Two Psalms of Trust in God’s Deliverance While Facing Opposition

Psalm 55-56

Every day we face spiritual opposition and temptations that seek to lead us away from God. There are many in the world who face persecution and physical opposition each day as well. In these two psalms, we see a picture of how David responded at separate incidences when he was opposed by a person or a group and his resolve to trust in God and to encourage others to do the same.

There and Then






Prayer for the Destruction of the Treacherous



David’s Plea for God to hear prayers Concerning those who oppose


David’s physical condition suffers due to opposition


The city is in turmoil as well


David reveals the source of the opposition—A Friend and Companion


David’s resolve to Trust in God, who does not change


David’s call to others to trust in God

Supplication for Deliverance and Grateful Trust in God



David’s commitment to trust in God when opposition comes


David Thanks God for times of deliverance in the past and in the future to come


Psalm 55: David, God {Elohim}, Lord {Adonai}, LORD {YHWH}, enemy, the wicked, “a man my equal”, “my companion”, “my familiar friend”

Psalm 56: David, Philistines, God {Elohim], LORD {YHWH}, foes, enemies


Psalm 55: No specific location is given but Jerusalem is implied

Psalm 56: Gath in the land of the Philistines is given in the introduction but other places in “wanderings” are implied in verse 8.


Psalm 55 was probably written later in his life if the connection to Absolam and Ahithophel holds true and Psalm 56 would have been written before he became king. If they were written at the time of the events, they were both probably written in a wilderness setting while David was getting away from the trouble he was confronted with.

Key Words:

Both Psalms: God, Lord, David, Day, Trust, Afraid, Death, Praise, Prayer

Key Verse:

55:16 As for me, I shall call upon God, And the LORD will save me.

55:22-23 Cast your burden upon the LORD and He will sustain you; He will never allow the righteous to be shaken. 23 But You, O God, will bring them down to the pit of destruction; Men of bloodshed and deceit will not live out half their days. But I will trust in You.

56:3-4 When I am afraid, I will put my trust in You. 4 In God, whose word I praise, In God I have put my trust; I shall not be afraid. What can mere man do to me?

56:10-11 In God, whose word I praise, In the LORD, whose word I praise, 11 In God I have put my trust, I shall not be afraid. What can man do to me?

Cross References2:

Psalm 55

v 13: “a man my equal” – (Heb. a man according to my rank) – “my companion and my familiar friend”

2 Samuel 15:12 And Absalom sent for Ahithophel the Gilonite, David’s counselor, from his city Giloh, while he was offering the sacrifices. And the conspiracy was strong, for the people increased continually with Absalom.

2 Samuel 16:23 The advice of Ahithophel, which he gave in those days, was as if one inquired of the word of God; so was all the advice of Ahithophel regarded by both David and Absalom.

Jeremiah 9:4 “Let everyone be on guard against his neighbor, And do not trust any brother; Because every brother deals craftily, And every neighbor goes about as a slanderer.

Micah 7:1-7 Woe is me! For I am Like the fruit pickers, like the grape gatherers. There is not a cluster of grapes to eat, Or a first-ripe fig which I crave. 2 The godly person has perished from the land, And there is no upright person among men. All of them lie in wait for bloodshed; Each of them hunts the other with a net. 3 Concerning evil, both hands do it well. The prince asks, also the judge, for a bribe, And a great man speaks the desire of his soul; So they weave it together. 4 The best of them is like a briar, The most upright like a thorn hedge. The day when you post your watchmen, Your punishment will come. Then their confusion will occur. 5 Do not trust in a neighbor; Do not have confidence in a friend. From her who lies in your bosom Guard your lips. 6 For son treats father contemptuously, Daughter rises up against her mother, Daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; A man’s enemies are the men of his own household. 7 But as for me, I will watch expectantly for the LORD; I will wait for the God of my salvation. My God will hear me.

