|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
88:1-9 The first words of the psalmist are the only words of comfort and support in this psalm. Thus greatly may good men be afflicted, and such dismal thoughts may they have about their afflictions, and such dark conclusion may they make about their end, through the power of melancholy and the weakness of faith. He complained most of God's displeasure. Even the children of God's love may sometimes think themselves children of wrath and no outward trouble can be so hard upon them as that. Probably the psalmist described his own case, yet he leads to Christ. Thus are we called to look unto Jesus, wounded and bruised for our iniquities. But the wrath of God poured the greatest bitterness into his cup. This weighed him down into darkness and the deep.
Verse 1. - O Lord God of my salvation. This is the one "word of trust," which some get rid of by an emendation. But the Septuagint supports the existing Hebrew text; and it is in harmony with the rest of Scripture. The saints of God never despair. I have cried day and night before thee; literally, by day have I cried - by night before thee; a trembling, gasping utterance (Kay).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
O Lord God of my salvation,.... The author both of temporal and spiritual salvation; see Psalm 18:46 from the experience the psalmist had had of the Lord's working salvation for him in times past, he is encouraged to hope that he would appear for him, and help him out of his present distress; his faith was not so low, but that amidst all his darkness and dejection he could look upon the Lord as his God, and the God of salvation to him; so our Lord Jesus Christ, when deserted by his Father, still called him his God, and believed that he would help him, Psalm 22:1.
I have cried day and night before thee, or "in the day I have cried, and in the night before thee"; that is, as the Targum paraphrases it,
"in the night my prayer was before thee.''
prayer being expressed by crying shows the person to be in distress, denotes the earnestness of it, and shows it to be vocal; and it being both in the day and in the night, that it was without ceasing. The same is said by Christ, Psalm 22:2 and is true of him, who in the days of his flesh was frequent in prayer, and especially in the night season, Luke 6:12 and particularly his praying in the garden the night he was betrayed may be here referred to, Matthew 26:38.
(a) "pro infirmitate ad affligendum", so some in Munster; "de miseria ad affligendum", Tigurine version; "de infirmitate affligente", Piscator, so Gussetius, p. 622. (b) Works, vol. 1. p. 699. (c) Tractat. Theolog. Politic. c. 10. p. 184. (d) Apud Meor Enayim, c. 32. p. 106.
The Treasury of David
1 O Lord God of my salvation, I have cried day and night before thee,
2 Let my prayer come before thee: incline thine ear unto my cry;
3 For my soul is full of troubles: and my life draweth nigh unto the grave.
4 I am counted with them that go down into the pit: I am as a man that hath no strength:
5 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.
6 Thou hast laid me in the lowest pit, in darkness, in the deeps.
7 Thy wrath lieth hard upon me, and thou hast afflicted me with all thy waves. Selah.
8 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.
9 Mine eye mourneth by reason of affliction: Lord, I have called daily upon thee, I have stretched out my hands unto thee.
10 Wilt thou shew wonders to the dead? shall the dead arise and praise thee? Selah.
11 Shall thy lovingkindness be declared in the grave? or thy faithfulness in destruction?
12 Shall thy wonders be known in the dark? and thy righteousness in the land of forgetfulness?
13 But unto thee have I cried, O Lord; and in the morning shall my prayer prevent thee.
14 Lord, why castest thou off my soul? why hidest thou thy face from me?
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
Ps 88:1-18. Upon Mahalath—either an instrument, as a lute, to be used as an accompaniment (Leannoth, "for singing") or, as others think, an enigmatic title (see on Ps 5:1, Ps 22:1, and Ps 45:1, titles), denoting the subject—that is, "sickness or disease, for humbling," the idea of spiritual maladies being often represented by disease (compare Ps 6:5, 6; 22:14, 15, &c.). On the other terms, see on Ps 42:1 and Ps 32:1. Heman and Ethan (see on Ps 89:1, title) were David's singers (1Ch 6:18, 33; 15:17), of the family of Kohath. If the persons alluded to (1Ki 4:31; 1Ch 2:6), they were probably adopted into the tribe of Judah. Though called a song, which usually implies joy (Ps 83:1), both the style and matter of the Psalm are very despondent; yet the appeals to God evince faith, and we may suppose that the word "song" might be extended to such compositions.
1, 2. Compare on the terms used, Ps 22:2; 31:2.
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