My heart is sore pained within me: and the terrors of death are fallen on me.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)) Is sore pained.—Better, writhes with pain.
Terrors of death—i.e., terrors caused by death, a horror of death.Psalm 55:4. My heart is sore pained within me — Hebrew, יחיל, jachil, trembles, or suffers pains like those of a travailing woman, as the word properly signifies. My heart, which hath generally supported me in my distresses, is now ready to sink within me; therefore, Lord, pity and help me. The terrors of death are fallen upon me — Either deadly terrors, such as seize upon men in the agonies of death, or fear of death; which is the more grievous to me, because my death would reflect dishonour upon thee, and bring many miseries upon the people.Isaiah 13:8; Isaiah 23:4; Isaiah 26:18. Here the idea is, that he was in deep distress and anguish. It is easy to see that this would be so, if the psalm refers to the revolt of Absalom. The ingratitude and rebellion of a son - the fact of being driven away from his throne - the number of his enemies - the unexpected news that Ahithophel was among them - and the entire uncertainty as to the result, justified the use of this strong language.
And the terrors of death are fallen upon me - The Septuagint, the Vulgate, and Luther, render this "the fear of death," as if he were afraid for his life, or afraid that the result of all this would be his death. A more natural construction, however, is to suppose that the reference is to the ordinary pains of death, and that he means to say that the pangs which he endured were like the pangs of death. The words "are fallen" suggest the idea that this had come suddenly upon him, like a "horror of great darkness" (compare Genesis 15:12), or as if the gloomy shadow of death had suddenly crossed his path. Compare the notes at Psalm 23:4. The calamities had come suddenly upon him; the conspiracy had been suddenly developed; and he had been suddenly driven away.My heart is sore pained within me; with pains like those of a travailing woman, as the word signifies. My heart, which hath commonly supported me in my distresses, is now ready to sink within me; therefore, Lord, pity and help me.
The terrors of death; either deadly terrors, such as seize upon men in the agonies of death; or fear of death; which is the more grievous to me, because my death will reflect dishonour upon thee, and bring many miseries upon the people. Jeremiah 4:19; this was true of Christ in the garden, when his soul was exceeding sorrowful unto death, and he was in pain, as a woman in travail, as the word (q) here used signifies; and on the cross, when his heart, like wax, melted in the midst of his bowels;
and the terrors of death are fallen upon me; see 2 Samuel 15:14; thus it was with the human nature of Christ, when he desired, if possible, the cup might pass from him.My heart is sore pained within me: and the terrors of death are fallen upon me.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)4. terrors of death] Such terrors as the presence of Death, “the king of terrors,” inspires.Verse 4. - My heart is sore pained within me. The attacks of his enemies (ver. 3) deeply grieve and pain the heart of the psalmist. It is not as if they were foreigners, whose hostility was to be expected. They are his own countrymen; one of them is his own familiar friend (ver. 12). Yet they threaten his life. And the terrors of death are fallen upon ms. When a king is the object of a conspiracy, he well knows, especially in the East, that nothing but his death will satisfy the conspirators. So on David, long before he made up his mind to quit Jerusalem (2 Samuel 15:14), the "terrors of death" must have fallen. Psalm 118:7; and for the origin of this Beth essentiae, Psalm 99:6, Judges 11:35. In Psalm 54:7 the Kerמ merits the preference over the Chethמb (evil shall "revert" to my spies), which would at least require על instead of ל (cf. Psalm 7:17). Concerning שׁררי, vid., on Psalm 27:11. In the rapid transition to invocation in Psalm 54:7 the end of the Psalm announces itself. The truth of God is not described as an instrumental agent of the cutting off, but as an impelling cause. It is the same Beth as in the expression בּנדבה (Numbers 15:3): by or out of free impulse. These free-will sacrifices are not spiritual here in opposition to the ritual sacrifices (Psalm 50:14), but ritual as an outward representation of the spiritual. The subject of הצּילני is the Name of God; the post-biblical language, following Leviticus 24:11, calls God straightway השּׁם, and passages like Isaiah 30:27 and the one before us come very near to this usage. The praeterites mention the ground of the thanksgiving. What David now still hopes for will then lie behind him in the past. The closing line, v. 9b, recalls Psalm 35:21, cf. Psalm 59:11; Psalm 92:12; the invoking of the curse upon his enemies in v. 8 recalls Psalm 17:13; Psalm 56:8; Psalm 59:12.; and the vow of thanksgiving in v. 8 recalls Psalm 22:26; Psalm 35:18; Psalm 40:10.
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