Matthew 26:47-50 While He was still speaking, behold, Judas, one of the twelve, came up accompanied by a large crowd with swords and clubs, who came from the chief priests and elders of the people. 48 Now he who was betraying Him gave them a sign, saying, “Whomever I kiss, He is the one; seize Him.” 49 Immediately Judas went to Jesus and said, “Hail, Rabbi!” and kissed Him. 50 And Jesus said to him, “Friend, do what you have come for.” Then they came and laid hands on Jesus and seized Him.

Luke 22:21-22, 44, 47-48  “But behold, the hand of the one betraying Me is with Mine on the table. 22 “For indeed, the Son of Man is going as it has been determined; but woe to that man by whom He is betrayed!”44 And being in agony He was praying very fervently; and His sweat became like drops of blood, falling down upon the ground. … 47 While He was still speaking, behold, a crowd came, and the one called Judas, one of the twelve, was preceding them; and he approached Jesus to kiss Him. 48 But Jesus said to him, “Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?”

v16: “I shall call”

Psalms 50:15 Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I shall rescue you, and you will honor Me.”

Psalms 73:28 But as for me, the nearness of God is my good; I have made the Lord GOD my refuge, That I may tell of all Your works.

Psalms 91:15 “He will call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will rescue him and honor him.

Psalms 109:4 In return for my love they act as my accusers; But I am in prayer.

2 Chronicles 33:10-13 The LORD spoke to Manasseh and his people, but they paid no attention. 11 Therefore the LORD brought the commanders of the army of the king of Assyria against them, and they captured Manasseh with hooks, bound him with bronze chains and took him to Babylon. 12 When he was in distress, he entreated the LORD his God and humbled himself greatly before the God of his fathers. 13 When he prayed to Him, He was moved by his entreaty and heard his supplication, and brought him again to Jerusalem to his kingdom. Then Manasseh knew that the LORD was God.

Job 22:26-27 “For then you will delight in the Almighty And lift up your face to God. 27 “You will pray to Him, and He will hear you; And you will pay your vows.

Proverbs 1:27-29 When your dread comes like a storm And your calamity comes like a whirlwind, When distress and anguish come upon you. 28 “Then they will call on me, but I will not answer; They will seek me diligently but they will not find me, 29 Because they hated knowledge And did not choose the fear of the LORD.

Isaiah 58:6-11 “Is this not the fast which I choose, To loosen the bonds of wickedness, To undo the bands of the yoke, And to let the oppressed go free And break every yoke? 7 “Is it not to divide your bread with the hungry And bring the homeless poor into the house; When you see the naked, to cover him; And not to hide yourself from your own flesh? 8 “Then your light will break out like the dawn, And your recovery will speedily spring forth; And your righteousness will go before you; The glory of the LORD will be your rear guard. 9 “Then you will call, and the LORD will answer; You will cry, and He will say, ‘Here I am.’ If you remove the yoke from your midst, The pointing of the finger and speaking wickedness, 10 And if you give yourself to the hungry And satisfy the desire of the afflicted, Then your light will rise in darkness And your gloom will become like midday. 11 “And the LORD will continually guide you, And satisfy your desire in scorched places, And give strength to your bones; And you will be like a watered garden, And like a spring of water whose waters do not fail.

Zechariah 13:9 “And I will bring the third part through the fire, Refine them as silver is refined, And test them as gold is tested. They will call on My name, And I will answer them; I will say, ‘They are My people,’ And they will say, ‘The LORD is my God.'”

Acts 16:25 But about midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns of praise to God, and the prisoners were listening to them;

James 5:13-16 Is anyone among you suffering? Then he must pray. Is anyone cheerful? He is to sing praises. 14 Is anyone among you sick? Then he must call for the elders of the church and they are to pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord; 15 and the prayer offered in faith will restore the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up, and if he has committed sins, they will be forgiven him. 16 Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.

v19: “God will hear”

Psalms 65:5 By awesome deeds You answer us in righteousness, O God of our salvation, You who are the trust of all the ends of the earth and of the farthest sea;

Psalms 143:11-12 For the sake of Your name, O LORD, revive me. In Your righteousness bring my soul out of trouble. 12 And in Your lovingkindness, cut off my enemies And destroy all those who afflict my soul, For I am Your servant.

