Psalm 11:6
On the wicked he shall rain snares, fire and brimstone, and an horrible tempest: this shall be the portion of their cup.
Jump to: BarnesBensonBICalvinCambridgeClarkeDarbyEllicottExpositor'sExp DctGaebeleinGSBGillGrayHaydockHastingsHomileticsJFBKDKellyKJTLangeMacLarenMHCMHCWParkerPoolePulpitSermonSCOTTBTODWESTSK
(6) Rain snares.—Or nooses. (Comp. 1Corinthians 7:35.) This is certainly an extraordinary figure, and various emendations have been suggested. Ewald’s “coals of fire” (pecham for pachîm) is the best (comp. Psalm 18:13, where the Hebrew word, however, is gechalîm, “live, or red coals”; while pecham is used in Proverbs 26:21 as fuel for fire, in contrast with live coals: but in Isaiah 44:12; Isaiah 54:16 it is itself plainly burning coal.) He arranges the clauses thus: “Causeth to rain upon wicked men coals of fire with brimstone; a glowing blast is the portion of their cup.”

“Put we our quarrel to the will of Heaven,

Who, when he sees the hours ripe on earth,

Will rain hot vengeance on offenders’ heads.”

—SHAKESPEARE: Rich. II., i. 2.

Horrible tempest.—Literally, wind of heats; “Vulg., spiritus procellarum; Targum, storm and whirlwind; as in Latin, aestus combines the ideas of heat and violent motion; so the Hebrew word here. Probably, therefore, we must think of a hot, poisonous wind—the simoom.

Or may we see one more reminiscence of the fate of Sodom and Gomorrha stamped indelibly on the Hebrew mind?

Psalm 11:6. Upon the wicked he shall rain snares, &c. — The wicked may think themselves very secure, because they are so politic, crafty, and strong; but how can they defend themselves against God, who hath innumerable ways to destroy them, when they least think of it; and can as unexpectedly overthrow all their power as, when the heavens are most serene, a sudden storm of thunder and lightning and tempestuous wind arises and spreads destruction far and near? Dr. Waterland reads the verse thus: Upon the wicked he shall rain snares: fire and brimstone, and a tempestuous wind shall be the portion of their cup. The psalmist alludes to the fire and brimstone which fell upon the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. By snares are meant grievous plagues or calamities, which are called snares, because wicked men are often surprised with them when they least expect it, and because they cannot escape them, or extricate themselves from them; but are held fast and destroyed by them. And God is said to rain them, to denote his sending them plentifully, swiftly, and suddenly, as rain commonly falls from heaven. And a horrible tempest — Dreadful judgments, so called in allusion to the destruction of the forementioned cities by these means. But he seems to intend this, not so much of present calamities, as of eternal punishments, to commence at the judgment of the last day. “Then the children of faithful Abraham shall behold a prospect, like that which once presented itself to the eyes of their father; when, rising early in the morning, and looking toward Sodom and Gomorrah, he beheld, and lo, the smoke of the country went up as the smoke of a furnace! Genesis 19:28. Such must be the portion of their cup who have dashed from them the cup of salvation. He, therefore, who enjoys the prosperity of the wicked here, must take with it their torment hereafter; as he who is ambitious of wearing the crown of righteousness in heaven must be content to endure tribulation upon earth.” — Horne. The reader will observe, that this expression, the portion of their cup, is a proverbial phrase in Scripture: God’s gifts and dispensations, whether pleasing or painful, consolatory or afflictive, especially the latter, being ordinarily expressed by a cup, poured out and given men to drink.11:1-7 David's struggle with, and triumph over a strong temptation to distrust God, and betake himself to indirect means for his own safety, in a time of danger. - Those that truly fear God and serve him, are welcome to put their trust in him. The psalmist, before he gives an account of his temptation to distrust God, records his resolution to trust in Him, as that by which he was resolved to live and die. The believer, though not terrified by his enemies, may be tempted, by the fears of his friends, to desert his post, or neglect his work. They perceive his danger, but not his security; they give him counsel that savours of worldly policy, rather than of heavenly wisdom. The principles of religion are the foundations on which the faith and hope of the righteous are built. We are concerned to hold these fast against all temptations to unbelief; for believers would be undone, if they had not God to go to, God to trust in, and future bliss to hope for. The prosperity of wicked people in their wicked, evil ways, and the straits and distresses which the best men are sometimes brought into, tried David's faith. We need not say, Who shall go up to heaven, to fetch us thence a God to trust in? The word is nigh us, and God in the word; his Spirit is in his saints, those living temples, and the Lord is that Spirit. This God governs the world. We may know what men seem to be, but God knows what they are, as the refiner knows the value of gold when he has tried it. God is said to try with his eyes, because he cannot err, or be imposed upon. If he afflicts good people, it is for their trial, therefore for their good. However persecutors and oppressors may prosper awhile, they will for ever perish. God is a holy God, and therefore hates them. He is a righteous Judge, and will therefore punish them. In what a horrible tempest are the wicked hurried away at death! Every man has the portion of his cup assigned him. Impenitent sinner, mark your doom! The last call to repentance is about to be addressed to you, judgement is at hand; through the gloomy shade of death you pass into the region of eternal wrath. Hasten then, O sinner, to the cross of Christ. How stands the case between God and our souls? Is Christ our hope, our consolation, our security? Then, not otherwise, will the soul be carried through all its difficulties and conflicts.Upon the wicked - Upon all the wicked.

