on Psalms 11 :6
Upon the wicked he shall rain - This is a manifest allusion to the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah.
Snares - Judgments shall fall upon them suddenly and unawares.
Fire - Such as shall come immediately from God, and be inextinguishable.
Brimstone - Melted by the fire, for their drink! This shall be the portion of their cup.
A horrible tempest - רוח זלעפות roach zilaphoth, "the spirit of terrors." Suffering much, and being threatened with more, they shall be filled with confusion and dismay. My old MS. has "gost of stormis." See at the end, Psalm 11:7 (note). Or, the blast of destructions. This may refer to the horribly suffocating Arabian wind, called Smum.
Mohammed, in describing his hell, says, "The wicked shall drink nothing there but hot stinking water; breathe nothing but burning winds; and eat nothing but the fruit of the tree zakon, which shall be in their bellies like burning pitch." Hell enough!
The portion of their cup - Cup is sometimes put for plenty, for abundance; but here it seems to be used to express the quantum of sorrow and misery which the wicked shall have on the earth. See Psalm 75:8; Isaiah 51:17, Isaiah 51:21-23; Jeremiah 25:15; Jeremiah 49:12; Lamentations 4:21, Lamentations 4:22. It is also used in reference to the afflictions of the righteous, Matthew 20:22; Matthew 26:39, Matthew 26:42; John 18:11.
We find a similar metaphor among the heathens. The following, from Homer, Il. xxiv., ver. 525, is in point: -
Ὡς γαρ επεκλωσαντο θεοι δειλοισι βροτοισι,
Ζωειν αχνυμενους· αυτοι δε τ' ακηδεες εισι,
Δοιοι γαρ τε πιθοι κατακειαται εν Διος ουδει
Δωρων, οια διδωσι, κακων· ἑτερος δε εαων·
Ὡ μεν καμμιξας δῳη Ζευς τερπικεραυνος,
αλλοτε μεν τε κακῳ ὁγε κυρεται, Αλλοτε δ' εσθλῳ.
on Psalms 11 :6
Upon the wicked - Upon all the wicked.
He shall rain - He shall pour down as in a furious tempest.
Snares - It seems rather incongruous to speak of raining down "snares, " - understanding by the word snares, as it is used with us, that which entangles, as the snares by which we catch a bird, or by which a wild animal is taken. Compare the notes at Job 18:8-10. The word used here, however, seems to refer to anything by which one is taken in his career or course, or is involved in difficulties; and the meaning is, that God would arrest or seize upon the wicked, as a wild beast is secured by the snares or the toils of the hunter. By their being sent down as in a "rain," is denoted that such means of their arrest and punishment would exist in abundance, so that they could not escape.
Fire and brimstone - There is probably an allusion here to the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, Genesis 19:24. As those cities were eminent for their wickedness, and were destroyed on account of their guilt, they furnished an illustration of the manner in which God would treat the wicked in all future times. As they were destroyed on account of their wickedness, so will all the wicked be destroyed.
And an horrible tempest - As a furious blast of wind sweeps away houses and trees, spreading wide desolation, so will the wicked be swept away by the manifestation of the wrath of God.
This shall be the portion of their cup - That is, this shall be what they shall drink. See the note at Isaiah 51:17. The idea is, that the Lord holds out to them a cup for them to drink - a cup containing a deadly mixture. The allusion is to the mode of administering punishment by a poisonous draught - not an unfrequent mode of punishment in ancient times. The idea in the whole verse is, that the wicked would be destroyed, and that, therefore, there was nothing ultimately to be apprehended from them. God would protect his own friends, and would destroy all those that sought their hurt. In these circumstances the righteous should confide in him as their protector, and not "flee."
on Psalms 11 :6
11:6 Rain - Send them plentifully, swiftly, and suddenly, as rain commonly falls from heaven. Snares - Grievous plagues or judgments, which are called snares, because wicked men are often surprized with them when they least expect them. And because they cannot escape them, or get out of them; but are held fast and destroyed by them. Horrible tempests - Dreadful judgments so called, in allusion to the destruction of Sodom by these means. But this he seems to speak not so much of present calamities, as of eternal punishments. This - Is their portion, and as it were the meat and drink appointed them by God.