1 Thessalonians 2:14-16  14 For you, brethren, became imitators of the churches of God in Christ Jesus that are in Judea, for you also endured the same sufferings at the hands of your own countrymen, even as they did from the Jews, 15 who both killed the Lord Jesus and the prophets, and drove us out. They are not pleasing to God, but hostile to all men, 16 hindering us from speaking to the Gentiles so that they may be saved; with the result that they always fill up the measure of their sins. But wrath has come upon them to the utmost.

Revelation 6:9-11 When the Lamb broke the fifth seal, I saw underneath the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God, and because of the testimony which they had maintained; 10 and they cried out with a loud voice, saying, “How long, O Lord, holy and true, will You refrain from judging and avenging our blood on those who dwell on the earth?” 11 And there was given to each of them a white robe; and they were told that they should rest for a little while longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brethren who were to be killed even as they had been, would be completed also.

v22: “Cast your burden”

Psalms 27:13-14  I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the LORD In the land of the living. 14 Wait for the LORD; Be strong and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for the LORD.

Psalms 37:3-7 Trust in the LORD and do good; Dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness. 4 Delight yourself in the LORD; And He will give you the desires of your heart. 5 Commit your way to the LORD, Trust also in Him, and He will do it. 6 He will bring forth your righteousness as the light And your judgment as the noonday. 7 Rest in the LORD and wait patiently for Him; Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way, Because of the man who carries out wicked schemes.

Psalms 42:9-11  I will say to God my rock, “Why have You forgotten me? Why do I go mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?” 10 As a shattering of my bones, my adversaries revile me, While they say to me all day long, “Where is your God?” 11 Why are you in despair, O my soul? And why have you become disturbed within me? Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him, The help of my countenance and my God.

Isaiah 50:9-10  Behold, the Lord GOD helps Me; Who is he who condemns Me? Behold, they will all wear out like a garment; The moth will eat them. 10 Who is among you that fears the LORD, That obeys the voice of His servant, That walks in darkness and has no light? Let him trust in the name of the LORD and rely on his God.

Matthew 6:25, 31-34  “For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?31 “Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’ 32 “For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. 34 “So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Matthew 11:28-30  “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. 29 “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS. 30 “For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

Philippians 4:4-7 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! 5 Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near. 6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

1 Peter 5:6-7 Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, 7 casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.

Psalm 56

v1: “Be gracious”

Psalms 4:1  Answer me when I call, O God of my righteousness! You have relieved me in my distress; Be gracious to me and hear my prayer.

Psalms 59:10 My God in His lovingkindness will meet me; God will let me look triumphantly upon my foes.

Psalms 69:13-16  But as for me, my prayer is to You, O LORD, at an acceptable time; O God, in the greatness of Your lovingkindness, Answer me with Your saving truth. 14 Deliver me from the mire and do not let me sink; May I be delivered from my foes and from the deep waters. 15 May the flood of water not overflow me Nor the deep swallow me up, Nor the pit shut its mouth on me. 16 Answer me, O LORD, for Your lovingkindness is good; According to the greatness of Your compassion, turn to me,

Psalms 136:10-20  To Him who smote the Egyptians in their firstborn, For His lovingkindness is everlasting, 11 And brought Israel out from their midst, For His lovingkindness is everlasting, 12 With a strong hand and an outstretched arm, For His lovingkindness is everlasting. 13 To Him who divided the Red Sea asunder, For His lovingkindness is everlasting, 14 And made Israel pass through the midst of it, For His lovingkindness is everlasting; 15 But He overthrew Pharaoh and his army in the Red Sea, For His lovingkindness is everlasting. 16 To Him who led His people through the wilderness, For His lovingkindness is everlasting; 17 To Him who smote great kings, For His lovingkindness is everlasting, 18 And slew mighty kings, For His lovingkindness is everlasting: 19 Sihon, king of the Amorites, For His lovingkindness is everlasting, 20 And Og, king of Bashan, For His lovingkindness is everlasting,

v3: “When I am afraid”

