10. They who dwell in darkness, and in the shadow of death, being bound in trouble and iron; 11. Because they rebelled against the words of God, and spurned the counsel of the Most High: 12. When he humbled their heart with affliction; they were brought low, and there was none to help them. 13. In their affliction they cried to Jehovah, and he delivered them from their tribulations. 14. He rescued them from darkness and from the shadow of death, and broke off their chains. 15. Let them praise the mercy of Jehovah in his presence, and his marvelous works in the presence of the sons of men. 16. Because he hath broken the brazen gates, and dashed in pieces the iron bars. 1
1 To secure the gates of cities, it is customary in the East, at the present day, to cover them with thick plates of brass and iron. Maundrell speaks of the enormous gates of the principal mosque at Damascus, formerly the Church of St John the Baptist, being plated over with brass. Pitts informs us, that Algiers has five gates, and some of these have two, some three, other gates within them; and that some of them are plated all over with thick iron, being made strong and convenient for what it is -- a nest of pirates. -- Harmer's Observations, volume 1, page 329. To such a practice, which, in all probability, obtained in ancient times, there seems to be here a reference. From this verse some have been inclined to think that the psalm was written after the return of the Jews from the Babylonish captivity. This deliverance was predicted, in precisely the same terms, in that remarkable passage, where God promises to go before Cyrus his anointed, and "break in pieces the gates of brass, and cut in sunder the bars of iron," (Isaiah 45:2) This phraseology appropriately expresses the superior and almost impregnable strength of Babylon. "Abydenus, quoted by Eusebius in his Praeparatio Evangelica, says that the wall of Babylon had brazen gates. And Herodotus more particularly, -- 'In the wall all around there are a hundred gates all of brass; and so, in like manner, are the sides and the lintels.' The gates likewise within the city, opening to the river from the several streets, were of brass: as were those also of the Temple of Belus." -- (Lowth on Isaiah 45:2) But still these brazen gates could not secure the city and the empire from falling into the hands of the instrument chosen by God for the deliverance of his people.
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