes are.

 

The Masoretic text is the Hebrew text with all of the vowels (vowel points) inserted (the original Hebrew text lacked vowels). We take the Masoretic text to be the text closest to the original. However, differences between the Masoretic text and the Greek, Latin and Syriac are worth noting and, once in a great while, represent a more accurate text possessed by those other ancient translators.

 

In general, the Latin text is an outstanding translation from the Hebrew text into Latin and very trustworthy (I say this as a non-Catholic). Unfortunately, I do not read Latin—apart from some very obvious words—so I am dependent upon the English translation of the Latin (principally, the Douay-Rheims translation).

 

Underlined words indicate differences in the text.

 

Bracketed portions of the Dead Sea Scrolls are words, letters and phrases lost in the scroll due to various types of damage. Underlined words or phrases are those in the Dead Sea Scrolls but not in the Masoretic text.

 

Aramaic text not represented in some way in the Hebrew original is signaled by italics. The absence of italics should not be construed to mean that the targum translates literally. Aramaic verbs are translated literally; that is, perfects are generally translated as past tense, imperfects as future or jussive, participles as general present.


 

Targum (trans. By Cook)        For praise, with the words of a hymn; good teaching composed by David.

Latin Vulgate                          Unto the end, in verses, understanding for David.

Masoretic Text (Hebrew)        To the preeminent one; a negîynâh; a Maskil; to David.

Septuagint (Greek)                For the end, among Hymns of instruction by David.

 

Significant differences:           Although the first phrase in the other ancient languages is questionable, and the second is left out; most of the rest of the inscription is reasonable (as Maskil means an instructive psalm).


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

Contemporary English V.       (A special psalm by David for the music leader. Use with stringed instruments.)

Easy English (Pocock)           Betraying a Friend

Jesus said to him, "Judas, are you *betraying the Son of man with a kiss?" (Luke 22:48) ("Betray" means "tell someone's enemies everything about them".)

(This is) for the music leader.

(He must use) *musical instruments.

(It is) a *maskil for David.

 

The Message                         A David psalm.

New Berkeley Version           Prayer Because of a False Friend

For the Chief Musician, on Stringed Instruments. A Meditation of David.

New Life Bible                                                              Prayer Of A Man Hurt By A Friend


Partially literal and partially paraphrased translations:

 

American English Bible          To the director; one of the hymns of contemplation of Asaph.

Beck’s American Translation When a Friend Turns Against You

For the choir leader: to be played skillfully on string instruments; by David.

Christian Community Bible     Prayer of the persecuted. The supremacy of money, violence, luxury, prostitution and the exploitation of people. In the midst of a perverted society, the just feel trapped and threatened. Cast your care upon the Lord..

God’s Word                         For the choir director; on stringed instruments; a maskil by David.

NIRV                                      For the director of music. A maskil of David to be played on stringed instruments.

New Simplified Bible              ([Psalm of David])

Revised English Bible            For the leader: on stringed instruments: a maskil: for David.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

Ancient Roots Translinear      To the conductor for instruments. A lesson from David.

Bible in Basic English             To the chief music-maker, on Neginoth. Maschil. Of David.

Ferar-Fenton Bible                 To his bandmaster.

A Reflective Psalm by David.

Judaica Press Complete T.    For the conductor, on neginoth, a maskil of David.

New Advent Bible                  Unto the end, in verses, understanding for David.

NET Bible®                             Psalm 55 The suffering and oppressed author laments that one of his friends has betrayed him, but he is confident that God will vindicate him by punishing his deceitful enemies.

For the music director, to be accompanied by stringed instruments; a well-written song [The meaning of the Hebrew term מַשְׂכִּיל (maskil) is uncertain. See the note on the phrase "well-written song" in the superscription of Psalm 52.] by David. When it comes to making an actual material change to the text, the NET Bible® is pretty good about indicating this. Since most of these corrections will be clear in the more literal translations below and within the Hebrew exegesis itself, I will not continue to list every NET Bible® footnote.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

The Amplified Bible                To the Chief Musician; with stringed instruments. A skillful song, or a didactic or reflective poem, of David.

Concordant Literal Version    Contemplating, Davidic.

Emphasized Bible                  For the end, among Hymns of instruction by David.

English Standard Version      Cast Your Burden on the Lord 

To the choirmaster: with stringed instruments. A Maskil of David.

exeGeses companion Bible   To His Eminence; On Strummer;

A Discerning: By David.

LTHB                                     To the Chief Musician on Neginoth. A Contemplation. A Psalm of David.

Modern KJV                           To the Chief Musician. For stringed instruments. A contemplation. A Psalm of David.

NASB                                     Prayer for the Destruction of the Treacherous.

For the choir director; on stringed instruments. A Maskil [Possibly Contemplative, or Didactic, or Skillful Psalm] of David.

New King James Version       Trust in God Concerning the Treachery of Friends

To the Chief Musician. With stringed instruments [Hebrew neginoth]. A Contemplation [Hebrew Maschil] of David.

Syndein/Thieme                     {David's Prayer Against Revolution/Conspiracy}

{Title} To the 'chief musician'/'director or music' {natsach} Machil/Maskiyl . . . a taunting song {n@giynah} {A Psalm/mizmowr of} David.

A Voice in the Wilderness      [To the chief Musician. Neginoth. Maschil. A Psalm of David.]

Young’s Literal Translation    To the Overseer with stringed instruments. —An instruction, by David.

 

The gist of this verse:          This appears to be an instructive Davidic psalm that is to be played on stringed instruments.


Psalm 55 inscription a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

lâmed (לְ) [pronounced le]

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

nâtsach (נָצַח) [pronounced naw-TZAHKH]

to oversee, to supervise to be; preeminent, to be enduring; the Preeminent One

Piel participle with the definite article

Strong’s #5329 BDB #663

The Piel participle of nâtsach is given a wide variety of renderings: overseer (Young), the music leader (CEV), choir director (NASB, NLT), choirmaster (Owens), leader (NRSV, NEB, NAB) and chief musician (Rotherham).


Translation: To the Preeminent One;... As we have seen with the numerous translations above, no one is clear as to who this person is. This psalm could be dedicated to God, which is essentially how I have translated it; however, it could be designed to be conducted by the chief musician, which is how Rotherham understands it. Most translators assume that this is given over to the choir director or the conductor or the one in charge of those who sang.


We find this word as a Piel infinitive in 1Chron. 15:21 23:4 2Chron. 34:12 Ezra 3:8–9. 1Chron. 23:4 indicates that this does not have to be a supervisory position, as it reads: Of these [38,000 Levites], 24,000 were to oversee the work of the house of Yahweh; and 6000 were officers and judges. Quite obviously, you cannot have 24,000 chiefs and no Indians, these were all of the Levites assigned to work on the Temple (Ezra 3:8–9 finds this word used in this same way). However, the supervisory nature of this word seems to be clear in 1Chron. 15:21 2Chron. 34:12.


Unfortunately, the exact meaning of the lâmed preposition is also hard to determine. We find several psalms which are ascribed to David written to David; but the idea is, the psalm belongs to David. The lâmed preposition is used more often when something is given to someone else or something is for someone else, the chief meanings of the lâmed preposition. Despite the use of the lâmed preposition with David throughout the book of Psalms, I have taken this to me that this psalm is written for whomever this Preeminent person is.

 

Barnes comments on this portion of the inscription: This phrase in the title, “To the chief Musician,” occurs at the beginning of 53 psalms, and at the close of the hymn in Habak. 3:19. It is uniformly rendered “to the chief Musician,” and means that the psalm was intended for him, or was to be given to him, probably to regulate the manner of performing it. In no one instance does the title imply that he was the author. The word rendered “Chief Musician” is derived from [ a Hebrew word] properly meaning “to shine,” but not used in the Qal. In the Piel form it means to be conspicuous; to be over anything; to be chief; to be superintendent (2Chron. 2:2, 18 34:12) and then it means to lead in music. The meaning of the form used here, and in the other places where it occurs as a title to a psalm, is “Chief Musician,” or precentor; and the idea is, that the psalm is to be performed under his direction; or that the music is to be directed and adapted by him. Footnote


Even though we have the same preposition used here as we find used with David, when he is the author, the many times that this phrase is found in combination with the author’s name suggests more that there is a musical organization and that this song was delivered over to the Choirmaster (or conductor) of that organization to be sung and performed at various functions.

 

The NIV Study Bible has its opinion on this matter: [For the director of music is] probably a liturgical notation, indicating either that the psalm was to be added to he collection of works to be used by the director of music in Israel’s worship services, or that when the psalm was used in the temple worship, it was to be spoke [or, sung?] by the leader of the Levitical choir—or by the choir itself (see 1Chron. 23:4–5, 30 [Of the overseers over the works of the house of the Lord there were twenty-four thousand, and there were six thousand scribes and judges; and four thousand gatekeepers, and four thousand to praise the Lord with instruments which he made to praise the Lord...to stand in the morning to praise and give thanks to the Lord, and so in the evening] 25 [assignments are given to the sons of Korah, among others]). In this liturgical activity the Levites functioned as representatives of the worshiping congregation. Following their lead the people probably responded with “Amen” and “Praise the Lord” (Hallelujah); see 1Chron. 16:36 Neh. 5:13; compare 1Cor. 14:16 Rev. 5:14 7:12 19:4. Footnote


Psalm 55 inscription b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

be (בְּ) [pronounced beh]

in, into, through; at, by, near, on, upon; with, before, against; by means of; among; within

a preposition of proximity

No Strong’s # BDB #88

negîynâh (נְגִינָה) [pronounced negee-NAW]

music from stringed instruments; a stringed instrument; a song or psalm [especially arranged for stringed instruments]; a song of derision

feminine plural noun

Strong’s #5058 BDB #618


Translation: ...a song [played on a stringed instrument]... Negîynâh is found in Job 30:9 in the titles of Psalms 4, 6, 54, 55, 61, 67, 76 Psalm 69:12 77:6 Isa. 38:20 Lam. 3:14 5:14 Habak. 3:19. In every case, the word is associated with a psalm or Hebrew poetry. The verb that this word is based upon—nâgan (נָגַן) [pronounced naw-GAHN]—means to touch the strings, to play a stringed instrument. This is a word we have already come upon in 1Sam. 16:16 18:10 19:9 Strong’s #5059 BDB #618. Since negîynâh is based upon nâgan, we can reasonably assume that it is related to music, and more specifically to stringed instruments.


In Job 30:8–9, negîynâh appears to be a song of derision, as Job tells his friends how embarrassed he is to have become the taunt of fools as well as a byword for them. This appears to have a similar usage in Psalm 69:12 Lam. 3:14. However, there seems to be no such connotation of derision in the inscriptions of the other psalms or in Psalm 77:6 Isa. 38:20 Lam 5:14 Habak. 3:19 (therefore, this connotation is more of the exception than the rule). Footnote Our most reasonable guess is, this is a song played on a stringed instrument or arranged for a stringed instrument.


Psalm 55 inscription c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

masekîyl (מַשְכִּיל) [pronounced mahse-KEEL]

an instructive psalm; a contemplative poem; transliterated maskil

masculine singular noun

Strong’s #4905 BDB #968

Gesenius lists this as the Hiphil participle of sâkal (שָׂכַל) [pronounced saw-KAHL], which means (in the Hiphil) to look at, to attend to, to turn the mind to; to be understanding, to become understanding, to be prudent; to be successful, to act prosperously; to make prudent, to teach. In any case, masekîyl comes from sâkal. Strong’s #7919 BDB #968.


Translation: ...a Maskil [instructive psalm]... Although many good translations tend to transliterate this as maskil, I think that we can safely refer to this as an instructive psalm, given that there is no question about this words ties to the Hiphil (causal stem) of sâkal, which means to instruct, to make prudent, to teach. We find this used in the titles of Psalms  32, 42, 44, 45, 52–55, 74, 78, 88, 89, and 142. David is specifically mentioned in half of those psalms, with the following exceptions: no one is listed as the author for Psalms 42 44 45; Asaph is named as the writer of Psalms 74 78, Heman for Psalm 88 and Ethan for Psalm 89. After we cover a few more of these instructive psalms of David, then we will look at them as a whole.

 

Of this title being a Maskil, Spurgeon writes: This is most fitly called a Maschil, for it is most instructive. No subject is more important or is so fully the key to all theology as that of the covenant. He who is taught by the Holy Spirit to be clear upon the covenant of grace will be a scribe well instructed in the things of the kingdom; he whose doctrinal theory is a mingle-mangle of works and grace is scarcely fit to be teacher of babes. Footnote




Psalm 55 inscription d

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

lâmed (לְ) [pronounced le]

to, for, towards, in regards to, with reference to, as to, with regards to; belonging to; by

directional/relational preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

Dâvid (דָּוִד); also Dâvîyd (דָּוִיד) [pronounced daw-VEED]

beloved and is transliterated David

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #1732 BDB #187


Translation: ...by David. David is listed as the human author; God the Holy Spirit is the Divine Author of this psalm.


This is a psalm about betrayal. David’s son, Absalom, is leading a revolution against him; and one-time confidant, Ahithophel, will coordinate his military.



——————————


Chapter Outline

Charts, Maps and Short Doctrines


David Calls Upon God Concerning His Enemy


Slavishly literal:

 

Moderately literal:

Give ear, Elohim, [to] my prayer,

and do not hide Yourself from my request.

Psalm

55:1

Listen, O Elohim, [to] my prayer

and do not hide from [or, neglect] my request.

Listen, O God, to my prayers and do not withdraw from my personal request to You.


Here is how others have handled this verse:

 

Ancient texts:                       Note: I compare the Hebrew text to English translations of the Latin, Syriac and Greek texts, using the Douay-Rheims translation Footnote ; George Lamsa’s translation, and Sir Lancelot Charles Lee Brenton’s translation as revised and edited by Paul W. Esposito, respectively. I often update these texts with non-substantive changes (e.g., you for thou, etc.). I often use the text of the Complete Apostles’ Bible instead of Brenton’s translation, because it updates the English text.

 

The Septuagint was the earliest known translation of a book (circa 200 b.c.). Since this translation was made before the textual criticism had been developed into a science and because different books appear to be translated by different men, the Greek translation can sometimes be very uneven.

 

When there are serious disparities between my translation and Brenton’s (or the text of the Complete Apostles’ Bible), I look at the Greek text of the Septuagint (the LXX) to see if a substantive difference actually exists (and I reflect these changes in the English rendering of the Greek text). I use the Greek LXX with Strong’s numbers and morphology available for e-sword. The only problem with this resource (which is a problem for similar resources) is, there is no way to further explore Greek verbs which are not found in the New Testament.

 

The Masoretic text is the Hebrew text with all of the vowels (vowel points) inserted (the original Hebrew text lacked vowels). We take the Masoretic text to be the text closest to the original. However, differences between the Masoretic text and the Greek, Latin and Syriac are worth noting and, once in a great while, represent a more accurate text possessed by those other ancient translators.

 

In general, the Latin text is an outstanding translation from the Hebrew text into Latin and very trustworthy (I say this as a non-Catholic). Unfortunately, I do not read Latin—apart from some very obvious words—so I am dependent upon the English translation of the Latin (principally, the Douay-Rheims translation).

 

Underlined words indicate differences in the text.

 

Bracketed portions of the Dead Sea Scrolls are words, letters and phrases lost in the scroll due to various types of damage. Underlined words or phrases are those in the Dead Sea Scrolls but not in the Masoretic text.

 

Aramaic text not represented in some way in the Hebrew original is signaled by italics. The absence of italics should not be construed to mean that the targum translates literally. Aramaic verbs are translated literally; that is, perfects are generally translated as past tense, imperfects as future or jussive, participles as general present.

 

Targum (trans. By Cook)        Hear, O God, my prayer, and do not hide yourself from my prayer.

Latin Vulgate                          Hear, O God, my prayer, and despise not my supplication.

Masoretic Text (Hebrew)        Give ear, Elohim, [to] my prayer,

and do not hide Yourself from my request.

Peshitta (Syriac)                    GIVE ear to my prayer, O God; and reject not my supplication.

Septuagint (Greek)                Hearken, O God, to my prayer; and disregard not my supplication.

 

Significant differences:           The second verb had so many different approaches in the English translation from the Latin, Syriac and Greek, that I double-checked it’s meaning. BDB and Gesenius give it the sole meaning to hide oneself in the Hithpael.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

Common English Bible           God, listen to my prayer;

don't avoid my request!.

Contemporary English V.       Listen, God, to my prayer! Don't reject my request.

Easy English (Pocock)           God, listen to my *prayer.

Do not turn away when I cry for *mercy.

Easy-to-Read Version            God, hear my prayer.

Please don’t ignore my prayer for mercy.

Good News Bible (TEV)         Hear my prayer, O God; don't turn away from my plea!

The Message                         Open your ears, God, to my prayer; don't pretend you don't hear me knocking.

New Berkeley Version           Hear, O God, my prayer; hide not Thyself from my petition.

New Living Translation           Listen to my prayer, O God. Do not hide Yourself from what I ask.


Partially literal and partially paraphrased translations:

 

American English Bible          Give ear, O God, to my prayer; do not overlook the things for which I beg.

Christian Community Bible     Listen to my prayer, O God, do not be deaf to my pleading;... Psalm 17:1 86:6

New American Bible              Listen, God, to my prayer;

do not hide from my pleading;... Ps 5:2-3; 86:6; 130:1-2; Lam 3:56; Jon 2:3.

NIRV                                      God, listen to my prayer.

Pay attention to my cry for help.

New Simplified Bible              Listen to my prayer, O God. Do not hide from my plea for favor.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

Ancient Roots Translinear      Hearken to my prayer, God: Never evade my supplication!

Bible in Basic English             Give hearing to my prayer, O God; and let not your ear be shut against my request.

HCSB                                     God, listen to my prayer and do not ignore my plea for help.

JPS (Tanakh—1985)               Give ear, O God, to my prayer;

do not ignore my plea;...

                                               3       pay attention to me and answer me. A portion of the subsequent verse added for context

New Advent Bible                  Hear, O God, my prayer, and despise not my supplication:...

NET Bible®                             Listen, O God, to my prayer!

Do not ignore [Heb "hide yourself from."] my appeal for mercy! When it comes to making an actual material change to the text, the NET Bible® is pretty good about indicating this. Since most of these corrections will be clear in the more literal translations below and within the Hebrew exegesis itself, I will not continue to list every NET Bible® footnote.

NIV – UK                                Listen to my prayer, O God,

do not ignore my plea;


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

Concordant Literal Version    Do give ear, O Elohim, to my prayer, And do not obscure Yourself from my supplication.

English Standard Version      Give ear to my prayer, O God, and hide not yourself from my plea for mercy!

The Geneva Bible                  Give ear to my prayer, O God; and hide not thyself from my supplication. The earnestness of his prayer declares the vehemency of his grief in so much as he is compelled to burst out into cries.

LTHB                                     Give ear to my prayer, O God; and do not hide Yourself from my cry.

Syndein/Thieme                     Listen to my prayer, O 'Elohim/God and do not hide Yourself from my supplication. {Note: RBT says that psalms 39,41 and 55 are conspiracy psalms written by David approximately at the time of II Samuel 15:12 - the Absalom revolution.}.

World English Bible                Listen to my prayer, God. Don't hide yourself from my supplication.

Young's Literal Translation     Give ear, O God, to my prayer, And hide not from my supplication.

 

The gist of this verse:          David calls for God to listen to his prayer.


Psalm 55:1a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

ʾâzan (אָזַן) [pronounced aw-ZAHN]

to broaden out the ear with the hand in order to hear; give ear and answer; to listen and obey; to listen; to weigh

2nd person masculine singular, Hiphil imperative; with the voluntative hê

Strong’s #238 BDB #24

The voluntative is alluded to in Owen’s, but I can’t find this terminology in any of my Hebrew grammar books, nor in ZPDB or any other Hebrew source whatsoever. This appears to be an umbrella term which includes the jussive (applied to the 3rd person); the imperative (applied to the 2nd person) and the cohortative (applied to the 1st person). What we have here is the letter hê as a suffix to the verb.

ʾĚlôhîym (אלֹהִים) [pronounced el-o-HEEM]

God; gods, foreign gods, god; rulers, judges; superhuman ones, angels; transliterated Elohim

masculine plural noun

Strong's #430 BDB #43

tephillâh (תְּפִלָּה) [pronounced te-phil-LAWH]

prayer, intercession, supplication for any one;  prayer or supplication in general;  a hymn or inspired song

feminine singular noun with the 1st person singular suffix

Strong’s #8605 BDB #813


Translation: Listen, O Elohim, [to] my prayer... We are assuming that this is David, on the Mount of Olives, after having left Jerusalem, for fear of Absalom’s revolt and the devastation that it would cause. David demands that God listen to his prayer, and in fellowship, we may demand the same thing, no matter how lousy our life has been and no matter how many mistakes that we have made. We stand on the completed work of Jesus Christ; we do not stand on our own accomplishments; and that give us God’s ear. We are sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus (Gal. 3:26); based upon this, our prayers will be heard.


