Psalms 88
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Listen to this chapter in Hebrew:

1  A Song, a Psalm of the sons of Korach; for the Leader; upon Mahalath Leannoth. Maschil of Heman the Ezrahite.

א  שִׁיר מִזְמוֹר לִבְנֵי קֹרַח לַמְנַצֵּחַ עַל מָחֲלַת לְעַנּוֹת מַשְׂכִּיל לְהֵימָן הָאֶזְרָחִי.

2  O Hashem, God of my salvation, what time I cry in the night before Thee,

ב  יְהוָה אֱלֹהֵי יְשׁוּעָתִי יוֹם צָעַקְתִּי בַלַּיְלָה נֶגְדֶּךָ.

3  Let my prayer come before Thee, incline Thine ear unto my cry.

ג  תָּבוֹא לְפָנֶיךָ תְּפִלָּתִי הַטֵּה אָזְנְךָ לְרִנָּתִי.

4  For my soul is sated with troubles, and my life draweth nigh unto the grave.

ד  כִּי שָׂבְעָה בְרָעוֹת נַפְשִׁי וְחַיַּי לִשְׁאוֹל הִגִּיעוּ.

5  I am counted with them that go down into the pit; I am become as a man that hath no help;

ה  נֶחְשַׁבְתִּי עִם יוֹרְדֵי בוֹר הָיִיתִי כְּגֶבֶר אֵין אֱיָל.

6  Set apart among the dead, like the slain that lie in the grave, whom Thou rememberest no more; and they are cut off from Thy hand.

ו  בַּמֵּתִים חָפְשִׁי כְּמוֹ חֲלָלִים שֹׁכְבֵי קֶבֶר אֲשֶׁר לֹא זְכַרְתָּם עוֹד וְהֵמָּה מִיָּדְךָ נִגְזָרוּ.

7  Thou hast laid me in the nethermost pit, in dark places, in the deeps.

ז  שַׁתַּנִי בְּבוֹר תַּחְתִּיּוֹת בְּמַחֲשַׁכִּים בִּמְצֹלוֹת.

8  Thy wrath lieth hard upon me, and all Thy waves Thou pressest down. Selah

ח  עָלַי סָמְכָה חֲמָתֶךָ וְכָל מִשְׁבָּרֶיךָ עִנִּיתָ סֶּלָה.

9  Thou hast put mine acquaintance far from me; Thou hast made me an abomination unto them; I am shut up, and I cannot come forth.

ט  הִרְחַקְתָּ מְיֻדָּעַי מִמֶּנִּי שַׁתַּנִי תוֹעֵבוֹת לָמוֹ כָּלֻא וְלֹא אֵצֵא.

10  Mine eye languisheth by reason of affliction; I have called upon Thee, O Hashem, every day, I have spread forth my hands unto Thee.

י  עֵינִי דָאֲבָה מִנִּי עֹנִי קְרָאתִיךָ יְהוָה בְּכָל יוֹם שִׁטַּחְתִּי אֵלֶיךָ כַפָּי.

11  Wilt Thou work wonders for the dead? Or shall the shades arise and give Thee thanks? Selah

יא  הֲלַמֵּתִים תַּעֲשֶׂה פֶּלֶא אִם רְפָאִים יָקוּמוּ יוֹדוּךָ סֶּלָה.

12  Shall Thy mercy be declared in the grave? or Thy faithfulness in destruction?

יב  הַיְסֻפַּר בַּקֶּבֶר חַסְדֶּךָ אֱמוּנָתְךָ בָּאֲבַדּוֹן.

13  Shall Thy wonders be known in the dark? and Thy righteousness in the land of forgetfulness?

יג  הֲיִוָּדַע בַּחֹשֶׁךְ פִּלְאֶךָ וְצִדְקָתְךָ בְּאֶרֶץ נְשִׁיָּה.

14  But as for me, unto Thee, O Hashem, do I cry, and in the morning doth my prayer come to meet Thee.

יד  וַאֲנִי אֵלֶיךָ יְהוָה שִׁוַּעְתִּי וּבַבֹּקֶר תְּפִלָּתִי תְקַדְּמֶךָּ.

15  Hashem, why castest Thou off my soul? Why hidest Thou Thy face from me?

טו  לָמָה יְהוָה תִּזְנַח נַפְשִׁי תַּסְתִּיר פָּנֶיךָ מִמֶּנִּי.

16  I am afflicted and at the point of death from my youth up; I have borne Thy terrors, I am distracted.

טז  עָנִי אֲנִי וְגֹוֵעַ מִנֹּעַר נָשָׂאתִי אֵמֶיךָ אָפוּנָה.

17  Thy fierce wrath is gone over me; Thy terrors have cut me off.

יז  עָלַי עָבְרוּ חֲרוֹנֶיךָ בִּעוּתֶיךָ צִמְּתוּתֻנִי.

18  They came round about me like water all the day; they compassed me about together.

יח  סַבּוּנִי כַמַּיִם כָּל הַיּוֹם הִקִּיפוּ עָלַי יָחַד.

19  Friend and companion hast Thou put far from me, and mine acquaintance into darkness.

hir-KHAK-ta mi-ME-nee o-HAYV va-RAY-a m’-yu-da-AI makh-SHAKH

יט  הִרְחַקְתָּ מִמֶּנִּי אֹהֵב וָרֵעַ מְיֻדָּעַי מַחְשָׁךְ.

88:19   And mine acquaintance into darkness

This psalm is similar to a lamentation as it ends on a very sad note. Though unusual, this too belongs in the Psalter, which depicts a range of human experiences and not just ‘happy ending’ episodes. While scholars debate the identity of the authors of the psalm, since verse 1 attributes it to both the sons of Korah and Heman the Ezrahite, the Sages suggest that the psalm was authored by the Congregation of Israel. At times of total darkness and exile, the Jewish people struggle to find the words to express faith in God’s ultimate salvation. While the last words reflect this horrible state of loneliness and bleakness, we should note that the entire psalm was directed to the Lord, God of salvation (verse 2). God desires our expressions of suffering and our cries. This, too, is His praise.


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Psalms 87
Psalms 89

Comment ( 1 )

The comments below do not necessarily reflect the beliefs and opinions of The Israel Bibleā„¢.

  • This psalm while it may end in sadness and great sorry, does it? We can see this psalm brings us a range of many human emotions. Very deep and heart bending emotions of the human heart. We are told that scholars have debated who may have written these yet it may have been thought suggested the psalm was authored by the Congregation of Israel. We are told that these were times of Horrific darkness and tragedy. Exile had become way of life, if such a way of life was indeed life.

    The Jewish people were struggling as it was to find continuity nevertheless to find a way to express in words , in faith in God's ultimate Salvation. How could they any longer bear the loneliness and bleakness they had felt any more. They felt cut off from everything, especially there God. The cried out desperately to there Lord thi God. There lay bare there heart and souls to there God. God was there only Salvation and they sincerely knew this, they had no dought of this, they always knew this.

    God desires our expressions of suffering and our cries. This, too, is His praise.
    Know this being said does make so much sense. It tells us God wants us to lay out before him all of our hurts and pains. All of our fears and worries. God wants us to be straight forward with him so that there are no secrets to between us that truth is always the greatest bond. To never let anything we do come between us. God is indeed Great & Good. Carl

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Psalms 88