There is a significant difference between the setting of the two earlier psalms of betrayal and this one. In Psalms 52 and 54 David is in the wilderness fleeing from his enemy Saul, a low point in his career, while in Psalm 55 he is apparently established in Jerusalem, his capital city. This must mean that Saul is dead and that David is now king. We would expect this situation to be good. David's troubles should be over. But we find that this is not the case and that David is as much troubled in his ascendancy as he was when a fugitive.

In Psalm 52 David's presence in Nob had been disclosed to Saul by Doeg the Edomite. It concerns David's betrayal by a foreigner. In Psalm 54 David has been betrayed by the people of Ziph, that is, by his own countrymen. This short series of betrayal psalms reaches a strong climax in Psalm 55 with its description of David's betrayal by an intimate friend.

He makes his request (v. 5). Finally, David makes the specific request that God might destroy those who are attacking him. In the case of Doeg, pictured in Psalm 52, he has already prophesied what his end would be. It was to be pulled down, snatched up, twisted out and torn from Israel, even from the land of the living (v. 5). David is not so graphic in Psalm 54, but he does pray that evil might "recoil on those who slander" him and that God might be faithful to him by destroying them.

After the opening cry of verse 1, which sets the theme for the psalm, David begins the prayer in which he asks Jehovah to rescue him in his forsaken situation. His prayer has the following five parts.

What does David mean when he asks God to save him "by your name" in verse 1? That idea does not have a great deal of importance for us, because we do not often think of the "name" itself being particularly significant. We think of God but not the name of God. For the Old Testament saints it was different. For them names were important. They were understood to sum up the character and personality of the person named.