Psalm 88:13
But to you have I cried, O LORD; and in the morning shall my prayer prevent you.
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(13) But unto Thee . . .—Better, But as for me, I, &c. The pronoun is emphatic. The speaker has not gone down to the land where all is silent and forgotten, and can therefore still cry to God, and send his prayer to meet (prevent, i.e. go to meet; see Psalm 17:13) the Divine Being who still has an interest in him. And this makes the expostulation of the next verses still stronger. Why, since the sufferer is still alive, is he forsaken, or seemingly forsaken, by the God of that covenant in which he still abides?

Psalm 88:13-18. In the morning shall my prayer prevent thee — That is, shall be offered to thee early, before the ordinary time of morning prayer, or before the dawning of the day, or the rising of the sun. The sense is, Though I have hitherto got no answer to my prayers, yet I will not give over praying and hoping for an answer. Why hidest thou thy face from me? — This proceeding seems not to agree with the benignity of thy nature, nor with the manner of thy dealing with thy people. I am ready to die from my youth up — My whole life hath been filled with a succession of deadly calamities. O Lord, take some pity upon me, and let me have a little breathing space before I die. While I suffer thy terrors — Upon my mind and conscience, which accompany and aggravate my outward miseries, I am distracted — I am so astonished, that I know not what to do with myself. They came about me like water — As the waters of the sea encompass him who is in the midst, and at the bottom of it. 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.But unto thee have I cried, O Lord - I have earnestly prayed; I have sought thy gracious interposition.

And in the morning - That is, each morning; every day. My first business in the morning shall be prayer.

Shall my prayer prevent thee - Anticipate thee; go before thee: that is, it shall be early; so to speak even before thou dost awake to the employments of the day. The language is that which would be applicable to a case where one made an appeal to another for aid before he had arisen from his bed, or who came to him even while he was asleep - and who thus, with an earnest petition, anticipated his rising. Compare the notes at Job 3:12; compare Psalm 21:3; Psalm 59:10; Psalm 79:8; Psalm 119:148; Matthew 17:25; 1 Thessalonians 4:15.

13. prevent—meet—that is, he will diligently come before God for help (Ps 18:41). i.e. Early, come to thee, before the ordinary time of morning prayer, or before the dawning of the day, or the rising of the sun. The sense is, Though I have hitherto got no answer to my prayers, yet I will not give over praying nor hoping for an answer. But unto thee have I cried, O Lord,.... Formerly, and had been heard, answered, and relieved, and which was an encouragement to cry again to him in his distress; Christ was always heard, John 11:42, or, now, in his present case, yet was not heard, at least not immediately answered; which was the case of the Messiah, when forsaken by his God and Father, Psalm 22:1, yet still determines to continue praying, as follows:

and in the morning shall my prayer prevent thee; not before the Lord is awake, and can hear; for he neither slumbers nor sleeps, and he always hears: but the meaning is, that he would pray before he entered upon another business; this should be the first thing in the morning he would do, and this he would do before others did, or he himself used to do; before the usual time of morning prayer; signifying, he would pray to him very early, which is expressive of his vehemency, fervency, and importunity and earnestness, and what a sense he had of his case, and of his need of divine help: so Christ rose early in the morning, a great while before day, to pray, Mark 1:35. See Gill on Psalm 5:4.

But unto thee have I cried, O LORD; and in the morning shall my prayer prevent thee.
13. But as for me, unto thee, Jehovah, have I cried for help,

And in the morning shall my prayer come before thee.

He contrasts himself with the dead, whose covenant relation with God is at an end. He at least can still pray, and in spite of all discouragement will not cease to pray.

Prevent = ‘go to meet,’ as in Psalm 59:10; Psalm 79:8. The first thought of each day shall be prayer. Cp. Psalm 5:3; Psalm 55:17.

