The Holy See
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New American Bible

2002 11 11
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Chapter 88


1 A song; a psalm of the Korahites. For the leader; according to Mahalath. For singing; a maskil of Heman the Ezrahite.


LORD, my God, I call out by day; at night I cry aloud in your presence.


Let my prayer come before you; incline your ear to my cry.


2 For my soul is filled with troubles; my life draws near to Sheol.


I am reckoned with those who go down to the pit; I am weak, without strength.


My couch is among the dead, with the slain who lie in the grave. You remember them no more; they are cut off from your care.


You plunged me into the bottom of the pit, into the darkness of the abyss.


Your wrath lies heavy upon me; all your waves crash over me. Selah


Because of you my friends shun me; you make me loathsome to them; Caged in, I cannot escape;


my eyes grow dim from trouble. All day I call on you, LORD; I stretch out my hands to you.


3 Do you work wonders for the dead? Do the shades arise and praise you? Selah


Is your love proclaimed in the grave, your fidelity in the tomb?


Are your marvels declared in the darkness, your righteous deeds in the land of oblivion?


But I cry out to you, LORD; in the morning my prayer comes before you.


Why do you reject me, LORD? Why hide your face from me?


I am mortally afflicted since youth; lifeless, I suffer your terrible blows.


Your wrath has swept over me; your terrors have reduced me to silence.


All the day they surge round like a flood; from every side they close in on me.


Because of you companions shun me; my only friend is darkness.



1 [Psalm 88] A lament in which the psalmist prays for rescue from the alienation of approaching death. Each of the three stanzas begins with a call to God ( Psalm 88:2, 10, 14) and complains of the death that separates one from God. The tone is persistently grim.

2 [4-8] In imagination the psalmist already experiences the alienation of Sheol.

3 [11-13] The psalmist seeks to persuade God to act out of concern for divine honor: the shades give you no worship, so keep me alive to offer you praise.

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