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Psalms 58:4

    Psalms 58:4 Translations

    King James Version (KJV)

    Their poison is like the poison of a serpent: they are like the deaf adder that stoppeth her ear;

    American King James Version (AKJV)

    Their poison is like the poison of a serpent: they are like the deaf adder that stops her ear;

    American Standard Version (ASV)

    Their poison is like the poison of a serpent: They are like the deaf adder that stoppeth her ear,

    Basic English Translation (BBE)

    Their poison is like the poison of a snake; they are like the adder, whose ears are shut;

    Webster's Revision

    Their poison is like the poison of a serpent: They are like the deaf adder that stoppeth her ear,

    World English Bible

    Their poison is like the poison of a snake; like a deaf cobra that stops its ear,

    English Revised Version (ERV)

    Their poison is like the poison of a serpent: they are like the deaf adder that stoppeth her ear;

    Definitions for Psalms 58:4

    Adder - A venomous snake.
    Ear - To work, till, or plough the ground.

    Clarke's Commentary on Psalms 58:4

    Their poison is like the poison of a serpent - When they bite, they convey poison into the wound, as the serpent does. They not only injure you by outward acts, but by their malevolence they poison your reputation. They do you as much evil as they can, and propagate the worst reports that others may have you in abhorrence, treat you as a bad and dangerous man; and thus, as the poison from the bite of the serpent is conveyed into the whole mass of blood, and circulates with it through all the system, carrying death every where; so they injurious speeches and vile insinuations circulate through society, and poison and blast your reputation in every place. Such is the slanderer, and such his influence in society. From such no reputation is safe; with such no character is sacred; and against such there is no defense. God alone can shield the innocent from the envenomed tongue and lying lips of such inward monsters in the shape of men.

    Like the deaf adder that stoppeth her ear - It is a fact that cannot be disputed with any show of reason, that in ancient times there were persons that charmed, lulled to inactivity, or professed to charm, serpents, so as to prevent them from biting. See Ecclesiastes 10:11; Jeremiah 8:17. The prince of Roman poets states the fact, Virg. Ecclesiastes 8. ver. 71.

    Frigidus in prati cantando rumpitur anguis.

    "In the meadows the cold snake is burst by incantation."

    The same author, Aen. vii., ver. 750, gives us the following account of the skill of Umbro, a priest of the Marrubians: -

    Quin et Marru bia venit de gente sacerdos,

    Fronde super galeam, et felici comptus oliva,

    Archippi regis missu, fortissimus Umbro;

    Vipereo generi et graviter spirantibus hydris,

    Spargere qui somnos cantuque manuque solebat,

    Mulcebatque iras, et morsus arte levabat.

    "Umbro, the brave Marubian priest, was there,

    Sent by the Marsian monarch to the war.

    The smiling olive with her verdant boughs

    continued...

    Barnes' Notes on Psalms 58:4

    Their poison - Their malignity; their bad spirit; that which they utter or throw out of their mouth. The reference here is to what they speak or utter Psalm 58:3, and the idea is, that it is penetrating and deadly.

    Like the poison of a serpent - Margin, as in Hebrew, "according to the likeness." In this expression no particular class of serpents is referred to except those which are "poisonous."

    Like the deaf adder - Margin, "asp." The word may refer either to the viper, the asp, or the adder. See the notes at Isaiah 11:8. The "particular" idea here is, that the serpent referred to was as it were "deaf;" it could not be tamed or charmed; it seemed to stop its own ears, so that there was no means of rendering it a safe thing to approach it. The supposition is that there "were" serpents which, though deadly in their poison, "might" be charmed or tamed, but that "this" species of serpent could "not." The sense, as applied to the wicked, is, that there was no way of overcoming their evil propensities - of preventing them from giving utterance to words that were like poison, or from doing mischief to all with whom they came in contact. They were malignant, and there was no power of checking their malignity. Their poison was deadly, and there was no possibility of restraining them from doing evil.

    That stoppeth her ear - Which "seems" to stop her ear; which refuses to hear the words and incantations by which other serpents are subdued and tamed. Others, however, refer this to the man himself, meaning, "like the deaf adder he stops his ear;" that is, he voluntarily makes himself like the adder that does not hear, and that will not be tamed. The former interpretation, however, is to be preferred.

    Wesley's Notes on Psalms 58:4

    58:4 Poison - Their malicious disposition.