Free among the dead, like the slain that lie in the grave, whom you remember no more: and they are cut off from your hand.
This remarkable expression is to he interpreted in the light of Job 3:19, which counts it as one blessing of the grave, that "there the servant is free from his master." But the psalmist thinks that that "freedom" is loathsome, not desirable, for it means removal from the stir of a life, the heaviest duties and cares of which are better than the torpid immunity from these, which makes the state of the dead a dreary monotony. In some strange fashion they are and yet are not. Their death has a simulacrum of life. Their shadowy life is death. The psalmist speaks in riddles; and the contradictions in his speech reflect his dim knowledge of that place of darkness, He looks into its gloomy depths, and he sees little but gloom. It needed the resurrection of Jesus to flood these depths with light, and to show that the life beyond may be fuller of bright activity than life here — a state in which vital strength is increased beyond all earthly experience, and wherein God's all-quickening hand grasps more closely, and communicates richer gifts than are attainable in that death which sense calls life.
(A. Maclaren, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Free among the dead, like the slain that lie in the grave, whom thou rememberest no more: and they are cut off from thy hand.