Psalm 55:20
Parallel Verses
English Standard Version
My companion stretched out his hand against his friends; he violated his covenant.

King James Bible
He hath put forth his hands against such as be at peace with him: he hath broken his covenant.

American Standard Version
He hath put forth his hands against such as were at peace with him: He hath profaned his covenant.

Douay-Rheims Bible
he hath stretched forth his hand to repay. They have defiled his covenant,

English Revised Version
He hath put forth his hands against such as were at peace with him: he hath profaned his covenant.

Webster's Bible Translation
He hath put forth his hands against such as are at peace with him: he hath broken his covenant.

Psalm 55:20 Parallel
Commentary
Keil and Delitzsch Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament

In the second group anger is the prevailing feeling. In the city all kinds of party passions have broken loose; even his bosom friend has taken a part in this hostile rising. The retrospective reference to the confusion of tongues at Babel which is contained in the word פּלּג (cf. Genesis 10:25), also in remembrance of בּלל (Genesis 11:1-9), involves the choice of the word בּלּע, which here, after Isaiah 19:3, denotes a swallowing up, i.e., annihilation by means of confounding and rendering utterly futile. לשׁונם is the object to both imperatives, the second of which is פּלּג (like the pointing usual in connection with a final guttural) for the sake of similarity of sound. Instead of חמס וריב, the pointing is חמס וריב, which is perfectly regular, because the וריב with a conjunctive accent logically hurries on to בּעיר as its supplement.

(Note: Certain exceptions, however, exist, inasmuch as ו sometimes remains even in connection with a disjunctive accent, Isaiah 49:4; Jeremiah 40:10; Jeremiah 41:16; and it is pointed ו in connection with a conjunctive in Genesis 45:23; Genesis 46:12; Leviticus 9:3; Micah 2:11; Job 4:16; Ecclesiastes 4:8.)

The subjects to Psalm 55:11 are not violence and strife (Hengstenberg, Hitzig), for it is rather a comical idea to make these personified run round about upon the city walls; but (cf. Psalm 59:7, Psalm 59:15) the Absalomites, and in fact the spies who incessantly watch the movements of David and his followers, and who to this end roam about upon the heights of the city. The narrative in 2 Samuel 15 shows how passively David looked on at this movement, until he abandoned the palace of his own free will and quitted Jerusalem The espionage in the circuit of the city is contrasted with the movements going on within the city itself by the word בּקרב. We are acquainted with but few details of the affair; but we can easily fill in the details for ourselves in accordance with the ambitious, base, and craftily malicious character of Absalom. The assertion that deceit (מרמה) and the extremest madness had taken possession of the city is confirmed in Psalm 55:13 by כּי. It is not open enemies who might have had cause for it that are opposed to him, but faithless friends, and among them that Ahithophel of Giloh, the scum of perfidious ingratitude. The futures ואשּׂא and ואסּתר are used as subjunctives, and ו is equivalent to alioqui, as in Psalm 51:18, cf. Job 6:14. He tells him to his face, to his shame, the relationship in which he had stood to him whom he now betrays. Psalm 55:14 is not to be rendered: and thou art, etc., but: and thou (who dost act thus) wast, etc.; for it is only because the principal clause has a retrospective meaning that the futures נמתּיק and נהלּך describe what was a custom in the past. The expression is designedly אנושׁ כּערכּי and not אישׁ כערכי; David does not make him feel his kingly eminence, but places himself in the relation to him of man to man, putting him on the same level with himself and treating him as his equal. The suffix of כערכי is in this instance not subjective as in the כערכך of the law respecting the asham or trespass-offering: according to my estimation, but objectively: equal to the worth at which I am estimated, that is to say, equally valued with myself. What heart-piercing significance this word obtains when found in the mouth of the second David, who, although the Son of God and peerless King, nevertheless entered into the most intimate human relationship as the Son of man to His disciples, and among them to that Iscariot! אלּוּף from אלף, Arabic alifa, to be accustomed to anything, assuescere, signifies one attached to or devoted to any one; and מידּא, according to the Hebrew meaning of the verb ידע, an intimate acquaintance. The first of the relative clauses in Psalm 55:15 describes their confidential private intercourse; the second the unrestrained manifestation of it in public. סוד here, as in Job 19:19 (vid., supra on Psalm 25:14). המתּיק סוד, to make friendly intercourse sweet, is equivalent to cherishing it. רגשׁ stands over against סוד, just like סוד, secret counsel, and רגשׁה, loud tumult, in Psalm 64:3. Here רגשׁ is just the same as that which the Korahitic poet calls המון חוגג in Psalm 42:5.

