David, in his prayer, complains of his fearful case, 1-8. He prays against his enemies, of whose wickedness and treachery he complains, 9-15. He comforts himself in God's preservation of him and confusion of his enemies, 16-23.
1 [To the Chief Musician on Neginoth. Maschil. A Psalm of David.] Give ear to my prayer, O God, and do not hide yourself from my supplication.
2 Attend to me and hear me. I mourn in my complaint and make a noise,
3 Because of the voice of the enemy, because of the oppression of the wicked. For they cast iniquity upon me and in wrath they hate me.
4 My heart is severely pained within me, and the terrors of death have fallen upon me.
5 Fearfulness and trembling have come upon me, and horror has overwhelmed me.
6 And I said, "O that I had wings like a dove! For then I would fly away and be at rest.
7 Behold, then I would wander far off and remain in the wilderness." [Selah.]
8 "I would hasten my escape from the windy storm and tempest."
9 Destroy, O Lord, and divide their tongues, for I have seen violence and strife in the city.
10 Day and night they go around it upon its walls. Also mischief and sorrow are in the midst of it.
11 Wickedness is in the midst of it. Deceit and guile do not depart from her streets.
12 For it was not an enemy who reproached me—then I could have borne it—neither was it he who hated me who magnified himself against me—then I would have hid myself from him.
13 But it was you, a man my equal, my guide, and my acquaintance.
14 We took sweet counsel together and walked to the house of God in company.
15 Let death seize upon them, and let them go down alive into hell, for wickedness is in their dwellings and among them.
16 As for me, I will call upon God, and the LORD will save me.
17 Evening, morning, and at noon, I will pray and cry aloud, and he will hear my voice.
18 He has delivered my soul in peace from the battle that was against me, for there were many with me.
19 God will hear and afflict them, even he who abides of old. [Selah.] Because they have no changes, therefore they do not fear God.
20 He has put forth his hands against those who are at peace with him. He has broken his covenant.
21 The words of his mouth were smoother than butter, but war was in his heart. His words were softer than oil, yet they were drawn swords.
22 Cast your burden upon the LORD, and he will sustain you. He will never allow the righteous to be moved.
23 But you, O God, will bring them down into the pit of destruction. Bloody and deceitful men shall not live out half their days. But I will trust in you.
Matthew Henry Commentary - Psalms, Chapter 55
John Calvin's Chapter Summary:
Many interpreters have thought that this psalm refers to the conspiracy of Absalom, by which David was driven from the throne, and forced to take refuge under circumstances of great distress in the wilderness. But it seems rather to have been written at a period when he was reduced to extreme danger by the persecutions of Saul. It is a prayer, expressive of the deepest distress, and full of fervor, urging every consideration which could be supposed to solicit the compassion of God. After having disburdened his sorrows and given utterance to his requests, the Psalmist contemplates the prospect of deliverance, and offers thanksgivings to God as if he had already obtained it.
[v.22] - Reference, 1st Peter 5:7.