13–18. Death brings no hope. Will not God then listen to his prayer and grant him some relief in his extremity of suffering and solitude?Verse 13. - But unto thee have I cried, O Lord; literally, but as for me, to thee have I cried. The psalmist returns from the somewhat vague speculations of vers. 10-12 to fact and to himself. He is not yet a mere shade, an inhabitant of Sheol; he is in the flesh, upon the earth; he can still cry, and does still cry, to Jehovah. There is thus still a faint gleam of hope for him. And in the morning shall my prayer prevent thee. The psalmist will draw out God's mercy, as it were, before its time, by importuning him with early and continual prayer (comp. vers. 1, 9). The poet finds himself in the midst of circumstances gloomy in the extreme, but he does not despair; he still turns towards Jahve with his complaints, and calls Him the God of his salvation. This actus directus of fleeing in prayer to the God of salvation, which urges its way through all that is dark and gloomy, is the fundamental characteristic of all true faith. Psalm 88:2 is not to be rendered, as a clause of itself: "by day I cry unto Thee, in the night before Thee" (lxx and Targum), which ought to have been יומם, but (as it is also pointed, especially in Baer's text): by day, i.e., in the time (Psalm 56:4; Psalm 78:42, cf. Psalm 18:1), when I cry before Thee in the night, let my prayer come... (Hitzig). In Psalm 88:3 he calls his piercing lamentation, his wailing supplication, רנּתי, as in Psalm 17:1; Psalm 61:2. הטּה as in Psalm 86:1, for which we find הט in Psalm 17:6. The Beth of בּרעות, as in Psalm 65:5; Lamentations 3:15, Lamentations 3:30, denotes that of which his soul has already had abundantly sufficient. On Psalm 88:4, cf. as to the syntax Psalm 31:11. איל (ἅπαξ λεγομ. like אילוּת, Psalm 22:20) signifies succinctness, compactness, vigorousness (ἁδρότης): he is like a man from whom all vital freshness and vigour is gone, therefore now only like the shadow of a man, in fact like one already dead. חפשׁי, in Psalm 88:6, the lxx renders ἐν νεκροῖς ἐλεύθερος (Symmachus, ἀφεὶς ἐλεύθερος); and in like manner the Targum, and the Talmud which follows it in formulating the proposition that a deceased person is חפשׁי מן חמצוות, free from the fulfilling of the precepts of the Law (cf. Romans 6:7). Hitzig, Ewald, Kster, and Bttcher, on the contrary, explain it according to Ezekiel 27:20 (where חפשׁ signifies stragulum): among the dead is my couch (חפשׁי equals יצועי, Job 17:13). But in respect of Job 3:19 the adjectival rendering is the more probable; "one set free among the dead" (lxx) is equivalent to one released from the bond of life (Job 39:5), somewhat as in Latin a dead person is called defunctus. God does not remember the dead, i.e., practically, inasmuch as, devoid of any progressive history, their condition remains always the same; they are in fact cut away (נגזר as in Psalm 31:23; Lamentations 3:54; Isaiah 53:8) from the hand, viz., from the guiding and helping hand, of God. Their dwelling-place is the pit of the places lying deep beneath (cf. on תּחתּיּות, Psalm 63:10; Psalm 86:13; Ezekiel 26:20, and more particularly Lamentations 3:55), the dark regions (מחשׁכּים as in Psalm 143:3, Lamentations 3:6), the submarine depths (בּמצלות; lxx, Symmachus, the Syriac, etc.: ἐν σκιᾷ θανάτου equals בצלמות, according to Job 10:21 and frequently, but contrary to Lamentations 3:54), whose open abyss is the grave for each one. On Psalm 88:8 cf. Psalm 42:8. The Mugrash by כל־משׁבריך stamps it as an adverbial accusative (Targum), or more correctly, since the expression is not עניתני, as the object placed in advance. Only those who are not conversant with the subject (as Hupfeld in this instance) imagine that the accentuation marks ענּית as a relative clause (cf. on the contrary Psalm 8:7, Psalm 21:3, etc.). ענּה, to bow down, press down; here used of the turning or directing downwards (lxx ἐπήγαγες) of the waves, which burst like a cataract over the afflicted one.
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