Psalm 18:4
Parallel Verses
New American Standard Bible
The cords of death encompassed me, And the torrents of ungodliness terrified me.

King James Bible
The sorrows of death compassed me, and the floods of ungodly men made me afraid.

Darby Bible Translation
The bands of death encompassed me, and torrents of Belial made me afraid.

World English Bible
The cords of death surrounded me. The floods of ungodliness made me afraid.

Young's Literal Translation
Compassed me have cords of death, And streams of the worthless make me afraid.

Psalm 18:4 Parallel
Commentary
Barnes' Notes on the Bible

The sorrows of death compassed me - Surrounded me. That is, he was in imminent danger of death, or in the midst of such pangs and sorrows as are supposed commonly to attend on death. He refers probably to some period in his past life - perhaps in the persecutions of Saul - when he was so beset with troubles and difficulties that it seemed to him that he must die. The word rendered "sorrows" - חבל chebel - means, according to Gesenius, "a cord, a rope," and hence, "a snare, gin, noose;" and the idea here is, according to Gesenius, that he was taken as it were in the snares of death, or in the bands of death. So Psalm 116:3. Our translators, however, and it seems to me more correctly, regarded the word as derived from the same noun differently pointed - הבל chēbel - meaning "writhings, pangs, pains," as in Isaiah 66:7; Jeremiah 13:21; Jeremiah 22:23; Hosea 13:13; Job 39:3. So the Aramaic Paraphrase, "Pangs as of a woman in childbirth came around me." So the Vulgate, "dolores." So the Septuagint, ὠδῖνες ōdines. The corresponding place in 2 Samuel 22 is: "The waves of death." The word which is used there - משׁבר mishbâr - means properly waves which break upon the shore - "breakers." See Psalm 42:7; Psalm 88:7; Jonah 2:3. Why the change was made in the psalm it is not possible to determine. Either word denotes a condition of great danger and alarm, as if death was inevitable.

And the floods of ungodly men - Margin, as in Hebrew, "Belial." The word "Belial" means properly "without use or profit;" and then worthless, abandoned, wicked. It is applied to wicked men as being "worthless" to society, and to all the proper ends of life. Though the term here undoubtedly refers to "wicked" men, yet it refers to them as being worthless or abandoned - low, common, useless to mankind. The word rendered floods - נחל nachal - means in the singular, properly, a stream, brook, rivulet; and then, a torrent, as formed by rain and snow-water in the mountains, Job 6:15. The word used here refers to such men as if they were poured forth in streams and torrents - in such multitudes that the psalmist was likely to be overwhelmed by them, as one would be by floods of water. "Made me afraid." Made me apprehensive of losing my life. To what particular period of his life he here refers it is impossible now to determine.

Psalm 18:4 Parallel Commentaries

Library
Conviction of Weakness.
The soul in the state of abandonment can abstain from justifying itself by word or deed. The divine action justifies it. This order of the divine will is the solid and firm rock on which the submissive soul reposes, sheltered from change and tempest. It is continually present under the veil of crosses, and of the most ordinary actions. Behind this veil the hand of God is hidden to sustain and to support those who abandon themselves entirely to Him. From the time that a soul becomes firmly established
Jean-Pierre de Caussade—Abandonment to Divine Providence

The King --Continued.
In our last chapter we have seen that the key-note of "The Songs of the King" may be said to be struck in Psalm xviii. Its complete analysis would carry us far beyond our limits. We can but glance at some of the more prominent points of the psalm. The first clause strikes the key-note. "I love Thee, O Jehovah, my strength." That personal attachment to God, which is so characteristic of David's religion, can no longer be pent up in silence, but gushes forth like some imprisoned stream, broad and full
Alexander Maclaren—The Life of David

In the Present Crusade against the Bible and the Faith of Christian Men...
IN the present crusade against the Bible and the Faith of Christian men, the task of destroying confidence in the first chapter of Genesis has been undertaken by Mr. C. W. Goodwin, M.A. He requires us to "regard it as the speculation of some Hebrew Descartes or Newton, promulgated in all good faith as the best and most probable account that could be then given of God's Universe." (p. 252.) Mr. Goodwin remarks with scorn, that "we are asked to believe that a vision of Creation was presented to him
John William Burgon—Inspiration and Interpretation

Twenty-Third Lesson Bear Fruit, that the Father May Give what Ye Ask;'
Bear fruit, that the Father may give what ye ask;' Or, Obedience the Path to Power in Prayer. Ye did not choose me, but I chose you, and appointed you, that ye should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should abide: that whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, He may give it you.'--John xv. 16. The fervent effectual prayer of a righteous man availeth much.'--James. v. 16. THE promise of the Father's giving whatsoever we ask is here once again renewed, in such a connection as
Andrew Murray—With Christ in the School of Prayer

Cross References
Luke 21:20
"But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then recognize that her desolation is near.

Psalm 55:4
My heart is in anguish within me, And the terrors of death have fallen upon me.

Psalm 69:2
I have sunk in deep mire, and there is no foothold; I have come into deep waters, and a flood overflows me.

Psalm 116:3
The cords of death encompassed me And the terrors of Sheol came upon me; I found distress and sorrow.

Psalm 124:3
Then they would have swallowed us alive, When their anger was kindled against us;

Psalm 124:4
Then the waters would have engulfed us, The stream would have swept over our soul;

Isaiah 17:12
Alas, the uproar of many peoples Who roar like the roaring of the seas, And the rumbling of nations Who rush on like the rumbling of mighty waters!

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