In the face of the faithless friends who has become the head of the Absalomite faction David now breaks out, in Psalm 55:16, into fearful imprecations. The Chethb is ישׁימות, desolationes (super eos); but this word occurs only in the name of a place ("House of desolations"), and does not well suit such direct reference to persons. On the other hand, the Ker ישּׁיאמות, let death ensnare or impose upon them, gives a sense that is not to be objected to; it is a pregnant expression, equivalent to: let death come upon them unexpectedly. To this ישּׁיא corresponds the חיּים of the second imprecation: let them go down alive into Hades (שׁאול, perhaps originally שׁאולה, the ה of which may have been lost beside the ח that follows), i.e., like the company of Korah, while their life is yet vigorous, that is to say, let them die a sudden, violent death. The drawing together of the decipiat (opprimat) mors into one word is the result of the ancient scriptio continua and of the defective mode of writing, ישּׁי, like יני, Psalm 141:5, אבי, 1 Kings 21:29. Bttcher renders it differently: let death crash in upon them; but the future form ישּׁי equals ישׁאה from שׁאה equals שׁאי is an imaginary one, which cannot be supported by Numbers 21:30. Hitzig renders it: let death benumb them (ישּׁים); but this gives an inconceivable figure, with the turgidity of which the trepidantes Manes in Virgil, Aenid viii. 246, do not admit of comparison. In the confirmation, Psalm 55:16, בּמגוּרם, together with the בּקרבּם which follows, does not pretend to be any advance in the thought, whether מגור be rendered a settlement, dwelling, παροικία (lxx, Targum), or an assembly (Aquila, Symmachus, Jerome). Hence Hitzig's rendering: in their shrine, in their breast ( equals ἐν τῷ θησαυρῷ τῆς καρδίας αὐτῶν, Luke 6:45), מגוּרם being short for מגוּרתם in accordance with the love of contraction which prevails in poetry (on Psalm 25:5). But had the poet intended to use this figure he would have written בּמגוּרת קרבם, and is not the assertion that wickedness is among them, that it is at home in them, really a climax? The change of the names of God in Psalm 55:17 is significant. He calls upon Him who is exalted above the world, and He who mercifully interposes in the history of the world helps him.

Psalm 55:20 Parallel Commentaries

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

but

1 Samuel 22:17 And the king said to the footmen that stood about him, Turn, and slay the priests of the LORD: because their hand also is with David...

1 Samuel 24:10 Behold, this day your eyes have seen how that the LORD had delivered you to day into my hand in the cave: and some bade me kill you...

2 Samuel 18:12 And the man said to Joab, Though I should receive a thousand shekels of silver in my hand...

Acts 12:1 Now about that time Herod the king stretched forth his hands to vex certain of the church.

at peace

Psalm 7:4 If I have rewarded evil to him that was at peace with me; (yes, I have delivered him that without cause is my enemy:)

Psalm 109:5 And they have rewarded me evil for good, and hatred for my love.

Psalm 120:6,7 My soul has long dwelled with him that hates peace...

broken [heb.] profaned

Psalm 89:28,34,38 My mercy will I keep for him for ever more, and my covenant shall stand fast with him...

2 Samuel 2:4 And the men of Judah came, and there they anointed David king over the house of Judah. And they told David, saying...

2 Samuel 5:3 So all the elders of Israel came to the king to Hebron; and king David made a league with them in Hebron before the LORD...

2 Samuel 14:32,33 And Absalom answered Joab, Behold, I sent to you, saying, Come here, that I may send you to the king, to say...

2 Samuel 15:10-12 But Absalom sent spies throughout all the tribes of Israel, saying, As soon as you hear the sound of the trumpet, then you shall say...

Ecclesiastes 8:2 I counsel you to keep the king's commandment, and that in regard of the oath of God.

Ezekiel 17:16-19 As I live, said the Lord GOD, surely in the place where the king dwells that made him king, whose oath he despised...

Cross References
Numbers 30:2
If a man vows a vow to the LORD, or swears an oath to bind himself by a pledge, he shall not break his word. He shall do according to all that proceeds out of his mouth.

Psalm 7:4
if I have repaid my friend with evil or plundered my enemy without cause,

Psalm 89:34
I will not violate my covenant or alter the word that went forth from my lips.

Psalm 120:7
I am for peace, but when I speak, they are for war!

Psalm 125:3
For the scepter of wickedness shall not rest on the land allotted to the righteous, lest the righteous stretch out their hands to do wrong.

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