|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
55:9-15 No wickedness so distresses the believer, as that which he witnesses in those who profess to be of the church of God. Let us not be surprised at the corruptions and disorders of the church on earth, but long to see the New Jerusalem. He complains of one that had been very industrious against him. God often destroys the enemies of the church by dividing them. And an interest divided against itself cannot long stand. The true Christian must expect trials from professed friends, from those with whom he has been united; this will be very painful; but by looking unto Jesus we shall be enabled to bear it. Christ was betrayed by a companion, a disciple, an apostle, who resembled Ahithophel in his crimes and doom. Both were speedily overtaken by Divine vengeance. And this prayer is a prophecy of the utter, the everlasting ruin, of all who oppose and rebel against the Messiah.
Verse 15. - Let death seize upon them. As this strophe begins (ver. 9), so it ends, with an imprecation. The psalmist calls on God to bring destruction upon the whole mass of his enemies. Of the two readings in the original, the one adopted by our translators seems the best, "Let death come suddenly upon them." Let them go down quick (i.e. alive) into hell. There is an allusion to the fate of Korah and his company (Numbers 16:30-33), who "went down quick into the pit;" but probably the psalmist neither expected nor desired a literal fulfilment of his imprecation. The deaths of Ahithophel (2 Samuel 17:23) and Absalom (2 Samuel 18:14, 15), and of so many of Absalom's followers (2 Samuel 18:7, 8), were quite a sufficient fulfilment. For wickedness is in their dwellings, and among them. (comp. vers. 3, 9-11).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Let death seize upon them,.... Ahithophel and his accomplices, Judas and the men with him; as a mighty man, as the king of terrors, and shake them to pieces. Or, "let him exact upon them" (a); as a creditor upon the debtor, and demand the debt of punishment for sin: or let him come upon them at an unawares; let them not die a natural, but a violent death. The Targum mentions Doeg and Ahithophel;
and let them, go down quick into hell: as Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, went down quick or alive into the earth; so let these men die, and descend into the grave, in their full strength; and accordingly Absalom and Ahithophel died sudden and violent deaths, 2 Samuel 17:23; and so did Judas, Matthew 27:5; and the beast and false prophet, another part of the antitype, will be taken and cast alive into the lake of fire, Revelation 19:20;
for wickedness is in their dwellings; and dwells in them; wherever they go or sojourn, this goes and abides with them, being the reigning principle in their hearts and lives;
and among them; in the midst of them; their inward part is very wickedness. The Targum is, "in their bodies". But rather the sense is, in their hearts; wickedness was both in their houses and in their hearts, and is the reason of the imprecation on them; which arises not from a revengeful spirit, but from a zeal for the glory of God; and is to be considered as a prophecy of what would be, and not to be drawn into an example for private Christians to act by.
(a) "exigat debitum", Pagninus; "aget vel agat exactorem", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Cocceius, Gejerus, Amama.
The Treasury of David
15 Let death seize upon them, and let them go down quick into hell: for wickedness is in their dwellings, and among them.
Not thus would Jesus pray, but the rough soldier David so poured out the anguish of his spirit, under treachery and malice seldom equalled and altogether unprovoked. The soldier, as such, desires the overthrow of his foes, for this very end he fights; and viewed as a matter of law and justice, David was right in his wish; he was waging a just, defensive war against men utterly regardless of truth and justice. Read the words as a warrior's imprecation. "Let death seize upon them." Traitors such as these deserve to die, there is no living with them, earth is polluted by their tread; if spies are shot, much more these sneaking villains. "Let them go down quick into hell." While in the rigour of life into sheol let them sink, let them suddenly exchange the enjoyment of the quick or living of the dead. There is, however, no need to read this verse as an imprecation, it is rather a confident expectation or prophecy: God would, he was sure, desolate them, and cast them out of the land of the living into the regions of the dead. "For wickedness is in their dwellings, and among them." They are too bad to be spared, for their houses are dens of infamy, and their hearts fountains of mischief. They are a pest to the commonwealth, a moral plague, a spiritual pestilence, to be stamped out by the laws of men and the providence of God. Both Ahithophel and Judas soon ended their own lives; Absalom was hanged in the oak, and the rebels perished in the wood in great numbers. There is justice in the universe, love itself demands it; pity to rebels against God, as such, is no virtue - we pray for them as creatures, we abhor them as enemies of God. We need in these days far more to guard against the disguised iniquity which sympathises with evil, and counts punishment to be cruelty, than against the harshness of a former age. We have steered so far from Scylla that Charybdis is absorbing us.
Wesley's Notes on the Bible
55:15 Them - All such as pretend to religion, and have manifestly apostatized both from the profession and practice of it. The grave - Cut off by a sudden and violent death. Among them - Heb. in their inwards. Wickedness is deeply rooted in their hearts.
Psalm 55:15 Parallel Commentaries
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