The sorrows of death compassed me
Christ, of whom David was a type, was a man of sorrows all his days; and in the garden he was surrounded with sorrow; exceeding sorrowful even unto death, in a view of the sins of his people imputed to him, and under a sense of wrath for them, he was about to bear; and his agonies in the article of death were very grievous, he died the painful and accursed death of the cross. This was true of David, when Saul and his men compassed him on every side, threatening to cut him off in a moment; when he despaired of life, and had the sentence of death in himself, and saw no way to escape; and such a case is that of the people of God, or they may be said to be compassed about with the sorrows of death, when through a slavish fear of it they are all their lifetime subject to bondage; and especially when under dreadful apprehensions of eternal death.
And the pains of hell gat hold upon me;
or "found me" F5; overtook him, and seized upon him; meaning either the horrors of a guilty conscience under a sense of sin, without a view of pardon; which is as it were a hell in the conscience, and like the pains and torments of it: or "the pains of the grave" F6; not that there are any pains felt there, the body being destitute of life, and senseless; but such sorrows or troubles are meant which threaten to bring down to the grave, which was the case of Jacob on the loss of his children, ( Genesis 37:35 ) ( 42:38 ) . This applied to Christ may design the wrath of God and curse of the law, which he endured in the room and stead of his people, as their surety; and which were equivalent to the pains of the damned in hell; or it may refer to his being laid in the grave, in a strait and narrow place, as the word F7 signifies; where he lay bound in grave clothes, till he was loosed from the pains and cords of death, it being not possible he should be held by them, ( Acts 2:24 ) , (See Gill on Psalms 18:4) (See Gill on Psalms 18:5)
I found trouble and sorrow;
without seeking for them; they seized and took hold of him, on David, and his antitype, when in the above circumstances; and often do the saints find trouble and sorrow from a body of sin and death, from the temptations of Satan, divine desertions, and afflictive providences. Aben Ezra refers the one to the body, the other to the soul.
F5 (ynwaum) "invenerunt me", Pagninus, Montanus
F6 (lav) "sepulchri", Vatablus, Junius & Tremellius, Piscator.
F7 (yrum) "augustiae", Pagninus, Montanus