He shall rain - He shall pour down as in a furious tempest.

Snares - It seems rather incongruous to speak of raining down "snares, " - understanding by the word snares, as it is used with us, that which entangles, as the snares by which we catch a bird, or by which a wild animal is taken. Compare the notes at Job 18:8-10. The word used here, however, seems to refer to anything by which one is taken in his career or course, or is involved in difficulties; and the meaning is, that God would arrest or seize upon the wicked, as a wild beast is secured by the snares or the toils of the hunter. By their being sent down as in a "rain," is denoted that such means of their arrest and punishment would exist in abundance, so that they could not escape.

Fire and brimstone - There is probably an allusion here to the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, Genesis 19:24. As those cities were eminent for their wickedness, and were destroyed on account of their guilt, they furnished an illustration of the manner in which God would treat the wicked in all future times. As they were destroyed on account of their wickedness, so will all the wicked be destroyed.

And an horrible tempest - As a furious blast of wind sweeps away houses and trees, spreading wide desolation, so will the wicked be swept away by the manifestation of the wrath of God.

This shall be the portion of their cup - That is, this shall be what they shall drink. See the note at Isaiah 51:17. The idea is, that the Lord holds out to them a cup for them to drink - a cup containing a deadly mixture. The allusion is to the mode of administering punishment by a poisonous draught - not an unfrequent mode of punishment in ancient times. The idea in the whole verse is, that the wicked would be destroyed, and that, therefore, there was nothing ultimately to be apprehended from them. God would protect his own friends, and would destroy all those that sought their hurt. In these circumstances the righteous should confide in him as their protector, and not "flee."

6. Their punishment is described by vivid figures denoting abundant, sudden, furious, and utter destruction (compare Ge 19:24; Job 18:15; Ps 7:15; 9:15).

cup—is a frequent figure for God's favor or wrath (Ps 16:5; 23:5; Mt 20:22, 23).

He shall rain; which notes their original to be extraordinary, and from God’s hand; and withal, that they should come plentifully, swiftly, and suddenly, violently and unavoidably, as rain commonly doth fall from heaven.

Snares, i.e. grievous plagues or judgments, which are called snares here, as also Job 18:9,10 22:10 Isaiah 8:14 24:17,18; partly because wicked men are ofttimes surprised with them when they least expect them, Luke 21:35; and partly because they cannot escape them, nor get out of them, but are held fast and destroyed by them.

Fire and brimstone, and a horrible tempest, i.e. dreadful judgments, so called metaphorically, and by allusion to the destruction of Sodom and other places by these means. But this he seems to speak not so much of present and temporal calamities, as of their future and eternal punishments, because he manifestly speaks of those miseries which are peculiar to wicked men; whereas David knew very well, both by his own experience, and by the history of Job, and of Israel’s bondage in Egypt, that all things here came alike to all men, good or bad, Ecclesiastes 9:2, and that wicked men had many times a greater share of worldly prosperity than God’s own people; as David acknowledgeth and complaineth of it, Psalm 73.