Psalm 55:1b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (וְ or וּ) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

ʾal (אַל) [pronounced al]

no, not; nothing; none; neither, nor; do not, let not [with a verb]; let there not be [with an understood verb];

adverb of negation; conjunction of prohibiting, dehorting, deprecating, desire that something not be done

Strong’s #408 BDB #39

çâthar (סָתַר) [pronounced saw-THAR]

to hide onself

2nd person masculine singular, Hithpael imperfect

Strong's #5641 BDB #711

Barnes says Footnote that this means to shut the eyes upon, indicating neglect.

min (מִן) [pronounced mihn]

from, off, away from, out from, out of, from off; on account of, since, above, than, so that not, beyond, more than, greater than

preposition of separation

Strong's #4480 BDB #577


techinnâh (תְחִנָּה) [pronounced te-khin-NAW]

grace, supplication for grace; an entreaty, request, petition, or appeal for grace or favor or mercy

feminine singular noun with the 1st person singular suffix

Strong’s #8467 BDB #337


Translation: ...and do not hide from [or, neglect] my request. David is asking for a clear response from God to his prayer. His prayer is the content of this psalm.

 

Barnes writes: [This] language is, of course, figurative, but it illustrates what often occurs when God seems to withdraw himself; when our prayers do not appear to be heard; when God is apparently unwilling to attend to us. Footnote


Although Matthew Henry writes Footnote Prayer is a salve for every sore and a relief to the spirit under every burden; it should be noted that, if prayer is the only tool in your tool box, then your spiritual life will be miserable indeed. Without suggesting that anyone cut back on their prayer life, we must have knowledge of the plan of God in order for our prayer life to be effective. Note what David does here, while filled with the Holy Spirit: he orders God to listen to him! This totally outclasses the believer who is not sure if God is hearing him or not; and the believer who thinks that God hears every one of his prayers.


If you are a person who uses tools of any kind, and you carry these tools in a box, then, if you are even moderately adept at your craft, you have more than one tool in your toolbox. A carpenter who only has a hammer in his tool box is great to have around when something needs to be hammered; but he is not much help when crown molding needs to be cut. Furthermore, you need to actually know how to use the tools that you have. Prayer is no good if you do not know how to use it effectively or if you pray for the wrong things.


Prayer is presented in the same way throughout the Bible. When Abraham spoke directly to the Angel of the Lord, and bargained with him about Lot and Sodom (at the end of Gen. 18), he did this believing that (1) God would listen to him; (2) God would be reasonable; and (3) God would act. Our praying today includes these exact same principles, and David praying in 1000 b.c., the exact same principles. If we do not believe these things, then why would we pray?

Since I do not want to reinvent the wheel, this doctrine has already been covered in great detail.

Links to the Doctrine of Prayer

Source

Link

R. B. Thieme, Jr.

http://rbthieme.org/PDF/Prayer.pdf This booklet can also be order for free from R. B. Thieme, Jr. Ministries.

Bible Doctrine Resources

http://gracebiblechurchwichita.org/?page_id=433

Maranatha Church

http://www.versebyverse.org/doctrine/prayer.html

Sword of the Spirit Bible Ministries

http://www.swordofthespiritbibleministries.com/images/simplelists//NOTESMR/Prayer.pdf

Grace Notes

http://www.realtime.net/~wdoud/topics/prayer.html

Dr. Randall E. Radic

http://www.realtime.net/~wdoud/topics/prayerprin.html

A weapon does you no good unless you actually know how to use it.


Chapter Outline

Charts, Maps and Short Doctrines


This verse reads: Listen, O Elohim, [to] my prayer and do not hide from [or, neglect] my request. Interestingly enough, David gave many intense prayers, and he was very insistent on God listening to and answer these prayers. How long, O LORD? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? (Psalm 13:1). Do not hide your face from me. Do not turn your servant away in anger, O You who have been my Help. Do not cast me aside and do not forsake me, O God of my salvation! (Psalm 27:9). See also Psalm 28:1 80:4 143:7 for a similar approach. When David prayed to God, he expected a response. Since this is the Word of God, we ought to expect a response as well.


——————————


Attend to me and answer me.

I wander about in my concern and I make a commotion...

Psalm

55:2

Pay attention to me and answer me.

I wander about [restlessly] in my complaint [or, concern]

and I make a commotion...

Pay attention to me, O God, and answer my prayers.

I wander about restlessly and concerned for my situation;

I am making a commotion...


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Targum (trans. By Cook)        Hear my utterance, and accept it from me; I will roar out in my words and be agitated.

Latin Vulgate                          Be attentive to me and hear me. I am grieved in my exercise; and am troubled,...

Masoretic Text (Hebrew)        Attend to me and answer me;

I wander about in my concern and I make a commotion...

Peshitta (Syriac)                    Hear me and answer me; return to my cry and incline to me,...

Septuagint (Greek)                Attend to me, and hearken to me; I was grieved in my meditation, and troubled;...

 

Significant differences:           The second half of this verse in the English translation from the Latin, Syriac and Greek seem quite different from the Hebrew. In the Hebrew, the verb means to wander about; in the Greek, the verb means to be grieved. The following noun in the Hebrew means complaint; concern, voiced concern; communication, declaration, talk; mediation, study, contemplation; and the Greek noun appears to mean chatty, talkative, loquacious.

 

The final verb in the Hebrew means to roar, to make a commotion; to cause a stir, to cause a disturbance; the Greek verb is not too dramatically different; it means to agitate, trouble (a thing, by the movement of its parts to and fro); to cause one inward commotion, take away his calmness of mind, disturb his equanimity; to disquiet, make restless; to stir up.

 

Since the second to the last set of verbs are so different, this will be noted in the Hebrew exegesis.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

Common English Bible           Pay attention! Answer me!

I can't sit still while complaining.

I'm beside myself...

Contemporary English V.       Please listen and help me. My thoughts are troubled, and I keep groaning...

Easy-to-Read Version            God, please listen to me and answer me.

Let me speak to you

and tell you what upsets me.

Good News Bible (TEV)         Listen to me and answer me; I am worn out by my worries.

The Message                         Come close and whisper your answer. I really need you. I shudder...

New Berkeley Version           Observe me and answer me [No one to appeal to except God; fortunately He suffices.].

In restlessness I groan and am distracted...

New Century Version             Pay attention to me and answer me.

I am troubled and upset...

New Life Bible                        Hear me and answer me. My thoughts trouble me and I have no peace,...

New Living Translation           Please listen and answer me,

for I am overwhelmed by my troubles.


Partially literal and partially paraphrased translations:

 

American English Bible          Please pay attention and listen!

I was worried in my meditations; at the voice of my enemy I was disturbed,...

Beck’s American Translation Turn to me and answer me.

I am restless and troubled.

Christian Community Bible     ...give heed to me and answer me.

I am greatly troubled...

God’s Word                         Pay attention to me, and answer me. My thoughts are restless, and I am confused...

New American Bible              ...hear me and give answer.

I rock with grief; I groan...

NIRV                                               Hear me and answer me.

My thoughts upset me. I'm very troubled.

New Jerusalem Bible             ...give me a hearing, answer me, my troubles give me no peace. I shudder...

New Simplified Bible              Pay attention to me, and answer me. My thoughts are restless. I am confused and distracted.

Revised English Bible            Hear me and give me an answer,

for my cares leave me no peace.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

Ancient Roots Translinear      Listen to me and answer my meditation in my misery....

Bible in Basic English             Give thought to me, and let my prayer be answered: I have been made low in sorrow;...

Complete Jewish Bible           Pay attention to me, and answer me! I am panic-stricken as I make my complaint, I shudder...

Ferar-Fenton Bible                 Give a hearing unto me, and reply,

For I wander reflecting, and moan,...

HCSB                                     Pay attention to me and answer me. I am restless and in turmoil with my complaint,...

JPS (Tanakh—1985)                         ...pay heed to me and answer me.

I am tossed about, complaining and moaning

                                               4       at the clamor of the enemy,... A portion of v. 4 was added for context.

New Advent Bible                  Be attentive to me and hear me. I am grieved in my exercise; and am troubled,...

NET Bible®                             Pay attention to me and answer me!

I am so upset [Or "restless" (see Gen. 27:40). The Hiphil is intransitive–exhibitive, indicating the outward display of an inner attitude.] and distressed [Heb "in my complaint."], I am beside myself [The verb is a Hiphil cohortative from הוּם (hum), which means "to confuse someone" in the Qal and "to go wild" in the Niphal. An Arabic cognate means "to be out of one's senses, to wander about." With the vav (ו) conjunctive prefixed to it, the cohortative probably indicates the result or effect of the preceding main verb. Some prefer to emend the form to וְאֵהוֹמָה (ve'ehomah), a Niphal of הוּם (hum), or to וְאֶהַמֶה (ve'ehameh), a Qal imperfect from הָמָה (hamah, "to moan"). Many also prefer to take this verb with what follows (see Psalm 55:3).],...

NIV – UK                                ...hear me and answer me.

My thoughts trouble me and I am distraught...


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

American KJV                        Attend to me, and hear me: I mourn in my complaint, and make a noise;...

The Amplified Bible                Attend to me and answer me; I am restless and distraught in my complaint and must moan...

Concordant Literal Version    Do attend to me and answer me; I am pressed down by my concern.

Darby Translation                  Attend unto me, and answer me: I wander about in my plaint, and I moan aloud.

exeGeses companion Bible   ...hearken to me and answer;

I ramble on in my meditation and quake...

KJV (Scofield)                        Attend unto me, and hear me: I mourn in my complaint, and make a noise;...

LTHB                                     Pay attention to me, and answer me; I wander and I moan in my complaint,...

NASB                                     Give heed to me and answer me;

I am restless in my complaint and am surely distracted [Or I must moan],...

New King James Version       Attend to me, and hear me;

I am restless in my complaint, and moan noisily,...

Syndein                                  Hear me . . . and answer me. Attend unto me, and hear me. My thoughts trouble me and I am distracted. {Note: Once David heard of the Absalom revolution and how well organized it was, he was under great pressure.}.

A Voice in the Wilderness      Give attention to me, and hear me; I am restless in my meditation, and murmur;...

World English Bible                Attend to me, and answer me. I am restless in my complaint, and moan,...

Young's Literal Translation     Attend to me, and answer me, I mourn in my meditation, and make a noise,...

 

The gist of this verse:          David calls for God’s attention and an answer to his prayer; he is upset over what is happening.


Psalm 55:2a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

qâshab (קָשַב) [pronounced kaw-SHAHBV]

incline, attend to, give attention to, be caused to attend to

2nd person masculine singular, Hiphil imperative with the voluntativehê

Strong’s #7181 BDB #904

The voluntative is alluded to in Owen’s, but I can’t find this terminology in any of my Hebrew grammar books, nor in ZPDB or any other Hebrew source whatsoever. This appears to be an umbrella term which includes the jussive (applied to the 3rd person); the imperative (applied to the 2nd person) and the cohortative (applied to the 1st person). What we have here is the letter hê as a suffix to the verb.

lâmed (לְ) [pronounced le]

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition with the 1st person singular suffix

No Strong’s # BDB #510


Translation: Pay attention to me... David needs to determine what his next steps will be. He is in the desert with hundreds of people who depend upon him; and he must act in order to insure their safety and to share their concerns. Therefore, he calls upon God; and he asks for God’s attention right away. David sees himself as being in a very difficult circumstance.


Psalm 55:2b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (וְ or וּ) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

ʿânâh (עָנָה) [pronounced ģaw-NAWH]

to answer, to respond; to speak loudly, to speak up [in a public forum]; to testify; to sing, to chant, to sing responsively

2nd person masculine singular, Qal imperative; with the 1st person singular suffix

Strong's #6030 BDB #772


Translation: ...and answer me. David demands an answer from God; and this is based upon grace, not upon some great thing that David has done. You will note that David does not say, “Do you rememeber that whole Goliath thing, God?”


The first half of v. 2 seems to naturally affix itself to v. 1: Listen, O Elohim, [to] my prayer and do not hide from [or, neglect] my request. Pay attention to me and answer me. These appear to be parallel statements where David is demanding God’s attention. Furthermore, these statements either belong together in the same verse, or they should be two separate verses with v. 2c actually beginning v. 3.


In fact, in the division of verses, we have several problems. V. 2c–d should begin a new verse and not be connected to v. 2a–b; and v. 3a is actually a part of v. 2d. I realize that you did not follow this. However, the translation at the end will properly separate these clauses and verses.


Psalm 55:2c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

rûwd (רוּד) [pronounced rood]

to wander [about, restlessly], to roam [ramble]; to inquire after, to seek [by running about]; to be restless, to show restlessness

1st person singular, Hiphil imperfect

Strong’s #7300 BDB #923

The NET Bible says: Or "restless" (see Gen. 27:40). The Hiphil is intransitive–exhibitive, indicating the outward display of an inner attitude. Footnote I have not heard of that approach to the Hiphil before.

According to Barnes, this verb is especially applied to animals who have broken loose. Footnote Quite a picture of David leaving Jerusalem and wandering around on the mountain adjacent to Mount Zion.

The Greek verb is the 1st person singular, aorist passive indicative of lupeô (λυπέω) [pronounced loo-PEH-oh], which means to make sorrowful; to affect with sadness, cause grief, to throw into sorrow; to grieve, offend; to make one uneasy, cause him a scruple. Strong’s #3076.

be (בְּ) [pronounced beh]

in, into, through; at, by, near, on, upon; with, before, against; by means of; among; within

a preposition of proximity

No Strong’s # BDB #88

sîyach (שִׂיחַ) [pronounced SEE-ahkh]

 complaint; concern, voiced concern; communication, declaration, talk; mediation, study, contemplation

masculine singular noun with the 1st person singular suffix

Strong’s #7879 BDB #967

Although we could probably get away with generally rendering sîyach as a voiced concern, even that seems a bit too weak for the passages in Job. My thinking would be that this noun (and verb) went through a transformation over the years. In Job’s day, sîyach meant complaint; however, this became a vocalized concern and then simply a communication. Since communication works both ways, this also has a more passive sense, where the person receives the communication; in other words, he studies or meditates.

Clarke writes: [This is] a strong guttural sound, expressive of the natural accents of sorrow. Footnote

The Greek noun here is not too far different; it means talking, garrulous, chatty, loquacious. Although that sounds different, it could have a meaning in the Koine Greek closer to our noun.


Translation: ...I wander about [restlessly] in my complaint [or, concern]... David is at the top of the Mount of Olives, looking down to Jerusalem; trying to determine his next move. He is nervous; he has willingly left the capital of Jerusalem. However, he does not have any sort of exact destination because he has no intelligence on Absalom’s forces. Consequently, he cannot just continue to meander about, as he has hundreds of people depending upon him (2Sam. 15:19–20).


According to Barnes, this verb, to wander, is especially applied to animals who have broken loose. Footnote Quite a picture of David leaving Jerusalem and wandering around on the mountain adjacent to Mount Zion. However, what is key is, this describes David’s state of mind as well. His restlessness, like an animal which has broken free, is also a description of his state of mind. He was the king; and, a few hours later, his son has been declared king in Hebron. Obviously, this is going to shake up any normal person.


This phrase in the Greek is quite different; it means: ...I am grieved (or, sorrowful) in loquaciousness... Although that does not make a great deal of sense, that final word (not found in the NT) may concern, communication, declaration. The problem is, these words can have slightly different definitions depending upon the type of Greek which is being looked at.


Either understanding seems reasonable to the context; David can be walking about with nervous energy (as per the Hebrew); something which people do when things have gone awry; he can also be grieving over what is going on (as per the Greek). In either case, there is an energy and a concern which is taking place in David’s thought process over the situation in which he finds himself.


Psalm 55:2d

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (וְ or וּ) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

hûwm (הוּם) [pronounced hoom]

to roar, to make a commotion; to cause a stir, to cause a disturbance

1st person singular, Hiphil imperfect

Strong’s #1949 BDB #223

Also spelled hîym (םי ̣ה) [pronounced heem].

The NET Bible says: The verb is a Hiphil cohortative from הוּם (hum), which means "to confuse someone" in the Qal and "to go wild" in the Niphal. An Arabic cognate means "to be out of one's senses, to wander about." With the vav (ו) conjunctive prefixed to it, the cohortative probably indicates the result or effect of the preceding main verb. Some prefer to emend the form to וְאֵהוֹמָה (ve'ehomah), a Niphal of הוּם (hum), or to וְאֶהַמֶה (ve'ehameh), a Qal imperfect from הָמָה (hamah, "to moan"). Many also prefer to take this verb with what follows (see Psalm 55:3). Footnote In any case, it sounds like there is a lot of emotion associated with this word.

Owen does not list this as a cohortative verb.

This final verb should be affixed to the next phrase in v. 3.


Translation: ...and I make a commotion... This final phrase belongs with v. 3a; but with all of these people, David is making quite a commotion in his movement out of Jerusalem, despite it all being very organized. After all, a significant force will be moving out of Jerusalem with King David, which will cause quite an uproar. It is sort of like the rapture of the church. David, by his choices of what do to, causes (Hiphil tense) this great uproar or disturbance.


The parallel is, David wants a response from God right away, or a minute ago. So he will make a commotion on the throne of grace, as it were.


The problem with this final line is, it appears to be connected to the next verse, so fully understanding it is somewhat difficult to do until we get to the next verse. Together, these two pieces of a verse say: ...and I make a commotion on account of the sound of the enemy. Quite obviously, David is upset over what has happened, and he is making quite a stir over it. What is the sound that he heard? The trumpet sounds throughout the land, and the men in the town squares calling out, “Absalom is king in Hebron!” (2Sam. 15:10b).


Externally, he is moving those loyal to him out of Jerusalem, down into the valley and up the Mount of Olives. He does this because of the sound of his enemy, who is Absalom, his son. That sound would be trumpets and men declaring that Absalom is now king in Hebron. Internally, David is stirred up in his soul as well. Obviously, these series of events culminating in Absalom assuming the kingship would cause to dramatically stir up David’s soul.


Here is something that you may not get in this final phrase: David causes this stirring up, and it occurs both externally and internally. David does not use the Hithpael stem (the reflexive) nor does he use the Hophal stem (the causative passive). It is through his own volition that his own soul is stirred up and disturbed. In the next vew verses, we are going to see that David admits to the mental attitude sin fear, which goes hand-in-hand with being stirred up. However, his soul is not caused to be stirred up (Hophil) but he causes his soul to be stirred up (Hiphil).


——————————


...from a voice a an enemy,

from faces of oppression of an unrighteous [one];

for they shake upon me falsehood [or, iniquity]

and in anger they oppose me.

Psalm

55:3

...on account of the sound of the enemy,

[and] because of the pressure of the malevolent;

for they have caused falsehood to move against [possibly, to rain down upon] me,

and they oppose me in anger.

...from the sound of my enemy,

because of the pressure by the corrupt;

for they have caused lies and falsehoods to rain down upon me

and they oppose me with their anger and mental attitude sins.


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Jerusalem targum                  From the voice of the enemy, from the trouble of the wicked, for they extend lies against me, and in anger they will hold a grudge towards me.

Latin Vulgate                          ...at the voice of the enemy, and at the tribulation of the sinner. For they have cast iniquities upon me: and in wrath they were troublesome to me.

Masoretic Text (Hebrew)        ...from a voice a an enemy,

from faces of oppression of an unrighteous [one];

for they shake upon me falsehood [or, iniquity]

and in anger they oppose me.

Peshitta (Syriac)                    Because of mine enemies, because of the oppression of the wicked; for they have devised iniquity against me, and reproached me.

Septuagint (Greek)                ...because of the voice of the enemy, and because of the oppression of the sinner; for they brought iniquity against me, and were wrathfully angry with me.

 

Significant differences:           The English translation of the Syriac does not have voice in the first phrase. The second phrase found in the Latin seems to very different from the MT. However, tribulation might be a semi-reasonable way to translate oppression; and sinner can certainly stand in for unrighteous one.

 

In the third phrase, the Hebrew verb seems odd, compared to the other verbs in the other languages.

 

The final phrase is roughly similar in these translations.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

Common English Bible           I'm beside myself

                                               3    over the enemy's noise,

at the wicked person's racket,

because they bring disaster on me

and harass me furiously. A portion of v. 2 has been included.

Contemporary English V.       ...because my loud enemies shout and attack. They treat me terribly and hold angry grudges.

Easy English                          I am very *unhappy

because of what my enemies say. They give me a lot of pain.

And they are so angry that they *hate and make trouble for me. The first phrase is v. 2.

Easy-to-Read Version            My enemy said bad things to me.

That wicked man yelled at me.

My enemies were angry and attacked me.

They brought troubles crashing down on top of me.

Good News Bible (TEV)         I am terrified by the threats of my enemies, crushed by the oppression of the wicked. They bring trouble on me; they are angry with me and hate me.

New Berkeley Version           In restlessness I groan and am distracted

because of the enemy’s noisiness;

because of the threatening of the wicked.

For they engulf me with their mischief

and in anger they assault me. A portion of v. 2 was included for context.

New Century Version                      I am troubled and upset

3 by what the enemy says

and how the wicked look at me.

They bring troubles down on me,

and in anger they attack me. A portion of v. 2 included.

New Life Bible                        My thoughts trouble me and I have no peace, 3because of the voice of those who hate me and the power of the sinful. For they bring trouble upon me, and in anger they keep on having bad thoughts against me. A portion of v. 2 included.

New Living Translation           My enemies shout at me,

making loud and wicked threats.

They bring trouble on me

and angrily hunt me down.


Partially literal and partially paraphrased translations:

 

American English Bible          I was worried in my meditations; at the voice of my enemy I was disturbed, 3 and by the oppression of sinners. For, lawlessly they've turned against me, and in anger they've shown their rage. A portion of v. 2 was included.

Beck’s American Translation I am restless and troubled

and confused by the shouting of the enemy

and the oppression of the wicked. A portion of v. 2 was included for context.

Christian Community Bible     I am greatly troubled 4 at the outcry of the enemy and the clamor of the wicked.

I am distraught at the way they revile me and persecute me in their fury. A portion of the previous verse is included.

