corner graphic

Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Psalms 55:4

 

 

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

Adam Clarke Commentary

The terrors of death are fallen upon me - I am in hourly expectation of being massacred.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.

Bibliography
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Psalms 55:4". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/psalms-55.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

My heart is sore pained within me - Heavy and sad; that is, I am deeply afflicted. The word rendered is “sore pained,” means properly to turn round; to twist; to dance in a circle; to be whirled round; and then to twist or writhe with pain, especially applied to a woman in travail, Isaiah 13:8; Isaiah 23:4; Isaiah 26:18. Here the idea is, that he was in deep distress and anguish. It is easy to see that this would be so, if the psalm refers to the revolt of Absalom. The ingratitude and rebellion of a son - the fact of being driven away from his throne - the number of his enemies - the unexpected news that Ahithophel was among them - and the entire uncertainty as to the result, justified the use of this strong language.

And the terrors of death are fallen upon me - The Septuagint, the Vulgate, and Luther, render this “the fear of death,” as if he were afraid for his life, or afraid that the result of all this would be his death. A more natural construction, however, is to suppose that the reference is to the ordinary pains of death, and that he means to say that the pangs which he endured were like the pangs of death. The words “are fallen” suggest the idea that this had come suddenly upon him, like a “horror of great darkness” (compare Genesis 15:12), or as if the gloomy shadow of death had suddenly crossed his path. Compare the notes at Psalm 23:4. The calamities had come suddenly upon him; the conspiracy had been suddenly developed; and he had been suddenly driven away.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.

Bibliography
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Psalms 55:4". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/psalms-55.html. 1870.

The Biblical Illustrator

Psalms 55:4

The terrors of death are fallen upon me.

On the fear of death

I. The nature of the fear of death. It appears to arise from an instinct of nature, which is increased and strengthened by observation, reflection, and conscience. A feeling which springs from such sources, however unpleasant or painful it may be, cannot have been implanted in vain in the human breast, and should be treated with seriousness and respect.

II. The uses of the fear of death. When God first made known the doctrines and duties of religion, He urged and supported them by the fear of death (Genesis 2:15). In every successive dispensation of religion, its belief and practice have been enforced by the same principle (Deuteronomy 30:19; Ezekiel 18:31; Romans 8:13, etc.). Often has the fear of death led to religious inquiry, to repentance, to conversion, to faith unfeigned, to peace, to hope, to Christ and to God. Often has it awakened men out of spiritual sleep, to trim their lamps, to gird their loins, to be sober, and to hope to the end for the grace which is to be brought at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

III. The abuses of the fear of death. It was intended, as we have seen, to stimulate and restrain men, as circumstances may require; but it never was intended to enslave them. The Scriptures, however, speak of some, “who, through fear of death, were all their lifetime subject to bondage.” Such characters exist, and are examples of the corruption and abuse of this principle. Urged by this principle, some have doubted, and others have denied, the facts of religion; they have corrupted its doctrines, neglected its duties, misapplied its promises, and made of no effect its threatenings.

IV. The means of removing the fear of death. That the fear of death is not at all times necessary for the purposes which have just been stated is evident from the doctrines of religion (John 10:14; Hebrews 8:6; Hebrews 2:14-15; Romans 8:2; Luke 10:17; 1 John 4:18). St. Paul affirms, that “the sting of death is sin”; that is, it is sin which gives death all its horrors; “Death is the wages or punishment of sin.” Whatsoever, then, can remove the sense of guilt from the conscience, and the dread of punishment from the mind, will necessarily remove the fear of death; and if it can farther be made evident that death itself is beneficial, and that it is in reality the commencement of everything that is desirable, then its fear will not only be removed, but will be completely destroyed. All this may be effected by the knowledge and belief of the Gospel (2 Timothy 1:10; Matthew 18:11; Matthew 20:28; 1 Corinthians 3:18; 2 Corinthians 5:19; Hebrews 9:14; John 3:16; 2 Corinthians 5:8; 1 Corinthians 14:54; 1 Corinthians 14:57).

V. Improvement.

1. Remember that God, in His moral government of the world, can bring good out of evil.

2. Consider the caution which should be employed in removing the fear of death. The fear of death is employed as a means to support life, order, and religion; and, therefore, were it prematurely taken away, it might remove the barriers opposed to rashness, profligacy, and death itself.

3. Beware of the slavish fear of death.

4. Use diligently the means of rising superior to the fear of death. Study, then, the Gospel; yield to the conviction of its truth; live under its influence; cultivate its grace; and you will be enabled to say (Romans 8:38-39). (T. S. Jones, D. D.)

