A song. A psalm of the sons of Korah. For the [music] director; according to Mahalath Leannoth. A maskil of Heman the Ezrahite.

A Prayer for Help in Despair

1 O Yahweh, God of my salvation, I cry out by day [and] through the night before you.

References for Psalms 88:1

    • a 88:1 - The Hebrew Bible counts the superscription as the first verse of the psalm; the English verse number is reduced by one
      2 Let my prayer come before you; incline your ear to my cry.
      3 For my soul is full with troubles, and my life approaches Sheol.
      4 I am reckoned with [those] descending to [the] pit. I am like a man without strength,

      References for Psalms 88:4

        • b 88:4 - The Hebrew suggests a strong, vigorous man
        • c 88:4 - Or "without help"
          5 set free among the dead, like [the] slain lying in [the] grave, whom you no longer remember, even those cut off from your hand.

          References for Psalms 88:5

            • d 88:5 - Or "forsaken"
              6 You have set me in [the] pit below, in dark places, in [the] depths.
              7 Your wrath presses upon me, and you afflict [me with] all your waves. Selah
              8 You have removed my acquaintances far from me. You have made me detestable to them. [I am] confined and cannot go out.

              References for Psalms 88:8

                • e 88:8 - Hebrew "an abomination"
                  9 My eye languishes from misery. I call on you, O Yahweh, every day; I spread out my hands to you.

                  References for Psalms 88:9

                    • f 88:9 - Hebrew "palms"
                      10 Do you work wonders for the dead? Or do [the] departed spirits rise up [to] praise you? Selah

                      References for Psalms 88:10

                        • g 88:10 - Hebrew "wonder"
                        • h 88:10 - Hebrew rephaim, sometimes translated "shades"; the weakened state of those who have died
                          11 Is your loyal love told in the grave, [or] your faithfulness in the underworld?

                          References for Psalms 88:11

                            • i 88:11 - Hebrew abaddon, the place of destruction
                              12 Are your wonders known in the darkness, [or] your righteousness in [the] land of forgetfulness?

                              References for Psalms 88:12

                                • j 88:12 - Hebrew "wonder"
                                • k 88:12 - Or "deed of justice"
                                  13 But as for me, I cry for help to you, O Yahweh, and in the morning my prayer comes before you.
                                  14 Why do you reject my soul, O Yahweh? [Why] do you hide your face from me?
                                  15 I [am] afflicted and perishing from [my] youth. I bear your terrors. I am distraught.

                                  References for Psalms 88:15

                                    • l 88:15 - Hebrew meaning uncertain
                                      16 Your burning anger has passed over me; your sudden fears have destroyed me.
                                      17 They surround me like water all the day; they circle about me altogether.
                                      18 You have removed loved one and friend far from me, my acquaintances [far from my] darkness.