God’s Word                         ...because my enemy shouts at me and a wicked person persecutes me. They bring misery crashing down on me, and they attack me out of anger.

New American Bible              I rock with grief; I groan

4at the uproar of the enemy,

the clamor of the wicked.

They heap trouble upon me,

savagely accuse me. A portion of the previous verse is included.

NIRV                                      My thoughts upset me. I'm very troubled.

                                               3     I'm troubled by what my enemies say about me.

I'm upset because sinful people stare at me.

They cause me all kinds of suffering.

When they are angry, they attack me with their words. A portion of v. 2 is included.

New Jerusalem Bible             ...at the enemy's shouts, at the outcry of the wicked; they heap up charges against me, in their anger bring hostile accusations against me.

New Simplified Bible              This is because my enemy shouts at me and a wicked person persecutes me. They bring misery crashing down on me, and they attack me out of anger.

Revised English Bible            I am panic-stricken at the hostile shouts,

at the shrill clamour of the wicked,

for they heap trouble on me

and revile me in their fury.

Today’s NIV                          My thoughts trouble me and I am distraught

                                               3     because of what my enemy is saying,

because of the threats of the wicked;

for they bring down suffering on me

and assail me in their anger. A portion of v. 2 is included.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

Ancient Roots Translinear      I quake from the voice of the enemy in front of me. The wicked overload me. For they move vice over me, and oppose me with their emotion.

Bible in Basic English             I am troubled because of the voice of the cruel ones, because of the loud cry of the evil-doers; for they put a weight of evil on me, and they are cruel in their hate for me.

Complete Jewish Bible           I am panic-stricken as I make my complaint, I shudder 3 at how the enemy shouts, at how the wicked oppress; for they keep heaping trouble on me and angrily tormenting me. A portion of v. 2 is included.

Ferar-Fenton Bible                 At my foe’s voice, before and behind,

For the wicked throw terror on me;

They accuse me with fury and rage,...

HCSB                                     ...because of the enemy's voice, because of the pressure of the wicked. For they bring down disaster on me and harass me in anger.

JPS (Tanakh—1985)               I am tossed about, complaining that moaning

at the clamor of the enemy,

because of the oppression of the wicked;

for they bring evil upon me

and furiously harass me. A portion of v. 2 (the first line) is included.

New Advent Bible                  I am grieved in my exercise; and am troubled, 4 at the voice of the enemy, and at the tribulation of the sinner. For they have cast iniquities upon me: and in wrath they were troublesome to me. A portion of v. 2 is included (which is v. 3 in the Latin).

NET Bible®                             ...because of what the enemy says [Heb "because of [the] voice of [the] enemy."],

and because of how the wicked [The singular forms "enemy" and "wicked" are collective or representative, as the plural verb forms in the second half of the verse indicate.] pressure me [Heb "from before the pressure of the wicked." Some suggest the meaning "screech" (note the parallel "voice"; cf. NEB "shrill clamour"; NRSV "clamor") for the rare noun עָקָה ('aqah, "pressure").],

for they hurl trouble [Heb "wickedness," but here the term refers to the destructive effects of their wicked acts.] down upon me [The verb form in the Masoretic Text (MT) appears to be a Hiphil imperfect from the root מוֹט (mot, "to sway"), but the Hiphil occurs only here and in the Kethib (consonantal text) of Psa_140:10, where the form יַמְטֵר (yamter, "let him rain down") should probably be read. Here in Psa_55:3 it is preferable to read יַמְטִירוּ (yamtiru, "they rain down"). It is odd for "rain down" to be used with an abstract object like "wickedness," but in Job_20:23 God "rains down" anger (unless one emends the text there; see BHS).]

and angrily attack me.

NIV – UK                                My thoughts trouble me and I am distraught

                                               3     because of what my enemy is saying,

because of the threats of the wicked;

for they bring down suffering on me

and assail me in their anger. A portion of v. 2 is included.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

Concordant Literal Version    And I am discomfited by the voice of the enemy, Because of the pressure of the wicked. For they are slipping lawlessness upon me And are assailing me in anger.

A Conservative Version         ...because of the voice of the enemy, because of the oppression of the wicked. For they cast iniquity upon me, and in anger they persecute me.

Context Group Version          Because of the voice of the enemy, Because of the oppression of the wicked; For they cast iniquity on me, And in anger they persecute me.

English Standard Version      ...because of the noise of the enemy, because of the oppression of the wicked. For they drop trouble upon me, and in anger they bear a grudge against me.

exeGeses companion Bible   ...- because of the voice of the enemy

at the face of the oppression of the wicked:

for they topple mischief on me;

in wrath they oppose me.

The Geneva Bible                  Because of the voice [For the threatenings of Saul and his adherents.] of the enemy, because of the oppression of the wicked: for they cast iniquity upon me [They have defamed me as a wicked person, or they have imagined my destruction.], and in wrath they hate me.

LTHB                                     ...from the voice of the enemy, from the oppression of the wicked; for they shake trouble over me, and in anger they hate me.

NASB                                     Because of the voice of the enemy,

Because of the pressure of the wicked;

For they bring down trouble [Or wickedness] upon me

And in anger they bear a grudge against me.

New RSV                               I am distraught 3by the noise of the enemy,

because of the clamour of the wicked.

For they bring [Cn Compare Gk: Heb they cause to totter] trouble upon me,

and in anger they cherish enmity against me. A portion of v. 2 is shown.

Syndein                                  At the 'voice of the enemy', {this is 'Absalom reigns in Hebron' - see 2Samuel 15:10} by the depression of the lawless one . . . for they bring down suffering on me, and in anger they would trap/destroy me.

World English Bible                Because of the voice of the enemy, Because of the oppression of the wicked. For they bring suffering on me. In anger they hold a grudge against me.

Young's Literal Translation     Because of the voice of an enemy, Because of the oppression of the wicked, For they cause sorrow to move against me, And in anger they hate me.

 

The gist of this verse:          David’s enemies are filled with mental attitude sins against him.


Psalm 55:3a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

min (מִן) [pronounced mihn]

from, off, away from, out from, out of, from off; on account of, since, above, than, so that not, beyond, more than, greater than

preposition of separation

Strong's #4480 BDB #577


qôwl (קוֹל) [pronounced kohl]

sound, voice, noise; loud noise, thundering

masculine singular construct

Strong’s #6963 BDB #876

ʾâyab (אָיַב) [pronounced aw-YABV]

enemy, the one being at enmity with you; enmity, hostility

Qal active participle

Strong’s #340 & #341 BDB #33

As a singular substantive, this is spelled ʾôyêb (אֹיֵב) [pronounced oh-YAYBV]. As Strong’s #340, this is the Qal active participle of the verb; as Strong’s #341, this is the substantive. It is precisely the same word, despite the different Strong’s #’s.

NET Bible note: The singular forms "enemy" and "wicked" are collective or representative, as the plural verb forms in the second half of the verse indicate. Footnote


Translation: ...on account of the sound of the enemy,... Let’s connect this to v. 2 in order to have a better feel for what is being said. ...and I make a commotion on account of the sound of the enemy,... This speaks of David moving out, heading northeast from Jerusalem, as his enemy, Absalom, comes from the south into Jerusalem. He hears the trumpets and then he hears about his son Absalom being declared king in Hebron and responds by exiting Jerusalem and then waiting for more intelligence to determine what to do next (2Sam. 15:10, 13–14).


Psalm 55:3b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

min (מִן) [pronounced mihn]

from, away from, out from, out of from, off, on account of, since, above, than, so that not, beyond, more than

preposition of separation

Strong's #4480 BDB #577

pânîym (פָּנִים) [pronounced paw-NEEM]

face, faces, countenance; presence

masculine plural construct (plural acts like English singular)

Strong’s #6440 BDB #815

Together, min pânîym mean from before the face of; out from before the face, from the presence of. However, together, they can also be a reference to the cause, whether near or remote, and can therefore be rendered because of, because that; by.

ʿâqâh (עָקָה) [pronounced ģaw-KAW]

oppression; pressure; packed in

feminine singular construct

Strong’s #6125 BDB #734

Barnes: The word here rendered “oppression” occurs nowhere else. The verb from which it is derived occurs twice, Amos 2:13 : “Behold, I am “pressed” under you as a cart is “pressed” that is full of sheaves.” The idea is that of crushing by a heavy weight; and hence, of crushing by affliction. Footnote

râshâʿ (רָשָע) [pronounced raw-SHAWĢ]

unrighteous; malevolent, lawless, corrupt, wicked (hostile to God); criminal; guilty [of sin] [against God or man]; having an unrighteous cause

masculine singular adjective; can act like a substantive

Strong’s #7563 BDB #957

NET Bible note: The singular forms "enemy" and "wicked" are collective or representative, as the plural verb forms in the second half of the verse indicate. Footnote


Translation: ...[and] because of the pressure of the malevolent;... Absalom would be the one who is malevolent; the one who is corrupt and wicked. He is hostile to God because he does not want to wait until God removes his man (David) from office. Absalom wants this position of rulership right now. In fact, insofar as we know, Absalom may not even believe in the God of Israel.


The pressure Footnote which Absalom is exerting on the situation is, he has been declared king in Hebron; and men all over the entirety of Israel have made this war cry, if you will.


So far, this, with a portion of the previous verse, reads: ...and I make a commotion on account of the sound of the enemy, [and] because of the pressure of the malevolent;...


Psalm 55:3c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

kîy (כִּי) [pronounced kee]

for, that, because; when, at that time, which, what time

explanatory or temporal conjunction; preposition

Strong's #3588 BDB #471

môwţ (מוֹט) [pronounced moht]

to cause to be shaken, to cause to be moved, dislodged, thrown into disorder or disarray

3rd person masculine plural, Hiphil imperfect

Strong’s #4131 BDB #556

NET Bible note: The verb form in the Masoretic Text (MT) appears to be a Hiphil imperfect from the root מוֹט (mot, "to sway"), but the Hiphil occurs only here and in the Kethib (consonantal text) of Psalm 140:10, where the form יַמְטֵר (yamter, "let him rain down") should probably be read. Here in Psalm 55:3 it is preferable to read יַמְטִירוּ (yamtiru, "they rain down"). It is odd for "rain down" to be used with an abstract object like "wickedness," but in Job. 20:23 God "rains down" anger (unless one emends the text there; see BHS). Footnote

ʿal (עַל) [pronounced ģahl]

upon, beyond, on, against, above, over, by, beside

preposition of proximity with the 1st person singular suffix

Strong’s #5921 BDB #752

ʾâven (אָוֶן) [pronounced AW-ven]

iniquity, misfortune which results from iniquity, trouble, adverse circumstances; idolatry; emptiness, vanity, falsehood, fraud

masculine singular noun

Strong's #205 BDB #19


Translation: ...for they have caused falsehood to move against [possibly, to rain down upon] me,... What Absalom has used is falsehood against David; he has misrepresented who David is to the people of Israel, in order to gain a favorable dispensation from them.

 

Barnes: [David] was suffering from slanderous reproaches; from assaults which had been made on his character. He was charged with evil conduct, and the charge was made in such a manner that he could not meet it. The result was, that a series of calamities had come upon him which was quite overwhelming. Footnote


Application: I write this in 2012, after the election, and this is exactly what Barack Obama’s team did to Mitt Romney; they caused falsehood and fraudulent assertions to be used against Mitt Romney. Their strategy was to “Kill Romney,” meaning that they would attack his character in every way possible. Romney, who had a very nearly perfect background for the presidency (he turned around businesses for a living with an 80% success rate), and a very nearly perfect character, was portrayed as a disconnected, unfeeling corporate raider, who hated dogs and wanted to take away women’s access to contraception.


As an aside, the Bible has many modern-day applications. During nearly any election, we could pull out this psalm or the middle-end chapters of 2Samuel and have a great deal which could be applied to that election. I am not shilling for a candidate here, because that election is over; but it is good for an up-to-date illustration. This is exactly how Absalom undermined David’s authority as king (2Sam. 15:2–4 Psalm 55:3, 20–21).


David had a less exemplary character than Romney in the realm of marriage and family; and it is very likely that Absalom used this against his father (Absalom clearly used the courts against his father, alleging that they were biased and unresponsive—2Sam. 15:2–4).


As a result, many people hated David, as we will see in 2Sam. 16:5–8. Can you imagine? The greatest ruler of Israel and possibly in world history, and David was hated by many of his subjects.


Application: We have this in the United States; Ronald Reagan was one of the greatest presidents of my generation; and there are millions of people who hate him. Quite a number of liberals have told me how Reagan raised taxes and ran up the deficit; and then they supported a president (Obama) who raised taxes and ran up the deficit. These same people hate Reagan and would destroy him by any means possible if he were alive and running for president today; and yet they spread falsehoods about him, saying that he did the things which they actually favor and vote for.


My point is, a great ruler will be hated; and lies and falsehoods about this man will be liberally spread throughout the land. This is what gives the revolutionaries a pretense against David (and against any establishment ruler). They paint him with a broad brush of lies and deceit. Negative campaigning did not start in 2012; or even in 1800 (Adams versus Jefferson). Here, circa 1000 b.c., Absalom is using this approach with great success.


Application: I found this out almost immediately when President Bush (43) was reelected. My inbox began to fill up with tons of anti-Bush propaganda. I recognized it as being slanted and often incorrect, even though I knew almost nothing about politics at the point in my life (except to vote for conservatives). In fact, it was a result of these emails that I began to look into politics more carefully and ended up moving far right.


Application: How do you, as a believer, know that you are voting for the correct candidate/party? If you see ad after ad which attacks the character of the opponent, then you might be better off voting for the person whose character is being assailed. If you see ads which are clearly false (and it is more difficult to determine nowadays, as “fact check” sites are often shills for this or that party; and spin the facts more artfully even than the ad does), then voting for the other candidate is probably the way to go. If you have on one side a party which sticks to the most important issues and giving their opinions on how to best deal with those issues; and a party which simply attacks its opponents, then you vote for the former, and not the latter.


Psalm 55:3d

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (וְ or וּ) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

be (בְּ) [pronounced beh]

in, into, through; at, by, near, on, upon; with, before, against; by means of; among; within

a preposition of proximity

No Strong’s # BDB #88

ʾaph (חּאַף) [pronounced ahf]

nose, nostril, but is also translated face, brow, anger, wrath

masculine singular noun

Strong’s #639 BDB #60

sâţam (שָׂטַם) [pronounced saw-TAHM]

to hate; to oppose; to bear a grudge, to retain [or, cherish] animosity, to be against; to lay snares [for someone], to lay a trap, to follow with hostility

3rd person masculine plural, Qal imperfect; with the 1st person singular suffix

Strong’s #7852 BDB #966


Translation: ...and they oppose me in anger. Absalom leads a revolt against David, and that is a revolt of hatred. Absalom’s campaign is based upon mental attitude sins. He does not look at his father and see areas where David has really fallen down on the job; where David has made it clear that he cannot handle the job of being king; Absalom’s motivation has become hatred and anger. He is motivated by mental attitude sins. He spreads lies and falsehoods about his father in order to gain favor with the people. Or, as Solomon later wrote, There is no new thing under the sun (Eccles. 1:9).


The first portion of this psalm reads:

Listen, O Elohim, [to] my prayer

and do not hide from [or, neglect] my request.

Pay attention to me and answer me.

I wander about [restlessly] in my complaint [or, concern]

and I make a commotion on account of the sound of the enemy,

[and] because of the pressure of the malevolent;

for they have caused falsehood to move against [possibly, to rain down upon] me,

and they oppose me in anger.


David, as a believer in the Almighty, demands a hearing from God. This is completely legitimate from any believer under any circumstances (unless he is under the sin unto death; and that requires real reform in order to get out from under that).


Chapter Outline

Charts, Maps and Short Doctrines


The attack against David is fairly simple, in principle.

The Approach to the Revolution Against David

1)      Those who are in the wrong put constant pressure upon David and upon his supporters.

2)      A number of lies are told about David. What we know about is the ineffectivenss and problems with the Davidic judicial system; however, Absalom probably attacked David on several fronts.

3)      Mental attitude sins are engendered against David. People must not just favor candidate A over candidate B; but they must be made to hate candidate B.

4)      If possible, get the other candidate on the defensive. The defensive is not a position that moves a candidate forward; it keeps them stuck in place.

Application: I write this in 2012. When in the midst of a small group of Democrats, throw out the name Cheney and see what happens. There will be vicious hatred expressed toward him in this group. Footnote They will snarl, talk about Cheney and Haliburton, and act as if he has personally harmed one of them.

Application: I already gave the example of a concerted email campaign against George W. Bush in 2005 and before.


One more thing ought to be noted; Absalom’s life is centered around politics and power; David’s is centered around God. Absalom’s supporters follow his lead in this respect; David’s supporters follow his lead in this respect.


David appears to have faced similar problems in Psalm 27:11–12 (HCSB) Because of my adversaries, show me Your way, LORD, and lead me on a level path. Do not give me over to the will of my foes, for false witnesses rise up against me, breathing violence. Footnote


At this point of David complaining about the lies that were being spoken about him, let us note the lies which were spoken about our Lord:


Chapter Outline

Charts, Maps and Short Doctrines


Satan’s fundamental approach when attacking mankind is through lying. In order to facilitate the death of our Lord on the cross, many lies were told about Jesus. As Paul wrote to the Thessalonians: You, brothers and sisters, were like the churches of God in Judea that are united with Christ Jesus. You suffered the same persecutions from the people of your own country as those churches did from the Jews who killed the Lord Jesus and the prophets and who have persecuted us severely. They are displeasing to God. They are enemies of the whole human race because they try to keep us from telling people who are not Jewish how they can be saved. The result is that those Jews always commit as many sins as possible. So at last they are receiving God's anger (1Thess. 2:14–16). Footnote

The motivation: Jesus later traveled throughout Galilee. He didn't want to travel in Judea because Jews there wanted to kill him (John 7:1; God’s Word™). From that day on, the Jewish council planned to kill Jesus. So Jesus no longer walked openly among the Jews. Instead, he left Bethany and went to the countryside near the desert, to a city called Ephraim, where he stayed with his disciples (John 11:53–54; God’s Word™). Because they were motivated to kill Jesus, they would say anything to accuse Him. The scribes and the chief priests wanted to arrest him right there, but they were afraid of the people. They knew that he had directed this illustration at them. So they watched for an opportunity to send out some spies. The spies were to act like sincere religious people. They wanted to catch him saying the wrong thing so that they could hand him over to the governor (Luke 20:10–20; God’s Word™).

Jesus said to them, "If God were your Father, you would love Me, because I came from God and I am here. For I didn't come on My own, but He sent Me. Why don't you understand what I say? Because you cannot listen to My word. You are of your father the Devil, and you want to carry out your father's desires. He was a murderer from the beginning and has not stood in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he tells a lie, he speaks from his own nature, because he is a liar and the father of liars.” (John 8:42–44; HCSB).

The Lies Spoken and False Charges Made Against Jesus Christ

The Lies and Distortions

Text/Commentary

Jesus claimed to be king; which was true.

Although this is technically not a lie, it is a distortion. Jesus’ enemies wanted to expose Him as an enemy of the state, as someone who wanted to usurp Cæsar’s power. Luke 23:2 John 18:33–38

Jesus was possessed by Beelzebub

The scribes who had come from Jerusalem said [of Jesus], "Beelzebul is in Him," and "He forces demons out of people with the help of the ruler of demons." Jesus called them together and used this illustration: "How can Satan force out Satan? If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot last. And if a household is divided against itself, that household will not last. So if Satan rebels against himself and is divided, he cannot last. That will be the end of him.” (Mark 3:22–26; God’s Word™).

Jesus is called a deceiver of the public

The crowds argued about Jesus. Some people said, "He's a good man," while others said, "No He isn't. He deceives the people." (John 7:13; God’s Word™). This is a logical conclusion; either Jesus is Who He says He is or He is deceiving everyone to whom He speaks.

Jesus is demon possessed; full of the devil

Many of them said, "He's possessed by a demon! He's crazy! Why do you listen to him?" Others said, "No one talks like this if he's possessed by a demon. Can a demon give sight to the blind?" (John 10:20–21: God’s Word™; see also John 8:48, 52

Jesus is crazy.

Again a division took place among the Jews because of these words. Many of them were saying, "He has a demon and He's crazy! Why do you listen to Him?" Others were saying, "These aren't the words of someone demon-possessed. Can a demon open the eyes of the blind?" (John 10:19–21; HCSB).

Jesus is a Samaritan, which is a half-breed.

This is a great insult to be alleged of any Jews. John 8:48

Jesus is accused of not being a man from God, of violating the Sabbath and being sinful.

When Jewish neighbors and pharisees were face with the truth of a true healing, they came up with all kinds of excuses as to why Jesus could not be from God. John 9:1–16

Jesus was not clear with His claims as to Who He is.

Jesus was walking in the temple complex in Solomon's Colonnade. Then the Jews surrounded Him and asked, "How long are You going to keep us in suspense? If You are the Messiah, tell us plainly." "I did tell you and you don't believe," Jesus answered them. "The works that I do in My Father's name testify about Me. But you don't believe because you are not My sheep. My sheep hear My voice, I know them, and they follow Me.” (John 10:23–27; HCSB).

Jesus blasphemed God.

Jesus then said, “The Father and I are one." Again the Jews picked up rocks to stone Him. Jesus replied, "I have shown you many good works from the Father. Which of these works are you stoning Me for?" "We aren't stoning You for a good work," the Jews answered, "but for blasphemy, because You--being a man--make Yourself God." (John 10:30–33).

