|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
55:1-8 In these verses we have, 1. David praying. Prayer is a salve for every sore, and a relief to the spirit under every burden. 2. David weeping. Griefs are thus, in some measure, lessened, while those increase that have no vent given them. David in great alarm. We may well suppose him to be so, upon the breaking out of Absalom's conspiracy, and the falling away of the people. Horror overwhelmed him. Probably the remembrance of his sin in the matter of Uriah added much to the terror. When under a guilty conscience we must mourn in our complaint, and even strong believers have for a time been filled with horror. But none ever was so overwhelmed as the holy Jesus, when it pleased the Lord to put him to grief, and to make his soul an offering for our sins. In his agony he prayed more earnestly, and was heard and delivered; trusting in him, and following him, we shall be supported under, and carried through all trials. See how David was weary of the treachery and ingratitude of men, and the cares and disappointments of his high station: he longed to hide himself in some desert from the fury and fickleness of his people. He aimed not at victory, but rest; a barren wilderness, so that he might be quiet. The wisest and best of men most earnestly covet peace and quietness, and the more when vexed and wearied with noise and clamour. This makes death desirable to a child of God, that it is a final escape from all the storms and tempests of this world, to perfect and everlasting rest.
Verse 1. - Give ear to my prayer, O God; and hide not thyself from my supplication (comp. Psalm 54:2; and, for the second clause, see Psalm 13:1; Psalm 27:8; Psalm 69:17; Psalm 89:46, etc.).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Give ear to my prayer, O God,.... Which was for that which is just and right, and equitable to be given, as the word (n) used signifies; being promised in the covenant of grace, ratified and confirmed by the blood of Christ, Not only David was a man much given to prayer, as well as was the sweet psalmist of Israel; but the Messiah, as man, was much and often engaged in this work, in the days of his flesh, Luke 6:12;
and hide not thyself from my supplication; made for mercies and blessings, which spring from the free grace and goodness of God, which is the sense of the word (o) here used; and such are all mercies, whether temporal or spiritual; for none are merited by men: and from his supplication for such things the psalmist desires, that as he would not be as one deaf to him, so that he would not hide his eyes, or refuse to look upon him, and deny his, requests; see Isaiah 1:15.
(n) "orationem meam", i.e. "secundum judicium"; so Arana. (o) "my supplication for grace", Ainsworth.
The Treasury of David
1 Give ear to my prayer, O God; and hide not thyself from my supplication.
2 Attend unto me, and hear me: I mourn in my complaint, and make a noise;
3 Because of the voice of the enemy, because of the oppression of the wicked; for they cast iniquity upon me, and in wrath they hate me.
4 My heart is sore pained within me: and the terrors of death are fallen upon me.
5 Fearfulness and trembling are come upon me, and horror hath overwhelmed me.
6 And I said, Oh that I had wings like a dove! for then would I fly away, and be at rest.
7 Lo, then would I wander far off, and remain in the wilderness. Selah.
8 I would hasten my escape from the windy storm and tempest.
"Give ear to my prayer, O God." The fact is so commonly before us, otherwise we should be surprised to observe how universally and constantly the saints resort to prayer in seasons of distress. From the Great Elder Brother down to the very least of the divine family, all of them delight in prayer. They run as naturally to the mercy-seat in time of trouble as the little chickens to the hen in the hour of danger. But note well that it is never the bare act of prayer which satisfies the godly, they crave an audience with heaven, and an answer from the throne, and nothing less will content them. "Hide not thyself from my supplication." Do not stop thine ear, or restrain thy hand. When a man saw his neighbour in distress, and deliberately passed him by, he was said to hide himself from him; and the Psalmist begs that the Lord would not so treat him. In that dread hour when Jesus bore our sins upon the tree, his Father did hide himself, and this was the most dreadful part of all the Son of David's agony. Well may each of us deprecate such a calamity as that God should refuse to hear our cries.
"Attend unto me, and hear me." This is the third time he prays the same prayer. He is in earnest, in deep and bitter earnest. If his God do not hear, he feels that all is over with him. He begs for his God to be a listener and an answerer. "I mourn in my complaint, and make a noise." He gives a loose to his sorrows, permits his mind to rehearse her griefs, and to pour them out in such language as suggests itself at the time, whether it be coherent or not. What a comfort that we may be thus familiar with our God! We may not complain of him, but we may complain to him. Our rambling thoughts when we are distracted with grief we may bring before him, and that too in utterances rather to be called "a noise" than language. He will attend so carefully that he will understand us, and he will often fulfil desires which we ourselves could not have expressed in intelligible words. "Groanings that cannot be uttered," are often prayers which cannot be refused. Our Lord himself used strong cryings and tears, and was heard in that he feared.
"Because of the voice of the enemy." The enemy was vocal and voluble enough, and found a voice where his godly victim had nothing better than a "noise." Slander is seldom short of expression, it prates and prattles evermore. Neither David, nor our Lord, nor any of the saints were allowed to escape the attacks of venomous tongues, and this evil was in every case the cause of acute anguish. "Because of the oppression of the wicked'" the unjust pressed and oppressed the righteous; like an intolerable burden they crushed them down, and brought them to their knees before the Lord. This is a thrice-told story, and to the end of time it will be true; he that is born after the flesh will persecute him that is born after the Spirit. The great seed of the woman suffered from a bruised heel. "For they cast iniquity upon me," they black me with their sootbags, throw the dust of their lying over me, cast the vitriol of their calumny over me. They endeavour to trip me up, and if I do not fall they say I do. "And in wrath they hate me." With a hearty ill will they detested the holy man. It was no sleeping animosity, but a mortal rancour which reigned in their bosoms. The reader needs not that we show how applicable this is to our Lord.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
Ps 55:1-23. In great terror on account of enemies, and grieved by the treachery of a friend, the Psalmist offers an earnest prayer for relief. He mingles confident assurances of divine favor to himself with invocations and predictions of God's avenging judgments on the wicked. The tone suits David's experience, both in the times of Saul and Absalom, though perhaps neither was exclusively before his mind.
1. hide not thyself, &c.—(compare Ps 13:1; 27:9), withhold not help.
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