The sorrows of death compassed me
These words and the following, in this verse and ( Psalms 18:5 ) , as they respect David, show the snares that were laid for his life, the danger of death he was in, and the anxiety of mind he was possessed of on account of it; and as they refer to Christ, include all the sorrows of his life to the time of his death, who was a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief personally, and bore and carried the sorrows and griefs of all his people; and may chiefly intend his sorrows in the garden, arising from a view of the sins of his people, which he was about to bear upon the cross; and from an apprehension of the wrath of God, and curse of the law, which he was going to sustain for them, when his soul was (perilupov) , encompassed about with sorrow, even unto death, ( Matthew 26:38 ) ; when his sorrow was so great, and lay so heavy upon him, that it almost pressed him down to death, he could scarce live under it; and may also take in the very pains and agonies of death; he dying the death of the cross, which was a very painful and excruciating one; see ( Psalms 22:14-17 ) ; The Hebrew word for "sorrows" signifies the pains and birth throes of a woman in travail; and is here fitly used of the sufferings and death of Christ; through which he brought forth much fruit, or many sons to glory. The Targum is,
``distress has encompassed me, as a woman that sits upon the stool, and has no strength to bring forth, and is in danger of dying.''In ( 2 Samuel 22:5 ) , it is "the waves" or "breakers of death compassed me"; and the word there used is rendered in ( Hosea 13:13 ) ; "the breaking forth of children"; moreover the same word signifies "cords" F18, as well as pains and sorrows; and the allusion may be to malefactors being bound with cords when led to execution, and put to death; and may here signify the power of death, under which the Messiah was held for a while, but was loosed from it at his resurrection; to which sense of the word, and to the words here, the Apostle Peter manifestly refers, ( Acts 2:24 ) ;
and the floods of ungodly men made me afraid;
meaning either the multitude of them, as Herod, Pontius Pilate, the Roman soldiers, and people of the Jews, who all gathered together against him; so the Targum renders it, "a company of wicked men"; or the variety of sufferings he endured by them; as spitting upon, buffering, scourging, &c. The word rendered "ungodly men [is] Belial"; and signifies vain, worthless, and unprofitable men; men of no figure or account; or lawless ones, such as have cast off the yoke of the law, are not subject to it; persons very wicked and profligate. The word in the New Testament seems to be used for Satan, ( 2 Corinthians 6:15 ) ; where it is so rendered in the Syriac version, and he may be designed here; and by the floods of Belial may be meant, not so much the temptations of Satan in the wilderness, as his violent and impetuous attacks upon Christ in the garden, when being in an agony or conflict with him, his sweat was, as it were, great drops of blood, ( Luke 22:44 ) . The Septuagint render the word, "the torrents of iniquity troubled me"; which was true of Christ, when all the sins of his people came flowing in upon him, like mighty torrents, from all quarters; when God laid on him the iniquity of them all, and he was made sin for them; and in a view of all this "he began to be sore amazed", ( Mark 14:33 ) ; compare with this ( Psalms 69:1 Psalms 69:2 ) . Arama interprets Belial of the evil imagination in David, who had a war in himself.
F18 (twm ylbx) "funes mortis", Musculus, Montanus, Vatablus, Gejerus, Michaelis; so Ainsworth, Hammond.