Psalms 88:1-18 . Upon Mahalath--either an instrument, as a lute, to be used as an accompaniment (Leannoth, "for singing") or, as others think, an or disease, for humbling," the idea of spiritual maladies being often represented by disease (compare Psalms 6:5 Psalms 6:6 , Psalms 22:14 Psalms 22:15 , &c.). On the other ( 1 Chronicles 6:18 1 Chronicles 6:33 , 15:17 ), of the family of Kohath. If the persons alluded to ( 1 Kings 4:31 , 1 Chronicles 2:6 ), they were probably adopted into the tribe of Judah. Though called a song, which usually implies joy ( Psalms 83:1 ), both the style and matter of the Psalm are very despondent; yet the appeals to God evince faith, and we may suppose that the word "song" might be extended to such compositions.
3. grave--literally, "hell" ( Psalms 16:10 ), death in wide sense.
4. go . . . pit--of destruction ( Psalms 28:1 ).
as a man--literally, "a stout man," whose strength is utterly gone.
5. Free . . . dead--Cut off from God's care, as are the slain, who, falling under His wrath, are left, no longer sustained by His hand.
8. Both cut off from sympathy and made hateful to friends ( Psalms 31:11 ).
10. shall the dead--the remains of ghosts.
arise--literally, "rise up," that is, as dead persons.
11, 12. amplify the foregoing, the whole purport (as Psalms 6:5 ) being to contrast death and life as seasons for praising God.
13. prevent--meet--that is, he will diligently come before God for help ( Psalms 18:41 ).
15. from . . . youth up--all my life.
16, 17. the extremes of anguish and despair are depicted.