New Defender's Study Bible Notes
88:1 cried day and night. The theme of Psalm 88 is one of unbroken lament, with only the fact that the psalmist could still pray (Psalm 88:2,9) to the “LORD God of my salvation” (Psalm 88:1) mitigating the pervasive note of despair. Yet Heman, the author, was reputed to be a man of wisdom (I Kings 4:31).
88:11 in destruction. In this verse, “the grave” is the Hebrew sheol, and “destruction” is abaddon, both terms denoting the prison of the dead deep in the earth.
88:14 hidest thou thy face. The clue to the unrelenting tone of despair of the psalm is that it is probably a Messianic psalm, depicting the anguish of heart and soul of the Messiah when His Father had apparently forsaken Him on the cross (Matthew 27:46).
88:15 from my youth up. Assuming this indeed to be a Messianic psalm, this verse gives an insight into the opposition suffered by Christ even as he was growing up—a subject hardly touched on in the New Testament records of His life.
Psalm 89 (title) Maschil. This psalm is the last of the thirteen or fourteen Maschil psalms. Written by Ethan, (apparently the brother of Heman—I Kings 4:31), its tone of victory contrasts sharply (and appropriately) with that of Psalm 88, written by Heman. Although Heman and Ethan were probably of the tribe of Judah (I Chronicles 2:6), there were also two Levitical singers with these names associated with Asaph (I Chronicles 15:17,19), so the precise identification of Heman and Ethan is uncertain. With its fifty-two verses, Psalm 89 is the third longest of the psalms (after Psalm 119 and 78).