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Bible Commentaries

Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures

Psalms 55

Verses 1-23

Psalms 55:0

Psalms 55:1 (To the chief Musician on Neginoth, Maschil, A Psalm of David.) Give ear to my prayer, O God; and hide not thyself from my supplication.

Psalms 55:1 Word Study on “Maschil” Gesenius says the Hebrew word “Maschil” ( מַשְׂכִּיל ) (H4905) is a participle meaning, “a didactic poem.” Strong it means, “instructive,” thus “a didactic poem,” being derived from ( שָׂכַל ) (H7919), which literally means, “to be circumspect, and hence intelligent.” The Enhanced Strong says it is found 13 times in the Old Testament being translated in the KJV all 13 times as “Maschil.” It is used as a title for thirteen of the 150 psalms (Psalms 32:0; Psalms 42, 44, 45, 52 through 55; 74; 78; 88; 89; 142).

Most modern translations do as the KJV and transliterate this Hebrew word as “maschil,” thus avoiding the possibility of a mistranslation. The LXX reads “for instruction.” YLT reads “An Instruction.” Although some of these psalms are didactic in nature, scholars do not feel that all fit this category. The ISBE says, “Briggs suggests ‘a meditation,’ Thirtle and others ‘a psalm of instruction,’ Kirkpatrick ‘a cunning psalm.’” [75]

[75] John Richard Sampey, “Psalms,” in International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, ed. James Orr (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., c1915, 1939), in The Sword Project, v. 1.5.11 [CD-ROM] (Temple, AZ: CrossWire Bible Society, 1990-2008).

Psalms 55:12-14 Betrayal - Comments - The greatest hurts in life come from those who are closest to you, not from a stranger. The description here could very well be a reference to Ahithophel, who was King David's counselor (2 Samuel 15:31). Note Psalms 55:14, “We took sweet counsel together.” Note:

2 Samuel 15:31, “And one told David, saying, Ahithophel is among the conspirators with Absalom. And David said, O LORD, I pray thee, turn the counsel of Ahithophel into foolishness.”

Psalms 55:17 Evening, and morning, and at noon, will I pray, and cry aloud: and he shall hear my voice.

Psalms 55:17 Comments - The Hebrew day started at 6:00 p.m. in the evening. Therefore, Psalms 55:17 lists the times of prayer in the order of the day. Note these insightful words from Frances J. Roberts regarding Psalms 55:17:

“See Me early; seek Me late; seek Me in the midst of the day. Ye need Me in the early hours for direction and guidance and for My blessing upon thy heart. Ye need Me at the end of the day to commit into My hands the day’s happenings both to free thyself of the burdens and to give them over into My hands that I may continue to work things out. And ye need Me more than ever in the busy hours, in the activities and responsibilities, that I may give thee My grace and My tranquility and My wisdom. I do not ask you to take time for Me with the intention of placing a burden upon thee in requiring thee to do so. Rather than adding a requirement, I seek to lift thy load. Rather than burdening thee with a devotional obligation, I desire to take from thee the tensions of life.” [76]

[76] Frances J. Roberts, Come Away My Beloved (Ojai, California: King’s Farspan, Inc., 1973), 174.

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Bibliographical Information
Everett, Gary H. "Commentary on Psalms 55". Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures. https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghe/psalms-55.html. 2013.