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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.

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.

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?

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

Commentary for Psalms 88

The psalmist pours out his soul to God in lamentation. (1-9) He wrestles by faith, in his prayer to God for comfort. (10-18)

1-9 The first words of the psalmist are the only words of comfort and support in this psalm. Thus greatly may good men be afflicted, and such dismal thoughts may they have about their afflictions, and such dark conclusion may they make about their end, through the power of melancholy and the weakness of faith. He complained most of God's displeasure. Even the children of God's love may sometimes think themselves children of wrath and no outward trouble can be so hard upon them as that. Probably the psalmist described his own case, yet he leads to Christ. Thus are we called to look unto Jesus, wounded and bruised for our iniquities. But the wrath of God poured the greatest bitterness into his cup. This weighed him down into darkness and the deep.

10-18 Departed souls may declare God's faithfulness, justice, and lovingkindness; but deceased bodies can neither receive God's favours in comfort, nor return them in praise. The psalmist resolved to continue in prayer, and the more so, because deliverance did not come speedily. Though our prayers are not soon answered, yet we must not give over praying. The greater our troubles, the more earnest and serious we should be in prayer. Nothing grieves a child of God so much as losing sight of him; nor is there any thing he so much dreads as God's casting off his soul. If the sun be clouded, that darkens the earth; but if the sun should leave the earth, what a dungeon would it be! Even those designed for God's favours, may for a time suffer his terrors. See how deep those terrors wounded the psalmist. If friends are put far from us by providences, or death, we have reason to look upon it as affliction. Such was the calamitous state of a good man. But the pleas here used were peculiarly suited to Christ. And we are not to think that the holy Jesus suffered for us only at Gethsemane and on Calvary. His whole life was labour and sorrow; he was afflicted as never man was, from his youth up. He was prepared for that death of which he tasted through life. No man could share in the sufferings by which other men were to be redeemed. All forsook him, and fled. Oftentimes, blessed Jesus, do we forsake thee; but do not forsake us, O take not thy Holy Spirit from us.

Commentary by Matthew Henry, 1710.

Discussion for Psalms 88

  • Leigh
    I find that it helps to click the Discussion link above and read the Commentary by Matthew Henry. For Psalms 88 he points us to the savior's abandonment and suffering for us.
  • Rayshersd
    Dont live that and if you do something wrong god to forgive you but you have to mean it sincerely from the heart and go to church after this youll see a change
  • Brenda Harcleroad
    My Mother went through a long painful illness.
    One day I said,"Mother, I feel like God has forgotten us." Mother said,"I claim God as my Father, Jesus as my Savior ,
  • Ben
    I don't see the redemption here. My mother showed me this about a month before she died of cancer. She said, "this is how I feel." A profoundly religious person who knew she would soon be taken from her young kids, she felt the despair in this Psalm, and I sat down on the stairs and cried. I think it is an honest account of feeling abandoned with no answer
  • Felicia
    Thank God that when we are in the valley of the shadow of death, God is still there, even if we might think He has forgotten us. But praise be to God that when He brings us through, we are refined like pure gold. This end result motivate us to endure really tough times in our walk with the Lord. Thank you Lord Jesus, that indeed it's the living that praise you and not the dead. Hallelujah!
  • Annie
    On days like these when the body is tired, it is good to know God has an understanding heart. He is not like man heartless and uncaring to human condition. He is compassionate and understanding of needs and circumstances. God does not focus on bitterness and hate but meet us where we are at on our bad days.The reason man finds peace in God is his lack of egocentricity and he is void of darkness.
  • Benjamin
    Continue in prayers even in hours of despair. Thank you Lord for strengthening me by your word even this evening.
  • Enitan BABABUNMI for verse 2
    I believe God will answer my prayer.

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