Psalm 88:4

 

EXPOSITION

Verse 4. I am counted with them that go down into the pit. My weakness is so great that both by myself and others I am considered as good as dead. If those about me have not ordered my coffin they have at least conversed about my sepulchre, discussed my estate, and reckoned their share of it. Many a man has been buried before he was dead, and the only mourning over him has been because he refused to fulfil the greedy expectations of his hypocritical relatives by going down to the pit at once. It has come to this with some afflicted believers, that their hungry heirs think they have lived too long.

I am as a mat, that hath no strength. I have but the name to live; my constitution is broken up; I can scarce crawl about my sick room, my mind is even weaker than my body, and my faith weakest of all. The sons and daughters of sorrow will need but little explanation of these sentences, they are to such tried ones as household words.

 

EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS

Verse 4. I am counted with them that go down into the pit. Not only myself, says he, but others also now despair of my life, and number me with those whose corpses are borne forth to burial. For now all my powers have failed and my vital spirits become quenched. He uses the word rbg which indicates fortitude rather than ~da or wya in order to show how great the severity of these evils was, and the vehemence of his griefs, which had broken even a most robust man. --Mollerus.

Verse 4. I am counted with them that go down into the pit. Next to the troubles of Christ's soul, are mentioned the disgrace and ignominy to which he submitted: He who was the fountain of immortality, from whom no one could take his life, who could in a moment have commanded twelve legions of angels to his aid, or have caused heaven and earth, at a word speaking, to fly away before him, he was counted among them that go down into the pit; he died, to all appearance, like the rest of mankind, nay, he was forcibly put to death, as a malefactor; and seemed, in the hands of his executioners, as a man that had no strength, no power, or might, to help and save himself. His strength went from him; he became weak, and like another man. The people shook their heads at him, saying, "He saved others, himself he cannot save." --Samuel Burder.

Verse 4. There is in the original an antithesis, which cannot be conveyed by mere translation, arising from the fact that the first word for man is one implying strength. -- J.A. Alexander.

 

HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS

Verse 4. (last clause). -- Conscious weakness, painfully felt, at certain times, in various duties. Intended to keep us humble, to drive us to our knees, and to bring greater glory to God.

Verse 4-5.

  1. The resemblance of the righteous man to the wicked.

    1. In natural death.
    2. In bodily infirmities.
  2. His difference from them. He is "counted with them" but is not of them.

    1. He experiences natural death only.
    2. His strength is perfected in weakness.
    3. For him to die is gain. --G.R.