Similar things are said of Jesus today. Most unbelievers have no idea that Jesus claimed equality with God the Father; and, therefore, when faced with the plain evidence that He does, claim that it is a bad translation, or some religious zealot must have added this verse; or words to that effect.

Jesus was accused of being a revolutionary.

This accusation is quite humorous, as those who accused Jesus of sedition wished to throw off the authority of Rome themselves. In fact, there were a lot of Roman soldiers in Jerusalem at this time for fear of seditious activity by the Jews. Luke 23:2

Jesus was accused of speaking against Roman taxes.

This was certainly not true, as Jesus told those who asked, “Render unto Cæsar that which is Caesar’s.” Luke 23:2

Pontius Pilate (and Herod) determined that the charges laid against our Lord were bogus. Luke 23:13–16

Taken in part from:

http://www.truthinhistory.org/jewish-hatred-against-jesus-christ.html

http://www.rc.net/wcc/readings/matt2711.htm

None of these sites are necessarily recommended. I just used them for some quick references on these lies.


——————————


Chapter Outline

Charts, Maps and Short Doctrines


David is Fearful and He Wants To Get Away


In the next 5 verses, David will talk all about himself. He will use 1st person verbs and 1st person suffixes over 10 times in these 5 verses. Remember that David is a leader and there are hundreds of people with him. He cannot spend a few days thinking about himself and how this all impacts him and what he needs to do for himself. If you are a leader, you do not put yourself first. This indicates some clear problems with David: he is out of fellowship due to fear and he is dreaming of how he could just get away from all of this to his little place in the country. This is fine for a man retiring; but it is not fine for a man who is leading several brigades and their families out of Jerusalem.


Remember Satan’s strategy: he wants the believer to get his eyes on himself, on other people, and/or on things. As long as you focus on one or more of those things, Satan has you off-balance and he is able to manipulate you.


My heart turns in a midst of me

and terrors of death have fallen upon me.

Psalm

55:4

My heart turns within me

and the terror of death has fallen on me.

My heart is conflicted

and I find myself afraid of dying.


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Targum (trans. By Cook)        My heart will tremble within me, and the terrors of death have fallen upon me.

Latin Vulgate                          My heart is troubled within me: and the fear of death is fallen upon me.

Masoretic Text (Hebrew)        My heart turns in a midst of me

and terrors of death have fallen upon me.

Peshitta (Syriac)                    My heart is greatly pained within me; and the terrors of death are fallen upon me.

Septuagint (Greek)                My heart was troubled within me; and the fear of death fell upon me.

 

Significant differences:           The first verb seems to be different in the English translation of the Syriac. Fear is a singular noun (in the Greek and Latin); terrors is in the plural.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

Common English Bible           My heart pounds in my chest

because death's terrors have reached me.

Contemporary English V.       My heart is racing fast, and I am afraid of dying.

Easy English                          My *heart is jumping inside me.

And all the fear of death is on every side of me.

Easy-to-Read Version            My heart is pounding inside me.

I am scared to death.

Good News Bible (TEV)         I am terrified, and the terrors of death crush me.

The Message                         My insides are turned inside out; specters of death have me down.

New Berkeley Version                     My heart is distressed within me,

and terrors of death come down on me.

New Century Version             I am frightened inside;

the terror of death has attacked me.

New Living Translation           My heart pounds in my chest.

The terror of death assaults me.


Partially literal and partially paraphrased translations:

 

American English Bible          My heart was pounding within me, and the fear of death came upon me...

Beck’s American Translation My mind is in a state of anguish

as the terrors of death fall on me;...

Christian Community Bible     My heart agonizes within me; the terrors of death fall upon me. Job 4:14

God’s Word                         My heart is in turmoil. The terrors of death have seized me.

New American Bible              My heart pounds within me;

death's terrors fall upon me.

NIRV                                      I feel great pain deep down inside me.

The terrors of death are crushing me.

New Jerusalem Bible             My heart writhes within me, the terrors of death come upon me,...

New Simplified Bible              My heart is in turmoil within me. The terrors of death have seized me.

Revised English Bible            My heart is torn with anguish

and the terrors of death bear down on me.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

Ancient Roots Translinear      My heart travails in my center. The awe of death falls over me.

Bible in Basic English             My heart is deeply wounded, and the fear of death has come on me.

Ferar-Fenton Bible                 My heart beating quick in my breast,

Whilst the faintness of Death on me falls;...

HCSB                                     My heart shudders within me; terrors of death sweep over me.

JPS (Tanakh—1985)               My heart is convulsed within me;

terrors of death assail me.

New Advent Bible                  My heart is troubled within me: and the fear of death is fallen upon me.

NET Bible®                             My heart beats violently [Heb "shakes, trembles."] within me;

the horrors of death overcome me [Heb "the terrors of death have fallen on me."].

The Scriptures 1998              My heart is pained within me, And the frights of death have fallen upon me.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

The Amplified Bible                My heart is grievously pained within me, and the terrors of death have fallen upon me.

Concordant Literal Version    My heart, it is travailing within me, And dreadings of death have fallen upon me.

English Standard Version      My heart is in anguish within me; the terrors of death have fallen upon me.

exeGeses companion Bible   My heart writhes within me

and the terrors of death fall on me:...

New RSV                               My heart is in anguish within me,

the terrors of death have fallen upon me.

Syndein                                  My 'right lobe'/heart is anguished within me. And the terror of death has fallen on me. {David's life was in very grave danger}.

World English Bible                My heart is severely pained within me. The terrors of death have fallen on me.

Young's Literal Translation     My heart is pained within me, And terrors of death have fallen on me.

 

The gist of this verse:          David is clearly upset in the situation that he is in, and is concerned even for his life.


Psalm 55:4a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

lêb (לֵב) [pronounced laybv]

heart, inner man, mind, will, thinking; midst

masculine singular noun with the 1st person singular suffix

Strong's #3820 BDB #524

chûwl (חוּל) [pronounced khool]

to turn, to turn around, to be twisted

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #2342 BDB #296

Barnes: The word rendered is “to turn,” means properly to turn round; to twist; to dance in a circle; to be whirled round; and then to twist or writhe with pain, especially applied to a woman in travail (Isa. 13:8 23:4 26:18). Here the idea is, that he was in deep distress and anguish. Footnote

be (בְּ) [pronounced beh]

in, into, through; at, by, near, on, upon; with, before, against; by means of; among; within

a preposition of proximity

No Strong’s # BDB #88

qereb (קֶרֶב) [pronounced KEH-rebv]

midst, among, from among [a group of people]; an [actual, physical] inward part; the inner person with respect to thinking and emotion; as a faculty of thinking or emotion; heart, mind, inner being; entrails [of sacrificial animals]

masculine singular noun with the 1st person singular suffix

Strong’s #7130 BDB #899

With the bêyth preposition, it means in the midst of, among, into the midst of (after a verb of motion).


Translation: My heart turns within me... This very much would describe how David felt during the Absalom rebellion. He and Absalom had completely reconciled (2Sam. 14:33), after a long period of time when they were estranged; and Absalom is very much like David. He had all of David’s external characteristics including a great personality. Although we are told very little about David’s interaction with Absalom after they reconciled (apart from the revolution), it is reasonable to suppose that they had developed a friendship (in David’s eyes). Therefore, when facing Absalom in a civil war, David is very conflicted. As far as he is concerned, this seemed to come out of nowhere.

 

Barnes writes: It is easy to see that David would be in deep distress or anguish, if this psalm refers to the revolt of Absalom. The ingratitude and rebellion of a son - the fact of being driven away from his throne - the number of his enemies - the unexpected news that Ahithophel was among them - and the entire uncertainty as to the result, justified the use of this strong language. Footnote


David appears to have been a good judge of character—which would be required for a great leader—but he could be easily blind-sided by his own children. Much of this is David’s own fault. What he should have done originally, after Amnon raped his half-sister Tamar, was to take this case to court and try it. When he did not do that, Absalom had Amnon murdered. David then should have taken that case to court for trial then. We read over and over again about this incident in various commentators who say, almost with one voice, “David needed to fully forgive Absalom.” Wrong! Footnote David needed to sort out Absalom in justice. The circumstances of the case needed to be aired publically in court—with a judge other than David—and adjudicated there. See the exegesis of 2Samuel 14 (HTML) (PDF) (WPD). The key to that narrative is, when justice is called for, there is no substitute. David is on the run from Absalom because he did not deal with Absalom’s transgressions in court.


Also key to this is, our God is a God of perfect justice; if our salvation was not based upon justice, then we would not be saved. That we stand justified before God on the basis of our Lord’s substitutionary death on the cross, is a fundamental tenet of Christianity.


Psalm 55:4b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (וְ or וּ) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

ʾêymâh (אִֵימָה) [pronounced ay-MAW]

terror, dread, horror, fear; idols

feminine plural construct

Strong’s #367 BDB #33

mâveth (מָוֶת) [pronounced MAW-veth]

death, death [as opposed to life], death by violence, a state of death, a place of death

masculine singular noun

Strong’s #4194 BDB #560

nâphal (נָפַל) [pronounced naw-FAHL]

to fall, to lie, to die a violent death, to be brought down, to settle, to sleep deeply; to desert

3rd person plural, Qal perfect

Strong's #5307 BDB #656

ʿal (עַל) [pronounced ģahl]

upon, beyond, on, against, above, over, by, beside

preposition of proximity with the 1st person singular suffix

Strong’s #5921 BDB #752


Translation: ...and the terror of death has fallen on me. To David, this appeared to all come upon him suddenly, although revolution had been in the air for at least 4 years. However, because David was not able to properly evaluate the actions of his own son, Absalom, he did not see this revolution coming.


David writes: My heart is conflicted and I find myself afraid of dying. David has also considered his own mortality in all of this. He believes that God may take him out under the sin unto death, and he knows that is a painful way to die. A mature believer need not be afraid of death; dying grace is a wonderful experience. Even dying as a warrior can be a great experience; but David confesses fear here. Again, this suggests that David has not yet fully recovered from his own cluster of sins.


There are two times in Scripture where David would have been in this situation. As a younger man, he left the palace because Saul wanted to kill him (1Sam. 19:11–19). At that time, David was afraid that Saul would kill him. Then again, when Absalom revolts against a much older David, David does not express fear in the narrative (2Sam. 15) Footnote , but he does retreat from Jerusalem. It is possible that, on several occasions during the Absalom revolt that David was fearful. However, we only know this based upon this psalm.


If David was fearful during the Absalom rebellion, that we know that he had not fully recovered from the interlocking systems of arrogance (HTML) (PDF) (WPD). What must have been the case (and we are assuming that Psalm 55 parallels 2Sam. 15) is that, from time to time, David was in fear when leaving Jerusalem. What God is going to do is to deliver David from his chief weakness as a skirt-chaser but this is a difficult and painful process which took a period of perhaps 10 years. This was a weakness which David indulged in on many occasions over a period of perhaps 20 years (he married 10 women and had at least 10 mistresses, if memory serves), and yet still had affairs (2Sam. 11). He gave in to sexual lust so many times that this had warped David’s soul; sexual lust overrode all of his other activities in life (R. B. Thieme, Jr. uses the interlocking systems of arrogance to explain this). So, what is happening is, David, one of the greatest soldiers of all time, is suffering from fear from time to time, because he is interlocking with the fear Footnote cluster of sins.


The best way to understand a cluster of sins within the interlocking systems of arrogance is to think about drug addiction, as most of us have known people who are addicted to drugs. This can change everything about them; their need and desire for drugs can affect nearly everything that they do in their lives and, in fact, drive them to do things that, in the past, they would have never considered before (such as crime). In this way, one cluster of sins is interlocking with another cluster of sins. As we know, drug addiction is not cured overnight; and that desire remains within the soul for a long time (although it is possible that a newly saved person has the option of more easily walking away from any addiction in their life Footnote ). David’s foray into the interlocking systems of arrogance via the sexual arrogance gate (HTML) (PDF) (WPD) is something which is taking a long time to cure. Footnote His sexual arrogance began to control his life to where he even seduced one of his soldiers’ wives. 2Samuel 11 (HTML) (PDF).


Just as David’s being locked in sexual arrogance colored his entire behavior pattern in Jerusalem; fear could have immobilized him as well. However, despite what is said in vv. 4–5, David will emerge from his fear clear-headed and unafraid.


David, on many occasions, was troubled and faced sufferings (Psalm 6:3 18:4–5 69:20 88:3 102:3–5 116:3). You may ask, why does God subject us to so much trouble and pain? First of all, much of that is self-induced misery; and, secondly, some of us need trouble in order to turn us toward God. When people have everything they need, they tend to forget about God.


Let me give you an odd illustration: people on welfare. People on welfare today can get a house, a phone, money, and food. Nearly all of them have air conditioning, a big screen tv, and a decent car. If they can work 20-30 hours or not work at all, and still get all of this stuff; then they are fine with that. We are developing a culture of dependents; of those who take from the government and enjoy a free ride provided from everyone else. This affects their entire way of thinking. So it is with mankind and God; if life is easy and we have everything that we need, and there are no problems; then why look to God for anything? And our hope for you is firm, because we know that as you share in the sufferings, so you will share in the comfort. For we don't want you to be unaware, brothers, of our affliction that took place in the province of Asia: we were completely overwhelmed--beyond our strength--so that we even despaired of life. However, we personally had a death sentence within ourselves so that we would not trust in ourselves, but in God who raises the dead. He has delivered us from such a terrible death, and He will deliver us; we have placed our hope in Him that He will deliver us again (2Cor. 1:7–10).


Thirdly, sin itself is a reason for trouble and sadness; even if we really, really want to commit these sins. Our Lord prior to His crucifixion was greatly troubled (Matt. 26:37–38 John 12:27 Heb. 5:7). This is because He would take upon Himself the penalty for all of the sins which we have committed. There is going to be pain and suffering associated with sins.


——————————


Fear and trembling come in me;

and so covers me shuddering.

Psalm

55:5

Dread and fear come into me;

consequently, trembling overwhelms me.

Because I have succumbed to dread and fear, I am overwhelmed with trembling.


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Targum (trans. By Cook)        Fear and trembling come to me, and disaster has covered me.

Latin Vulgate                          Fear and trembling are come upon me: and darkness has covered me.

Masoretic Text (Hebrew)        Fear and trembling come in me;

and so covers me shuddering.

Peshitta (Syriac)                    Fearfulness and trembling are come upon me, and the shadow of death has overwhelmed me.

Septuagint (Greek)                Fear and trembling came upon me, and darkness covered me.

 

Significant differences:           The biggest difference is what covers David or overwhelms David. Many of the English translations above have darkness. However, the Hebrew word here is rare and one might make a case that it means darkness rather than horror, shuddering, trembling. However, this word, although it only occurs 3 times in the Old Testament (Psalm 55:5 Isa. 21:4 Ezek. 7:18), comes from a verb which very clearly means to shudder, to tremble (Job 9:6). Perhaps the word darkness seems to be most in tune with the verb used in this passage?


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

Common English Bible           Fear and trembling have come upon me;

I'm shaking all over.

Contemporary English V.       I am trembling with fear, completely terrified.

Easy English                          Great fear and *shaking have come to me.

They are all over me.

Easy-to-Read Version            I am scared and shaking.

I am terrified.

Good News Bible (TEV)         I am gripped by fear and trembling; I am overcome with horror.

New Berkeley Version           Fear and trembling get hold of me

and horror overpowers me.

New Century Version             I am scared and shaking,

and terror grips me.

New Life Bible                        I have begun shaking with fear. Fear has power over me.

New Living Translation           Fear and trembling overwhelm me,

and I can't stop shaking.


Partially literal and partially paraphrased translations:

 

American English Bible          I feared; I was shaking and covered by darkness.

Beck’s American Translation I fear and tremble and shudder all over.

Christian Community Bible     I tremble in fear—horror has got the better of me.

New American Bible              Fear and trembling overwhelm me;

shuddering sweeps over me.

NIRV                                      Fear and trembling have taken hold of me.

Panic has overpowered me.

New Jerusalem Bible             ...fear and trembling overwhelm me, and shuddering grips me.

Revised English Bible            Fear and trembling assail me

and my whole frame shudders.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

Ancient Roots Translinear      Fear and sweating come to me, and shuddering covers me.

Bible in Basic English             Fear and shaking have come over me, with deep fear I am covered.

Ferar-Fenton Bible                 And on me fear and shuddering comes,

And terrors encircle me round!

JPS (Tanakh—1985)               Fear and trembling invade me;

I am clothed with horror.

New Advent Bible                  Fear and trembling have come upon me: and darkness has covered me.

NET Bible®                             Fear and panic overpower me [Heb "fear and trembling enter into me."];

terror overwhelms [Heb "covers." The prefixed verbal form with we (or ve) (וְ or וּ) [pronounced weh] (a wâw consecutive) carries on the descriptive (present progressive) force of the preceding imperfect.] me.

NIV, ©2011                             Fear and trembling have beset me;

horror has overwhelmed me.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

The Amplified Bible                Fear and trembling have come upon me; horror and fright have overwhelmed me.

Concordant Literal Version    Fear and quivering come over me, And shuddering covers me.

exeGeses companion Bible   ...awe and trembling come on me

and horror covers over me.

The updated Footnote Geneva Bible    Fearfulness and trembling are come upon me, and horror has overwhelmed me. There was no part of him that was not astonished with extreme fear.

Syndein                                  Fear and trembling came upon me, and horror has overwhelmed me. {it is a living nightmare for David}.

World English Bible                Fearfulness and trembling have come on me. Horror has overwhelmed me.

Young's Updated LT              Fear and trembling come in to me, And horror covers me.

 

The gist of this verse:          David admits to having great fear at this point.


Psalm 55:5a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

yireʾâh (יִרְאָה) [pronounced yire-AW]

fear, dread, terror, reverence, respect, piety; it can also be used for the object of fear

feminine singular noun

Strong’s #3374 BDB #432

This word is often, but not exclusively, used in poetry. And it is often, but not exclusively, used for the fear-respect of God. Scofield, along with hundreds of other theologians, will tell you that yireʾâh means reverential trust; don’t kid yourselves—it also means fear. If you don’t believe that the God of the Universe—Who will cast billions of people and billions of fallen angels into the Lake of Fire where they will burn forever—if you don’t believe that you ought to fear Him, then you are way confused. David, who will spend eternity with God, transgressed God’s commandments several times and God brought the hurt on him so bad that David wrote psalms that we have to this day which indicate that God caused him great pain and suffering on earth. This is clear in passages like Psalm 55:5 Jonah 1:10, 16.

we (or ve) (וְ or וּ) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

raʿad (רַעַד) [pronounced RAH-ģahd]

fear, trembling

masculine singular noun

Strong’s #7461 BDB #944

bôwʾ (בּוֹא) [pronounced boh]

to come in, to come, to go in, to go, to enter, to advance

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #935 BDB #97

be (בְּ) [pronounced beh]

in, into, through; at, by, near, on, upon; with, before, against; by means of; among; within

a preposition of proximity with the 1st person singular suffix

No Strong’s # BDB #88


Translation: Dread and fear come into me;... David has allowed mental attitude sins to enter into him. He has fallen out of fellowship. He dreads what may happen—not only to himself, but to those who are with him. He greatly fears what may befall him.


As mentioned in the previous verse, we are privy to these emotions in this psalm; they are not clearly found in the narrative of Absalom’s revolution. So, what appears to be the case is, David is naming these sins of fear to God in this psalm; and that moves him along to make the excellent decisions which he makes throughout 2Sam. 15 and following. In fact, we might say that this revolution is where David is strongly tested; and his passing the test is making decision after decision after decision which is right for the situation that he is in. His response to this revolution is very much an indication that he is coming out of the interlocking systems of arrogance. That is, he has progressed to a point where, when he sins, he can name these sins and then pick up and move on. When David sinned with Bathsheba, he has almost gotten to a point where he was not even naming his sins (Nathan had to speak to David by means of a parable to get his attention—2Sam. 12:1–7).


Psalm 55:5b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (וַ) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore, consequently; because

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

kâçâh (כָּסָה) [pronounced kaw-SAWH]

to cover, to clothe, to conceal; to spread over, to engulf; to overwhelm

3rd person feminine singular, Piel imperfect; with the 1st person singular suffix

Strong’s #3680 BDB #491

pallâtsûwth (פַּלָּצוּת) [pronounced pahl-law-tooth]

a trembling, a shuddering; less literally, a fright, a horror, a scare

feminine singular noun:

Strong’s #6427 BDB #814

This Hebrew word here is rare and only occurs 3 times in the Old Testament (Psalm 55:5 Isa. 21:4 Ezek. 7:18). It comes from a verb which very clearly means to shudder, to tremble (Job 9:6), so the translations above are reasonable. Barnes writes: It refers to that state when we are deeply agitated with fear. Footnote


Translation: ...consequently, trembling overwhelms me. Trembling overwhelming him means that he is now controlled by fear; his mental attitude sins have take him over. He is out of fellowship and no good as a commander. Fear and trembling enter into David, and then trembling overwhelms him.


Interestingly enough, the narrative in 2Sam. 15–21 do not refer back to David being filled with fear. However, this verse clearly indicates that, at one point, David did not just fear what was going to happen, he was immobilized by it.