1 Samuel 21:10-12  Then David arose and fled that day from Saul, and went to Achish king of Gath. 11 But the servants of Achish said to him, “Is this not David the king of the land? Did they not sing of this one as they danced, saying, ‘Saul has slain his thousands, And David his ten thousands’?” 12 David took these words to heart and greatly feared Achish king of Gath.

1 Samuel 30:6  Moreover David was greatly distressed because the people spoke of stoning him, for all the people were embittered, each one because of his sons and his daughters. But David strengthened himself in the LORD his God.

Psalms 34:2-4  My soul will make its boast in the LORD; The humble will hear it and rejoice. 3 O magnify the LORD with me, And let us exalt His name together. 4 I sought the LORD, and He answered me, And delivered me from all my fears.

Psalms 55:1-5

Psalms 112:7-8 He will not fear evil tidings; His heart is steadfast, trusting in the LORD. 8 His heart is upheld, he will not fear, Until he looks with satisfaction on his adversaries.

2 Chronicles 20:2-4 Then some came and reported to Jehoshaphat, saying, “A great multitude is coming against you from beyond the sea, out of Aram and behold, they are in Hazazon-tamar (that is Engedi).” 3 Jehoshaphat was afraid and turned his attention to seek the LORD, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah. 4 So Judah gathered together to seek help from the LORD; they even came from all the cities of Judah to seek the LORD.

Isaiah 12:1-6 Then you will say on that day, “I will give thanks to You, O LORD; For although You were angry with me, Your anger is turned away, And You comfort me. 2 “Behold, God is my salvation, I will trust and not be afraid; For the LORD GOD is my strength and song, And He has become my salvation.” 3 Therefore you will joyously draw water From the springs of salvation. 4 And in that day you will say, “Give thanks to the LORD, call on His name. Make known His deeds among the peoples; Make them remember that His name is exalted.” 5 Praise the LORD in song, for He has done excellent things; Let this be known throughout the earth. 6 Cry aloud and shout for joy, O inhabitant of Zion, For great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel.

Jeremiah 17:7-8 “Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD And whose trust is the LORD. 8 “For he will be like a tree planted by the water, That extends its roots by a stream And will not fear when the heat comes; But its leaves will be green, And it will not be anxious in a year of drought Nor cease to yield fruit.

Nahum 1:7 The LORD is good, A stronghold in the day of trouble, And He knows those who take refuge in Him.

Romans 8:24-27 For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for who hopes for what he already sees? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it. 26 In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; 27 and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.

2 Corinthians 1:8-11 For we do not want you to be unaware, brethren, of our affliction which came to us in Asia, that we were burdened excessively, beyond our strength, so that we despaired even of life; 9 indeed, we had the sentence of death within ourselves so that we would not trust in ourselves, but in God who raises the dead; 10 who delivered us from so great a peril of death, and will deliver us, He on whom we have set our hope. And He will yet deliver us, 11 you also joining in helping us through your prayers, so that thanks may be given by many persons on our behalf for the favor bestowed on us through the prayers of many.

2 Corinthians 7:5-7 For even when we came into Macedonia our flesh had no rest, but we were afflicted on every side: conflicts without, fears within. 6 But God, who comforts the depressed, comforted us by the coming of Titus; 7 and not only by his coming, but also by the comfort with which he was comforted in you, as he reported to us your longing, your mourning, your zeal for me; so that I rejoiced even more.

