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A Song or Psalm for the sons of Korah, to the chief Musician upon Mahalath Leannoth, Maschil of Heman the Ezrahite. O LORD God of my salvation, I have cried day and night before thee:
Let my prayer come before thee: incline thine ear unto my cry;
For my soul is full of troubles: and my life draweth nigh unto the grave.
I am counted with them that go down into the pit: I am as a man that hath no strength:
Free among the dead, like the slain that lie in the grave, whom thou rememberest no more: and they are cut off from thy hand.
Thou hast laid me in the lowest pit, in darkness, in the deeps.
Thy wrath lieth hard upon me, and thou hast afflicted me with all thy waves. Selah.
Thou hast put away mine acquaintance far from me; thou hast made me an abomination unto them: I am shut up, and I cannot come forth.
Mine eye mourneth by reason of affliction: LORD, I have called daily upon thee, I have stretched out my hands unto thee.
Wilt thou show wonders to the dead? shall the dead arise and praise thee? Selah.
Shall thy wonders be known in the dark? and thy righteousness in the land of forgetfulness?
But unto thee have I cried, O LORD; and in the morning shall my prayer prevent thee.
LORD, why castest thou off my soul? why hidest thou thy face from me?
I am afflicted and ready to die from my youth up: while I suffer thy terrors I am distracted.
Thy fierce wrath goeth over me; thy terrors have cut me off.
They came round about me daily like water; they compassed me about together.
Lover and friend hast thou put far from me, and mine acquaintance into darkness.

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).

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