Psalm 88

A Cry of Desperation

A song. A psalm of the sons of Korah. For the choir director: according to Mahalath Leannoth. A Maskil of Heman the Ezrahite.(A)

Lord, God of my salvation,
I cry out before You day and night.(B)
May my prayer reach Your presence;
listen to my cry.(C)

For I have had enough troubles,
and my life is near Sheol.(D)
I am counted among those going down to the Pit.(E)
I am like a man without strength,(F)
abandoned[a] among the dead.
I am like the slain lying in the grave,(G)
whom You no longer remember,
and who are cut off from Your care.[b](H)

You have put me in the lowest part of the Pit,
in the darkest places, in the depths.(I)
Your wrath weighs heavily on me;(J)
You have overwhelmed me with all Your waves.(K)Selah
You have distanced my friends from me;
You have made me repulsive to them.(L)
I am shut in and cannot go out.
My eyes are worn out from crying.(M)
Lord, I cry out to You all day long;(N)
I spread out my hands to You.(O)

10 Do You work wonders for the dead?
Do departed spirits rise up to praise You?(P)Selah
11 Will Your faithful love be declared in the grave,
Your faithfulness in Abaddon?(Q)
12 Will Your wonders be known in the darkness
or Your righteousness in the land of oblivion?(R)

13 But I call to You for help, Lord;
in the morning my prayer meets You.(S)
14 Lord, why do You reject me?(T)
Why do You hide Your face from me?(U)
15 From my youth,
I have been afflicted and near death.
I suffer Your horrors; I am desperate.(V)
16 Your wrath sweeps over me;
Your terrors destroy me.(W)
17 They surround me like water all day long;
they close in on me from every side.(X)
18 You have distanced loved one and neighbor from me;
darkness is my only friend.[c](Y)


  1. Psalm 88:5 Or set free
  2. Psalm 88:5 Or hand
  3. Psalm 88:18 Or from me, my friends. Oh darkness!

Psalm 88[a]

A song. A psalm of the Sons of Korah. For the director of music. According to mahalath leannoth.[b] A maskil[c] of Heman the Ezrahite.

Lord, you are the God who saves me;(A)
    day and night I cry out(B) to you.
May my prayer come before you;
    turn your ear to my cry.

I am overwhelmed with troubles(C)
    and my life draws near to death.(D)
I am counted among those who go down to the pit;(E)
    I am like one without strength.(F)
I am set apart with the dead,
    like the slain who lie in the grave,
whom you remember no more,
    who are cut off(G) from your care.

You have put me in the lowest pit,
    in the darkest depths.(H)
Your wrath(I) lies heavily on me;
    you have overwhelmed me with all your waves.[d](J)
You have taken from me my closest friends(K)
    and have made me repulsive to them.
I am confined(L) and cannot escape;(M)
    my eyes(N) are dim with grief.

I call(O) to you, Lord, every day;
    I spread out my hands(P) to you.
10 Do you show your wonders to the dead?
    Do their spirits rise up and praise you?(Q)
11 Is your love declared in the grave,
    your faithfulness(R) in Destruction[e]?
12 Are your wonders known in the place of darkness,
    or your righteous deeds in the land of oblivion?

13 But I cry to you for help,(S) Lord;
    in the morning(T) my prayer comes before you.(U)
14 Why, Lord, do you reject(V) me
    and hide your face(W) from me?

15 From my youth(X) I have suffered(Y) and been close to death;
    I have borne your terrors(Z) and am in despair.(AA)
16 Your wrath(AB) has swept over me;
    your terrors(AC) have destroyed me.
17 All day long they surround me like a flood;(AD)
    they have completely engulfed me.
18 You have taken from me friend(AE) and neighbor—
    darkness is my closest friend.


  1. Psalm 88:1 In Hebrew texts 88:1-18 is numbered 88:2-19.
  2. Psalm 88:1 Title: Possibly a tune, “The Suffering of Affliction”
  3. Psalm 88:1 Title: Probably a literary or musical term
  4. Psalm 88:7 The Hebrew has Selah (a word of uncertain meaning) here and at the end of verse 10.
  5. Psalm 88:11 Hebrew Abaddon