1 John 4:16-18 We have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. 17 By this, love is perfected with us, so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment; because as He is, so also are we in this world. 18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love.

v13: “For You have delivered my soul”

Psalms 86:11-13 Teach me Your way, O LORD; I will walk in Your truth; Unite my heart to fear Your name. 12 I will give thanks to You, O Lord my God, with all my heart, And will glorify Your name forever. 13 For Your lovingkindness toward me is great, And You have delivered my soul from the depths of Sheol.

Psalms 116:7-9 Return to your rest, O my soul, For the LORD has dealt bountifully with you. 8 For You have rescued my soul from death, My eyes from tears, My feet from stumbling. 9 I shall walk before the LORD In the land of the living.

Romans 8:1-2 Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.

James 5:19-20 My brethren, if any among you strays from the truth and one turns him back, 20 let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.


There are no particularly difficult passages in these chapters.


What do I do to remind myself of God’s deliverance and provision in the past when I am distraught or distracted because of some human circumstance?

Notes & Commentaries:

James Swanson3

While Psalm 55 isn’t assigned to a specific event or person as some are in their introductions, David clearly had a person who was a friend in mind (vss. 12-14). Many speculate it was written at the time of Absalom’s rebellion and Ahithophel’s defecton (2Sa 15). If this is the case, David’s physical anguish is understandable as he was being opposed by his son and a long trusted counselor, and the description of the city being in turmoil (vss. 9-11) would be consistent with the plotting necessary to usurp control of the country.

The introductory remarks of Psalm 56 indicate that David wrote this at the occasion of the Philistines capturing him in Gath (1Sa 21). There are other times when David had to seek refuge outside of Israel, in the land of the Philistines, while being pursued by Saul that could be referenced as well (see Believer’s Bible Commentary below).

The thing that is clear from both of these is this, while written at different times in his life, David was committed to following after God and encouraging others to do so as well throughout his life. It is understandable than why God would consider him a “man after His own heart.” A good example for the kings who would follow (although many didn’t) and for us today.

Psalm 55:

There is an earnest pleading with God to listen on David’s part because he finds himself in a difficult situation, to the point that he has become distraught or distracted from everything else.

The “selah” at the end of verse 7 is fitting. Selah is believed to be a musical term indicating a time of rest or a melodic interlude without words. So after David is wishing he could take wing and fly away from his troubles, a time of rest seems most appropriate. It is a reminder to us that we need to make sure we find time for rest when we are difficult circumstances.

David is upset that it was a close friend and companion who is causing this distress and offers two responses if it was someone else.

  1. An enemy who insults – he could bear it.
  2. An enemy who exalts himself against him – he could hide from him.

When opposition comes from someone who is considered a close friend, adviser, and fellow God worshiper, it always seems especially upsetting. Thus, the severity of David’s emotional state. In fact, it appears to David that the whole city is in an uproar and intrigue is rampant.

David then contrasts his plan of remaining faithful to the Lord to his friend’s betraying his friends and braking his promises.

Finally, David calls on all God’s people to place their faith in God, casting all their cares on Him, knowing that he will provide. Peter writes a similar expression.

1 Peter 5:6-7 Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, 7 casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.

Paul also write about how we are to bear one another’s burden as fellow Christians.

Galatians 6:2 Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ.

There was a popular Christian chorus, Cares Chorus, that was written about this same by Kelly Willard.



Psalm 56:

The phrase “put my trust” is only found in Psalm 56 in verses 3 (I will…), 4 and 11 (I have…). Each time it is referring to when David would become afraid, he chooses to place his trust in God and reject the fear. Like Jesus said, Matthew 10:28″Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.”

Matthew Henry4

Psalm 55 – It is the conjecture of many expositors that David penned this psalm upon occasion of Absalom’s rebellion, and that the particular enemy he here speaks of, that dealt treacherously with him, was Ahithophel; and some will therefore make David’s troubles here typical of Christ’s sufferings, and Ahithophel’s treachery a figure of Judas’s, because they both hanged themselves. But there is nothing in it particularly applied to Christ in the New Testament. … In singing this psalm we may, if there be occasion, apply it to our own troubles; if not, we may sympathize with those to whose case it comes nearer, foreseeing that there will be, at last, indignation and wrath to the persecutors, salvation and joy to the persecuted.