David writes: My heart is conflicted [because of the betrayal by his son, Absalom] and I find myself afraid of dying. Because I have succumbed to dread and fear, I am overwhelmed with trembling. When it comes to this fear, it appears that David is getting progressively better (I will explain that statement). We might even assume that David is confessing his fears right here, in this psalm, and that he will be delivered from those fears. As many citizen soldiers will confess, fear can overtake a man and render him unusable in war. David, because he is recovering from the interlocking systems of arrogance, has fallen into fear, but he has confessed it, and he will be making clear-headed decisions as a result (which will be obvious in 2Sam. 15 and following). This fear is not revealed to us in the Absalom revolution narrative, but it is clearly alluded to here. This suggests that David was able to confess this fear and then to move on. In the narrative, David makes one good decision after another. David, as king, had to recover from his fear and to lead his people. A leader cannot allow himself to be fearful for any amount of time. Therefore, there was a period of time, whether it was a few hours or a few moments, where David was overcome with fear; but he names this sin right here in the psalm, and He moves forward in his spiritual life.


——————————


And so I say, “Who gives to me a wing like the dove? I would fly away and I would tabernacle.

Psalm

55:6

So I thought, “O that one gives me wings like a dove; [then] I would fly away and I would live [elsewhere].

So I thought, “O that someone would give me the wings of a dove; then I would fly away and be at peace in another place.


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Targum (trans. By Cook)        And I said, "Who will give to me wings like a dove, [that] I may fly and come to rest?"

Latin Vulgate                          And I said: Who will give me wings like a dove, and I will fly and be at rest?

Masoretic Text (Hebrew)        And so I say, “Who gives to me a wing like the dove? I would fly away and I would tabernacle.

Peshitta (Syriac)                    And I said, Oh that I had wings like a dove! Then would I fly away and be at rest.

Septuagint (Greek)                And I said, O, that I had wings as those of a dove! Then would I fly away, and be at rest.

 

Significant differences:           The plural of wing, found in the English translation from the various languages, reflects the sensibilities of the English. To be at rest is similar to the Hebrew verb at the very end; but not an exact match.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

Common English Bible           I say to myself,

I wish I had wings like a dove!

I'd fly away and rest.

Contemporary English V.       I wish I had wings like a dove, so I could fly far away and be at peace.

Easy English                          So I said, "I would like to fly away as a bird.

Then I would find *peace.

Easy-to-Read Version            Oh, I wish I had wings like a dove.

I would fly away

and find a place to rest.

Good News Bible (TEV)         I wish I had wings like a dove. I would fly away and find rest.

The Message                         "Who will give me wings," I ask-- "wings like a dove?" Get me out of here on dove wings;...

New Century Version             I said, "I wish I had wings like a dove.

Then I would fly away and rest.

New Living Translation           Oh, that I had wings like a dove;

then I would fly away and rest!


Partially literal and partially paraphrased translations:

 

American English Bible          So I begged, '{Please] give me the wings of a dove, so I can spread them and go find some rest!'

New American Bible              I say, "If only I had wings like a dove

that I might fly away and find rest. Psalm 11:1

New Simplified Bible              I said: If only I had wings like a dove. I would fly away and find rest.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

Ancient Roots Translinear      I said, "Who will give me pinions to fly and reside as a dove?

Bible in Basic English             And I said, If only I had wings like a dove! for then I would go in flight from here and be at rest.

Ferar-Fenton Bible                 “Who will give me Dove’s wings,” I exclaim,

“To fly off, and seek myself rest ?

NET Bible®                             I say [The prefixed verbal form with we (or ve) (וְ or וּ) [pronounced weh] (a wâw consecutive) carries on the descriptive (present progressive) force of the preceding imperfect.], "I wish I had wings like a dove!

I would fly away and settle in a safe place!.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

Concordant Literal Version    I said, O that I had pinions like a dove; I would fly away and tabernacle in serenity.

exeGeses companion Bible   And I say,

Oh that they give me pinions as a dove!

for then I fly and tabernacle!

The Geneva Bible                  And I said, Oh that I had wings like a dove! [for then] would I fly away, and be at rest. Fear had driven him to so great distress, that he wished to be hid in some wilderness, and to be banished from that kingdom which God had promised that he should enjoy.

LTHB                                     And I said, Who will give to me wings like a dove? I would fly away and be at rest.

Syndein                                  And I thought/said, "Oh that I had the wings like a dove! Then would I fly away, and then I would be at rest.

World English Bible                I said, "Oh that I had wings like a dove! Then I would fly away, and be at rest.

Young's Updated LT              And I say, `Who gives to me a pinion as a dove? I fly away and rest,...

 

The gist of this verse:          David calls for the wings of a dove, that he might escape the pressure that he is under.


Psalm 55:6a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (וַ) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore, consequently; because

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

ʾâmar (אָמַר) [pronounced aw-MAHR]

to say, to speak, to utter; to say [to oneself], to think

1st person singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #559 BDB #55

mîy (מִי) [pronounced mee]

who, whom; whose, whomever; what; occasionally rendered how, in what way

pronominal interrogative; the verb to be may be implied

Strong’s #4310 BDB #566

Under some circumstances, the mîy pronominal interrogative can express a wish or a desire, as in 2Sam. 15:4 or 23:15. Footnote

nâthan (נָתַן) [pronounced naw-THAHN]

to give, to grant, to place, to put, to set; to make

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong's #5414 BDB #678

lâmed (לְ) [pronounced le]

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition with the 1st person singular suffix

No Strong’s # BDB #510

ʿêber (אֵבֶר) [pronounced ay-BEHR]

wing, feather, pinion [or a bird; dove, eagle]; figuratively of a Babylonian king

masculine singular noun

Strong’s #83 BDB #7

Although this is a singular noun, it sounds more sensible to use the plural form in the English.

kaph or ke (כְּ) [pronounced ke]

like, as, just as; according to, after; about, approximately

preposition of comparison, resemblance or approximation

No Strong’s # BDB #453

yônâh (יוֹנָה) [pronounced yoh-NAW]

dove, pigeon

feminine singular noun with the definite article

Strong’s #3123 BDB #401


Translation: So I thought, “O that one gives me wings like a dove;... David lets us in on what he was thinking through part of his escape from Jerusalem. We do not know when he thought this way, but, in this obvious fear and suffering, he took himself to a better place. He thought about, what if I had wings? Like a dove!


We think such things and we even act upon them. Some people move from house to house or from city to city, because they just do not feel at ease where they are. Their feelings are certainly inside of them, and those feelings will travel with them. Some people feel a dread like this.


David has all of these people depending upon him. They traveled with him. He might go to war with Absalom and lose. He might be killed. He thinks about this and fear grips his soul, and David begins to fantasize to some degree. He begins to think, what if... His what if is to have the wings of a bird. David’s fears are leading him to sublimate.


David uses the illustration of the wings of a dove; a dove being a non-predatory bird. So he is looking to escape entirely and not to confront.

 

Poole writes: Like a dove; which being fearful, and pursued by birds of prey, flies away, and that very swiftly and far, and into solitary places, where it hides and secures itself in the holes of the rocks, or in some other secret and safe place; all which fitly represents David’s present disposition and desire. Footnote And this also indicates David’s abdication of his responsibilities.


Although there are at least two passages where David looks to make a getaway (1Sam. 27:1 2Sam. 15:14), in the Absalom revolution, David was leading a large group of people. So he could not just sprout wings and fly off.


Psalm 55:6b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

ʿûph (עוּף) [pronounced ģoopf]

to flutter; it is translated both to fly [away, to] (Job 5:7 Isa. 11:14) and to be in a deep sleep; to be weary (Judges 4:21 1Sam. 14:25)

1st person singular, Qal imperfect with the voluntative hê

Strong’s #5774 BDB #733

The hê at the end of a 1st person verb is called a cohortative hê. We often add a word like let, may, might, ought, should.

we (or ve) (וְ or וּ) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

shâkan (שָכַן) [pronounced shaw-KAHN]

to tabernacle, to pitch a tent; to dwell, to reside, to live in, to domicile at, to settle, to settle down, to encamp

1st person singular, Qal imperfect with the voluntative hê

Strong’s #7931 BDB #1014

The hê at the end of a 1st person verb is called a cohortative hê. We often add a word like let, may, might, ought, should.


Translation:...[then] I would fly away and I would live [elsewhere]. Then David tells us what he would do in such a situation. He would simply fly away and live elsewhere. He does not say where he would reside, but, he, in his fantasy, thinks, “If only I had wings; I could fly away and get away from all of this.”


This psalm is not saying that sublimation is the way to deal with our problems. It is not telling us that, in a difficult situation where you are filled with dread, that you should go to your happy place; that you should entertain some fantasy until it is all over. This psalm simply reports where David’s thinking is when on the run from Absalom.


Application: I want you to notice something; the verbs are all in the 1st person. David is thinking only about #1. A leader is not a leader who thinks about himself all the time. Should I name names right now? We have a president who wrote 2 autobiographies before doing anything of note in his own life.


Notice, at no time does David talk about those who are with him. At no time does he mention those whom he is leading. As in the previous 3 verses, the next 2 more verses will be more about David focusing in on himself.


It is interesting to note that, even though these are human viewpoint thoughts which David is having, and they are not mentioned in any narrative, God the Holy Spirit still has David express these thoughts in this psalm.


——————————


Behold! I will go off to depart;

I will pass the night in the desert-wilderness.”

Selah!

Psalm

55:7

Listen, I will go off to depart [from here];

I will stay the night in the desert-wilderness.”

[Musical] pause.

Listen, I will wander away from here

and stay the night off in the desert-wilderness.”

[Musical interlude].


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Targum (trans. By Cook)        Behold, I would go to a far place to wander, I would lodge in the wilderness forever.

Latin Vulgate                          Lo, I have gone far off flying away; and I abode in the wilderness.

Masoretic Text (Hebrew)        Behold! I will go off to depart;

I will pass the night in the desert-wilderness.

Selah!

Peshitta (Syriac)                    Lo, then I would fly far off and dwell in the wilderness.

Septuagint (Greek)                Lo! I have fled afar off, and lodged in the wilderness. Pause.

 

Significant differences:           These seem to be quite close in message. The targum adds the word forever. However, the targum is a paraphrase and a short commentary all in one.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

Common English Bible           I'd run so far away!

I'd live in the desert. Selah

Contemporary English V.       I would go and live in some distant desert.

Easy English                          Yes! I would go far away and live in a wild place. *SELAH

Easy-to-Read Version            I would go far, far away into the desert.

(SELAH [This word is for the musicians. It probably means the singers should pause here or the music should be louder here.])

Good News Bible (TEV)         I would fly far away and make my home in the desert.

The Message                         I want some peace and quiet. I want a walk in the country,...

New Berkeley Version           Yes, then I would wander far away,

                                                        and lodge in the desert.                                               Selah

New Life Bible                        Yes, I would go far away. I would live in the deser.

New Living Translation           I would fly far away

to the quiet of the wilderness. Interlude


Partially literal and partially paraphrased translations:

 

American English Bible          {Look!} I was far off and driven to exile. I was forced to live in the desert,...

Beck’s American Translation Yes, I would run far away and stay in the desert.                           [Music] [Selah]

Christian Community Bible     I would seek a home in the desert... Jer 9:1; Rev 12:6.

God’s Word                         Indeed, I would run far away. I would stay in the desert. Selah

New American Bible              Far away I would flee;

I would stay in the desert. Jer 9:1; Rev 12:6.

NIRV                                      I would escape to a place far away.

I would stay out in the desert. Selah

New Jerusalem Bible             How far I would escape, and make a nest in the desert! Pause

New Simplified Bible              I would run far away. I would stay in the desert.

Revised English Bible            I would escape far away

                                               to a refuge in the wilderness.                                                [Selah


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

Ancient Roots Translinear      I will retreat a distance from here, and lodge in the wilderness." Selah.

Bible in Basic English             I would go wandering far away, living in the waste land. Selah.

Ferar-Fenton Bible                 For then I would fly far away,

And rest in the Desert secure.

HCSB                                     How far away I would flee; I would stay in the wilderness. Selah

Judaica Press Complete T.    Behold I would wander far away; I would lodge in the desert forever.

New Advent Bible                  Lo, I have gone far off flying away; and I abode in the wilderness.

NET Bible®                             Look, I will escape to a distant place;

I will stay in the wilderness. (Selah)

NIV – UK                                I would flee far away

and stay in the desert [The Hebrew has Selah (a word of uncertain meaning) here and in the middle of verse 19.];.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

American KJV                        See, then would I wander far off, and remain in the wilderness. Selah.

The Amplified Bible                Yes, I would wander far away, I would lodge in the wilderness. Selah [pause, and calmly think of that]!

Concordant Literal Version    Behold, I would bolt away afar; I would lodge in the wilderness. Interlude

Emphasized Bible                  Lo! I would take a distant flight, I would tarry in the wilderness. Selah.

English Standard Version      ...yes, I would wander far away; I would lodge in the wilderness; Selah

exeGeses companion Bible   Behold, then I wander afar

and stay overnight in the wilderness!

Selah.

Green’s Literal Translation    I would rove far away, fleeing; I would lodge in the wilderness. Selah.

LTHB                                     I would rove far away, fleeing; I would lodge in the wilderness. Selah.

New King James Version       Indeed, I would wander far off,

And remain in the wilderness. Selah

New RSV                               ...truly, I would flee far away;

I would lodge in the wilderness;

Selah

Syndein                                  I would flee far away, and stay/remain in the desert/wilderness. {David is saying he would like to run away and avoid his responsibility to deal with Absalom}.

Selah. {Selah means singers rest and instruments play on - it is a picture of you resting while the Grace of God continues on}

A Voice in the Wilderness      Lo, I would wander far off; I would abide in the wilderness. Selah.

World English Bible                Behold, then I would wander far off. I would lodge in the wilderness." Selah.

Young's Literal Translation     Lo, I move far off, I lodge in a wilderness. Selah.

 

The gist of this verse:          David says that he would flee his troubles and live out in the country. However, this is not the approach that a leader ought to be taking when leading hundreds of people out of Jerusalem.


Psalm 55:7a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

hinnêh (הִנֵּה) [pronounced hin-NAY]

lo, behold, or more freely, observe, look here, look, listen, note, take note; pay attention, get this, check this out

interjection, demonstrative particle

Strong’s #2009 (and #518, 2006) BDB #243

râchaq (רָחַק) [pronounced raw-KHAHK]

to remove, to cause to remove; to go far off, to take far off; to go away far

1st person singular, Hiphil imperfect

Strong’s #7368 BDB #934

nâdad (נָדַד) [pronounced naw-DAHD]

to move; to move oneself, to wander about, to stray; to retreat, to flee, to depart; to fly [away], to flutter; to remove, to put away; to abominate

Qal infinitive construct

Strong’s #5074 BDB #622


Translation: Listen, I will go off to depart [from here];... Again, David is talking about what he will do. He is talking about what David would do. David is clearly out of fellowship at the time that he is thinking these things, which suggests that he writes down these words after the fact, after realizing that he is wrong to think this way.


When you assume a position of leadership, then you cannot just go off on your own and do whatever. When you get tired of the whole thing, you don’t get to turn your back on your constituency. As the leader, you must be out in front leading. This does not mean, however, that one like the President of the United States does not need some down time. Such a man needs to decompress or relax; but he cannot go off on his own and just disappear.


Application: This is an area where the hoi polloi can be incredibly stupid. They want to be the president, a CEO, the man in charge, because they think they can run things better, in their ignorance. As if anyone could be president; as if anyone could be the CEO; as if anyone could be the man in charge. What they are really thinking is, “I am tried of being bossed around; I want to boss around everyone else. I like that idea.” Being the man in charge is a lot more than telling everyone what to do. If you are an ass, and in charge, and you starting telling people what to do, what do you do when they say, “No.” Or if they quietly disobey your orders. Do you fire them? Do you fire everyone? Do you want to end up leading nobody? Leaders can lead; they can inspire; they can motivate. Not everyone is a leader because life would be messtup if everyone was a leader. If you are a leader, then you assume the responsibility that goes with it (which is not what David is doing yet); and if you are not a leader, then get behind someone who is and follow them.


Psalm 55:7b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

lûwn (לוּן) [pronounced loon]

to lodge, to pass the night, to spend the night, to lodge for the night, to abide

1st person singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #3885 BDB #533

be (בְּ) [pronounced beh]

in, into, through; at, by, near, on, upon; with, before, against; by means of; among; within

a preposition of proximity

No Strong’s # BDB #88

midebâr (מִדְבָר) [pronounced mide-BAWR]

wilderness, unpopulated wilderness, desert wilderness; mouth

masculine singular noun with the definite article

Strong’s #4057 BDB #184


Translation: ...I will stay the night in the desert-wilderness.” Again, David thinks about only himself. He is not talking about leading the people who came with him out into the desert-wilderness, but just himself. The desert-wilderness is a place where people are not. It is a unpopulated area.


Have you ever heard of someone talking about, “I’ll just get a place out in the country; I will just get off on my own, and get away from it all.” That is what David is saying here. Now, the desert-wilderness does not mean that this is a desert. This is an unpopulated area, what we might think of as off in the middle of nowhere. Maybe a little like Texas hill country.


As an aside, when Israel took the Land of Promise, it was a land flowing with milk and honey. Here is it, 400 years later, and it has not changed very much. There is still some rain, some water and some moderate weather. The Middle East of today is much different than the middle east of David’s time period; the weather, the land, the foliage is all very different. In some ways, it was very much like the Los Angeles area today, in terms of weather and greenery. If you viewed the Land of Promise back then, you’d say to yourself, “That’s a place where I’d love to live.”


Psalm 55:7c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

çelâh (סֶכָה) [pronounced seh-LAW]

to lift up, to elevate, to exalt [with one’s voice], to gather, to cast up [into a heap]; it is transliterated Selah

interjection

Strong’s #5542 BDB #699

The verbal cognate is ʿâlâh (עָלָה) [pronounced ģaw-LAW], which means to lift up and toss aside. In the Piel stem, it means to weigh, which involves lifting up the object and placing it upon the balance. Gesenius gives the meaning of çelâh as rest, silence, pause, as çelâh does not necessarily have to match the meaning of its cognates. My thinking, which is a combination of BDB and Gesenius, is that the voices build up to a crescendo here, and, very likely, they are then followed by a vocal (but not necessarily, musical) silence. This would reconcile the points made by Gesenius and still make this compatible with its cognates. Footnote Another very reasonable possibility is that the instruments are lifted up for a musical interlude. The instruments would be held down while the singing takes place, and then lifted up so that their sound would better project when the singing stops. The NLT translation of Interlude is very good.


Translation: [Musical] Pause [or, musical interlude; lit., Selah!] As described in the exegesis, this word çelâh comes from a verb which means to lift up. It is reasonable to assume that those who are playing musical instruments are to lift up these instruments and play during a pause in the singing. I believe that this is called the bridge in modern music? Keil and Delitzsch suggest: The music, as Sela directs, here becomes more boisterous; it gives intensity to the strong cry for the judgment of God; and the first unfolding of thought of this Michtam is here brought to a close. Footnote


Here, selah means that David tells himself to consider what he has been thinking. Take another approach.


——————————


This is an interesting transition between human viewpoint thinking and divine viewpoint thinking. It is filled with figurative language. As you glance down, you will notice the raging wind and the storm. Is David not just escaping Jerusalem, but now he is out in the middle of a storm as well? No. The wind and rain are metaphorical for the problems which David is facing. Therefore, perhaps the shelter mentioned below is metaphorical as well.


I would haste to an escape to me,

from a wind raging,

from a tempest.

Psalm

55:8

I would hasten [to] a shelter [or, hasten an escape] for me,

[a shelter] from a raging wind

[and] from a tempest-storm.

I would move quickly toward a shelter designed to protect me

from the raging wind and from a violent storm.


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Targum (trans. By Cook)        I would make hasten to me rescue from the tempest, shelter [reading מסלל.] from the storm. I believe the italics represented words not found in the Hebrew text? However, this is apparently found in the targum. However, several translations have the word shelter in them.

Latin Vulgate                          I waited for him that has saved me from pusillanimity of spirit, and a storm.

Masoretic Text (Hebrew)        I would haste to an escape to me,

from a wind raging,

from a tempest.

Peshitta (Syriac)                    I would wait for him that will save me from the windy storm and the tempest.

Septuagint (Greek)                I waited for Him that would deliver me from my distressed spirit, and from the tempest.

 

Significant differences:           In the English of the Latin, Syriac and Greek, David is waiting on one to deliver him. This is quite interesting, as we do not find these words in the Hebrew or in the targum. Because the targum and the Hebrew agree, I would tend to go with the Hebrew. Although the Greek would be easy to go with and explain, I cannot simply choose the easiest to explain and go with that text. Footnote

 

In the second phrase, the Greek has my distressed spirit. That is more or less an acceptable translation from the Hebrew.

 

The English translation from the Latin, Syriac and Greek all insert the word and before the final phrase.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

Common English Bible           I'd hurry to my hideout,

far from the rushing wind and storm.

Contemporary English V.       I would quickly find shelter from howling winds and raging storms.

Easy English                          I would hurry to a safe place,

safe from angry wind and storm".

Easy-to-Read Version            I would run away.

I would escape.

I would run away from this

storm of trouble.

Good News Bible (TEV)         I would hurry and find myself a shelter from the raging wind and the storm.

The Message                         I want a cabin in the woods. I'm desperate for a change from rage and stormy weather.

New Berkeley Version           I would hasten to my place of refuge,

from this raging wind and storm.”

New Life Bible                        I would hurry to my safe place, away from the wild wind and storm."

New Living Translation           How quickly I would escape-

far from this wild storm of hatred.


Partially literal and partially paraphrased translations:

 

American English Bible          I was forced to live in the desert, 8 as I waited for someone to save me, from my own fears and the storm. A portion of the previous verse is included.

Christian Community Bible     I would seek a home in the desert 9 or hurry to find a cave for shelter from the tempest.” Vv. 8–9 are included above.

