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A song. A psalm by the descendants of Korah. According to Machalath Leannoth. An instruction[a] by Heman the Ezrahite.

A Cry for Help

88 Lord, God of my salvation,
    by day and by night I cry out before you.
Let my prayer come before you;
    listen[b] to my cry.
For my life is filled with troubles
    as I approach Sheol.[c]
I am considered as one of those descending into the Pit,[d]
    like a mighty man without strength,
released to remain[e] with the dead,
    lying in a grave like a corpse,
remembered no longer,
    and cut off from your power.
You have assigned me to the lowest part of the Pit,[f]
    to the darkest depths.
Your anger lies heavily upon me;
    you pound[g] me with all your waves.

You caused my acquaintances to shun me;[h]
    you make me extremely abhorrent to them.
        Restrained, I am unable to go out.
My eyes languish on account of my affliction;
    all day long I call out to you, Lord,
        I spread out my hands to you.

10 Can you perform wonders for the dead?
    Can departed spirits stand up to praise you?

11 Can your gracious love be declared in the grave
    or your faithfulness in Abaddon?[i]
12 Can your awesome deeds be known in darkness
    or your righteousness in the land of oblivion?

13 As for me, I cry out to you Lord,
    and in the morning my prayer greets you.
14 Why, Lord, have you rejected me?
    Why have you hidden your face from me?
15 Since my youth I have been oppressed
    and in danger of death.
I bear your dread
    and am overwhelmed.
16 Your burning anger overwhelms me;
    your terrors destroy me.
17 Like waters, they engulf me all day long;
    they surround me on all sides.
18 You caused my friend and neighbor to shun me;[j]
    and my acquaintances are confused.[k]


  1. Psalm 88:1 Lit. maskil
  2. Psalm 88:2 Lit. stretch your ears
  3. Psalm 88:3 I.e. the realm of the dead
  4. Psalm 88:4 I.e. the place of punishment in the afterlife
  5. Psalm 88:5 The Heb. lacks to remain
  6. Psalm 88:6 I.e. the place of punishment in the afterlife
  7. Psalm 88:7 Lit. oppress
  8. Psalm 88:8 Lit. to be distant
  9. Psalm 88:11 I.e. the realm of destruction in the afterlife
  10. Psalm 88:18 Lit. be distant from
  11. Psalm 88:18 Lit. are in darkness