|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 6. - Thou hast laid me in the lowest pit. The affliction whereof the psalmist complains has come direct from the hand of Cod. It is some severe stroke of illness which has brought him to his last gasp. The "lowest pit" is here metaphorical - the deepest depth of calamity. In darkness; literally, in darknesses, where no ray of thy favour shines upon me. In the deeps (comp. Psalm 69:2, "deep waters, where the floods overflow him").
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Thou hast laid me in the lowest pit,.... The Targum interprets it of
"captivity which was like unto the lowest pit;''
and so Jarchi and Kimchi. Some understand it of a prison or dungeon, into which the psalmist was put; it may be interpreted of the pit of the grave, into which Christ was laid; though he continued in it not so long as to see corruption; from that prison and judgment he was quickly taken, Psalm 16:10, "in darkness"; both corporeal and spiritual, Matthew 27:45, and it is in the Hebrew text "in darknesses" (k), denoting both:
in the deeps; in the deep waters of affliction, sorrows, and sufferings; see Psalm 69:1. The allusion is to a dark and deep pit, under ground, such as in the eastern countries they used to put their captives and prisoners into in the night, and take them out in the morning; and which custom continues still among the Turks. Leo Africanus (l) says he has seen three thousand Christian captives together, clothed in a woollen sack, and chained to one another; and in the night put into pits or ditches under ground; see Zechariah 9:11.
(k) "in loca tenebrosa", Tigurine version, Musculus; "in tenebrosissimis", Junius & Tremellius; "in densis tenebris", Piscator; "in caligines, vel obscuritates", Gejerus. (l) Descriptio Africae, l. 3. p. 413.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
6. Similar figures for distress in Ps 63:9; 69:3.
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