David’s Painful Betrayal


Like Psalm 54, this Psalm is about betrayal and treachery. In Psalm 54 the betrayal took place in David’s youth, before he was king. The betrayal referred to in this Psalm was from a member of his own family (his son) as well as by a close and trusted friend (Ahithophel) (v. 12). It must have broken David’s heart to see Ahithopel leading Absalom’s rebellion. Ahithopel had indeed been a special friend and helper to David. They thought alike and had mutual interests. David had a big heart and Ahithopel had a shrewd head. They had spent a lot of time together as they planned and worked together over matters of state (vv.13-14). This was the man who betrayed David and suddenly and viciously stabbed him in the back.

This is why David became angry and asked God to strike them dead (v. 15). It is likely that this request by David was not intended to be fulfilled literally. Yet the deaths of Ahithophel (II Samuel 17:23) and Absalom (II Samuel 18:14-15) were a fulfilment of this request. David says he is going to call upon the Lord in the morning, at noon and in the evening to save him and he has confidence the Lord will answer (vv. 16-17). There is certainly nothing wrong with this kind of priorities and the prayers of God’s people are effective. As we can see David does not intend to return evil for evil (vv. 16-17). Yet with the future hanging in the balance and the decisive battle still to be fought, David flings himself on God (v. 21).


Have you ever been betrayed by someone who has been very close to you? If so what was your reaction?  Do I try to take matters into my own hands or do I trust the Lord to work out things in His own time and for His glory?

Psalms 55:15-23 (English Standard Version)

Let death steal over them; let them go down to Sheol alive; for evil is in their dwelling place and in their heart. But I call to God, and the LORD will save me. Evening and morning and at noon I utter my complaint and moan, and he hears my voice. He redeems my soul in safety from the battle that I wage, for many are arrayed against me. God will give ear and humble them, he who is enthroned from of old, because they do not change and do not fear God. My companion stretched out his hand against his friends; he violated his covenant. His speech was smooth as butter, yet war was in his heart; his words were softer than oil, yet they were drawn swords. Cast your burden on the LORD, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved. But you, O God, will cast them down into the pit of destruction; men of blood and treachery shall not live out half their days. But I will trust in you.

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