Psalm 88

A prayer containing a grievous complaint.

0 A12Song or Psalm for the sons of Korah, to the chief Musician upon 3Mahalath Leannoth, 4Maschil of 5Heman the Ezrahite.

1 This psalm is the most sad and doleful in the entire book of Psalms, from beginning to end.

2 See Psalm 48 in the title.

3 See of the word mahalath the second annotation at Psalm 53 in the title. It properly signifies weakness, but here it is the name of a musical instrument or the beginning of a certain song in use among them.

4 That is, a psalm made to instruct and to show the people of God how they ought to call upon God when they are fallen into great troubles and afflictions.

5Heman is recorded amongst the most skillful musicians and wise men, 1 Kings 4:31; 1 Chron. 6:33; 15:17, 19; 16:42.

1O LORD 6God of my salvation, I have cried 7day and night before thee:

6 That is, Who has saved and kept me this far, and will preserve me likewise in the future, as I do steadfastly hope and assure myself.

7 Hebr. by day do I call, and by night before thee.

2Let my prayer come 8before thee: incline thine ear unto my cry;

8 That is, in Thy presence.

3For my soul is full 9of troubles: and 10my life draweth nigh unto the 11grave.

9 Hebr. of evils. And full of troubles is as much to say: to be overcharged with them. See the annotation Job 7 on verse 4.

10 That is, there is scarce any difference at all between me and death. In Psalm 107:18 the grave is called the gate of death.

11 Hebr. sheol. See Gen. 37 on verse 35.

4I am counted with them that go down into the pit: I am as a man that hath no strength:

512Free among the dead, like the slain that lie in the grave, whom thou 13rememberest no more: and they are cut off from thy hand.

12 Hebr. freed, that is, separated, namely, from the living, even as the leprous were wont, according to the law of God Lev. 13:46, to be separated from dwelling with other people. See 2 Kings 15:5.

13 Namely, to bring them into this life again, Job 7:7; 10:21.

6Thou hast laid me 14in the lowest pit, in darkness, in the deeps.

14 Hebr. into a pit of lowermost depths or of the nethermost places.

7Thy wrath 15lieth hard upon me, and thou hast afflicted me 16with all thy waves. Selah.

15 Hebr. leaneth.

16 This is spoken by a similitude, taken from the waves or billows of the sea, whereby one is overwhelmed. See a similar expression in Psalm 42:7; 2 Sam. 22:5.

8Thou hast put away mine acquaintance far from me; thou hast made me 17an abomination unto them: 18I am shut up, and I cannot come forth.

17 Hebr. unto abominations, or, unto horrors.

18 That is, I cannot get out of the sorrows, wherewith I am environed.

9Mine eye mourneth by reason of affliction: LORD, I have called 19daily upon thee, I have stretched out 20my hands unto thee.

19 Or, all day, every day.

20 Hebr. my palms.

1021Wilt thou shew wonders to the dead? shall the dead 22arise and praise thee? Selah.

21 Namely, so as that they, lying in the grave, shall have sense yet and ability to praise the Lord, as they would do if they were still alive? He wants to say: Make haste Lord to deliver me, else my life will soon be at an end.

22 Namely, in this temporal life which they enjoyed before in this world. See Psalm 6 on verse 5.

11Shall thy lovingkindness be declared in the grave? or thy faithfulness 23in destruction?

23 The Hebrew word abaddon properly signifies a perishing, from which it is sometimes taken for the place of destruction; and sometime for the grave or the tomb. See Job 26:6; 28:22.

1224Shall thy wonders be known 25in the dark? and thy righteousness in 26the land of forgetfulness?

24 Hebr. Shall thy wonder, etc.

25 That is, in the state and place of death, called the land of darkness and the shadow of death, Job 10:21, 22.

26 Thus he calls the earth or the grave where the dead are laid, in regard that they, forasmuch as concerns the state of the body, have no sense at all left of the things of this present world; or likewise, in regard that those who are laid underground, be soon forgotten. See Job 10:22; 21:21; Psalm 31:12; Eccl. 8:10; 9:5.

13But unto thee have I cried, O LORD; and in the morning shall my prayer prevent thee.

14LORD, why 27castest thou off my soul? why hidest thou thy face from me?

27 See the annotations at Job 19 on verse 7.

15I am afflicted and 28ready to die from my 29youth up: while I suffer 30thy terrors 31I am distracted.

28 Or, dying, namely, by reason of my continual misery. See Num. 17:12, 13.

29 Other, From the shaking or restraining wherewith thou hast shaken and restrained me, am I oppressed, etc.

30 Namely, those which Thou hast sent upon me.

31 Or, doubtful, wavering, almost ready to despair, not knowing what to think of my condition; or, I am in perplexed afflictions, for fear of more evil that may be ready to come upon me.

1632Thy fierce wrath goeth over me; 33thy terrors 34have cut me off.

32 Hebr. Thy burnings.

33 Namely, wherewith Thou frightenest or terrifiest me.

34 Or, oppress me.

17They came 35round about me daily like water; they compassed me about together.

35 Namely, Thy wrath and terrors.

18Lover and friend hast thou put far from me, and mine acquaintance 36into darkness.

36 That is, they hide themselves from me, and go as it were in obscurity, so that I see none of them, and they will neither see nor know me any further. See Job 19:13, 14.