God’s Word                         I would hurry to find shelter from the raging wind and storm."

NIRV                                      I would hurry to my place of safety.

It would be far away from the winds and storms I'm facing."

New Jerusalem Bible             I would soon find a refuge from the storm of abuse, from the...


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

Ancient Roots Translinear      Hurry my rescue from the spirit-wind sandstorm and whirlwind.

Bible in Basic English             I would quickly take cover from the driving storm and from the violent wind.

Judaica Press Complete T.    I would quickly find myself a refuge from a sweeping wind, from a tempest."

New Advent Bible                  I waited for him that has saved me from pusillanimity of spirit, and a storm.

NET Bible®                             I will hurry off to a place that is safe

from the strong wind [Heb “[the] wind [that] sweeps away.” The verb סָעָה (sa’ah, “sweep away”) occurs only here in the OT (see H. R. Cohen, Biblical Hapax Legomena [SBLDS], 120).] and the gale."

New Heart English Bible        "I would hurry to a shelter from the stormy wind and storm."


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

Concordant Literal Version    I would hurry to a place of deliverance for me, Away from the gusting wind and from the tempest.

English Standard Version      I would hurry to find a shelter from the raging wind and tempest."

exeGeses companion Bible   I hasten my escape

from the rushing wind and storm.

The Geneva Bible                  I would hasten my escape from the windy storm [and] tempest. From the cruel rage and tyranny of Saul.

Updated Bible Version 2.11   I would hurry myself to a shelter From the stormy wind and tempest.

World English Bible                "I would hurry to a shelter from the stormy wind and tempest."

Young's Literal Translation     I hasten escape for myself, From a rushing wind, from a whirlwind.

 

The gist of this verse:          David would find a shelter from the elements (which refer actually to the circumstances of his life).


We might see v. 8 as a transitional verse that moves David from his introspection to Who ought to be his actual focus.


Psalm 55:8a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

chûsh (חוּש) [pronounced whoosh]

to show haste, to act quickly [swiftly], to hasten; to come [approach] quickly [swiftly]; to enjoy; to be excited

1st person singular, Hiphil imperfect; with the voluntative hê

Strong’s #2363 BDB #301

The hê at the end of a 1st person verb is called a cohortative hê. We often add a word like let, may, might, ought, should.

miphelâţ (מִפְלָט) [pronounced mihf-LAWT]

escape; place of escape, shelter

masculine singular noun

Strong’s #4655 BDB #812

lâmed (לְ) [pronounced le]

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition with the 1st person singular suffix

No Strong’s # BDB #510


Translation: I would hasten [to] a shelter [or, hasten an escape] for me,... David is still concentrating just on himself; what would he do to save his own neck? He would find a shelter or an escape in the desert-wilderness, because, in David’s fantasy, he can see this little pier and beam home out in the midst of this desert-wilderness that he wants to flee to. Or, perhaps he is looking simply to escape his circumstances.


Psalm 55:8b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

min (מִן) [pronounced mihn]

from, away from, out from, out of from, off, on account of, since, above, than, so that not, beyond, more than

preposition of separation

Strong's #4480 BDB #577

rûwach (רוּחַ) [pronounced ROO-ahkh]

wind, breath, spirit, apparition

feminine singular noun

Strong’s #7307 BDB #924

çaʿâh (שָעָה) [pronounced saw-ĢAW]

a rushing, raging [storm wind]

feminine singular, Qal active participle

Strong’s #5584 BDB #703

min (מִן) [pronounced mihn]

from, away from, out from, out of from, off, on account of, since, above, than, so that not, beyond, more than

preposition of separation

Strong's #4480 BDB #577

çaʿar (סַעַר) [pronounced SAH-ģahr]

tempest, storm, storm-wind; whirlwind; tornado

masculine singular noun

Strong’s #5991 BDB #704

There are two variations on the spelling of this noun; and, as far as we know, there does not seem to be a difference between the masculine and feminine versions of it.


Translation:...[a shelter] from a raging wind [and] from a tempest-storm. This little hideaway is going to protect him from the raging wind and from storms which are brewing.


All of this is really a reference to safety from Absalom and his army. David is not all upset about global warming Footnote and is now hoping to find a place to hide from it. He is concerned about Absalom’s army, which he metaphorically speaks of here as a raging wind and a tempest-storm.

 

Barnes: If this psalm was composed on occasion of the rebellion of Absalom, it is easy to see with what propriety tiffs language is used. The troubles connected with that unnatural rebellion had burst upon him with the fury of a sudden storm, and threatened to sweep everything away. Footnote Although most expositors connect these storms to Absalom’s army, the Geneva Bible associates this with Saul, calling this wind and storm the cruel rage and tyranny of Saul. Footnote

 

Bishop Horsley: 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. Footnote This is, as opposed to the psalm being about Jesus and being persecuted (which is not something which I see in this psalm).


The past 5 verses give us an intimate look into David’s soul while he is out of fellowship. Again, even though this portion of the psalm is a fifth of the entire psalm, David’s self-centered thinking might only last a few minutes or a few hours.


In the introduction to this section, that David, as the leader of hundreds of men and women, speaks of himself in this passage 14 or so times. He does not talk about the people he is protecting; he does not talk about God; he talks about his feelings and what he wants.

David Thinks Only About Himself

Scripture

Text/Commentary

My heart is conflicted

and I find myself afraid of dying.

Because I have succumbed to dread and fear,

I am overwhelmed with trembling.

David is first suffering from mental attitude sins. He is in fear-arrogance, where he has succumbed to fear and everything that he does is colored by this fear. We do not know how long this lasted.

So I thought, “O that someone would give me the wings of a dove;

then I would fly away

and I would be at peace in another place.

David thinks about his situation unrealistically. His fear causes him to detach from reality. What if I had wings and could just fly away? What he is think is ridiculous. Furthermore, peace is in the soul; it is not in another place.

Listen, I will wander away from here

and I will stay the night off in the desert-wilderness.

Here he says that he will go off to the quiet desert-wilderness. He wants to sit on a hill overlooking some small brook, sip a Coors, and watch the clouds move on by.

[Musical interlude].

Stop and think about this, David, while the music plays.

I would move quickly toward a shelter designed to protect me from the raging wind and from a violent storm.

David has one more flight of fancy here; he has this little cabin out in the mountains and if he could just get there, it would protect him from the raging wind and the storm that approaches (both of which are metaphors for David’s situation)

This final metaphor works in two ways. It continues David’s human viewpoint thinking of getting away from it all and enjoying life somewhere away from all of this. But, at the same time, since the raging wind and violent storm are metaphorical, then could not the shelter be metaphorical as well? What is the true shelter for David? Yehowah Elohim, the Revealed Member of the Trinity.

David thinks about this, and all that he is saying and feeling, and he realizes, his is not some physical shelter off in the desert somewhere where he will find peace; his peace and his victory are in God. Whether the final verse makes an impression on his thinking, making him then look toward God, as his true shelter; or whether David metaphorically refers to God as his shelter in this previous verse; I could not tell you. But, without a doubt, David will look to God to deal with his problems in the next section.


Chapter Outline

Charts, Maps and Short Doctrines


At the end of this section of Psalm 55, David says to himself: “I would move quickly toward a shelter designed to protect me from the raging wind and from a violent storm.” David needs to get his head on straight. What did God promise David in the Davidic Covenant? Recall that, David was sitting around thinking, since he had some down-time, and he thought, “I should build a permanent structure for the Lord.” A completely new and original idea; so God gives David grace; God makes a covenant with David. This is the subject of Psalm 89 (HTML) (PDF) (WPD) and of 2Sam. 7 (HTML) (PDF) (WPD).


We need to take a moment and look at the Davidic Covenant which God gave to David in 2Sam. 7:19–37:

The Davidic Covenant

That very night, the word of the Lord came to Nathan, saying,“Go and speak to My servant David, and tell him, ‘This is from Jehovah: you are not going to build a house for Me to live in. You see, I have not lived in a house from the day that I brought the people of Israel out of Egypt even to this day, but, instead, I continually move about within a tent or Tabernacle. In all the places where I have gone out with the sons of Israel, did I ever speak even a word to anyone from the tribes of Israel, anyone that I had commanded to shepherd My people Israel, saying, “Why have you not built Me a house made of cedar?”

All this was predicated upon David’s idea, which he came up with on his own, of building a permanent structure for God (the Temple). God points out that He has never commanded this.


Perhaps David, when he thought of this house out in the country that he might escape to, then thought about the House he sought to build for God; and the Davidic Covenant (promise) which God made to him.

“This you will say to My servant David: ‘Thus speaks Jehovah of the Armies: I took you from out of the pasture, away from following after sheep, to be a prince over My people, over Israel. I have been with you no matter where you went. When you faced enemies, I cut them off right in front of you. I have made your name great on this earth, as notable as any famous or powerful person.

God reminds David that he was a shepherd. God brought him out of the sheepfold and placed him over Israel. When David had enemies, God killed his enemies for him. Do you see how this might be important for David to suddenly start thinking about these things?

I have determined in eternity past a particular place for My people Israel. I will plant them there and they will live in that area instead of the indigenous heathen. Furthermore, Israel will no longer be agitated nor will they be afflicted by men of unjust violence as in the past; and from the day that I commissioned judges over My people Israel. Also, I gave you rest from all your enemies.

God has a physical plot of ground for Israel and He determined where that would be in eternity past. There will be a time when Israel is no longer agitated by outside powers.

Further, Jehovah declares to you that Jehovah will build a dynasty for you. When your days are fulfilled and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up from your loins one who will come after you, whose kingdom I will establish. He will build a house for My name and I will establish His kingdom forever. I will be to him a Father and he will be to me My son. If he goes astray, I will correct and rebuke him with the rods of men and with the welts of the sons of man. I will not take my grace from him as I had removed it from Saul, whom I removed in your presence.

David will have a dynasty, meaning that his sons and his sons’ sons would be on the throne of Israel. God then speaks of two sons of David; his son Solomon, who will build the Temple. God’s grace would always be with Solomon.


The eternal kingdom that will be established forever will be the throne of Jesus, Who is David’s Greater Son.

Your dynasty is been made sure and stable and your kingdom will last forever. You will see that your throne will be clearly established forever.” Nathan conveyed all that God said and all that he saw to David.

God promises David that his kingdom would be established forever.

David needs to take all of this into consideration. How can Absalom be his successor? Absalom has no real interest in the Lord. Absalom has no interest in building the Temple of God. Absalom used sacrifices to God as a cover for a revolutionary movement.

So, when thinking of this little house out in the wilderness where he might go and hide from the difficulties of life, perhaps David is beginning to think about what God has promised him. The next section of this psalm will show a big change in David’s thinking.


Chapter Outline

Charts, Maps and Short Doctrines


Just so that there is no confusion here, David leading these people out of Jerusalem is the right thing to do. He does not have any intelligence on Absalom’s army. He has no idea as to its size, training or dedication. Nor does David want to have a civil war right in the middle of Jerusalem. Leaving Jerusalem is the smart thing for David to do.


Our verse reads: I would move quickly toward a shelter designed to protect me from the raging wind and from a violent storm. David’s problem here, for however long this takes place, is that he is concerned only with himself. The last man a leader should think about is himself.


With this next verse, we will see a remarkable change take place.


——————————


Chapter Outline

Charts, Maps and Short Doctrines


David Asks God for Help Because There is Lawlessness in the Streets


David appears to have gotten out of the funk of the previous 5 verses and he knows that he needs to focus upon God. His problem is not his circumstances; his problem is, he has been thinking all about himself and being afraid of his circumstances. God does not allow for that. Fear is outside of God’s plan for our lives. Therefore, with this verse, David refocuses on God.


Swallow up, my Adonai;

divide up their tongue,

for I have seen violence and strife in the city.

Psalm

55:9

Destroy [them], my Adonai;

confuse [lit., divide up] their tongues;

for I have seen violence and strife in the city.

Destroy them, my Lord and confuse their inner communications,

for I have seen violence and arguments in Jerusalem.


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Targum (trans. By Cook)        Destroy, O Lord, their counsel, divide their tongue, for I have seen violence and strife in the city.

Latin Vulgate                          Cast down, O Lord, and divide their tongues; for I have seen iniquity and contradiction in the city.

Masoretic Text (Hebrew)        Swallow up, my Adonai;

divide up their tongue,

for I have seen violence and strife in the city.

Peshitta (Syriac)                    Destroy, O LORD, and render useless their tongues; for I have seen violence and strife in the city.

Septuagint (Greek)                Destroy, O LORD, and divide their tongues, for I have seen iniquity and gainsaying in the city.

 

Significant differences:           Destroy is a legitimate translation of the first verb; cast down (Latin) does not appear to be.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

Common English Bible           Baffle them, my Lord!

Confuse their language

because I see violence and conflict in the city.

Contemporary English V.       Confuse my enemies, Lord! Upset their plans. Cruelty and violence are all I see in the city,...

Easy English                          Lord, destroy (the *evil people)! Confuse their words!

Because I see fighting and angry people in the city.

Good News Bible (TEV)         Confuse the speech of my enemies, O Lord! I see violence and riots in the city.

The Message                         Come down hard, Lord--slit their tongues. I'm appalled how they've split the city Into rival gangs prowling the alleys...

New Berkeley Version                     Destroy, O Lord, confuse their speeches [another Babel seems required, but usually God-haters are man-haters, too, and get to quarreling.],

for I have seen violence and the strife in the city.

New Life Bible                        Mix them up, O Lord. Divide their tongues. For I have seen fighting and trouble in the city.

New Living Translation           Confuse them, Lord, and frustrate their plans,

for I see violence and conflict in the city.


Partially literal and partially paraphrased translations:

 

American English Bible          O Jehovah, please sink them! Make them speak different tongues! For I have seen how lawless they are, and I've heard their disputes in the city.

Beck’s American Translation Destroy them, Lord! Confound their tongues,

because I see violence and conflict in the city.

Christian Community Bible     O Lord, shatter their plans. In the city I see strife and violence;...

God’s Word                         Completely confuse their language, O Lord, because I see violence and conflict in the city.

NIRV                                      Lord, destroy the plans of sinners. Keep them from understanding one another.

I see people destroying things and fighting in the city.

New Jerusalem Bible             I would soon find a refuge from the storm of abuse, from the 9destructive tempest, Lord, from the flood of their tongues. For I see violence and strife in the city,... A portion of v. 8 is included.

Revised English Bible            Frustrate and divide their counsels, Lord!

I have seen violence and strife in the city.

Today’s NIV                          Lord, confuse the wicked, confound their words,

for I see violence and strife in the city.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

Ancient Roots Translinear      Lord, devour and subdivide their tongues, for I see violence and argument in the city.

Bible in Basic English             Send destruction on them, O Lord, make a division of tongues among them: for I have seen fighting and violent acts in the town.

Complete Jewish Bible           Confuse, Adonai, confound their speech! For I see violence and fighting in the city.

Ferar-Fenton Bible                          Lord swallow and split up their tongues, –

Cruel wrong I have met in this Town.–

HCSB                                     Lord, confuse and confound their speech, for I see violence and strife in the city; ...

JPS (Tanakh—1985)               O Lord, confound their speech, confuse it!

For I see lawlessness and strife in the city;...

New Advent Bible                  Cast down, O Lord, and divide their tongues; for I have seen iniquity and contradiction in the city.

NET Bible®                             Confuse them [Traditionally בַּלַּע (bala’) has been taken to mean “swallow” in the sense of “devour” or “destroy” (cf. KJV), but this may be a homonym meaning “confuse” (see BDB 118 s.v. בַּלַּע; HALOT 135 s.v. III *בֶּלַע). “Their tongue” is the understood object of the verb (see the next line).], O Lord!

Frustrate their plans! [Heb "split their tongue," which apparently means "confuse their speech," or, more paraphrastically, "frustrate the plans they devise with their tongues."]

For I see violence and conflict in the city.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

The Amplified Bible                Destroy [their schemes], O Lord, confuse their tongues, for I have seen violence and strife in the city.

Concordant Literal Version    Do away with them, O Yahweh; befuddle their tongue, For I see Violence and Contention in the city.

Emphasized Bible                  Confuse, O My Lord, divide their speech, For I have seen violence and contention in the city...

English Standard Version      Destroy, O Lord, divide their tongues; for I see violence and strife in the city.

The Geneva Bible                  Destroy, O Lord, [and] divide their tongues [As in the confusion of Babylon when the wicked conspired against God.]: for I have seen violence and strife in the city.

Syndein                                  Confuse the revolutionists, O Lord/'adonai, and divide their speech {get them to argue among themselves - this will be fulfilled} for I see violence and strife in the city {Jerusalem}.

World English Bible                Confuse them, Lord, and confound their language, For I have seen violence and strife in the city.

Young's Literal Translation     Swallow up, O Lord, divide their tongue, For I saw violence and strife in a city.

 

The gist of this verse:          David prays for the destruction and confusion of his enemies, and he does this on the basis of the breakdown of the laws of divine establishment within Jerusalem.


Psalm 55:9a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

bâlaʿ (בָּלַע) [pronounced baw-LAHĢ]

to engulf, to swallow up, to swallow down; to devour; to destroy, to give over to destruction, to take away altogether, to lay waste to

2nd person masculine singular, Piel imperative

Strong's #1104 BDB #118

Barnes: The word rendered “destroy,” properly means to “swallow up;” to “devour” with the idea of greediness. Isa. 28:4 Ex. 7:12 Jon. 1:17 Jer. 51:34. Then it is used in the sense of “destroy,” Job. 20:18 Prov. 1:12. Footnote

Keil and Delitzsch: בּלּע here, considering Isa. 19:3, denotes a swallowing up, i.e., annihilation by means of confounding and rendering utterly futile. Footnote

Of this verb, the NET Bible writes: Traditionally בַּלַּע (bala’) has been taken to mean “swallow” in the sense of “devour” or “destroy” (cf. KJV), but this may be a homonym meaning “confuse” (see BDB 118 s.v. בַּלַּע; HALOT 135 s.v. III *בֶּלַע). “Their tongue” is the understood object of the verb (see the next line). Footnote Although BDB does make a reference to the meaning confuse, it is not clear that such a translation is necessary here or in other passages. However, one might make a the argument that poetic language can cast a wider net for definitions.

ʾădônây (אֲדֹנָי) [pronounced uh-doh-NAY]

Lord (s), Master (s), my Lord (s), Sovereign; my lord [master]; can refer to the Trinity or to an intensification of the noun; transliterated Adonai, adonai

masculine plural noun with the 1st person singular suffix

Strong’s #113 & #136 BDB #10

There are actually 3 forms of this word: ʾădônây (אֲדֹנָי) [pronounced uh-doh-NAY]; ʾădônay (אֲדֹנַי) [pronounced uh-doh-NAY]; and ʾădônîy (אֲדֹנִי) [pronounced uh-doh-NEE].

This is a form of Strong’s #113, where there are three explanations given for the yodh ending: (1) this is a shortened form of the plural ending, usually written -îym (נִים) [pronounced eem], an older form of the pluralis excellentiæ (the plural of excellence), where God’s sovereignty and lordship are emphasized by the use of the plural; (2) this is the actual, but ancient, plural of the noun, which refers to the Trinity; or (3) this is the addition of the 1st person singular suffix, hence, my Lord (the long vowel point at the end would distinguish this from my lords).


Translation: Destroy [them], my Adonai;... David calls for the destruction of his enemies. Although calling for destruction here does not even have an object, here is what is going on: David is thinking about his desperate situation and how he wants to have wings and just fly away from all of his difficulties, and there has to be a reason for this. He just isn’t depressed about life in general—the psalm itself indicates that. So, in David’s mind, he is thinking of the man or men who have driven him out of Jerusalem; so when he says, “Destroy [them], my Lord;” David has to be talking about who or what is on his mind (v. 3 of this chapter—BBE: I am troubled because of the voice of the cruel ones, because of the loud cry of the evil-doers; for they put a weight of evil on me, and they are cruel in their hate for me.). The ones on his mind, which will come out in this psalm, are his enemies—actually, close associates who have turned against him.


God knows what we are thinking; and God knew this psalm from eternity past. Therefore, God knows David’s prayer. David is being elliptical here (not giving a complete thought); but there is enough of the context of this psalm to allow us a complete thought.


This leads us to a rather difficult situation: do we pray against our enemies or do we pray for them? When we were fighting World War II, was it proper to drop bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, or should we have been praying for our enemies, the Japanese instead? Here is where we must properly divide the Word of Truth.

This doctrine was first placed in Psalm 41 (HTML) (PDF) (WPD). It is also a part of the Doctrine of Imprecatory Psalms (HTML) (PDF) (WPD).

Do We Pray for Our Enemies or Against Them?

5)      This psalm, along with several others, is known as an imprecatory psalm or it has imprecatory elements. That is, David prays against his enemies; David prays to defeat his enemies; David prays to pay back his enemies what they deserve.

         i.       David prays: And You, O Yehowah, show grace to me, and raise me up, that I may recompense them (Psalm 41:10). Destroy [them], my Adonai; confuse [lit., divide up] their tongues; for I have seen violence and strife in the city (Psalm 55:9).

         ii.      There are a number of imprecatory psalms. Here are some examples of petitions made to God in these psalms: Let death take my enemies by surprise; let them go down alive to the grave (Psalm 55:15). O God, break the teeth in their mouths (Psalm 58:6). May they be blotted out of the book of life and not be listed with the righteous (Psalm 69:28). May his children be fatherless and his wife a widow (Psalm 109:9). How blessed will be the one who seizes your infants and dashes them against the rocks (Psalm 137:9).

