86 Incline Your ear, O Lord, and answer me, For I am distressed and needy [I long for Your help]. 2 Protect my life (soul), for I am godly and faithful; O You my God, save Your servant, who trusts in You [believing in You and relying on You, confidently committing everything to You]. 3 Be gracious and merciful to me, O Lord, For to You I cry out all the day long. 4 Make Your servant rejoice, For to You, O Lord, I lift up my soul [all that I am—in prayer]. 5 For You, O Lord, are good, and ready to forgive [our sins, sending them away, completely letting them go forever and ever]; And abundant in lovingkindness and overflowing in mercy to all those who call upon You. 6 Hear, O Lord, my prayer; And listen attentively to the voice of my supplications (specific requests)! 7 In the day of my trouble I will call upon You, For You will answer me. 8 There is no one like You among the gods, O Lord, Nor are there any works [of wonder and majesty] like Yours. 9 All nations whom You have made shall come and kneel down in worship before You, O Lord, And they shall glorify Your name. 10 For You are great and do wondrous works! You alone are God.
11 Teach me Your way, O Lord, I will walk and live in Your truth; Direct my heart to fear Your name [with awe-inspired reverence and submissive wonder]. 12 I will give thanks and praise You, O Lord my God, with all my heart; And will glorify Your name forevermore. 13 For great is Your lovingkindness and graciousness toward me; And You have rescued my life from the depths of Sheol [from death].
14 O God, arrogant and insolent men have risen up against me; A band of violent men have sought my life, And they have not set You before them. 15 But You, O Lord, are a God [who protects and is] merciful and gracious, Slow to anger and abounding in lovingkindness and truth. 16 Turn to me, and be gracious to me; Grant Your strength [Your might and the power to resist temptation] to Your servant, And save the son of Your handmaid. 17 Show me a sign of [Your] goodwill, That those who hate me may see it and be ashamed, Because You, O Lord, helped and comforted me.
The Privileges of Citizenship in Zion.
A Psalm of the sons of Korah. A Song.
87 His foundation is on the holy mountain. 2 The Lord loves the gates of Zion More than all the dwellings of Jacob (Israel). 3 Glorious things are spoken of you, O city of God [Jerusalem]. Selah. 4 “I will mention Rahab (Egypt) and Babylon among those who know Me— Behold, Philistia and Tyre with Ethiopia (Cush)— ‘This one was born there.’” 5 But of Zion it will be said, “This one and that one were born in her,” And the Most High Himself will establish her. 6 The Lord will count, when He registers the peoples, “This one was born there.” Selah. 7 The singers as well as the players of flutes will say, “All my springs and sources of joy are in you [Jerusalem, city of God].”
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. 2 Let my prayer come before You and enter into Your presence; Incline Your ear to my cry! 3 For my soul is full of troubles, And my life draws near the grave (Sheol, the place of the dead). 4 I am counted among those who go down to the pit (grave); I am like a man who has no strength [a mere shadow], 5 [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. 6 You have laid me in the lowest pit, In dark places, in the depths. 7 Your wrath has rested heavily upon me, And You have afflicted me with all Your waves.Selah. 8 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. 9 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].
10 Will You perform wonders for the dead? Shall the departed spirits arise and praise You? Selah. 11 Will Your lovingkindness be declared in the grave Or Your faithfulness in Abaddon (the underworld)? 12 Will Your wonders be known in the darkness? And Your righteousness in the land of forgetfulness [where the dead forget and are forgotten]?
13 But I have cried out to You, O Lord, for help; And in the morning my prayer will come to You. 14 O Lord, why do You reject me? Why do You hide Your face from me? 15 I was afflicted and close to death from my youth on; I suffer Your terrors; I am overcome. 16 Your fierce wrath has swept over me; Your terrors have destroyed me. 17 They have surrounded me like flood waters all day long; They have completely encompassed me. 18 Lover and friend You have placed far from me; My familiar friends are in darkness.
The Lord’s Covenant with David, and Israel’s Afflictions.
A skillful song, or a didactic or reflective poem, of Ethan the Ezrahite.
89 I will sing of the goodness and lovingkindness of the Lord forever; With my mouth I will make known Your faithfulness from generation to generation. 2 For I have said, “Goodness and lovingkindness will be built up forever; In the heavens [unchangeable and majestic] You will establish Your faithfulness.” 3 [God has said] “I have made a covenant with My chosen one; I have sworn to David My servant, 4 I will establish your seed forever And I will build up your throne for all generations.”Selah.
