|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
116:1-9 We have many reasons for loving the Lord, but are most affected by his loving-kindness when relieved out of deep distress. When a poor sinner is awakened to a sense of his state, and fears that he must soon sink under the just wrath of God, then he finds trouble and sorrow. But let all such call upon the Lord to deliver their souls, and they will find him gracious and true to his promise. Neither ignorance nor guilt will hinder their salvation, when they put their trust in the Lord. Let us all speak of God as we have found him; and have we ever found him otherwise than just and good? It is of his mercies that we are not consumed. Let those who labour and are heavy laden come to him, that they may find rest to their souls; and if at all drawn from their rest, let them haste to return, remembering how bountifully the Lord has dealt with them. We should deem ourselves bound to walk as in his presence. It is a great mercy to be kept from being swallowed up with over-much sorrow. It is a great mercy for God to hold us by the right hand, so that we are not overcome and overthrown by a temptation. But when we enter the heavenly rest, deliverance from sin and sorrow will be complete; we shall behold the glory of the Lord, and walk in his presence with delight we cannot now conceive.
Verses 3-9. - The psalmist describes his trouble (ver. 3), his prayer for deliverance (ver. 4), and his actual deliverance (vers. 5-9). Verse 3. - The sorrows of death compassed me; literally, the cords of death (comp. Psalm 18:4, where the same expression is used). Death is pictured as seizing his victim and binding him with cords. And the pains of hell gat hold upon me; or, "the straits of hell" (comp. Psalm 118:5; Lamentations 1:3). Death and hell (shell) are closely connected together in the prayer of Hezekiah (Isaiah 38:10, 18). I found trouble and sorrow; or, "anguish and woe" (comp. Isaiah 38:12-17).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
The sorrows of death compassed me,.... Christ, of whom David was a type, was a man of sorrows all his days; and in the garden he was surrounded with sorrow; exceeding sorrowful even unto death, in a view of the sins of his people imputed to him, and under a sense of wrath for them, he was about to bear; and his agonies in the article of death were very grievous, he died the painful and accursed death of the cross. This was true of David, when Saul and his men compassed him on every side, threatening to cut him off in a moment; when he despaired of life, and had the sentence of death in himself, and saw no way to escape; and such a case is that of the people of God, or they may be said to be compassed about with the sorrows of death, when through a slavish fear of it they are all their lifetime subject to bondage; and especially when under dreadful apprehensions of eternal death.
And the pains of hell gat hold upon me; or "found me" (e); overtook him, and seized upon him; meaning either the horrors of a guilty conscience under a sense of sin, without a view of pardon; which is as it were a hell in the conscience, and like the pains and torments of it: or "the pains of the grave" (f); not that there are any pains felt there, the body being destitute of life, and senseless; but such sorrows or troubles are meant which threaten to bring down to the grave, which was the case of Jacob on the loss of his children, Genesis 37:35. This applied to Christ may design the wrath of God and curse of the law, which he endured in the room and stead of his people, as their surety; and which were equivalent to the pains of the damned in hell; or it may refer to his being laid in the grave, in a strait and narrow place, as the word (g) signifies; where he lay bound in grave clothes, till he was loosed from the pains and cords of death, it being not possible he should be held by them, Acts 2:24; see Gill on Psalm 18:4, Psalm 18:5.
I found trouble and sorrow; without seeking for them; they seized and took hold of him, on David, and his antitype, when in the above circumstances; and often do the saints find trouble and sorrow from a body of sin and death, from the temptations of Satan, divine desertions, and afflictive providences. Aben Ezra refers the one to the body, the other to the soul.
(e) "invenerunt me", Pagninus, Montanus, &c. (f) "sepulchri", Vatablus, Junius & Tremellius, Piscator. (g) "augustiae", Pagninus, Montanus, &c.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
3, 4. For similar figures for distress see Ps 18:4, 5.
gat hold upon me—Another sense ("found") of the same word follows, as we speak of disease finding us, and of our finding or catching disease.
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