Can you please help me to grasp the meaning of "mortal enemies"? Does it mean "earthling, human"?

The full quote is as follows:

Guard me from the wicked who attack me,
From my mortal enemies who surround me.

  • 4
    It is idiomatically used to stress enmity. Literally it means enemies who would kill you, but it is routinely used (e.g. in company politics) to stress that one person really does not like a particular other person. .
    – WS2
    May 6, 2016 at 8:29
  • 3
    Mortal enemy: an enemy who wants to kill you.
    – user140086
    May 6, 2016 at 8:35
  • Mortal = deadly, as any dictionary will tell you. A mortal enemy is not much different, it's an enemy that threathens your life (as opposed to an enemy that just annoys you...) How literally one's life is in danger depends on context.
    – oerkelens
    May 6, 2016 at 9:18
  • 1
    Did you look the word up in a dictionary? If so, what did it say and why do you still need help? If not, why not?
    – TrevorD
    May 6, 2016 at 11:02

1 Answer 1


It's not related to someone wanting to kill you or you wanting to kill them, it's about them being your enemy as long as you two are alive. From that perspective, Satan would be one's immortal enemy.

  • 1
    Wouldn't it be a lot less confusing to simply stick with the basic menaing of mortal, like in mortal accident or mortal disease, meaning something deadly?
    – oerkelens
    May 6, 2016 at 9:17
  • Well, that expression is confusing, and it's true that the word "mortal" can be used in different ways, such as your example of "mortal disease." But then there is the saying that all men are mortal. So I guess it can mean both "causing" but also "being subject to" death. Hence the confusion here. But that is how I understood it, to mean "enemies till the day we die" sort of thing.
    – Ray
    May 6, 2016 at 9:26

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