Psalm 56 – It seems by this, and many other psalms, that even in times of the greatest trouble and distress David never hung his harp upon the willow-trees, never unstrung it or laid it by; but that when his dangers and fears were greatest he was still in tune for singing God’s praises. He was in imminent peril when he penned this psalm, at least when he meditated it; yet even then his meditation of God was sweet. … How pleasantly may a good Christian, in singing this psalm, rejoice in God, and praise him for what he will do, as well as for what he has done.


Psalm 55 – The occasion on which the psalm was composed is not indicated in the title, nor can it be with certainty ascertained. The author of the Chaldee Paraphrase refers the psalm to the time of Absalom and to his rebellion, and this is also the opinion of the Jewish expositors in general. They suppose that the psalm was composed on occasion of the departure of David from Jerusalem, when he had heard of the rebellion, and that the psalm has special reference to the time when, having fled from the city, and having come to the ascent of the Mount of Olives, while all was consternation around him, he learned that Ahithophel also was among the conspirators, which was the consummation of his calamity, 2Sa 15:31. Others suppose that the psalm was composed when David was in Keilah, and when, surrounded by foes, he was apprehensive that the inhabitants of that place would deliver him into the hand of Saul, 1Sa 23:1-12. Of all the known events in the life of David, the supposition which regards the psalm as composed during the rebellion of Absalom, and at the special time when he learned that the man whom he had trusted – Ahithophel – was among the traitors, is the most probable. All the circumstances in the psalm agree with his condition at that time, and the occasion was one in which the persecuted and much-afflicted king would be likely to pour out the desires of his heart before God. Paulus and DeWette have remarked that it is evident from the psalm that the enemies to whom the author refers were inhabitants of the same city with himself, and that the danger was from treason within the walls of the city, Psa_55:1 O. This seems not improbable, and this agrees well with the supposition that the scene of the psalm is laid in the time of the rebellion of Absalom.

Psalm 56 – This purports to be a psalm of David, and there is no sufficient reason for doubting the correctness of its being thus attributed to him. DeWette indeed thinks that the contents of the psalm do not well agree with the circumstances of David’s life, and especially with that period of his life referred to in the title, and supposes that it was composed by some Hebrew in exile in the time of the captivity. But this is evidently mere conjecture. There “were” times in the life of David to which all that is said in this psalm would be applicable; and it is not difficult to explain all the allusions in it with reference to the circumstances specified in the title.

Believer’s Bible Commentary6

Psalm 55 – Ahithophel was one of David’s most trusted advisers who later led a defection to the usurping Absalom. In this Psalm, we sense the extreme anguish of David’s heart over this bitter blow. We can also read here something of the deep tides of emotion which surged through the Savior’s soul in connection with His betrayal by Judas. And the Psalm foreshadows the prayer of the remnant as they suffer under the conspiracy of the coming Antichrist.

Psalm 56 – It was a bitter pill for David to have to seek refuge from his own countrymen among the Philistines in Gath (1Sa 21:10-15; 1Sa 27:4; 1Sa 29:2-11), but the fierce hostility of King Saul drove him to it—or so he felt. Psalm 56 describes some of the alternating waves of fear and faith which swept over him at that time.

Jewish Study Bible7

Psalm 55 – Although an individual petition like the previous psalm (cf. Esp. 55.2 and 54.4), this psalm is as innovative as the previous one is standard. The structure of Ps. 55 is unusually complex; the psalmist’s complaint, for example, is found in three different sections (vv. 4-9, 11-12, 21-22), and the vocabulary of the psalm is unique and quite difficult.

