Psalm 55:13
But it was you, a man my equal, my guide, and my acquaintance.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(13) But it was . . .—Better, But thou art a man of my own standing. The word erek is used (Exodus 40:23) of the row of loaves constituting the shewbread, and the cognate verb means “to arrange.” Here it may denote rank, but more probably the expression is man of my assessment, and so of the same importance in society. (Comp. Leviticus 5:15; 2Kings 12:4.) The LXX. and Vulgate have “of one soul with me.” Symmachus, “of like disposition.” This sense may be implied, though not expressed in the Hebrew.

Guide.—So the old versions: the Hebrew word does denote the head of a tribe or family (Genesis 36:15, &c, “duke”), but that meaning seems excluded here by the previous description. Render, companion.

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.But it was thou, a man mine equal - Margin, "a man according to my rank." Septuagint, ἰσόψυχε isopsuche, equal-souled, like-souled, "second self" (Thompson); Vulgate, "unanimus," of the same mind; Luther, "Geselle," companion. The Hebrew word used here - ערך ‛êrek - means properly a row or pile, as of the showbread piled one loaf on another, Exodus 40:23; then it would naturally mean one of the same row or pile; of the same rank or condition. The word also means price, estimation, or value, Job 28:13; Leviticus 5:15, Leviticus 5:18; Leviticus 6:6. Here the expression may mean a man "according to my estimation, value, or price;" that is, of the same value as myself (Gesenius, Lexicon); or more probably it means a man of my own rank; according to my condition; that is, a man whom I esteemed as my equal, or whom I regarded and treated as a friend.

My guide - The word used here properly denotes one who is familiar - a friend - from the verb אלף 'âlaph - to be associated with; to be familiar; to be accustomed to. The noun is frequently used to denote a military leader - the head of a tribe - a chieftain; and is, in this sense, several times employed in Genesis 36 to denote the leaders or princes of the Edomites, where it is rendered duke. But here it seems to be used, not in the sense of a leader or a guide, but of a familiar friend.

And mine acquaintance - The word used here is derived from the verb to know - ידע yâda‛ - and the proper idea is that of "one well known" by us; that is, one who keeps no secrets from us, but who permits us to understand him thoroughly. The phrase "mine acquaintance" is a feeble expression, and does not convey the full force of the original, which denotes a more intimate friend than would be suggested by the word "acquaintance." It is language applied to one whom we thoroughly "know," and who "knows us;" and this exists only in the case of very intimate friends. All the expressions used in this verse would probably be applicable to Ahithophel, and to the intimacy between him and David.

13. guide—literally, "friend" (Pr 16:28; 17:9).

acquaintance—in Hebrew, a yet more intimate associate.

Mine equal; not in power and dignity, which could not be, but in reputation for his deep wisdom and excellent conduct, and the great influence which he had upon me, and upon all my people.

My guide; whose counsel I highly prized, and constantly sought and followed: all which agrees very well to Ahithophel. See 2 Samuel 15:12,31 16:23. But it was thou,.... The Targum is, "but thou Ahithophel"; of whom the words are literally to be understood, and so they are in the Talmud (u); and mystically and typically of Judas;

a man mine equal; "a man", and not a beast, nor a devil; but a man, from whom humanity, kindness, and tenderness might have been expected; though both Ahithophel and Judas acted the part of a devil; and the latter is expressly called one, John 6:70; "mine equal"; or like unto me; as the Targum. Ahithophel was not equal to David in dignity, as the king of Israel; nor in gifts, as the sweet psalmist of Israel; nor in grace as he; but as a man, a mortal dying man: kings and subjects are of the same blood, equally liable to death, and in the grave will be manifestly on a level: or rather the sense is, that he was in his esteem and affliction as himself; he was his friend that he loved as his own soul: so Judas could not be in every sense equal to Christ who is Jehovah's fellow, and thought it no robbery to be equal with God. Indeed as a man he was like unto him; a frail, mortal man, though not sinless as Christ. The word may be rendered "according to my appointment" (w), ordination, or constitution; Judas being a man appointed and ordained to be an apostle of Christ with the rest: or, "according to my esteem" (x); being had in great esteem and familiarity with Christ: or, "according to my order" (y), rank and class; being taken into his family, admitted to his table, where be sat down and ate with him, as if he was his equal;

my guide: or "governor" (z). Ahithophel was not governor over David; but was made a governor by him: he was one of his dukes or nobles, as the word is rendered in Genesis 36:15, was raised to great dignity by him; perhaps was chief minister of state: it is certain he was his counsellor, and his counsel was with him as the oracle of God, 1 Chronicles 27:33; he was his guide in civil affairs; he was directed by his advice, and it may be was president of his privy council. Judas was not only the guide of them to Christ who took him, Acts 1:16; but when the apostles were sent out two by two before the face of Christ, to preach where he himself should come, Judas was sent also, Mark 6:7;

and mine acquaintance: one well known to him, as Ahithophel was to David, and Judas to Christ, his friend and companion, in whom he confided, and who ate of his bread; and all these characters are so many aggravations of his treachery and wickedness.

(u) T. Bab. Sanhedrin, fol. 106. 2. Pirke Abot, c. 6. s. 3.((w) "Secundum dispositionem, sc. ordinationem et constitutionem meam", Calvinus in Michaelis. (x) "Juxta estimationem meam", Vatablus, Gejerus, Michaelis; "qui par mihi estimatus est", Piscator. (y) "Secundum ordinem meum", Mollerus. (z) "dux meus", Pagninus, Tigurine version, Junius & Tremellius, Piscator; "princeps meus", Cocceius.

