New American Bible (Revised Edition)
A Despairing Lament
1 A song; a psalm of the Korahites. For the leader; according to Mahalath. For singing; a maskil of Heman the Ezrahite.
2 Lord, the God of my salvation, I call out by day;
at night I cry aloud in your presence.(A)
3 Let my prayer come before you;
incline your ear to my cry.(B)
4 [b]For my soul is filled with troubles;(C)
my life draws near to Sheol.
5 I am reckoned with those who go down to the pit;
I am like a warrior without strength.
6 My couch is among the dead,
like the slain who lie in the grave.
You remember them no more;
they are cut off from your influence.
7 You plunge me into the bottom of the pit,
into the darkness of the abyss.
8 Your wrath lies heavy upon me;
all your waves crash over me.(D)
9 Because of you my acquaintances shun me;
you make me loathsome to them;(E)
Caged in, I cannot escape;
10 my eyes grow dim from trouble.
12 Is your mercy proclaimed in the grave,
your faithfulness among those who have perished?[d]
13 Are your marvels declared in the darkness,
your righteous deeds in the land of oblivion?
14 But I cry out to you, Lord;
in the morning my prayer comes before you.
15 Why do you reject my soul, Lord,
and hide your face from me?
16 I have been mortally afflicted since youth;
I have borne your terrors and I am made numb.
17 Your wrath has swept over me;
your terrors have destroyed me.(G)
18 All day they surge round like a flood;
from every side they encircle me.
19 Because of you friend and neighbor shun me;(H)
my only friend is darkness.
- Psalm 88 A lament in which the psalmist prays for rescue from the alienation of approaching death. Each of the three stanzas begins with a call to God (Ps 88:2, 10, 14) and complains of the death that separates one from God. The tone is persistently grim.
- 88:4–8 In imagination the psalmist already experiences the alienation of Sheol.
- 88:11–13 The psalmist seeks to persuade God to act out of concern for divine honor: the shades give you no worship, so keep me alive to offer you praise.
- 88:12 Perished: lit., “Abaddon,” the deepest part of Sheol.