This shall be the portion of their cup; this is their portion, and as it were the meat and drink appointed to them by God. This shall certainly and unavoidably be their state or condition; which is oft called a man’s part or portion, as Psalm 16:5 63:10 75:8 Matthew 24:51. He alludes to the ancient custom of masters of families, or of feasts, who used to distribute the several portions of meat to their domestics or guests. Upon the wicked,.... The wicked one, the man of sin, antichrist, and upon all that worship the beast and his image, on all persecutors, and upon all wicked men in general:

he shall rain snares, fire, and brimstone, and an horrible tempest; this will be in hell, as Jarchi observes. The allusion is to the Lord's raining fire and brimstone from heaven upon Sodom and Gomorrah, which was an example and emblem of eternal fire; see Genesis 19:24. For the beast and the false prophet, and all the antichristian party, and all wicked men, will have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone. The phrases used express the dreadfulness and horribleness of their punishment; the suddenness, violence, and force, with which it will come; and the rise of it, it will be from heaven; God himself will rain this shower of wrath upon them, Job 20:23; nor will there be any escaping it, it will be inevitable: therefore "snares" are said to be "rained"; the wicked will be snared in the works of their own hands; they will be taken and held in the cords of their own sins; and full and deserved punishment will be inflicted on them, which will be very severe and terrible. All that is dreadful in a storm is here expressed, even in a storm of fire. The word rendered "snares" is by some thought to be the same with "burning coals"; and may signify burning stones, hot thunderbolts; see Psalm 18:13; "fire" may signify lightning, with its dreadful flashes, and which burn and consume in an instant; and "brimstone" the nauseous scent and smell, which always attend lightning and thunder, as naturalists observe (x): and the words for "an horrible tempest" signify a burning wind: so that they all serve to convey horrible ideas of the punishment of the wicked in hell. The Targum calls them "showers of vengeance";

this shall be the portion of their cup; which will be measured out to them in proportion to their sins, and which God, in righteous judgment, has appointed for them; and which they shall all drink of, and wring out the very dregs of it.

(x) Senecae Nat. Quaest. l. 2. c. 21, 53. Plin. Nat. Hist. l. 35. c. 15.

Upon the wicked he shall rain snares, {e} fire and brimstone, and an horrible tempest: this shall be the {f} portion of their cup.

(e) As in the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah.

(f) Which they will drink even to the dregs, Eze 23:34.

6. Literally:

Let him rain snares upon the wicked!

Fire and brimstone and scorching blast be the portion of their cup!

A wish takes the place of the simple statement (he shall rain) which might have been expected. Cp. Psalm 12:3. May the wicked meet the fate of Sodom, so often alluded to as the typical example of signal judgment upon gross and defiant sin. The language is borrowed from Genesis 19:24. Cp. Deuteronomy 29:23; Ezekiel 38:22. The ‘snares’ are to entangle them so that they cannot escape from the fire which consumes, and the fatal simoom which suffocates. But possibly we should follow the version of Symmachus in reading coals of fire for snares. So Cheyne and others. Cp. Psalm 18:12; and Psalm 140:10 (a psalm containing other allusions to this psalm).Verse 6. - Upon the wicked he shall rain snares. On Divine displeasure follows Divine punishment - not always speedy, but sure. Those who have plotted against David will have" snares rained" upon them. God is said to "rain" on men both his blessings and his curses, when he gives them abundantly (comp. Job 20:23; Hosea 10:12; Ezekiel 34:26). By "snares" are meant any difficulties or troubles in which men are entangled by the action of Divine providence. Fire and brimstone. The punishment of Sodom and Gomorrah was the typical example of God's vengeance to the Israelites generally. And an horrible tempest; literally, a breath of horrors (comp. Psalm 119:53; Lamentations 5:10). It is thought that the simoom may be intended. But none of the threats are to be taken literally. All that the psalmist means is that God's vengeance, in some shape or ether, will overtake his persecutors. This shall be the portion of their cup. This is probably the earliest place where the metaphor of a "cup" for man's lot in life is employed. Other instances are Psalm 16:5; Psalm 23:5; Psalm 73:10; Psalm 75:8; Psalm 116:13; Isaiah 51:17, 22; Jeremiah 25:15; Ezekiel 23:31, 32; Matthew 20:22, 23; Matthew 26:39; John 18:11. Still standing on this eminence from which he seems to behold the end, the poet basks in the realisation of that which has been obtained in answer to prayer. The ardent longing of the meek and lowly sufferers for the arising, the parusia of Jahve (Isaiah 26:8), has now been heard by Him, and that under circumstances which find expression in the following futt., which have a past signification: God has given and preserved to their hearts the right disposition towards Himself (הכין, as in Psalm 78:8; Job 11:13, Sir. 2:17 ἑτοιμάζειν καρδίας, post-biblical כּוּן

