Psalm 55:2
Attend unto me, and hear me: I mourn in my complaint, and make a noise;
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(2) I mourn.—A verb found in this form only in three other passages, always with the idea of restlessnesse.g., Genesis 27:40, of the roving life of a Bedouin; Jeremiah 2:31, of moral restlessness; Hosea 12:1, of political instability. Here it may either indicate that bodily restlessness which often serves as an outlet of grief:

“Hard mechanic exercise,

Like dull narcotics, numbing pain,”

or the distracted state of the mind itself.

And make a noise.—Better, and must roar, the form of the verb expressing the compulsion which the sufferer feels to give vent to his feelings in groans and murmurs. (See Note on Psalm 42:5.)

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.Attend unto me, and hear me - This also is the language of earnest supplication, as if he was afraid that God would not regard his cry. These varied forms of speech show the intense earnestness of the psalmist, and his deep conviction that he must have help from God.

I mourn - The word used here - רוד rûd - means properly to wander about; to ramble - especially applied to animals that have broken loose; and then, to inquire after, to seek, as one does "by running up and down;" hence, to desire, to wish. Thus in Hosea 11:12 - "Judah runs wild toward God," - in our translation, "Judah yet ruleth with God." The word occurs also in Jeremiah 2:31, "We are lords" (margin, have dominion); and in Genesis 27:40, "When thou shalt have the dominion." It is not elsewhere found in the Scriptures. The idea here seems not to be to mourn, but to inquire earnestly; to seek; to look for, as one does who wanders about, or who looks every way for help. David was in deep distress. He looked in every direction. He earnestly desired to find God as a Helper. He was in the condition of one who had lost his way, or who had lost what was most valuable to him; and he directed his eyes most earnestly toward God for help.

In my complaint - The word here employed commonly means speech, discourse, meditation. It here occurs in the sense of complaint, as in Job 7:13; Job 9:27; Job 21:4; Job 23:2; Psalm 142:2; 1 Samuel 1:16. It is not used, however, to denote complaint in the sense of fault-finding, but in the sense of deep distress. As the word is now commonly used, we connect with it the idea of fault-finding, complaining, accusing, or the idea that we have been dealt with unjustly. This is not the meaning in tills place, or in the Scriptures generally. It is the language of a troubled, not of an injured spirit.

And make a noise - To wit, by prayer; or, by groaning. The psalmist did not hesitate to give vent to his feelings by groans, or sobs, or prayers. Such expressions are not merely indications of deep feeling, but they are among the appointed means of relief. They are the effort which nature makes to throw off the burden, and if they are without complaining or impatience they are not wrong. See Isaiah 38:14; Isaiah 59:11; Hebrews 5:7; Matthew 27:46.

2. The terms of the last clause express full indulgence of grief. For my misery is very great, and forceth tears and bitter cries from me.

Attend unto me, and hear me,.... So as to answer, and that immediately and directly, his case requiring present help;

I mourn in my complaint; or "in my meditation" (p); solitary thoughts, and melancholy views of things. Saints have their complaints, on account of their sins and corruptions, their barrenness and unfruitfulness, and the decay of vital religion in them; and because of the low estate of Zion, the declining state of the interest of Christ, and the little success of his Gospel; and they mourn, in these complaints, over their own sins, and the sins of others, professors and profane, and under afflictions temporal and spiritual, both their own and the church's. Christ also, in the days of his flesh, had his complaints of the perverseness and faithlessness of the generation of men among whom he lived; of the frowardness, pride and contentions of his disciples; of the reproaches, insult, and injuries of his enemies; and of the dereliction of his God and Father; and he often mourned on account of one or other of these things, being a man of sorrows and acquainted with griefs;

and make a noise; not only with sighs and groans, but in so loud a manner as to be called roaring; see Psalm 22:1.

(p) "in meditatione mea", Montanus, Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Cocceius, Gejerus, Michaelis; so Ainsworth.

Attend unto me, and hear me: I mourn in my complaint, and make a noise;
2. hear me] Answer me.

I mourn &c.] Render, I am restless in my complaint, and am distracted (R.V. moan). A word used in Genesis 27:40 of a roving life, in Jeremiah 2:31 of impatience of restraint (R.V. break loose), is here applied to the restlessness of a distracted mind.

Verse 2. - Attend unto me, and hear me. A very special need is indicated by these four petitions to be heard (vers. 1, 2). I mourn in my complaint, and make a noise; rather, I wander in my musing, and moan aloud. "I wander," i.e. "from one sad thought to another" (Kay); and, unable to constrain myself, I give vent to meanings. Orientals are given to open displays of their grief (Herod., 8:99; AEschylus, 'Persae,' passim). Psalm 55:2In 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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