5 The heavens (angels) praise Your wonders, O Lord, Your faithfulness also in the assembly of the holy ones. 6 For who in the heavens can be compared to the Lord? Who among the divine beings is like the Lord, 7 A God greatly feared and reverently worshiped in the council of the holy [angelic] ones, And awesome above all those who are around Him? 8 O Lord God of hosts, who is like You, O mighty Lord? Your faithfulness surrounds You [as an intrinsic, unchangeable part of Your very being]. 9 You rule the swelling of the sea; When its waves rise, You still them. 10 You have crushed Rahab (Egypt) like one who is slain; You have scattered Your enemies with Your mighty arm.
11 The heavens are Yours, the earth also is Yours; The world and all that is in it, You have founded and established them. 12 The north and the south, You have created them; Mount Tabor and Mount Hermon shout for joy at Your name. 13 You have a strong arm; Mighty is Your hand, Your right hand is exalted. 14 Righteousness and justice are the foundation of Your throne; Lovingkindness and truth go before You. 15 Blessed and happy are the people who know the joyful sound [of the trumpet’s blast]! They walk, O Lord, in the light and favor of Your countenance! 16 In Your name they rejoice all the day, And in Your righteousness they are exalted. 17 For You are the glory of their strength [their proud adornment], And by Your favor our horn is exalted. 18 For our shield belongs to the Lord, And our king to the Holy One of Israel.
19 Once You spoke in a vision to Your godly ones, And said, “I have given help to one who is mighty [giving him the power to be a champion for Israel]; I have exalted one chosen from the people. 20 “I have found David My servant; With My holy oil I have anointed him, 21 With whom My hand shall be established and steadfast; My arm also shall strengthen him. 22 “The enemy will not outwit him, Nor will the wicked man afflict or humiliate him. 23 “I will crush his adversaries before him, And strike those who hate him. 24 “My faithfulness and My steadfast lovingkindness shall be with him, And in My name shall his horn be exalted [great power and prosperity shall be conferred upon him]. 25 “I will also [c]set his hand on the [Mediterranean] sea, And his right hand on the rivers [the tributaries of the Euphrates]. 26 “He will cry to Me, ‘You are my Father, My God, and the rock of my salvation.’ 27 “I will also make him My firstborn (preeminent), The highest of the kings of the earth. 28 “My lovingkindness I will keep for him forevermore, And My covenant will be confirmed to him. 29 “His descendants I will establish forever, And his throne [will endure] as the days of heaven.
30 “If his children [d]turn away from My law And do not walk in My ordinances, 31 If they break My statutes And do not keep My commandments, 32 Then I will punish their transgression with the rod [of discipline], And [correct] their wickedness with stripes. 33 “Nevertheless, I will not break off My lovingkindness from him, Nor allow My faithfulness to fail. 34 “My covenant I will not violate, Nor will I alter the utterance of My lips. 35 “Once [for all] I have sworn by My holiness, [My vow which cannot be violated]; I will not lie to David. 36 “His [e]descendants shall endure forever And his throne [will continue] as the sun before Me. 37 “It shall be established forever like the moon, And the witness in the heavens is ever faithful.”Selah.
38 But [in apparent contradiction of all this] You [the faithful Lord] have cast off and rejected; You have been full of wrath against Your anointed. 39 You have spurned and repudiated the covenant with Your servant; You have profaned his crown [by casting it] in the dust. 40 You have broken down all his [city] walls; You have brought his strongholds to ruin. 41 All who pass along the road rob him; He has become the scorn of his neighbors. 42 You have exalted the right hand of his foes; You have made all his enemies rejoice. 43 Also, You have turned back the edge of his sword And have not made him [strong enough] to stand in battle. 44 You have put an end to his splendor And have hurled his throne to the ground. 45 You have shortened the days of his youth; You have covered him with shame. Selah.
46 How long, O Lord? Will You hide Yourself forever? Will Your wrath burn like fire? 47 Remember how fleeting my lifetime is; For what vanity, [for what emptiness, for what futility, for what wisp of smoke] You have created all the sons of men! 48 What man can live and not see death? Can he rescue his soul from the [powerful] hand of Sheol (the nether world, the place of the dead)? Selah.
49 O Lord, where are Your former lovingkindnesses [so abundant in the days of David and Solomon], Which You swore to David in Your faithfulness? 50 Remember, O Lord, the reproach of Your servants [scorned, insulted, and disgraced]; How I bear in [f]my heart the reproach of all the many peoples, 51 With which Your enemies have taunted, O Lord, With which they have mocked the footsteps of Your anointed.
52 Blessed be the Lord forevermore! Amen and Amen.
Psalm 88:5Lit Set free. The ancient rabbis understood this to mean that once a man is dead, he is free from all religious duties.
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