Psalm 56 – This individual petition emphasizes the great confidence or trust of the psalmist. In expressing his trust God rather than humans, it shares certain phrases with Pss. 116-118 (see vv. 5, 14 n.). … A time when the Philistines seized him [David] in Gath is never recorded in Samuel; it might be inferred from 1 Sam. 21:11-16, or the superscription may reflect another story about David that was not preserved in the canonical Samuel (see introduction to Ps. 7).

Here and Now

Answer the questions below as you reflect on your own life and this study8: my LOG vs others SPECK

S — Are there sins to avoid or confess?

  • Seeking human answers in times of peril or trouble or opposition.

P — Are there promises from God to claim?

  • God will deliver our souls

E — Are there examples to follow?


  • David’s devotion to God and placing in trust in Him to provide and deliver, no matter what may come


  • the “friend” or “companion” or “enemy” who deliberately plot evil against his friend

C — Are there commands to obey?

K — How can this passage increase my knowledge about God / Jesus Christ / Holy Spirit?

Names of God:

  • Elohim9—Plural form of Eloah yet singular in nature, denotes power and might, closely associated with theos in the New Testament. (55:1, 14, 16, 19, 23; 56:1, 4, 7, 9-13)
  • Adonai10—Plural form with a 1st person ending, most often used in place of the divine name YHWH and points to God’s supreme power and authority, closely associated with kurios in the New Testament. (55:9)
  • Yahweh or Jehovah11—combination of YHWH with the vowel points of Adonai since the Renaissance. It is the personal or proper name of the God of Israel, which He revealed to Moses (I AM THAT I AM), usually shown in capital letters. It is frequently used in reference to God’s redemptive work or in combination with another word to describe a character trait of God. (55:16, 22; 56:10)

Remembering that God has delivered and provided in the past, so He can be counted on in the present and future.

Other Application Questions

  • Are there principles to guide?
  • Are there warnings to heed?
  • Are there attitudes to adopt?
  • Are there actions to take?

An outline for Psalms is available on the Downloads page in the Outlines folder.


(NASB) New American Standard Bible. La Habra, CA: The Lockman Foundation; e-Sword, 1995.

Barnes, Albert. Barnes Notes on the Old and New Testaments. Public Domain; e-Sword, 1800s.

Fishbane, Michael, ed. (JSB) The Jewish Study Bible. Oxford; New York, NY: Oxford University Press, Inc., 2004.

Henry, Matthew. Commentary on the Whole Bible. Public Domain; e-Sword, 1700s.

MacDonald, William, and Arthur Farstad. Believer’s Bible Commentary: An Exposition of the Sacred Scriptures. Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers; e-Sword, 1995.

Orr, James. International Standard Bible Encyclopedia. e-Sword, 1939.

Smith, Jerome H. Nelson’s Cross-Reference Guide to the Bible: Illuminating God’s Word Verse-by-Verse. Thomas Nelson, 2007. Print.

The Navigators. The Navigator Bible Studies Handbook. Colorado Springs, CO: Navpress, 1986. Print.

Zhodiates, Spiro, Warren Baker, and Gene Carpenter. The Complete Word Study Bible and Dictionary Pack. e-Sword, 1993.


1     (NASB) “Group” column from the headings in the NASB text.
2     (Smith 75–76)
3     Personal reflections on the psalms.
4     (Henry) on Psalms 55 & 56.
5     (Barnes) on Psalms 55 & 56.
6     (MacDonald and Farstad) on Psalm 55-56.
7     (Fishbane 1342–1344) on Psalms 55-56.
8     (The Navigators) [with additions] & Matthew 7:1-5.
9     (Orr; Zhodiates, Baker, and Carpenter) on H430 Elohim.
10   (Orr; Zhodiates, Baker, and Carpenter) on H136 Adonai.
11   (Orr; Zhodiates, Baker, and Carpenter) on H3068 Yahweh or Jehovah.