Psalm 88

A psalm of utter discouragement, considered the most mournful
The psalmist had allowed a cloud of depression to hide God's glory.
Yet he did not turn away from Him.
 1 ¶ <<A Song or Psalm for the sons of Korah, to the chief Musician upon Mahalath Leannoth, Maschil of Heman the Ezrahite.>> O LORD God of my salvation, I have cried day and night before thee: 
 2 Let my prayer come before thee: incline thine ear unto my cry;
 3 For my soul is full of troubles: and my life draweth nigh unto the grave.
  1 - O Lord God of my salvation This phrase is the only ray of hope in this psalm of discouragement. Of course this psalm alone is not to be our guide. See, for example, ps04304.
  3 - Troubles Job, in the fist part of his book protested, too. Compare jb1015, ps12304.
 4 I am counted with them that go down into the pit: I am as a man that hath no strength:
 5 Free among the dead, like the slain that lie in the grave, whom thou rememberest no more: and they are cut off from thy hand. 
 6 Thou hast laid me in the lowest pit, in darkness, in the deeps.
 7 Thy wrath lieth hard upon me, and thou hast afflicted me with all thy waves. Selah.
.8 Thou hast put away mine acquaintance far from me; thou hast made me an abomination unto them: I am shut up, and I cannot come forth.
 9 Mine eye mourneth by reason of affliction: LORD, I have called daily upon thee, I have stretched out my hands unto thee.
  4 - Pit Or "grave." ps02801.
  5 - Free among the dead Free, perhaps in the sense of being away from hope and the loving guidance of the Lord ec0904. Note that the psalmist [who we consider to be David] is not dead but only feels counted among them v4.
  5 - Redbreast no more That is in the sense of being "cut off from [His] hand" in the rest of the verse. "Remember" is not a matter of being retained in the memory but of God's active consideration of the individual je1410, nu1009.
  7 - Wrath ... waves Continuing feeling of despair. ps03803.
  8 - Put away See v18, ps03111, ps03811, ps06908, jb1913-17.
.10 ¶ Wilt thou shew wonders to the dead? shall the dead arise and praise thee? Selah.
 11 Shall thy lovingkindness be declared in the grave? or thy faithfulness in destruction?
 12 Shall thy wonders be known in the dark? and thy righteousness in the land of forgetfulness?
  10 - Wilt thou Answers to all three questions are obviously, no. The psalmist is pointing out that if he slips into death, the Lord would not be revealing goodness to him. The contrast is in v13. Compare ps00605. The idea of being conscious while in death is not biblical. See ps11517, is3818.
.13 But unto thee have I cried, O LORD; and in the morning shall my prayer prevent [go before] thee.
 14 LORD, why castest thou off my soul? why hidest thou thy face from me?
 15 I am afflicted and ready to die from my youth up: while I suffer thy terrors I am distracted.
 16 Thy fierce wrath goeth over me; thy terrors have cut me off.
 17 They came round about me daily like water; they compassed me about together. 
 18 Lover and friend hast thou put far from me, and mine acquaintance into darkness.
  13 - But unto thee The psalmist's prayers seemed to be unheard. Sometimes the Lord's silence helps us develop character and trust trust that we can claim His promises without feeling that He hears us.
  14 - Hidest thy face A feeling of being cut off as in the destiny of those who face the second death of outer darkness mt2213.
  15 - From my youth up This may be an expression of doubt. Did God ever did see his situation?
  17 - About me  ... like water It was as if the psalmist was about to drown ps04207.
  18 - Lover ... friend ... far away He felt that the Lord had separated him from those who might have been a comfort, verse 8 above. Compare Job's trouble jb1913-21.
  18 - Acquaintance "In the poetic parallelism of v18 these words stand as the counterpart of 'lover and friend.' An 'acquaintance' presumably, would be on less intimate terms than a 'lover and friend'; yet David mourns the loss of the friendship of even those who are not his most intimate associates." (SDA Bible Commentary.)
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