Extreme distress of body, mind or spirit; excruciating pain or suffering of soul, e.g. excessive grief, remorse, despair. Chiefly expressed in Old Testament, by four derivatives of tsuq, "straitened," "pressed," and tsar, and two derivatives signifying "straitness," "narrowness," hence distress; also shabhats, "giddiness," "confusion of mind"; hul "to twist" with pain, "writhe." So in the New Testament, thlipsis, "a pressing together," hence affliction, tribulation, stenochoria, "narrowness of place," hence extreme affliction; sunoche, "a holding together," hence distress. The fundamental idea in these various terms is pressure--being straitened, compressed into a narrow place, or pain through physical or mental torture. Used of the physical agony of child-birth (Jeremiah 4:31; 6:24; 49:24; 50:43; John 16:21); of distress of soul as the result of sin and wickedness (Job 15:24; Proverbs 1:27; Romans 2:9); of anguish of spirit through the cruel bondage of slavery (Exodus 6:9) and Assyrian oppression (Isaiah 8:22); of the anxiety and pain of Christian love because of the sins of fellow-disciples (2 Corinthians 2:4).
Dwight M. Pratt