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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.

9. My eye mourneth because of my affliction. To prevent it from being supposed that he was iron-hearted, he again repeats that his afflictions were so severe and painful as to produce manifest traces of his sorrow, even in his countenance and eyes — a plain indication of the low condition to which he was reduced. But he, notwithstanding, testifies that he was not drawn away from God, like many who, secretly murmuring in their hearts, and, to use a proverbial expression, chafing upon the bit, have nothing farther from their thoughts than to disburden their cares into the bosom of God, in order to derive comfort from Him. In speaking of the stretching out of his hands, he puts the sign for the thing signified. I have elsewhere had an opportunity of explaining the import of this ceremony, which has been in common use in all ages.

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