Psalm 88:3
For my soul is full of troubles: and my life draws near to the grave.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(3) Grave.Sheôl. Here, as in Psalm 6:4-5; Psalm 33:19; Isaiah 38:10-11, there comes into prominence the thought that death severs the covenant relation with God, and so presents an irresistible reason why prayer should be heard now before it is too late.

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.For my soul is full of troubles - I am full of trouble. The word rendered as "full" means properly to satiate as with food; that is, when as much had been taken as could be. So he says here, that this trouble was as great as he could bear; he could sustain no more. He had reached the utmost point of endurance; he had no power to bear anymore.

And my life draweth nigh unto the grave - Hebrew, to Sheol. Compare the notes at Isaiah 14:9; notes at Job 10:21-22. It may mean here either the grave, or the abode of the dead. He was about to die. Unless he found relief he must go down to the abodes of the dead. The Hebrew word rendered life is in the plural number, as in Genesis 2:7; Genesis 3:14, Genesis 3:17; Genesis 6:17; Genesis 7:15; et al. Why the plural was used as applicable to life cannot now be known with certainty. It may have been to accord with the fact that man has two kinds of life; the animal life - or life in common with the inferior creation; and intellectual, or higher life - the life of the soul. Compare the notes at 1 Thessalonians 5:23. The meaning here is, that he was about to die; or that his life or lives approached that state when the grave closes over us; the extinction of the mere animal life; and the separation of the soul - the immortal part - from the body.

3. grave—literally, "hell" (Ps 16:10), death in wide sense. My soul, properly so called; for that he was under great troubles of mind from a sense of God’s wrath and departure from him, is evident from Psalm 88:14-16. For my soul is full of troubles,.... Or "satiated or glutted" (e) with them, as a stomach full of meat that can receive no more, to which the allusion is; having been fed with the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, so that he had his fill of trouble: every man is full of trouble, of one kind or another, Job 14:1 especially the saint, who besides his outward troubles has inward ones, arising from indwelling sin, the temptations of Satan, and divine desertions, which was now the case of the psalmist: this may be truly applied to Christ, who himself said, when in the garden, "my soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death", Matthew 26:38, he was a man of sorrows all his days, but especially at that time, and when upon the cross, forsaken by his Father, and sustaining his wrath: "his soul" was then "filled with evil things" (f), as the words may be rendered:

innumerable evils compassed him about, Psalm 40:12, the sins of his people, those evil things, were imputed to him; the iniquity of them all was laid upon him, as was also the evil of punishment for them; and then he found trouble and sorrow enough:

and my life draweth nigh unto the grave: a phrase expressive of a person's being just ready to die, Job 33:22 as the psalmist now thought he was, Psalm 88:5, it is in the plural number "my lives" (g); and so may not only denote the danger he was in of his natural life, but of his spiritual and eternal life, which he might fear, being in darkness and desertion, would be lost, though they could not; yea, that he was near to "hell" itself, for so the word (h) may be rendered; for when the presence of God is withdrawn, and wrath let into the conscience, a person in his own apprehension seems to be in hell as it were, or near it; see Jonah 2:2. This was true of Christ, when he was sorrowful unto death, and was brought to the dust of it, and under divine dereliction, and a sense of the wrath of God, as the surety of his people.

(e) "saturata", Pagninus, Montanus, Musculus, Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Cocceius; "satiata", Tigurine version. (f) "in malis", Pagninus, Montanus; "malis", Junius & Tremellius, &c. (g) "vitae meae", Montanus, Michaelis. (h) "ad orcum", Cocceius; "inferno", Gejerus; "ad infernum", Michaelis; so Ainsworth.

For my soul is full of troubles: and my life draweth nigh unto the grave.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
3. For &c.] He pleads the urgency of his need as the ground for a hearing.