6)      Yet Jesus, our Lord, said, “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who despitefully use you and persecute you, so that you may become sons of your Father in Heaven. For He makes His sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax-collectors do the same?” (Matt. 5:43–46; Lev. 19:18; MKJV).

7)      It is not simply an Old versus New Testament difference. There are Scriptures which exhort us to pray for our enemies: Matt 5:39, 44 Luke 23:34 Rom 12:14 1Cor 4:12 1Thess 5:15.

8)      There are New Testament Scriptures where cursing is done against certain people: Matt 21:18–21 25:41 Acts 8:20 13:10–11 Gal 1:8–9 1Cor 16:22 Rev 6:10 22:18–19. What you actually say, even in a private prayer, can be quite powerful.

9)      The short answer, without much nuance, is, David is speaking of the enemies of Israel who seek to revolt against him; and against the military enemies of Israel; while Jesus is speaking of personal enemies. Although that comes close to dealing with this problem, it does not solve it completely. “Hate your enemies” was applied by the Jews against the Romans who dominated them.

10)    There is a place for both approaches, and here is where the nuance works in. We faced, in WWII, a dreadful and vicious coalition of enemies in the Germans and the Japanese. The Germans were constructing death camps and destroying all of their Jews, which indicates an evil attributable only to Satanic influence. Therefore, the Germans had to be defeated and their death camps made public in every way possible.

11)    This does not mean that we should engender great hate against the Germans or the Japanese. In war, we needed to defeat them, and by any means possible. We used atomic weapons against the Japanese. What we did in WWII was righteous, and it was the hand of God destroying His enemies.

12)    However, once we had defeated the Germans and the Japanese, it was a whole new story, one that, insofar as I know, had never been written before in human history. We went in and administered rulership in these countries with the intention of eventually returning the sovereignty back over to these people. This was an amazing thing which the United States did, and ought to make every American beam with pride of country and patriotism.

13)    General Douglas MacArthur ruled over Japan, calling for missionaries and Bibles for all of these regions in the east, saying that there was a spiritual vacuum there and it would be filled by Christianity or Communism (which has been the great struggle of my lifetime—today, Islam has become more dominant as a Satanic influence).

14)    Therefore, we rightfully prayed to defeat our enemies in WWII, the Germans and the Japanese; but then, instead of subjecting them to a generation of American control, we guided them toward a friendship with the United States, toward freedom and self-determination; and we gave them the gospel of Jesus Christ. This is one of the greatest testimonies of human history to both the words of Jesus and the prayers of King David. We both righteously defeated our enemies and then we showed them the love of God.

Although I know that General MacArthur was the primary force in this, I would find it interesting to see what the reaction from the state department was. How did President Truman view this? Were there those who tried to stop MacArthur? It is a fascinating period of history which Satan would certain rather that we forgive about.


Chapter Outline

Charts, Maps and Short Doctrines


Psalm 55:9b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

pâlag (פָּלַג) [pronounced paw-LAHG]

to divide, to split up

2nd person masculine singular, Piel imperative

Strong’s #6385 BDB #811

lâshôwn (לָשוֹן) [pronounced law-SHOHN]

tongue; speech; language; lapping; tongue-shaped

feminine singular noun with a 3rd person masculine plural suffix

Strong’s #3956 BDB #546


Translation: ...confuse [lit., divide up] their tongues;... David is referring back to the confusion of tongues in Babylon, where men were working side-by-side, and, suddenly, they were all speaking different languages. These men split up and went their separate ways, filling up the earth as God had commanded [Genesis 6 (HTML) (PDF) (WPD)].

 

Barnes writes: There is evident allusion here to the confusion of tongues at Babel (Gen. 11:1–9); and as the language of those who undertook to build that tower was confounded so that they could not understand each other, so the psalmist prays that the counsels of those engaged against him might be confounded, or that they might be divided and distracted in their plans, so that they could not act in harmony. It is very probable that there is an allusion here to the prayer which David offered when he learned that Ahithophel was among the conspirators (2Sam. 15:31); “And David said, O Lord, I pray thee, turn the counsel of Ahithophel into foolishness.” This would tend to divide and distract [those in Absalom’ war room] as well as the purposes of Absalom, and secure his defeat. Footnote


David is not actually calling upon God to confuse the languages of his enemies so that they all leave the situation room in a huff and move elsewhere, never to see one another again. This word is used metaphorically here, asking God for the same result, essentially. In the war room, there are differences of opinion. Sometimes, these differences can become quite heated. David is praying that God cause problems in Absalom’s war room. He does not want Absalom’s generals to come to a consensus and function as a coordinated force against David.


The answer to this prayer is in Hushai the Archite. David had left Jerusalem suddenly and with a small army, upon hearing that Absalom was made king in Hebron. So, while David was in movement up the Mount of Olives, he prayed to God, “Frustrate the counsel of Ahithophel.” Ahithophel was a great strategist who had allied himself with Absalom. And then, there was Hushai, the answer to David’s prayers, waiting on David, at the top of the Mount of Olives. Hushai was an older man, also brilliant like Ahithophel; and someone who, because of his age, would have held David’s army back. So David sends him back to Jerusalem to function as a operative within the Absalom organization. He would be the confusing tongue that would bring Absalom down. Ahithophel would propose the most intelligent way to proceed, and then it would be up to Hushai to suggest an inferior plan, and sell it as if it is a better plan. Only a genius could pull something like this off, confusing the counselors of Absalom, as if their languages had been confounded. See 2Samuel 15 (HTML) (PDF) (WPD) for more detail on this narrative on counterinsurgency and the answer to David’s prayer.


In fact, post-Noah, we have at least 3 instances where the counsel of those who are evil crossed swords: Hushai and Ahithophel in the Absalom cabinet (2Sam. 15:31 16:23 17:14, 23); the contradictory charges put forth against Jesus before the Jewish Sanhedrin (Luke 23:51); and the council of the Jews against Paul (Acts 23:7). Footnote


Psalm 55:9c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

kîy (כִּי) [pronounced kee]

for, that, because; when, at that time, which, what time

explanatory or temporal conjunction; preposition

Strong's #3588 BDB #471

râʾâh (רָאָה) [pronounced raw-AWH]

to see, to look, to look at, to view, to behold; to observe; to perceive, to understand, to learn, to know

1st person singular, Qal perfect

Strong's #7200 BDB #906

châmâç (חָמָס) [pronounced khaw-MAWS]

violence, wrong, cruelty, oppression; that which is gained by violence and wrongdoing

masculine singular noun

Strong’s #2555 BDB #329

we (or ve) (וְ or וּ) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

rîyb (רִיב) [pronounced reebv]

strife, dispute, controversy, legal contention, forensic cause; an argument used in a public discussion or debate

masculine singular noun

Strong's #7379 BDB #936

be (בְּ) [pronounced beh]

in, into, through; at, by, near, on, upon; with, before, against; by means of; among; within

a preposition of proximity

No Strong’s # BDB #88

ʿîyr (עִיר) [pronounced ģeer]

encampment, city, town

feminine singular noun with the definite article

Strong's #5892 BDB #746


Translation: ...for I have seen violence and strife in the city. David is speaking about Jerusalem, and he is on the outskirts of Jerusalem. He is not taking trips back and forth into Jerusalem to see what is going on. However, David has a number of people coming to him from Jerusalem, and they are reporting back to him details of what is going on in the city. Through their eyes, he sees the violence and strife in his city.


Obviously, there is a division between those people who support David and those who support Absalom. Under the current president, Barack Obama, Footnote I have seen the greatest strife of my lifetime between his supporters and conservatives. I do not recall a time when there has been such a sharp divide between liberals and conservatives. This is what was occurring in the city of Jerusalem. You cannot change the rulers of a nation without there being great discord. Not every person who supported David packed up his things and went with David out of the city. Many of those who loved and respected David remained in their homes. Meanwhile, people with hope and change signs kept getting in their faces and arguing for Absalom, the new ruler, and the man of hope and change to their generation (given that this was a revolution; there was probably much more than simply political arguments breaking out).


David has also observed violence in the city, and this violence would be the violence of crime and of revolution. The idea of a government is to provide law and order, so that the rights of the individual are protected; so that we may peaceably enjoy what God has given us; and so that we can gather to learn about Who God is. Violence in a city makes this impossible. In the Watts riots in Los Angeles—how many of these people simultaneous took a break from rioting and looting and went to church? How many businesses had their property protected? This is a breakdown of the Laws of Divine Establishment (HTML) (PDF).


We do not know exactly when David wrote this psalm. He may have completed it after defeating Absalom. If that is the case, Absalom’s public rape of David’s mistresses (2Sam. 16:20–23) would have been included in the violence subsequent to Absalom coming into Jerusalem. This also set a precedent and we have no idea how many hundreds or even tens of thousands of women who were thereafter raped by Absalom supporters.

 

Paraphrasing John Wesley: Strife, Injustice and fraud, oppression and contention rule over Jerusalem instead of the public justice and peace that David had established. Footnote You will recall that Absalom complained about the unfairness and corruption of the court system; and life in Jerusalem under Absalom was very nearly anarchy.


One of the essential purposes of government, clearly known by our founding fathers, but not necessarily by people today, is the establishment of law and order, both within and without (by police and by the military, respectively). Absalom’s rebellion caused violence and dissension in the land.


V. 9 reads: Destroy [them], my Adonai; confuse [lit., divide up] their tongues; for I have seen violence and strife in the city. Throughout this psalm, it is particularly generic. That is, at no time does David particularly identify Absalom, Ahithophel, or Jerusalem. The parallels are quite obvious; and I have given examples how parallels to our current political scene can be matched to this psalm. The idea is, this psalm, although written at a particular time concerning a particular situation, has much wider application. We pray for our opposition to be confused and disjointed; for them to have unreconcilable differences. The reason we desire this is, their governance has done nothing but spark violence and strife in the city.

 

Spurgeon summarizes this: Anarchy had fermented among them, and the king [David] hoped that now it might come to pass that the very lawlessness which had exiled him would create weakness among his foes. Revolution devours its own children. They who are strong through violence, will sooner or later find that their strength is their death. Absalom and Ahithophel may raise the mob, but they cannot so easily rule it. Footnote


Application: What do you pray for? In the time that I write, it is legitimate to pray for the United States and for President Barack Obama and for the branches of government which check and balance his power. We may pray for his radical views to be moderated by reality and by his opposition in order for a better outcome for the United States to occur. However, it is equally legitimate to pray against President Obama, to pray for the opposition to out-maneuver him, to out-think him, and to legislate that which is righteous. Such a prayer is legitimate because Obama has caused strife throughout our nation (but not wide-spread violence as of yet).


——————————


Day and night they [violence and strife] go about her over her walls

and iniquity and misfortune [are] in her midst.

Psalm

55:10

Day and night, they [violence and strife] envelop her, [going] over her walls;

and iniquity and misfortune [are] within her.

Day and night, violence and strife envelop the city, going over her walls;

and there is iniquity and misfortune within those walls.


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Targum (trans. By Cook)        Day and night they encircle it, around her walls, and misery and lies are in her midst.

 

Latin Vulgate                          Day and night shall iniquity surround it upon its walls: and in the midst thereof are labour,...

Masoretic Text (Hebrew)        Day and night they [violence and strife] go about her over her walls

and iniquity and misfortune [are] in her midst.

Peshitta (Syriac)                    Day and night they go about it, around its walls; injustice and mischief are in the midst of it.

Septuagint (Greek)                Day and night he shall go round about it upon its walls; iniquity and sorrow and unrighteousness are in the midst of it;...

 

Significant differences:           The only off-note is the final word in the Latin, labor; no idea how that got there.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

Common English Bible           Day and night they make their rounds on its walls,

and evil and misery live inside it.

Contemporary English V.       ...and they are like guards on patrol day and night. The city is full of trouble, evil,...

Easy-to-Read Version            They walk on its walls in the day and at night.

There are *evil (things) and trouble inside it.

Good News Bible (TEV)         ...surrounding it day and night, filling it with crime and trouble.

The Message                         Day and night spoiling for a fight, trash piled in the streets, ...

New Berkeley Version           Day and night they go about on the walls;

damage and trouble are in its center;...

New Century Version             Day and night they are all around its walls,

and evil and trouble are everywhere inside.

New Life Bible                        They go around on its walls day and night. Sin and wrong-doing are within it.

New Living Translation           Its walls are patrolled day and night against invaders,

but the real danger is wickedness within the city.


Partially literal and partially paraphrased translations:

 

American English Bible          Day and night He'll encircle her walls, for lawlessness and misery dwell in her midst.

Christian Community Bible     In the city I see strife and violence; 11 day and night they prowl about its walls, while inside, evil prevails. A portion of the previous verse is added for context.

God’s Word                         Day and night they go around on top of the city walls. Trouble and misery are everywhere.

New American Bible              For I see violence and strife in the city

                                     11       making rounds on its walls day and night.

Within are mischief and trouble... A portion of the previous verse is added for context.

NIRV                                      Day and night they prowl around on top of its walls.

The city is full of crime and trouble.

New Jerusalem Bible             ...day and night they make their rounds along the city walls, Inside live malice and mischief,...

New Simplified Bible              Day and night they go around on top of the city walls. Trouble and misery are everywhere.

Revised English Bible            ...day and night they encircle it,

all along its walls;

it is filled with trouble and mischief,...


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

Ancient Roots Translinear      For vice and slavery are in its center and surround over its ramparts daytime and night.

Bible in Basic English             By day and night they go round the town, on the walls; trouble and sorrow are in the heart of it.

Complete Jewish Bible           Day and night they go about its walls; within are malice and mischief.

Ferar-Fenton Bible                 Day and night they encircle the walls,–

And passion and sorrow are there.

HCSB                                     ...day and night they make the rounds on its walls. Crime and trouble are within it;...

JPS (Tanakh—1985)               ...day and night they make their rounds on its walls;

evil and mischief are inside it.

New Advent Bible                  Day and night shall iniquity surround it upon its walls: and in the midst thereof are labour,...

NET Bible®                             Day and night they walk around on its walls [Heb "day and night they surround it, upon its walls." Personified "violence and conflict" are the likely subjects. They are compared to watchmen on the city's walls.],

while wickedness and destruction [Wickedness and destruction. These terms are also closely associated in Ps 7:14.] are within it.

NIV – UK                                Day and night they prowl about on its walls;

malice and abuse are within it.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

Concordant Literal Version    By day and night they go round about it on its walls, And Lawlessness and Misery are within it.

English Standard V. – UK       Day and night they go round it

on its walls,

and iniquity and trouble are within it;...

The Geneva Bible                  Day and night they go about it upon the walls thereof: mischief also and sorrow [are] in the midst of it. All laws and good orders are broken and only vice and dissolution reigns under Saul.

Modern KJV                           They go around her on her walls by day and night; and trouble and mischief are in her midst.

Syndein                                  Day and night they {the conspirators} prowl around on her walls. Trouble and misery are in her midst.

Updated Bible Version 2.11   Day and night they go about it on its walls: Iniquity also and mischief are in the midst of it.

World English Bible                Day and night they prowl around on its walls. Malice and abuse are also within her.

Young's Updated LT              By day and by night they go round it, on its walls. Both iniquity and perverseness are in its midst.

 

The gist of this verse:          Throughout the entire city, there is evil and iniquity going on.


Psalm 55:10a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

yômâm (יוֹמָם) [pronounced yoh-MAWM]

substantive: day, daily, daytime;

adverb: by day, in the daytime

substantive/adverb

Strong’s #3119 BDB #401

we (or ve) (וְ or וּ) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

layelâh (לַיְלָה) [pronounced LAY-law]

night; nightly, at night, in the night, during the night

masculine singular noun; this word can take on adverbial qualities

Strong’s #3915 BDB #538

çâbab (סָבַב) [pronounced sawb-VAHBV]

to come [go] about [in a place]; to surround, to encompass; to assemble around; to march, go about; to enclose, to envelop

3rd person masculine plural, Poel imperfect; with the 3rd person feminine singular suffix

Strong’s #5437 BDB #685

ʿal (עַל) [pronounced ģahl]

upon, beyond, on, against, above, over, by, beside

preposition of proximity

Strong’s #5921 BDB #752

chôwmâh (חוֹמֱה) [pronounced khoh-MAW]

walls

feminine plural noun with the 3rd person feminine singular suffix

Strong’s #2346 BDB #327


Translation: Day and night they [violence and strife] envelop her, [going] over her walls;... A whole new reality has opened up for Jerusalem. The city is referred to with the 3rd person feminine singular suffix, used 3 times in this verse.


The plural verb appears to refer back to violence and strife from the previous verse. Therefore, this gives us, day and night, violence and strife envelop the city, going over her walls. Obviously there is a great deal of violence and strife throughout the city, as described in the previous verse. The idea appears to be that, with Absalom coming into the city with his army, violence and strife also come into the city, and envelop it and come over the walls just as an invading army might do. So, this is a metaphorical invasion by violence and strife.

 

Barnes: Violence and strife...are here personified, and they seem to surround the city. They are everywhere moving, even on the very walls. They are like a besieging army. Both inside and outside; in the midst of the city and on the walls, there was nothing but violence and strife - conspiracy, rebellion, and crime. Footnote


Psalm 55:10b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (וְ or וּ) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

ʾâven (אָוֶן) [pronounced AW-ven]

iniquity, misfortune which results from iniquity, trouble, adverse circumstances; idolatry; emptiness, vanity, falsehood, fraud

masculine singular noun

Strong's #205 BDB #19

we (or ve) (וְ or וּ) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

ʿâmâl (עָמָל) [pronounced ģaw-MAWL]

intense labor, exhausting toil, exhaustion, miserable work, work and toil so tiring, you just want to cry; misery, travail; production from labor

masculine singular noun

Strong's #5999 BDB #765

be (בְּ) [pronounced beh]

in, into, through; at, by, near, on, upon; with, before, against; by means of; among; within

a preposition of proximity

No Strong’s # BDB #88

qereb (קֶרֶב) [pronounced KEH-rebv]

midst, among, from among [a group of people]; an [actual, physical] inward part; the inner person with respect to thinking and emotion; as a faculty of thinking or emotion; heart, mind, inner being; entrails [of sacrificial animals]

masculine singular noun with the 3rd person feminine singular suffix

Strong’s #7130 BDB #899

With the bêyth preposition, it means in the midst of, among, into the midst of (after a verb of motion).


Translation: ...and iniquity and misfortune [are] within her. There is great iniquity and trouble within the city; there is misery within the city. Again, this is because the laws of divine establishment are not being followed; and because all of the strife, and the government which has no idea how to govern is in charge; and so things are out of control. Those who favor the new administration are favored; and those who oppose them are treated poorly.

 

Barnes: When the city was filled with conspirators and rebels, then crime and anguish seemed to prevail in every part of it. Footnote

 

Clarke: The leaders [of the insurrection] are plotting continually; going about to strengthen their party, and to sow new dissensions by misrepresentation, hypocrisy, calumny, and lies. Footnote

 

Gill: [The city] was filled with wickedness within and without. As Aben Ezra observes, was like a circle; violence and strife were as a line round about it, and mischief and sorrow were in the centre of it. Furthermore, where mischief is, sorrow always follows. Footnote

 

And the Pulpit Commentary adds: Society is disorganized. It is not only that wickedness prevails, but throughout the city there is violence and contention. Footnote


But David has already described such a situation: Observe, such a man is pregnant with evil, conceives trouble, and gives birth to deceit. He dug a pit and prepared it for others, but then fell into the hole himself. His trouble comes back against him and his violence falls on the top of his head (Psalm 7:14–16). Although David was describing Saul here, is it equally applicable to both Absalom and to Ahithophel.


Now let’s take in the previous verse with this one:

Destroy [them], my Adonai;

confuse [lit., divide up] their tongues;

for I have seen violence and strife in the city.

Day and night, they [violence and strife] envelop her, [going] over her walls;

and iniquity and misfortune [are] within her.


So we have day and night coming over the city, there is violence and strife going on all over the city walls. David calls for the cause of all this—Absalom and his army and his supporters—to be destroyed, so that their plans are confused, like the men at the tower of Babel, who, losing the ability to communicate, became disjointed, and going the separate ways.


We are actually only given one example of this, and that is the rape by Absalom of David’s mistresses (2Sam. 16:20–23). This reveals many things: the contempt of Ahithophel for David and therefore, for his mistresses; and Absalom’s complete willingness to do that which is completely wrong. As already mentioned, this probably set off a chain reaction of rapes and harsh treatment of those who believed in David’s leadership. However, we may further extrapolate a great many types of sin, only suggested by the words violence and strife; and iniquity and misfortune.


What is reasonable is, regular reports were filed with the sons of the high priests, and these included the lawlessness which prevailed throughout the city, as if it had climbed the walls and infested the entire city.


People, from time to time, complain about God (both believers and unbelievers) and say, “Well, God should not allow this or that to occur.” God allows, to whatever extent is possible, the function of our free will; and when law and order is removed from a city, suddenly things change dramatically. This is why law and order are so important in the laws of divine establishment. Those who watched Absalom could see great personal immorality; and, Absalom, by his actions, set the stage for great personal immorality throughout nation Israel. It is possible that God removed many of these people in the Absalom revolution for the betterment of Israel.


Application: Like it or not, when a nation is under discipline, God is going to remove groups of people in that nation. He might use flooding, rain, fire, hailstorms, snowstorms, tornados or hurricanes. Or God may use war or crime.


