Psa 88: The Cry of the Suffering
song. A psalm of the Sons of Korah. For the director of music.
According to mahalath leannoth. A maskil of Heman the Ezrahite.
Comments: The sense of this psalm is that it comes from
one who has been ill since his earliest days [v.15], who has suffered
throughout the years, an illness that takes him to the brink of
death [v.3-5]. Because he accepts the sovereignty of God, he attributes
all this to the Lord [v.6-9], an illness that has cut him off
even from would-be friends [v.15-18]. This is the basic background
that emerges here. The rest of the psalm is the psalmist pleading
with the Lord [v.1,2], crying out, what good will my death achieve
[v.9-12] and although he pleads every day, it is as if the Lord
has rejected him [v.13,14]. A psalm of anguish in suffering, the
title of which suggests is comes from a man named Heman.]
The psalmist cries out to the Lord
you are the God who saves me;
day and night I cry out to you.
my prayer come before you;
turn your ear to my cry.
He feels he is approaching death
am overwhelmed with troubles
and my life draws near to death.
am counted among those who go down to the pit;
I am like one without strength.
am set apart with the dead,
like the slain who lie in the grave,
whom you remember no more,
who are cut off from your care.
He attributes this to the Lord
have put me in the lowest pit,
in the darkest depths.
wrath lies heavily on me;
you have overwhelmed me with
all your waves.
You have taken from me my closest friends
and have made me repulsive to them.
I am confined and cannot escape;
eyes are dim with grief.
He appeals to the Lord, what's the point of his death?
call to you, Lord , every day; I spread out my hands to
you show your wonders to the dead?
Do their spirits rise up and praise you?
your love declared in the grave,
your faithfulness in Destruction?
your wonders known in the place of darkness,
or your righteous deeds in the land of
He pleads with the Lord not to reject him
I cry to you for help, Lord
in the morning my prayer comes before
do you reject me
and hide your face from me?
He feels his whole life has been one of suffering
my youth I have suffered and been close to death;
I have borne your terrors and am in despair.
wrath has swept over me;
your terrors have destroyed me.
day long they surround me like a flood;
they have completely engulfed me.
have taken from me friend and neighbour –
darkness is my closest friend.
Comments: The Bible is not afraid to portray the difficulties
of life in this fallen world and suffering and illness are such
examples. The psalm does not seek to explain them, merely to note
the anguish they bring. We have to wait until the New Testament
to see God's heart revealed through His Son, Jesus, who was often
moved by compassion to heal the sick. Healings by God do occur
a number of times in both Old and New Testaments.]
to Psa 89