Josh Philpot

Theology, the Church, and Music

Numbers 16 in Psalm 55

with 4 comments

Tonight I taught on Psalm 55 at Kenwood Baptist Church. The psalm is about David’s inner turmoil and anguish due to the betrayal of a close friend(s). Verse 15 stands apart in that David calls for harsh judgment on these former companions—”Let death steal over them; let them go down to Sheol alive.”

“Sheol” is found frequently in the Bible, but as I was studying the psalm I realized that the latter phrase of v. 15—”let them go down to Sheol alive”—is unique in that it appears only twice in the OT: here in Psalm 55:15 and also in Numbers 16:30, 33, the passage about the Korahite rebellion. In that passage, Dathan and Abiram are destroyed as a consequence of their rebellion against God and their rejection of Moses’ leadership. To demonstrate that God had judged their insolence and that their death was not the ordinary lot of human beings, the ground opened up and Dathan, Abiram, and their families “went down alive to Sheol.” The Hebrew construction in Numbers 16:30, 33 is essentially identical to the one in Psalm 55:15:

Num 16:30 — וְיָרְדוּ חַיִּים שְׁאֹלָה
Ps 55:15 — יֵרְדוּ שְׁאוֹל חַיִּים

So perhaps David had the Korahite rebellion in mind when he called for judgment on his enemies/former-friends. What he wants is probably not the same mode of judgment (i.e. the ground opening up), but the same kind of judgment—abrupt and unexpected.


Written by Josh Philpot

September 29, 2011 at 2:09 am

Posted in Old Testament

4 Responses

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  1. Great post, Josh
    And great work last night teaching
    I think this forges a connection between the enemies of David and the enemies of Moses, don’t you?

    Jim Hamilton

    September 29, 2011 at 2:40 pm

  2. Actually, now that you mention it, I guess that it does. Do you consider David a new Moses?

    Josh Philpot

    September 29, 2011 at 2:59 pm

  3. […] 13 – Intercessory Prayer « Seekers of Christ1Numbers 16 in Psalm 55 « Josh Philpot […]

  4. Wow. I so enjoy photos and I’m paosnsiatel in love with flowers the beauty, the colors, the creativity. I love all of these. The one that sticks out is the pink leaf where the “veins” can be seen. I could comment on each of these as they are so gorgeous. I could do without the one in the water long slender, eeek my BIGGEST fear. I “hate” them. I know they eat mice and spiders but let me have the mice and spiders and never see another s -s again. Did you take these? Gorgeous.


    May 25, 2012 at 1:01 am

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