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Psalm 88

Prayer for Help in Despondency

A Song. A Psalm of the Korahites. To the leader: according to Mahalath Leannoth. A Maskil of Heman the Ezrahite.


O L ord, God of my salvation,

when, at night, I cry out in your presence,


let my prayer come before you;

incline your ear to my cry.



For my soul is full of troubles,

and my life draws near to Sheol.


I am counted among those who go down to the Pit;

I am like those who have no help,


like those forsaken among the dead,

like the slain that lie in the grave,

like those whom you remember no more,

for they are cut off from your hand.


You have put me in the depths of the Pit,

in the regions dark and deep.


Your wrath lies heavy upon me,

and you overwhelm me with all your waves. Selah



You have caused my companions to shun me;

you have made me a thing of horror to them.

I am shut in so that I cannot escape;


my eye grows dim through sorrow.

Every day I call on you, O L ord;

I spread out my hands to you.


Do you work wonders for the dead?

Do the shades rise up to praise you? Selah


Is your steadfast love declared in the grave,

or your faithfulness in Abaddon?


Are your wonders known in the darkness,

or your saving help in the land of forgetfulness?



But I, O L ord, cry out to you;

in the morning my prayer comes before you.


O L ord, why do you cast me off?

Why do you hide your face from me?


Wretched and close to death from my youth up,

I suffer your terrors; I am desperate.


Your wrath has swept over me;

your dread assaults destroy me.


They surround me like a flood all day long;

from all sides they close in on me.


You have caused friend and neighbor to shun me;

my companions are in darkness.

13. But to thee have I cried, O Jehovah! There may have been a degree of intemperateness in the language of the prophet, which, as I have granted, cannot be altogether vindicated; but still it was a sign of rare faith and piety to persevere as he did with never-failing earnestness in prayer. This is what is meant when he says, that he made haste in the morning; by which he would have us not to imagine that he slowly and coldly lingered till he was constrained by dire necessity. At the same time, he modestly intimates by these words, that his pining away in long continued miseries was not owing to his own sluggishness, as if he had not sought God. This is an example particularly worthy of notice, that we may not become discouraged if it happen sometimes that our prayers are for a time unsuccessful, although they may proceed from the heart, and may be assiduously persevered in.

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