The fear of death

Who is it that doth not fear death? We begin it from our earliest years. From his very infancy the child begins to understand that there are other things besides more bodily pain--a strange, inexplicable feeling comes upon him, which, sooner or later, becomes the explicit fear of death. Whatever may be our position in life, whether we are religious persons, striving, as well as we can, to prepare ourselves for that awful moment, whether we are giddy end worldly, it is impossible to shake off that awful fooling when we think of the moment when the soul passes into the unseen. No man has ever returned from that unseen world, and therefore it is that we are filled with inexplicable dread which makes us shrink from it with a horror we cannot describe. It is true there are certain exceptions to the rule, but they are exceptions more in appearance than in reality, and they do not go any way to prove that the fear of death has not fallen upon all mankind. For instance, there is a peculiar dulness and deadness of feeling which comes upon many persons at the end of a very long illness. It is the same also with persons who live to a considerable old age. It occurs at different times with different persons--sometimes at sixty, seventy, or later. A certain deadness of feeling creeps over all the affections. As the body weakens so does the intelligence lose its power, and so do the feelings lose their exquisite sensibility. Then, again, there are those to whom life is one long, terrible misery. It drives, as we know, some few persons to suicide, for it drives them, as it were, mad. They cannot control themselves. Then there are violent excitements which make persons for the moment utterly disregard death, such as the excitement which many, indeed nearly all, feel on the field of battle. They are afraid in one sense; it is their courage which conquers their distress, and they live and they die like men. It is the same in any other great excitement. Take, for instance, the efforts which may be made for the rescuing of persons from great suffering, or from some horrible death. Imagine the feelings of the men who rush into the flames to save their fellow-creatures. Death is forgotten for the moment; they do not think of it; their earnestness, their passionate desire to save their follow-creatures from this same hideous death overpowers the dread which is in their own hearts. It is the same at sea. We continually read accounts of persons saving others in the midst of a shipwreck. Here, again, it is courage that conquers fear. They do not fear death for themselves, but they fear it for those whom they are going to save, and thus they give themselves to death without a single beat in their lowly hearts. When we consider what is the state of those persons who die quietly in their beds from some sort of sickness, who themselves are fully possessed with a belief in the truth of religion, who have long confided in God’s providence, and entertain not the slightest doubt in their own minds that they are going to pass from a world of sin and misery to a life of holiness and blessedness--how is it with them? We find that even with them, notwithstanding all their faith, that death is nothing to be afraid of, still their courage wants keeping up to the point by incessant prayers and texts from the Bible, and all kinds of encouraging influences which may stimulate and help them. This shows that whatever may be our state, whatever our confidence in God, and our trust in the promises, still there is this dread of passing into the dark beyond. And it is not really difficult to understand the practical gain which comes to us all from the presence in our mind of this indescribable fear. First of all, where would the world be if we had not this terror? How many of us would bear to live through the troubles which encompass nearly all the creatures in this world? But, far more than this, the existence of this dread is absolutely necessary to implant in us that conviction of the vast importance of the moment of death, which we find it so difficult to realize. How shall it be to us, not only easy, but natural, to turn with our whole hearts to God at the last moment, when we seem, perhaps, insensible to those who are watching and weeping around us--how shall we, in those last moments, turn our thoughts to God and say, “My Lord, Thou art my God”? Surely it must be by cultivating that continual sense of His presence, and of His goodness, and of His power, which alone can conquer death and make us die in perfect peace. The remedy against death is God; He caused us to live; He implanted in our hearts this mysterious terror; but why did He? He did it that we might learn the more to trust Him as being ever present with us, as being around us, enshrining us, taking us, as it were, in His arms, in the arms of a loving Father. (J. M. Capes.)


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "Psalms 55:4". The Biblical Illustrator. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tbi/psalms-55.html. 1905-1909. New York.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

My heart is sore pained within me,.... At the civil war in his kingdom; at the battle likely to ensue between his forces and Absalom's, and at the issue of it; see Jeremiah 4:19; this was true of Christ in the garden, when his soul was exceeding sorrowful unto death, and he was in pain, as a woman in travail, as the wordF17תכסני "operuit me", Pagninus, Montanus, Gejerus, Michaelis; "operit", Cocceius; "obtegit", Junius & Tremellius; "obtexit", Piscator; so Ainsworth. here used signifies; and on the cross, when his heart, like wax, melted in the midst of his bowels;

and the terrors of death are fallen upon me; see 2 Samuel 15:14; thus it was with the human nature of Christ, when he desired, if possible, the cup might pass from him.


Copyright Statement
The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rightes Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855

Bibliography
Gill, John. "Commentary on Psalms 55:4". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/psalms-55.html. 1999.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

My heart is sore pained within me: and the terrors of death are fallen upon me.

