Psalm 88:8
You have put away my acquaintance far from me; you have made me an abomination to them: I am shut up, and I cannot come forth.
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(8) I am shut up.—Not necessarily an actual imprisonment or incarceration on account of leprosy, but another figurative way of describing great trouble. Job 19:8 seems to have been before the poet.

Psalm 88:8-9. Thou hast put away mine acquaintance far from me — I can have no more familiarity or intercourse with my friends than if I were in another world; for thy providence hath removed, or rendered them incapable, or disinclined, to be serviceable to me. Thou hast made me an abomination unto them — They are not only shy, but weary of me; and I am looked upon by them, not only with contempt, but with abhorrence. Reader, do not think it strange if thou should be called to encounter such a trial as this, since Heman, who was so famed for wisdom, was thus neglected when the world frowned upon him, and despised as a broken vessel, in which is no pleasure. I am shut up — A close prisoner under the arrest of the divine wrath; I cannot come forth — There being no way of escape open. He therefore lies down and sinks under his troubles, because he sees not any probability of getting out of them. Mine eye mourneth by reason of affliction — But though I thus give vent to my grief, my troubled spirit receives no relief thereby: nevertheless, I have called daily upon thee — My weeping has not hindered my praying. I have stretched out my hands unto thee — For help and deliverance, though hitherto without effect, for thou dost not hear nor answer me.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.Thou hast put away mine acquaintance far from me - The same ground of complaint, or expression of the depth of affliction, occurs elsewhere, Psalm 31:11; Psalm 38:11; Psalm 69:8. See also Job 19:13-17.

Thou hast made me an abomination unto them - As something which they would avoid, or from which they would revolt and turn away - as we turn away from the body of a dead man, or from an offensive object. The word means properly an object to be detested or abominated, as things unclean, Genesis 43:32; or as idolatry, 1 Kings 14:24; 2 Kings 16:3; 2 Kings 23:13.

I am shut up - As in prison; to wit, by disease, as when one is confined to his house.

And I cannot come forth - I cannot leave my couch, my room, my house. Compare Job 12:14.

8. Both cut off from sympathy and made hateful to friends (Ps 31:11). I am so sad a spectacle of thy vengeance that my friends avoid and detest me, lest by conversing with me they should either be filled with terrors, which men naturally abhor, or be made partakers of my guilt or plagues.

I am shut up; either in the pit or deep, mentioned Psalm 88:6, or in my own house or chamber, being afraid or ashamed to go abroad. Thou hast put away mine acquaintance far from me,.... His familiar friends, who were well known to him, and he to them: it is a mercy and privilege to have good acquaintance, and hearty faithful friends, to converse and advise with, whether about things civil or religious; and it is an affliction to be deprived of them; and oftentimes in distress and adversity they drop and fail, which is an additional trouble: this was the ease of Job and of David, Job 19:13 and here of Heman, who attributes it to God, as done by him; as also Job does, in the place referred to; for as it is the Lord that gives favour in the sight of men, he can take it away when he pleases: this is true of Christ, and the like is said of him, Psalm 69:8, and by his "acquaintance", familiars, and friends, may be meant his apostles, who, upon his being apprehended, forsook him, and fled; who, though they were not all alienated in their affections, yet stood at a distance from him; Peter, though he followed him, it was afar off, and at last he denied him; and others of acquaintance and intimates stood afar off, beholding was done to him on the cross; and his familiar friend, Judas, lifted up his heel against him, and basely betrayed him, Matthew 26:50,

thou hast made me an abomination unto them; to some of them, as to Judas, and to many that hosanna'd him into Jerusalem, and within a few days cried "Crucify him, crucify him", Matthew 21:9 compare with this Isaiah 53:3.

I am shut up, and I cannot come forth; the Targum renders it,

"shut up in the house of prison,''

in a prison; and so some literally understand it of the author of the psalm being in a prison, or dungeon, in the time of the captivity: but it is rather to be understood of some bodily disease, by which he was detained a prisoner at home, and of his being bound in fetters, and held in the cords of affliction; which was as a prison to him, and in which when the Lord "shuts up a man, there can be no opening", Job 36:8, or else of soul troubles, being in great darkness and desertion; so that his soul was as in a prison, and could not come forth in the free exercise of grace, and needed the free Spirit of God to set him at liberty; see Psalm 142:7, this may be applied to Christ, when in the hands of Judas, and the hand of soldiers with him, who took him, and bound him, and led him to the high priest; and when he was encompassed with bulls of Bashan, and enclosed by the assembly of the wicked, as he hung on the cross, Psalm 22:12.

Thou hast put away mine {f} acquaintance far from me; thou hast made me an abomination unto them: {g} I am shut up, and I cannot come forth.

(f) He attributes the loss and displeasure of his friends to God's providence by which he partly punishes and partly tries his.

(g) I see no end to my sorrows.

8. Like Job he is deserted even by his familiar friends (not merely acquaintance, as A.V.), and this is due to the act of God, Who has smitten him with a sickness which makes them loathe even the sight of him. Cp. Psalm 31:11; Job 19:13 ff., Job 19:19. He seems to describe himself as a leper like Job. Leprosy was a living death (Numbers 12:12): more than any other disease it was regarded as the direct ‘stroke’ of God (Job 19:21). The leper was cut off from all society and even from taking part in the public worship of God, and was compelled to live alone (Leviticus 13:46; 2 Chronicles 26:21). The reference is of course not to the temporary seclusion for the purpose of ascertaining whether a man was really a leper (Leviticus 13:4 ff.), but to the permanent separation from society, in which the leper was virtually a prisoner, not daring to expose himself to the public gaze (Job 31:34).

Possibly however the last line of the verse is not literal but metaphorical, describing the hopelessness of his condition as a prisoner who cannot escape. Cp. Job 3:23; Job 13:27; Job 19:8; Lamentations 3:7.

St Luke seems to allude to this verse in his narrative of the Crucifixion, ch. Luke 23:49.Verse 8. - Thou hast put away mine acquaintance far from me. Compare the similar complaint of Job (Job 19:13, 14); and see also Psalm 31:11; and infra, ver. 18. Thou hast made me an abomination unto them. So Job (Job 9:31; Job 19:19; Job 30:10). It may be suspected that the psalmist's affliction was of a kind which made him "unclean." I am shut up. Not in prison, as Jeremiah (Jeremiah 32:2; Jeremiah 33:1; Jeremiah 36:5), but probably as unclean, or as suspected of Being unclean (see Leviticus 13:4-33). And I cannot come forth. I am not allowed to quit my chamber. 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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