Such as sit in darkness, and in the shadow of death
This is the second instance of persons in distress calling on the name of the Lord; and who, being delivered, are under obligation to praise him, such as are captives and prisoners. The Targum applies it to the Israelites in the Babylonish captivity; but it is much better to interpret it of prisoners in common; whose prisons are generally dark cells or dungeons, and where they are alone, and deprived of the company of the living; and so are not only in darkness, but seem as if they were in the state of the dead; their condition is the shadow of it, and bears some resemblance to it. And it may be applied, in a spiritual sense, to the case and condition of the people of God in a state of unregeneracy, which is described in the same language, ( Isaiah 9:2 ) ( 42:7 ) ( 49:9 ) ( Luke 1:79 ) , and which is a state of darkness and ignorance; they are darkness itself, and are ignorant of themselves and their case; of the nature of sin, and the evil of it; of the spirituality of the law; of God in Christ; of Christ, and the way of salvation by him; of the Spirit, and his work; of the Scriptures, and the doctrines of the Gospel contained in them; and, like persons in a dark prison, cannot behold the sun, nor see to read nor work; and are like those that are in the state of the dead; and indeed are dead in Adam, dead in law, dead in trespasses and sins; having no spiritual life, sense, nor motion. And here they sit, continue and remain, during the time of their ignorance, till it pleases the Lord to enlighten, quicken, and convert them. These phrases are used of the people of God after conversion, when in darkness and desertion, and under afflictive providences, ( Psalms 23:4 ) ( 44:19 ) ( Psalms 88:5 Psalms 88:6 ) ( Micah 7:9 ) . Being bound in affliction and iron; that is, with fetters of iron, which is very afflicting; see ( Psalms 105:18 ) , and fitly describes the people of God in a state of nature, who are led captive by Satan, at his will; are held with the cords and fetters of their own sins, and are shut up under the law, as a ministering of condemnation and death: or, bound with affliction, as with iron; hence we read of fetters and cords of affliction, ( Job 36:8 ) , with which good men may be held for their iniquities; or, however, are chastened with them for their good, Some refer all this to the state of the Christian church under the ten persecutions, ( Revelation 2:10 ) .