(Note: B. Berachoth 31a: the man who prays must direct his heart steadfastly towards God (יכוּן לבּו לשּׁמים).)

and to be understood according to 1 Samuel 7:3; 2 Chronicles 20:33, cf. לב נכון Psalm 51:12; Psalm 78:37; it is equivalent to "the single eye" in the language of the New Testament), just as, on the other hand, He has set His ear in the attitude of close attention to their prayer, and even to their most secret sighings (הקשׁיב with אזן, as in Proverbs 2:2; to stiffen the ear, from קשׁב, Arab. qasuba, root קש to be hard, rigid, firm from which we also have קשׁה, Arab. qsâ, קשׁה, Arab. qsh, qsn, cf. on Isaiah 21:7). It was a mutual relation, the design of which was finally and speedily to obtain justice for the fatherless and oppressed, yea crushed, few, in order that mortal man of the earth may no longer (בּל, as in Isaiah 14:21, and in post-biblical Hebrew בּל and לבל instead of פּן) terrify. From the parallel conclusion, Psalm 9:20-21, it is to be inferred that אנושׁ does not refer to the oppressed but to the oppressor, and is therefore intended as the subject; and then the phrase מן־הארץ also belongs to it, as in Psalm 17:14, people of the world, Psalm 80:14 boar of the woods, whereas in Proverbs 30:14 מארץ belongs to the verb (to devour from off the earth). It is only in this combination that מן־הארץ אנושׁ forms with לערץ a significant paronomasia, by contrasting the conduct of the tyrant with his true nature: a mortal of the earth, i.e., a being who, far removed from any possibility of vying with the God who is in heaven, has the earth as his birth-place. It is not מן־האדמה, for the earth is not referred to as the material out of which man is formed, but as his ancestral house, his home, his bound, just as in the expression of John ὁ ὢν ἐκ τῆς γῆς, John 3:31 (Lat. ut non amplius terreat homo terrenus). A similar play of words was attempted before in Psalm 9:20 אנושׁ אל־יעז. The Hebrew verb ערץ signifies both to give way to fear, Deuteronomy 7:21, and to put in fear, Isaiah 2:19, Isaiah 2:21; Isaiah 47:12. It does mean "to defy, rebel against," although it might have this meaning according to the Arabic ‛rḍ (to come in the way, withstand, according to which Wetzstein explains ערוּץ Job 30:6, like Arab. ‛irḍ, "a valley that runs slantwise across a district, a gorge that blocks up the traveller's way"

(Note: Zeitschrift fr Allgem. Erdkunde xviii. (1865) 1, S. 30.)).

It is related to Arab. ‛rṣ, to vibrate, tremble (e.g., of lightning).

Psalm 11:6 Interlinear
Psalm 11:6 Parallel Texts

Psalm 11:6 NIV
Psalm 11:6 NLT
Psalm 11:6 ESV
Psalm 11:6 NASB
Psalm 11:6 KJV

Psalm 11:6 Bible Apps
Psalm 11:6 Parallel
Psalm 11:6 Biblia Paralela
Psalm 11:6 Chinese Bible
Psalm 11:6 French Bible
Psalm 11:6 German Bible

Bible Hub

Psalm 11:5
Top of Page
Top of Page