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Bible Commentaries

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

Psalms 88


:-. Upon Mahalath—either an instrument, as a lute, to be used as an accompaniment (Leannoth, "for singing") or, as others think, an enigmatic title (see on :-, Psalms 88:2, and Psalms 88:2- :, titles), denoting the subject—that is, "sickness 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 terms, see on Psalms 88:4 and Psalms 88:4- :. Heman and Ethan (see on Psalms 88:4- :, title) were David's singers (1 Chronicles 6:18 1 Chronicles 6:33; 1 Chronicles 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.

Verse 1

1, 2. Compare on the terms used, Psalms 22:2; Psalms 31:2.

Verse 3

3. grave—literally, "hell" (Psalms 16:10), death in wide sense.

Verse 4

4. go . . . pit—of destruction (Psalms 28:1).

as a man—literally, "a stout man," whose strength is utterly gone.

Verse 5

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.

Verse 6

6. Similar figures for distress in Psalms 63:9; Psalms 69:3.

Verse 7

7. Compare :-, on first, and Psalms 42:7, on last clause.

Verse 8

8. Both cut off from sympathy and made hateful to friends ( :-).

Verse 9

9. Mine eye mourneth—literally, "decays," or fails, denoting exhaustion (Psalms 6:7; Psalms 31:9).

I . . . called— (Psalms 86:5; Psalms 86:7).

stretched out—for help (Psalms 44:20).

Verse 10

10. shall the dead—the remains of ghosts.

arise—literally, "rise up," that is, as dead persons.

Verse 11

11, 12. amplify the foregoing, the whole purport (as Psalms 6:5) being to contrast death and life as seasons for praising God.

Verse 13

13. prevent—meet—that is, he will diligently come before God for help ( :-).

Verse 14

14. On the terms (Psalms 27:9; Psalms 74:1; Psalms 77:7).

Verse 15

15. from . . . youth up—all my life.

Verse 16

16, 17. the extremes of anguish and despair are depicted.

Verse 18

18. into darkness—Better omit "into"—"mine acquaintances (are) darkness," the gloom of death, c. (Job 17:13 Job 17:14).

Copyright Statement
These files are a derivative of an electronic edition prepared from text scanned by Woodside Bible Fellowship.
This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.
Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Psalms 88". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". 1871-8.