But it was thou, a man mine {k} equal, my guide, and mine acquaintance.

(k) Who was not only joined to me in friendship and counsel in worldly matters, but also in religion.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
13. Mine equal in rank and position; my associate or companion (as in Proverbs 16:28, chief friends; Micah 7:5, where R.V. marg. familiar friend is right); my close acquaintance or familiar friend (Psalm 31:11). Cp. Jeremiah 9:4 f.Verse 13. - But it was thou, a man mine equal; literally, a man according to my valuing; i.e. one of my social rank, with whom I was on familiar terms. My guide; or, "my companion." But the LXX. have ἡγέμων. And mine acquaintance. "My confidant" (Kay); "my familiar friend" (Cheyne, and Revised Version). In this first group sorrow prevails. David spreads forth his deep grief before God, and desires for himself some lonely spot in the wilderness far away from the home or lurking-place of the confederate band of those who are compassing his overthrow. "Veil not Thyself" here, where what is spoken of is something audible, not visible, is equivalent to "veil not Thine ear," Lamentations 3:56, which He designedly does, when the right state of heart leaves the praying one, and consequently that which makes it acceptable and capable of being answered is wanting to the prayer (cf. Isaiah 1:15). שׂיח signifies a shrub (Syriac shucho, Arabic šı̂ḥ), and also reflection and care (Arabic, carefulness, attention; Aramaic, סח, to babble, talk, discourse). The Hiph. חריד, which in Genesis 27:40 signifies to lead a roving life, has in this instance the signification to move one's self backwards and forwards, to be inwardly uneasy; root רד, Arab. rd, to totter, whence râda, jarûda, to run up and down (IV to desire, will); raida, to shake (said of a soft bloated body); radda, to turn (whence taraddud, a moving to and fro, doubting); therefore: I wander hither and thither in my reflecting or meditating, turning restlessly from one thought to another. It is not necessary to read ואחמיה after Psalm 77:4 instead of ועהימה, since the verb הוּם equals המה, Psalm 42:6, 12, is secured by the derivatives. Since these only exhibit הוּם, and not הים (in Arabic used more particularly of the raving of love), ואהימה, as also אריד, is Hiph., and in fact like this latter used with an inward object: I am obliged to raise a tumult or groan, break out into the dull murmuring sounds of pain. The cohortative not unfrequently signifies "I have to" or "I must" of incitements within one's self which are under the control of outward circumstances. In this restless state of mind he finds himself, and he is obliged to break forth into this cry of pain on account of the voice of the foe which he cannot but hear; by reason of the pressure or constraint (עקת) of the evil-doer which he is compelled to feel. The conjecture צעקת (Olshausen and Hupfeld) is superfluous. עקה is a more elegant Aramaizing word instead of צרה.

The second strophe begins with a more precise statement of that which justifies his pain. The Hiph. חמיט signifies here, as in Psalm 140:11 (Chethb), declinare: they cast or roll down evil (calamity) upon him and maliciously lay snares for him בּאף, breathing anger against him who is conscious of having manifested only love towards them. His heart turns about in his body, it writhes (יהיל); cf. on this, Psalm 38:11. Fear and trembling take possession of his inward parts; יבא in the expression יבא בי, as is always the case when followed by a tone syllable, is a so-called נסוג אחור, i.e., it has the tone that has retreated to the penult. (Deuteronomy 1:38; Isaiah 7:24; Isaiah 60:20), although this is only with difficulty discernible in our printed copies, and is therefore (vid., Accentsystem, vi. 2) noted with Mercha. The fut. consec. which follows introduces the heightened state of terror which proceeds from this crowding on of fear and trembling. Moreover, the wish that is thereby urged from him, which David uttered to himself, is introduced in the third strophe by a fut. consec.

(Note: That beautiful old song of the church concerning Jesus has grown out of this strophe: -

Ecquis binas columbinas

Alas dabit animae?

Et in almam crucis palmam

Evolat citissime, etc.)

"Who will give me?" is equivalent to "Oh that I had!" Ges. 136, 1. In ואשׁכּנה is involved the self-satisfying signification of settling down (Ezekiel 31:13), of coming to rest and remaining in a place (2 Samuel 7:10). Without going out of our way, a sense perfectly in accordance with the matter in hand may be obtained for אחישׁה מפלט לי, if אחישׁה is taken not as Kal (Psalm 71:12), but after Isaiah 5:19; Isaiah 60:12, as Hiph.: I would hasten, i.e., quickly find for myself a place which might serve me as a shelter from the raging wind, from the storm. רוּח סעה is equivalent to the Arabic rihin sâijat-in, inasmuch as Arab. s‛â, "to move one's self quickly, to go or run swiftly," can be said both of light (Koran, 66:8) and of water-brooks (vid., Jones, Comm. Poes. Asiat., ed. Lipsiae, p. 358), and also of strong currents of air, of winds, and such like. The correction סערה, proposed by Hupfeld, produces a disfiguring tautology. Among those about David there is a wild movement going on which is specially aimed at his overthrow. From this he would gladly flee and hide himself, like a dove taking refuge in a cleft of the rock from the approaching storm, or from the talons of the bird of prey, fleeing with its noiseless but persevering flight.

(Note: Kimchi observes that the dove, when she becomes tired, draws in one wing and flies with the other, and thus the more surely escapes. Aben-Ezra finds an allusion here to the carrier-pigeon.)

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