“Cast your burden on Yahweh!
He will sustain you.
He will never permit
The righteous to be moved.
Will cast them down into the lowest pit.
The bloodthirsty and treacherous
Shall not live out half their days.
But I will trust in you.”
This psalm ends with the comparison between those who trust in God, David, and the bloodthirsty and treacherous enemies, the foes, and the traitors to David. Yahweh will sustain David. He will not be moved. However, he wanted God to send his enemies to the pit, the grave, death. He wanted them to live out only half their days. David trusted in Yahweh. He wanted his foes gone, dead.
“My companion laid hands on a friend.
He violated a covenant with me.
His speech was smoother than butter.
But war was in his heart.
His words were softer than oil.
But in fact they were drawn swords.”
Now David picks on one person, his friend and companion. He had violated an agreement with David. His speech and words were smoother than butter and softer than oil. What a metaphor! Butter and oil, things we like, were used to show the sweet talking friend. However, war was in his heart. His words were like drawn swords.
“However I call upon God.
Yahweh will save me.
Evening and morning,
And at noon,
I utter my complaint.
He will hear my voice.
He will redeem me unharmed,
From the battle that I wage.
Many are arrayed against me.
God will hear.
God will humble them.
God is enthroned from of old.
Because they do not change.
They do not fear God.”
David’s response to this problem was to call on God. Yahweh would save him. He uttered his complaint, morning, noon, and evening. He was confident that he would be saved and remain unharmed in the battle. Even though a lot of people were against him, God would hear and humble them. God sat on his old throne. They would lose because they would not change. They did not fear God. Once again there is a musical interlude meditative pause, Selah.
“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.
But it is you,
My familiar friend
I kept pleasant company with you.
We walked in the house of God with the throng.
Let death come upon them.
Let them go down alive to Sheol.
Evil is in their homes.
Evil is in their hearts.”
Now David derides his former friends. His enemies and adversaries have always taunted him and been mean to him. He understood that and could hide from them. The problem was that it was his former friends who were against him. These were his equals, his companions, his good buddies. He had great conversations with them. He enjoyed their company. They used to worship together in the Temple. This was the great betrayal. David may be thinking of the uprising of his son Absalom against him. His response to them was very stark. He wanted them dead. He wanted them to go to hell. He wanted them to go to Sheol, the underground place of death while still living. This was very harsh because he beloved that they had evil in their houses and hearts.
“‘I would hurry to find a shelter for myself,
From the raging wind and tempest.’
Confound their speech!
I see violence and strife in the city.
Day and night they go around it
On its walls.
Iniquity and trouble are within it.
Ruin is in its midst.
Oppression and fraud
Do not depart from its marketplace.”
David wanted to find a shelter for himself in the wilderness that would protect him from the raging wind and stormy rain. At the same time, he wanted Yahweh to confuse the speech of those in the city. Like today, he said that there was so much violence and strife in the city. Does that sound like the good old days? Violence in the cities has been around for over 2,500 years. So what is new? There was iniquity and trouble within the city both day and night, around the walls of the city. Ruin was coming to them because of the oppression and fraud of their marketplace. Those old fashioned business men were cheating in the marketplace. Wow! That is strange to hear.
“My heart is in anguish within me.
The terrors of death have fallen upon me.
Fear and trembling come upon me.
Horror overwhelms me.
‘O that I had wings like a dove!
I would fly away.
I would be at rest.
I would flee far away.
I would lodge in the wilderness.”
David was in anguish. He feared death. Fear and trembling came over him as horror overwhelmed him. This concept of fear and trembling became a major concept and the name of a writing of the 19th century theologian or philosopher Soren Kierkegaard. David finally said that he wished that he was a dove that could fly away. He wanted to rest somewhere far away where no one knew him. He would love to live in the wilderness. This idea of flight from a problem is still common today. We like to get away from our problems. This section ended with the musical interlude meditative pause, Selah.
To the choirmaster leader with stringed instruments, a Maskil of David
“Give ear to my prayer!
Do not hide yourself from my supplication!
Attend to me!
I am troubled in my complaint.
I am distraught,
By the noise of the enemy,
Because of the clamor of the wicked,
They bring trouble upon me.
They cherish enmity against me.”
Psalm 55 is a prayer of David. He felt that he was being persecuted and betrayed. Once again this is a choral psalm with stringed instruments attributed to David. David wanted God to hear his prayer and not hide from him. He wanted an answer right away. He was in trouble and distraught because of his enemies, a common theme of these psalms. The wicked enemies were out to get him. He was going to call on God to help him.