The terrors — Deadly terrors; such as seize upon men in the agonies of death.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.

Bibliography
Wesley, John. "Commentary on Psalms 55:4". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/psalms-55.html. 1765.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

4.My heart trembles within me (299) Here we have additional evidence of the extremity of David’s sufferings. He that uses these words was no soft or effeminate person, but one who had given indubitable proofs of constancy. Nor is it merely of the atrocious injuries inflicted upon him by his enemies that he complains. He exclaims that he is overwhelmed with terrors, and thus acknowledges that his heart was not insensible to his afflictions. We may learn from the passage, therefore, not only that the sufferings which David endured at this time were heavy, but that the fortitude of the greatest servants of God fails them in the hour of severe trial. We are all good soldiers so long as things go well with us, but when brought to close combat, our weakness is soon apparent. Satan avails himself of the advantage, suggests that God has withdrawn the supports of his Spirit, and instigates us to despair. Of this we have an example in David, who is here represented as struggling with inward fears, as well as a complication of outward calamities, and sustaining a sore conflict of spirit in his application to the throne of God. The expression, terrors of death, shows that he was on the very eve of sinking unless Divine grace interposed.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.

Bibliography
Calvin, John. "Commentary on Psalms 55:4". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/psalms-55.html. 1840-57.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Psalms 55:4 My heart is sore pained within me: and the terrors of death are fallen upon me.

Ver. 4. My heart is sore pained within me] No otherwise than a woman is pained in travail; cordicitus doleo. I am pained deep in my heart.

And the terrors of death are fallen upon me] Caused, doubtless, by the deep sense and conscience of his late grievous sins.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Psalms 55:4". John Trapp Complete Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/psalms-55.html. 1865-1868.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Psalms 55:4. My heart is sore pained. Trembles.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Psalms 55:4". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/psalms-55.html. 1801-1803.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

My heart is sore pained within me; with pains like those of a travailing woman, as the word signifies. My heart, which hath commonly supported me in my distresses, is now ready to sink within me; therefore, Lord, pity and help me.

The terrors of death; either deadly terrors, such as seize upon men in the agonies of death; or fear of death; which is the more grievous to me, because my death will reflect dishonour upon thee, and bring many miseries upon the people.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Psalms 55:4". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/psalms-55.html. 1685.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

4. Sore pained—Literally, writhes.

Terrors of death—Terrors which precede or accompany death.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Psalms 55:4". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/psalms-55.html. 1874-1909.

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

Psalms 55:4. My heart is sore pained within me — Hebrew, יחיל, jachil, trembles, or suffers pains like those of a travailing woman, as the word properly signifies. My heart, which hath generally supported me in my distresses, is now ready to sink within me; therefore, Lord, pity and help me. The terrors of death are fallen upon me — Either deadly terrors, such as seize upon men in the agonies of death, or fear of death; which is the more grievous to me, because my death would reflect dishonour upon thee, and bring many miseries upon the people.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Psalms 55:4". Joseph Benson's Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/psalms-55.html. 1857.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

The height of the day. That is, even at noon day, when the sun is the highest, I am still in danger. (Challoner) --- Hebrew, "many fight against me from an elevation, or from day-break." --- Fear. Many prefix a negation, which St. Jerome rejects, (ad Sun.) explaining this height of the divine majesty. (Calmet) --- David felt the impressions of fear; but corrected them by his confidence in God. (Worthington)


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Psalms 55:4". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/psalms-55.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

sore pained . . . unto death. Compare the words ot the true David (John 13:21) in reference to the Antitype (Psalms 55:18. Matthew 26:38).


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Psalms 55:4". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/psalms-55.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

My heart is sore pained within me: and the terrors of death are fallen upon me.

My heart is sore pained within me - literally, is agitated.

The terrors of death are fallen upon me - as the enemy threatens my life.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Psalms 55:4". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/psalms-55.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(4) Is sore pained.—Better, writhes with pain.

Terrors of death—i.e., terrors caused by death, a horror of death.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Psalms 55:4". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/psalms-55.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

My heart is sore pained within me: and the terrors of death are fallen upon me.
My
6:3; 69:20; 88:3; 102:3-5; Matthew 26:37,38; Mark 14:33,34; John 12:27; 2 Corinthians 1:8-10
terrors
18:4,5; 116:3; Isaiah 38:10-13; Hebrews 5:7

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Psalms 55:4". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/psalms-55.html.

To report dead links, typos, or html errors or suggestions about making these resources more useful use our convenient contact form
Powered by Lightspeed Technology