A Petition to Be Saved from Death.
A Song. A Psalm of the sons of Korah. To the Chief Musician; set to chant mournfully. A didactic or reflective poem of Heman the Ezrahite.
88 O Lord, the God of my salvation,
I have cried out [for help] by day and in the night before You.(A)
Let my prayer come before You and enter into Your presence;
Incline Your ear to my cry!
For my soul is full of troubles,
And my life draws near the grave (Sheol, the place of the dead).
I am counted among those who go down to the pit (grave);
I am like a man who has no strength [a mere shadow],
[a]Cast away [from the living] and abandoned among the dead,
Like the slain who lie in a [nameless] grave,
Whom You no longer remember,
And they are cut off from Your hand.
You have laid me in the lowest pit,
In dark places, in the depths.
Your wrath has rested heavily upon me,
And You have afflicted me with all Your waves.(B) Selah.
You have put my friends far from me;
You have made me an [b]object of loathing to them.
I am shut up and I cannot go out.
My eye grows dim with sorrow.
O Lord, I have called on You every day;
I have spread out my hands to You [in prayer].
Will You perform wonders for the dead?
Shall the departed spirits arise and praise You? Selah.
Will Your lovingkindness be declared in the grave
Or Your faithfulness in Abaddon (the underworld)?
Will Your wonders be known in the darkness?
And Your righteousness in the land of forgetfulness [where the dead forget and are forgotten]?
But I have cried out to You, O Lord, for help;
And in the morning my prayer will come to You.
O Lord, why do You reject me?
Why do You hide Your face from me?(C)
I was afflicted and close to death from my youth on;
I suffer Your terrors; I am overcome.
Your fierce wrath has swept over me;
Your terrors have destroyed me.
They have surrounded me like flood waters all day long;
They have completely encompassed me.
Lover and friend You have placed far from me;
My familiar friends are in darkness.
- Psalm 88:5 Lit Set free. The ancient rabbis understood this to mean that once a man is dead, he is free from all religious duties.
- Psalm 88:8 Lit abomination to them.