draweth nigh &c.] Hath drawn nigh unto Sheol, the gloomy nether world which is the abode of the departed. Cp. Psalm 6:5; Psalm 107:18.Verse 3. - For my soul is full of troubles (see Job 10:15). And my life draweth nigh unto the grave; literally, unto Sheol - the place of departed spirits (comp. Job 10:21, 22). The poet is absorbed in the contemplation of the glory of a matter which he begins to celebrate, without naming it. Whether we render it: His founded, or (since מיסּד and מוּסּד are both used elsewhere as part. pass.): His foundation (after the form מלוּכה, poetically for יסוד, a founding, then that which is set fast equals a foundation), the meaning remains the same; but the more definite statement of the object with שׁערי ציּון is more easily connected with what precedes by regarding it as a participle. The suffix refers to Jahve, and it is Zion, whose praise is a favourite theme of the Korahitic songs, that is intended. We cannot tell by looking to the accents whether the clause is to be taken as a substantival clause (His founded city is upon the holy mountains) or not. Since, however, the expression is not יסוּדתו היא בהררי־קדשׁ, יסודתו בהררי קדשׁ is an object placed first in advance (which the antithesis to the other dwellings of Jacob would admit of), and in Psalm 87:2 a new synonymous object is subordinated to אהב by a similar turn of the discourse to Jeremiah 13:27; Jeremiah 6:2 (Hitzig). By altering the division of the verses as Hupfeld and Hofmann do (His foundation or founded city upon the holy mountains doth Jahve love), Psalm 87:2 is decapitated. Even now the God-founded city (surrounded on three sides by deep valleys), whose firm and visible foundation is the outward manifestation of its imperishable inner nature, rises aloft above all the other dwelling-places of Israel. Jahve stands in a lasting, faithful, loving relationship (אהב, not 3 praet. אהב) to the gates of Zion. These gates are named as a periphrasis for Zion, because they bound the circuit of the city, and any one who loves a city delights to go frequently through its gates; and they are perhaps mentioned in prospect of the fulness of the heathen that shall enter into them. In Psalm 87:3 the lxx correctly, and at the same time in harmony with the syntax, renders: Δεδοξασμένα ἐλαλήθη περὶ σοῦ. The construction of a plural subject with a singular predicate is a syntax common in other instances also, whether the subject is conceived of as a unity in the form of the plural (e.g., Psalm 66:3; Psalm 119:137; Isaiah 16:8), or is individualized in the pursuance of the thought (as is the case most likely in Genesis 27:29, cf. Psalm 12:3); here the glorious things are conceived of as the sum-total of such. The operation of the construction of the active (Ew. 295, b) is not probable here in connection with the participle. בּ beside דּבּר may signify the place or the instrument, substance and object of the speech (e.g., Psalm 119:46), but also the person against whom the words are spoken (e.g., Psalm 50:20), or concerning whom they are uttered (as the words of the suitor to the father or the relatives of the maiden, 1 Samuel 25:39; Sol 8:8; cf. on the construction, 1 Samuel 19:3). The poet, without doubt, here refers to the words of promise concerning the eternal continuance and future glory of Jerusalem: Glorious things are spoken, i.e., exist as spoken, in reference to thee, O thou city of God, city of His choice and of His love.

The glorious contents of the promise are now unfolded, and that with the most vivid directness: Jahve Himself takes up the discourse, and declares the gracious, glorious, world-wide mission of His chosen and beloved city: it shall become the birth-place of all nations. Rahab is Egypt, as in Psalm 89:11; Isaiah 30:7; Isaiah 51:9, the southern worldly power, and Babylon the northern. הזכּיר, as frequently, of loud (Jeremiah 4:16) and honourable public mention or commemoration, Psalm 45:18. It does not signify "to record or register in writing;" for the official name מזכּיר, which is cited in support of this meaning, designates the historian of the empire as one who keeps in remembrance the memorable events of the history of his time. It is therefore impossible, with Hofmann, to render: I will add Rahab and Babylon to those who know me. In general ל is not used to point out to whom the addition is made as belonging to them, but for what purpose, or as what (cf. 2 Samuel 5:3; Isaiah 4:3), these kingdoms, hitherto hostile towards God and His people, shall be declared: Jahve completes what He Himself has brought about, inasmuch as He publicly and solemnly declares them to be those who know Him, i.e., those who experimentally (vid., Psalm 36:11) know Him as their God. Accordingly, it is clear that זה ילּד־שׁם is also meant to refer to the conversion of the other three nations to whom the finger of God points with הנּה, viz., the war-loving Philistia, the rich and proud Tyre, and the adventurous and powerful Ethiopia (Isaiah 18:1-7). זה does not refer to the individuals, nor to the sum-total of these nations, but to nation after nation (cf. זה העם, Isaiah 23:13), by fixing the eye upon each one separately. And שׁם refers to Zion. The words of Jahve, which come in without any intermediary preparation, stand in the closest connection with the language of the poet and seer. Zion appears elsewhere as the mother who brings forth Israel again as a numerous people (Isaiah 66:7; Psalm 54:1-3): it is the children of the dispersion (diaspora) which Zion regains in Isaiah 60:4.; here, however, it is the nations which are born in Zion. The poet does not combine with it the idea of being born again in the depth of its New Testament meaning; he means, however, that the nations will attain a right of citizenship in Zion (πολιτεία τοῦ Ἰσραήλ, Ephesians 2:12) as in their second mother-city, that they will therefore at any rate experience a spiritual change which, regarded from the New Testament point of view, is the new birth out of water and the Spirit.

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