Application: This does not mean that we personally ought to withhold aid from this or that city due to some great natural disaster. God uses this grace action in His plan as well. Let’s say that San Francisco, famous now for its gays and degeneracy, suffered a great catastrophe. Believers with the proper spiritual gifts should go to San Francisco and help them, gay or straight, regardless of political affiliation. You supply whatever help is needed; and, whenever possible, share the gospel. Being able to act during a geographical calamity is a spiritual gift; and the more doctrine that person knows, they better they are able to utilize that gift. You may be powerfully led to help, which may involve renting a U-Haul and carrying all the bottled water that you can afford to buy to this or that disaster site. If that is what God is moving you to do, then that is what you do. Just make certain that you know the gospel and can easily share it, without legalism.


Back to Jerusalem. Israel is obviously facing some limited discipline from God. Somehow, this incompetent Absalom, who looks good and has this great personality, pushes himself on Israel as their new king, and a lot of people are seduced by him. This shows a tremendous lack of personal discernment. Their rejection of David reveals a great deal of self-righteousness. As a result, God, in this revolution, will discipline Israel.


Listen, if the people of Israel were doctrinally squared away, interested in God’s Word and God’s will, then when this little pipsqueak nobody Absalom comes along, with hundreds crying out “Absalom is king in Hebron;” most discerning believers would be unable to hold back their laughter. Because that discernment is not nation-wide, God will allow this revolution to discipline Israel and to remove some undesirables.


Application: Louisiana, as a state, was, for a very long time, very corrupt and very mixed up. Hurricane Katrina came along and changed everything. Their city was cleansed of a great deal of their welfare population; and those who survived worked hard to build the city back up again. That hard work is what any geographical area needs. What has happened since then is a reduction of political corruption, a marked improvement in the schools, and a new more lawful New Orleans.


——————————


Destruction [is] in her midst and does not depart from her plaza fraud and deceit.

Psalm

55:11

[There is] destruction in her [the city’s] midst

and fraud and deceit is not departing from her plaza.

There is destruction and ruin in the city’s midst

and fraud and deceit continue operating in the city plaza.


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Targum (trans. By Cook)        Tumult is in her midst, and lies and deceit do not depart from her square.

Latin Vulgate                          And injustice. And usury and deceit have not departed from its streets.

Masoretic Text (Hebrew)        Destruction [is] in her midst and does not depart from her plaza fraud and deceit.

Peshitta (Syriac)                    Wickedness is in the midst of it; deceit and guile depart not from its streets.

Septuagint (Greek)                ...and usury and craft have not failed from its streets.

 

Significant differences:           The Greek appears to be missing the first phrase; the Latin is missed about half of that phrase. In the second phrase, the Hebrew word I translated as plaza could also be translated street (s).


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

Common English Bible           Disaster lives inside it;

oppression and fraud never leave the town square.

Contemporary English V.       ...and corruption. Troublemakers and liars freely roam the streets.

Easy English                          Cruel men that destroy people are in the city.

People that tell *lies never leave her streets.

Easy-to-Read Version            There is too much crime in the streets.

People are lying and cheating everywhere.

Good News Bible (TEV)         There is destruction everywhere; the streets are full of oppression and fraud.

The Message                         Even shopkeepers gouging and cheating in broad daylight.

New Berkeley Version           ...violence is within her,

and from her market place oppression and deceit are never absent [Without God earth becomes hell. It all sounds like a period of rebellion.].

New Century Version             Destruction is everywhere in the city;

trouble and lying never leave its streets.

New Life Bible                        Destroying powers are in the city. Trouble and lies never leave its streets.

New Living Translation           Everything is falling apart;

threats and cheating are rampant in the streets.


Partially literal and partially paraphrased translations:

 

American English Bible          There's always injustice within her squares, as well as treachery and high-interest loans.

Beck’s American Translation ...and destruction is also there,

oppression and cheating remain in its streets.

Christian Community Bible     Forces of tyranny and treachery are at work undermining the city.

God’s Word                         Destruction is everywhere. Oppression and fraud never leave the streets.

New American Bible              ...treachery is in its midst;

oppression and fraud never leave its streets. Jer 5:1; 6:6; Ez 22:2; Heb 1:3; Zep. 3:1.

NIRV                                      Forces that destroy are at work inside it.

Its streets are full of people who cheat others and take advantage of them.

New Jerusalem Bible             ...inside lives destruction, tyranny and treachery never absent from its central square.

Revised English Bible            ...destruction is rife within it;

its public square is never free

from oppression and deceit.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

Ancient Roots Translinear      Mischief is in its center: Intrigue and deceit never depart from her streets.

Bible in Basic English             Evil is there; cruel rule and deceit are ever in the streets.

Complete Jewish Bible           Ruin is rife within it, oppression and fraud never leave its streets.

Ferar-Fenton Bible                 There, mischief that will not depart;

With arrogance, malice, and fraud.

HCSB                                     ...destruction is inside it; oppression and deceit never leave its marketplace.

JPS (Tanakh—1985)               Malic is within it;

fraud and deceit never leave its square.

Judaica Press Complete T.    Destruction is within it, and blows and deceit do not move out of its square.

NET Bible®                             Disaster is within it;

violence [Or "injury, harm."] and deceit do not depart from its public square.

New Heart English Bible        Destructive forces are within her. Threats and lies do not depart from her streets.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

he Amplified Bible                  Violence and ruin are within it; fraud and guile do not depart from its streets and marketplaces.

Concordant Literal Version    Woes are within it, And Fraud and Deceit do not remove from its square.

Darby Translation                  Perversities are in the midst thereof; and oppression and deceit depart not from its streets.

English Standard Version      Day and night they go round it

on its walls,

                                     11       and iniquity and trouble are within it;

ruin is in its midst; oppression and fraud do not depart from its marketplace. Previous verse added for context.

exeGeses companion Bible   ...calamity is in the midst:

fraud and deceit depart not from her broadways.

Hebrew Names Version         Destructive forces are within her. Threats and lies don't depart from her streets.

LTHB                                     Covetings are in her midst; oppression and guile will not depart from her streets.

NASB                                     Destruction is in her midst;

Oppression and deceit do not depart from her streets [Or plaza].

New RSV                               10 Day and night they go around it

on its walls,

and iniquity and trouble are within it;

                                               11     ruin is in its midst;

oppression and fraud

do not depart from its market-place. Both verses are included here for context.

Syndein                                  Destructive forces are at work in the city. Threats and lies never leave her streets.

A Voice in the Wilderness      Lust is in its midst; oppression and guile do not depart from its streets.

Webster’s Bible Translation  Destructive forces are within her. Threats and lies don't depart from her streets.

Young's Literal Translation     Mischiefs are in its midst. Fraud and deceit depart not from its street.

 

The gist of this verse:          David further describes the city as having calamity in its midst. The marketplace is filled with fraud and deceit.


Psalm 55:11a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

havvâh (הַוָּה) [pronounced hahv-VAW]

desire; ruin, fall, calamity, destruction; injury, mischief; chasm, deep pit, hell, gulf

feminine singular noun

Strong’s #1942 BDB #217

The verbal cognate is onomatopoetic hâvâh (הַוָּה) [pronounced haw-VAW], which properly means to breathe. Our noun is taken from the Piel or intensive stem, which would mean to breathe heavily, as if you are running after something. When you chase after something, it is because you desire it or lust after it. This can also mean that you rush headlong into something, which could mean your fall, ruin, calamity, injury, or even deep pit.

be (בְּ) [pronounced beh]

in, into, through; at, by, near, on, upon; with, before, against; by means of; among; within

a preposition of proximity

No Strong’s # BDB #88

qereb (קֶרֶב) [pronounced KEH-rebv]

midst, among, from among [a group of people]; an [actual, physical] inward part; the inner person with respect to thinking and emotion; as a faculty of thinking or emotion; heart, mind, inner being; entrails [of sacrificial animals]

masculine singular noun with the 3rd person feminine singular suffix

Strong’s #7130 BDB #899

With the bêyth preposition, it means in the midst of, among, into the midst of (after a verb of motion).


Translation: [There is] destruction in her [the city’s] midst... We continue with more 3rd person feminine singular suffixes, referring back to the city (which would be Jerusalem). We have a repeat of the phrase in her midst, so a similar sentence structure is called for.


Again, what is the order of the day is lawlessness and a lack of the laws of divine establishment. Recall that what Absalom promised to fix was the unfairness of the courts, and he has instead increased injustice in the land.


Application: It is not unusual for a political candidate to promise A in the election and deliver not A instead after being elected. Candidate Obama made all kinds of promises as a young, unknown candidate, and many of these promises went by the wayside when he became president, despite his party’s control over Congress.


Psalm 55:11b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (וְ or וּ) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

lôʾ (לֹא or לוֹא) [pronounced low]

not, no

negates the word or action that follows; the absolute negation

Strong’s #3808 BDB #518

mûwsh (מוּש) [pronounced moosh]

to remove, to depart; to let remove; to let prey go; to give way [to]; to withdraw [from]

3rd person masculine singular, Hiphil imperfect

Strong’s #4185 BDB #559

min (מִן) [pronounced mihn]

from, away from, out from, out of from, off, on account of, since, above, than, so that not, beyond, more than

preposition of separation

Strong's #4480 BDB #577

rechôwb (רְחוֹב) [pronounced rekh-OHBV]

broad open place, plaza, open square

feminine singular noun with the 3rd person feminine singular suffix

Strong’s #7339 BDB #932

Jamieson, Fausset and Brown: "wide places" [can refer to] markets, courts of justice, and any public place. Footnote

tôke (תּוֹ) [pronounced tohke]

injury, oppression oppressor; fraud, deceit; deceitful

masculine singular noun

Strong’s #8496 BDB #1067

we (or ve) (וְ or וּ) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

miremâh (מִרְמָה) [pronounced mire-MAW]

deceit, deception, duplicity, evil cunning, treachery

feminine singular noun

Strong’s #4820 BDB #941


Translation: ...and fraud and deceit is not departing from her plaza. Then David describes what this destruction is: fraud and deceit in the market place (which is the plaza). People went there to sell their produce and their production and to trade. Because there is no true justice in the land, many would then cheat in these business deals.

 

Barnes writes: Deceit and guile...are everywhere. They are found in every street and alley. They pervade all classes of the people. The word rendered “deceit” means rather “oppression.” This was connected with “guile,” or with “deceit.” That is, wrong would be everywhere committed, and the perpetration of those wrongs would be connected with false representations, and false pretenses - a state of things that might be expected in the unnatural rebellion under Absalom. Footnote


You may ask, David is off on the Mount of Olives leading his followers toward eastern Israel; how the heck does he know what is happening in Jerusalem? David set up a spy network in Jerusalem, (2Sam. 15:25–37) and all that happens on the ground is reported to him. Footnote


Now let’s look at the previous 3 verses together:

Destroy [them], my Adonai;

confuse [lit., divide up] their tongues;

for I have seen violence and strife in the city.

Day and night, they [violence and strife] envelop her, [going] over her walls;

and iniquity and misfortune [are] within her.

[There is] destruction in her [the city’s] midst

and fraud and deceit is not departing from her plaza.


There is violence and there is crime throughout the city. They have invaded this city as if a foreign army which has stormed the walls. This has completely destroyed the concept of law and order as well as personal integrity within the city. In the marketplace, fraud and deceit are the order of the day.


Application: There are rabble rousers who have many promises for the simple, and they encourage you to riot or to revolt; but what they promise is not even close to what you will experience. Revolution results in lawlessness, anarchy and widespread bloodshed. It does not result in equality and fairness.


People, especially those on the left, are often drawn into revolution. Revolution is always wrong. See the Doctrine of Revolution (HTML) (PDF) (WPD). We get the government that we deserve. We have seen a dozen or so middle eastern countries descend into revolution in the past couple of years. At the point of writing, most of these countries have not come to an end of this revolution, but those that appear near, are persecuting Christians like there is no tomorrow.


——————————


Chapter Outline

Charts, Maps and Short Doctrines


David is Distressed Because His Enemy Was Once a Close Friend


For not my enemy defying me

and I am bearing [him];

not one hating me,

upon me he has caused to magnify,

and I am hidden from him.

Psalm

55:12

For [it is] not my enemy [who] defies me,

then I can bear [him];

not one who hates me

[who] makes [himself] great against me,

then I could conceal [myself] from him;...

I could put up with an enemy who defies me;

or one who hates me who treats me with scorn—I could easily avoid him;...


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Targum (trans. By Cook)        For an enemy will not belittle me, else I would bear it; my foe has not vaunted himself against me, else I would hide from his presence.

Latin Vulgate                          For if my enemy had reviled me, I would verily have borne with it. And if he that hated me had spoken great things against me, I would perhaps have hidden my self from him.

Masoretic Text (Hebrew)        For not my enemy defying me

and I am bearing [him];

not one hating me,

upon me he has caused to magnify,

and I am hidden from him;...

Peshitta (Syriac)                    For it was not mine 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.

Septuagint (Greek)                For if an enemy had reproached me, I would have endured it; and if one who hated me had spoken vauntingly against me, I would have hid myself from him.

 

Significant differences:           I don’t think the first verb in the targum is quite right.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

Common English Bible           It's not an enemy that is insulting me-

I could handle that.

It's not someone who hates me

who is exalted over me-

I could hide from them.

Contemporary English V.       My enemies are not the ones who sneer and make fun. I could put up with that or even hide from them.

Easy English                          For it was not an enemy that laughed at me.

That would not have hurt me.

It was not someone that fought against me and said bad things (to me).

I could have hidden from him!

Easy-to-Read Version            If it were an enemy insulting me,

I could bear it.

If it were my enemies attacking me,

I could hide.

Good News Bible (TEV)         If it were an enemy making fun of me, I could endure it; if it were an opponent boasting over me, I could hide myself from him.

The Message                         This isn't the neighborhood bully mocking me--I could take that. This isn't a foreign devil spitting invective--I could tune that out.

New Berkeley Version           For it is not an enemy who reproaches me;

that I could bear;

it is not a hater, who vaunts himself against me;

then I could hide myself from him;...

New Century Version             It was not an enemy insulting me.

I could stand that.

It was not someone who hated me.

I could hide from him.

New Life Bible                        I would be able to take it if one who hates me were putting me to shame. I could hide from him. It is not one who hates me who has put himself up against me.

New Living Translation           It is not an enemy who taunts me-

I could bear that.

It is not my foes who so arrogantly insult me-

I could have hidden from them.


Partially literal and partially paraphrased translations:

 

American English Bible          Had I been slandered by my enemy, I would just have endured it. And if someone who detests me had spoken great words, I would have just hidden from him.

Beck’s American Translation If it were the enemy who insulted me—

that I could bear;

if it were one that hated me who attacked me—

I could hide from him.

Christian Community Bible     If it were a rival insulting me, I could bear with him; if it were a foe in pursuit of me, I could hide from him.

New American Bible              For it is not an enemy that reviled me -

that I could bear -

Not a foe who viewed me with contempt,

from that I could hide.

NIRV                                      If an enemy were making fun of me,

I could stand it.

If he were looking down on me,

I could hide from him.

New Simplified Bible              If an enemy had insulted me, then I could tolerate it. If someone who hated me had attacked me, then I could hide from him.

Revised English Bible            It was no enemy that taunted me,

or I should have avoided him;

no foe that treated me with scorn,

or I should have kept out of his way.

Today’s NIV                          If an enemy were insulting me,

I could endure it;

if a foe were rising against me,

I could hide.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

Ancient Roots Translinear      No enemy insults me. I could lift that! If my haters never grew toward me, I could hide from him.

Bible in Basic English             For it was not my hater who said evil of me; that would have been no grief to me; it was not one outside the number of my friends who made himself strong against me, or I would have kept myself from him in a secret place;...

Complete Jewish Bible           For it was not an enemy who insulted me; if it had been, I could have borne it. It was not my adversary who treated me with scorn; if it had been, I could have hidden myself.

Ferar-Fenton Bible                          I could have borne, if a foe had reviled,

Or against me an enemy rose,–

For I could have hidden from them.

HCSB                                     Now, it is not an enemy who insults me--otherwise I could bear it; it is not a foe who rises up against me--otherwise I could hide from him.

JPS (Tanakh—1985)               It is not an enemy who reviles me

—I could bear that;

it is not my foe who vaunts himself against me

—I could hide from him;...

Judaica Press Complete T.    For no enemy reviled me that I should bear it; my enemy did not open his mouth wide against me, that I should hide from him.

NET Bible®                             Indeed [Or "for."], it is not an enemy who insults me,

or else I could bear it;

it is not one who hates me who arrogantly taunts me [Heb "[who] magnifies against me." See Pss 35:26; 38:16.],

or else I could hide from him.

NIV – UK                                If an enemy were insulting me,

I could endure it;

if a foe were rising against me,

I could hide.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

Concordant Literal Version    For it is not an enemy who is reproaching me; Then I could bear it; It is not one hating me who magnifies himself against me; Then I could conceal myself from him;...

English Standard Version      For it is not an enemy who taunts me-- then I could bear it; it is not an adversary who deals insolently with me-- then I could hide from him.

The Geneva Bible                  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. If my open enemy had sought by hurt, I could better have avoided him.

LTHB                                     For it is not an enemy reproaching me, or I could bear it; it is not one who hates me who is magnifying himself against me; or I would hide myself from him.

New RSV                               It is not enemies who taunt me-

I could bear that;

it is not adversaries who deal insolently with me-

I could hide from them.

Webster’s Bible Translation  For [it was] not an enemy [that] reproached me; then I could have borne [it]: neither [was it] he that hated me [that] magnified [himself] against me; then I would have hid myself from him:...

World English Bible                For it was not an enemy who insulted me, Then I could have endured it. Neither was it he who hated me who raised himself up against me, Then I would have hid myself from him.

Young’s Updated LT             For an enemy reproaches me not, or I bear it , He who is hating me Has not magnified himself against me, Or I hide from him.

 

The gist of this verse:          The problem that David has is, he is not dealing with a long-time enemy, where his hatred could be understood and easily dealt with; nor is this someone who is arrogant; David could easily avoid someone like that.


Although this is a long verse, it really should have been combined with v. 13 to get the whole picture.


Psalm 55:12a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

kîy (כִּי) [pronounced kee]

for, that, because; when, at that time, which, what time

explanatory or temporal conjunction; preposition

Strong's #3588 BDB #471

lôʾ (לֹא or לוֹא) [pronounced low]

not, no

negates the word or action that follows; the absolute negation

Strong’s #3808 BDB #518

ʾâyab (אָיַב) [pronounced aw-YABV]

enemy, the one being at enmity with you; enmity, hostility

Qal active participle

Strong’s #340 & #341 BDB #33

As a singular substantive, this is spelled ʾôyêb (אֹיֵב) [pronounced oh-YAYBV]. As Strong’s #340, this is the Qal active participle of the verb; as Strong’s #341, this is the substantive. It is precisely the same word, despite the different Strong’s #’s.

châraph (חָרַף) [pronounced khah-RAHF]

to defy, to reproach, to scorn, to reproach, to scornfully defy; to discredit [taunt, shame, rebuke]

3rd person masculine singular, Piel imperfect with the 1st person singular suffix

Strong's #2778 BDB #357 & #358


Translation: For [it is] not my enemy [who] defies me,... This verse tells us who is not a problem for David; he is not facing a person enemy who defies him or taunts him. So, this would even let out Saul, I would think, whose animosity was unmistakable after awhile (although, at first, it seemed to catch David off guard). In any case, David knew just how difficult that Saul could be, going back to when David played music for him.


Again, this seems to have application to both Absalom and Ahithophel.


Psalm 55:12b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (וְ or וּ) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

nâsâʾ (נָשָׂא) [pronounced naw-SAW]

to lift up, to bear, to carry

1st person singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #5375 (and #4984) BDB #669

Nâsâʾ actually has a variety of Qal meanings: It means ➊ to take up, to lift up, to bear up; ➋ to lift up someone’s head (this is used in a favorable way; i.e., it is mused to mean to make one cheerful or merry; ➌ to lift up one’s own countenance, i.e., to be cheerful, full of confidence, ➍ to bear, to carry, ➎ to lift up in a balance, i.e., to weigh carefully; ➏ to bear one’s sin or punishment, to lift up the voice (this can be used in the sense of bewailing, crying, crying out, rejoicing, to lift up any with the voice (a song, an instrument); ➑ to lift up the soul (i.e., to wish for, to desire); ➒ to have the heart lifted up (i.e., they are ready and willing to do something; ➓ to bear one’s sin (in such a way to expiate the sin, to make atonement for the sin, to pardon the sin). This list does not exhaust the various connotations for nâsâʾ. BDB adds the following: to support, to sustain, to endure; to take, to take away, to carry off, to forgive.


Translation: ...then I can bear [him];... If this was an enemy of David’s, then he could bear that problem; he could understand it and put up with it. Life is fairly easy when dealing with people who are clearly your enemies.

 

Barnes writes: When he says that it is not an enemy that did this, the meaning is that it was not one who had been an avowed and open foe. The severest part of the trial did not arise from the fact that it was done by such an one, for that he could have borne. That which overwhelmed him was the fact that the reproach came from one who had been his friend; or, the reproach which he felt most keenly came from one whom he had regarded as a personal confidant. It is not to be supposed that the psalmist means to say that he was not reproached by his enemies, for the whole structure of the psalm implies that this was so; but his anguish was made complete and unbearable by the discovery that one especially who had been his friend was found among those who reproached and calumniated him. Footnote


Psalm 55:12c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

lôʾ (לֹא or לוֹא) [pronounced low]

not, no

negates the word or action that follows; the absolute negation

Strong’s #3808 BDB #518

sânêʾ (שָׂנֵא) [pronounced saw-NAY]

hating, having animosity; the one hating, the hater; an enemy

Piel participle with the 1st person singular suffix