Verse 2. I sink in deep mire. In water one might swim, but in mud and mire all struggling is hopeless; the mire sucks down its victim.
Where there is no standing. Everything gave way under the Sufferer; he could not get foothold for support -- this is a worse fate than drowning. Here our Lord pictures the close, clinging nature of his heart's woes. "He began to be sorrowful, and very heavy." Sin is as mire for its filthiness, and the holy soul of the Saviour must have loathed even that connection with it which was necessary for its expiation. His pure and sensitive nature seemed to sink in it, for it was not his element, he was not like us born and acclimatised to this great dismal swamp. Here our Redeemer became another Jeremiah, of whom it is recorded ( Jeremiah 38:6 ) that his enemies cast him into a dungeon wherein "was no water, but mire: so Jeremiah sunk in the mire." Let our hearts feel the emotions, both of contrition and gratitude, as we see in this simile the deep humiliation of our Lord.
I am come into deep waters, where the floods overflow me. The sorrow gathers even greater force; he is as one cast into the sea, the waters go over his head. His sorrows were first within, then around, and now above him. Our Lord was no fainthearted sentimentalist; his were real woes, and though he bore them heroically, yet were they terrible even to him. His sufferings were unlike all others in degree, the waters were such as soaked into the soul; the mire was the mire of the abyss itself, and the floods were deep and overflowing. To us the promise is, "the rivers shall not overflow thee," but no such word of consolation was vouchsafed to him. My soul, thy Well beloved endured all this for thee. Many waters could not quench his love, neither could the floods drown it; and, because of this, thou hast the rich benefit of that covenant assurance, "as I have sworn that the waters of Noah should no more go over the earth; so have I sworn that I would not be wroth with thee, nor rebuke thee." He stemmed the torrent of almighty wrath, that we might for ever rest in Jehovah's love.
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Verse 2. I sink in deep mire. I was taking a quiet walk along the banks (of the Nile), when I came to a part so soft and miry that I was brought to a stand, as my foot sank at every step... Being brought to a stand, I hailed the reis to heave to, and take me on board. One of the men was, therefore sent in the small boat; but the river, near the western side, was so shallow that he could not get the boat within some distance of the bank. He, consequently, as is usual in such cases, jumped overboard that he might carry me to the boat on his back. No sooner, however, had he sprung from the boat than I heard him scream. I turned to see what was the matter, when I found him struggling in the mud. He was sinking as though in quicksand; and the more he struggled, the faster and deeper he sank. His fellow boatmen were not slack. They quickly saw the dilemma he was in, and two of them dashed into the water and swam to the small boat. I was almost choked with terror, and I breathed, or rather gasped, with difficulty. "Can they reach the poor fellow?" I said to myself; "if not, he must inevitably be swallowed up alive!" Now they reach the boat! Now they near him! And now, praise the Lord, he grasps firmly hold. O that death like grasp of the side of the boat! But this was not until he had sunk up to his bosom! Seeing him safe, I breathed more freely; and I feel that now, though only relating the circumstance, the excitement has caused an increased and painful action of the heart. How I thought of poor David! Had he really witnessed a similar scene to this literally when, speaking of the feelings of his soul, spiritually, he said: I sink in deep mire, where there is no standing: I am come into deep waters, where the floods overflow me? O what an agonizing state to be in! and yet many of my readers, I have no doubt, who never witnessed such a scene literally, know something about it spiritually, as David did, whether he had seen it with his bodily eye or not. Well might he, in the struggling of his soul, exclaim: "Deliver me out of the mire, and let me not sink!" Let me grasp firmly hold of the ark, and be pulled safely on board! Well! just at the right time, just before the poor fellow's arms (shall I say his arms of faith?) were disabled, swallowed up, deliverance came. John Gadsby, in "My Wanderings."
Verse 2. I sink, -- there is no standing. I saw indeed there was cause of rejoicing for those that held to Jesus; but as for me, I had cut myself off by my transgressions, and left myself neither foothold, nor handhold, amongst all the stays and props in the precious word of life. And truly I did now feel myself to sink into a gulf, as an house whose foundation is destroyed; I did liken myself, in this condition, unto the case of a child that was fallen into a mill pit, who, though it could make some shift to scrabble and sprawl in the water, yet, because it could find neither hold for hand nor foot, therefore, at last, it must die in that condition. John Bunyan.
Verse 2. Mire. If the abyss be only full of water, a good swimmer has still the hope or rising again to the surface. The Berleb. Bible.
Verse 2. Where the floods overflow me. The plea in effect is this: Lord, I am ready to drown; if ever thou wouldst save a poor perishing servant of thine, save me: my troubles and temptations are too deep for me, I am ready to sink over head and ears in them, and therefore, Lord, reach hither thy gracious hand, and bear up my head above water, lest otherwise I miscarry. Especially if such extremities continue, the continuance of them may be pleaded. Thomas Cobbet.
Verse 2. The floods overflow me. The word flood in these two verses is the well known Shibboleth which the Ephraimites were unable to pronounce. Judges 12:6 . It occurs again, Isaiah 27:12 , "the flood of the river." J. J. Stewart Perowne.
HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS
Verse 2-3. The sinner aware of his position, unable to hope, overwhelmed with fear, finding no comfort in prayer, unvisited with divine consolation. Direct and console him.