The Treasury of David

The Treasury of David is one of several C.H. Spurgeon books that are in the public domain. If you propose to study the Psalms, I suggest you download this as a companion for your other references.

Psalm 55

Exposition
Explanatory Notes and Quaint Sayings
Hints to the Village Preacher
Other Works


TITLE.To the Chief Musician on Neginoth. Another song to be accompanied by stringed instruments. The strain is at one time mournful, and at another softly sweet. It needed the chief musician’s best care to see that the music was expressive of the sentiment. Maschil. It is not a mere personal hymn, there is teaching in it for us all, and where our Lord shines through David, his personality type, there is great deep meaning. Of David. The man of many conditions, much tried, and much favored, persecuted but delivered and exalted, was from experience enabled to write such precious verses in which he sets forth not only the sorrows of common pilgrims but of the Lord of the way himself.

SUBJECT. It would be idle to fix a time and find an occasion for this Psalm with any dogmatism. It reads like a song of the time of Absalom and Ahithophel. It was after David had enjoyed peaceful worship (Ps 55:14), when he was or had just been a dweller in a city (Ps 55:9-11), and when he remembered his former roamings in the wilderness. Altogether it seems to us to relate to that mournful era when the King was betrayed by his trusted counselor. The spiritual eye ever and anon sees the Son of David and Judas, and the chief priests appearing and disappearing upon the glowing canvas of the Psalm.

DIVISION. From Ps 55:1-8, the suppliant spreads his case in general before his God; in Ps 55:9-11, he portrays his enemies; in Ps 55:12-14, he mentions one special traitor, and cries for vengeance, or foretells it in Ps 55:15. From Ps 55:16-19 he consoles himself by prayer and faith; in Ps 55:20-21 he again mentions the deceitful covenant breaker and closes with a cheering exhortation to the saints (Ps 55:22), and a denunciation of destruction upon the wicked and deceitful (Ps 55:22).

Verse 7. Lo, then would I wander far off. Yet when David was far off, he sighed to be once more near Jerusalem; thus, in our ill estate, we ever think the past to be better than the present. We shall be called to fly far enough away, and perchance we shall be loath to go; we need not indulge vain notions of premature escape from earth.

And remain in the wilderness. He found it none such a dear abode when there, yet resolves now to make it his permanent abode. Had he been condemned to receive his wish he would ere long have felt like Selkirk, in the poet’s verse—

“O solitude, where are the charms
That sages have found in thy face?
Better dwell in the midst of alarms
Than reign in this horrible place.”

Our Lord, while free from all idle wishes, found much strength in solitude, and loved the mountain’s brow at midnight, and the quiet shade of the olives of Gethsemane. It is better practically to use retirement than pathetically to sigh for it. Yet it is natural, when all men do us wrong, to wish to separate ourselves from their society; nature, however, must yield to grace, and we must endure the contradiction of sinners against ourselves, and not be weary and faint in our minds. Selah. After such a flight well may the mind rest. When we are going too fast, and giving way too freely to regrets, it is well to cry, “halt, “and pause awhile, till more sober thoughts return.

Singing psalms 55

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