|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
88:10-18 Departed souls may declare God's faithfulness, justice, and lovingkindness; but deceased bodies can neither receive God's favours in comfort, nor return them in praise. The psalmist resolved to continue in prayer, and the more so, because deliverance did not come speedily. Though our prayers are not soon answered, yet we must not give over praying. The greater our troubles, the more earnest and serious we should be in prayer. Nothing grieves a child of God so much as losing sight of him; nor is there any thing he so much dreads as God's casting off his soul. If the sun be clouded, that darkens the earth; but if the sun should leave the earth, what a dungeon would it be! Even those designed for God's favours, may for a time suffer his terrors. See how deep those terrors wounded the psalmist. If friends are put far from us by providences, or death, we have reason to look upon it as affliction. Such was the calamitous state of a good man. But the pleas here used were peculiarly suited to Christ. And we are not to think that the holy Jesus suffered for us only at Gethsemane and on Calvary. His whole life was labour and sorrow; he was afflicted as never man was, from his youth up. He was prepared for that death of which he tasted through life. No man could share in the sufferings by which other men were to be redeemed. All forsook him, and fled. Oftentimes, blessed Jesus, do we forsake thee; but do not forsake us, O take not thy Holy Spirit from us.
Verse 10. - Wilt thou show wonders to the dead? Am I to receive no mercy till I am dead? and then wilt thou work a miracle for my restoration and deliverance? Shall the dead arise and praise thee? rather, the shades (rephaim); comp. Job 26:5. The word rephaim designates the wan, shadowy ghosts that have gone down to Hades (Sheol), and are resting there. Shall these suddenly rise up and engage in the worship and praise of God? The psalmist does not, any more than Job (Job 14:14), expect such a resurrection.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Wilt thou show wonders to the dead?.... The Lord does show wonders to some that are spiritually dead, dead in Adam, dead in law, dead in trespasses and sins, by quickening them; whereby the wonders of his grace and love, and of his power, and the exceeding greatness of it, are displayed; for the conversion and quickening of a dead sinner is a marvellous event, like that of; raising Lazarus from the dead, and causing Ezekiel's dry bones to live: likewise the Lord will show wonders to those that are corporeally dead, by raising them from the dead; which work, though not incredible, yet is very wonderful, and can only be accounted for by the attributes of Divine Omniscience and Omnipotence: yea, he would, and he has shown wonders to Christ, when dead, by raising him up again, and giving him glory, and that before he saw corruption, and as the head and representative of his people; and by raising many of the saints also, after his resurrection:
shall the dead arise and praise thee? the spiritually dead, when they are made alive, and rise out of their graves of sin, praise the Lord for the exertion of his grace and power upon them; which is one end of their being formed anew, quickened, and converted; and those that are corporeally dead, such of them as shall rise again to everlasting life, their mouths will be filled with everlasting praise: but here the author of the psalm suggests, that in a little time he should be among the dead, unless he had speedy help and deliverance from his troubles; to whom wonders are not shown, but to the living; and who ordinarily do not rise again to this mortal state, to praise the Lord in it: or, considering them as the words of Christ, he suggests, that none of the above things would be done, unless he was a conqueror over death and the grave, and was raised from thence himself; and so these expostulations carry in them the nature of a prayer, even of the prayer of Christ, as man, to be assisted in overcoming all his enemies, and to be raised from the dead, as Cocceius and others think: the Greek and Vulgate Latin versions are,
"shall physicians rise again?''
of whom the Jews had a bad opinion; See Gill on 2 Chronicles 16:12.
Selah. See Gill on Psalm 3:2.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
10. shall the dead—the remains of ghosts.
arise—literally, "rise up," that is, as dead persons.
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