In Sheol who gives you thanks? 2
88:10 Do you accomplish amazing things for the dead?
Do the departed spirits 3 rise up and give you thanks? (Selah)
88:11 Is your loyal love proclaimed in the grave,
or your faithfulness in the place of the dead? 4
or your deliverance in the land of oblivion? 7
1 tn Heb “for there is not in death your remembrance.” The Hebrew noun זֵכֶר (zekher, “remembrance”) here refers to the name of the Lord as invoked in liturgy and praise. Cf. Pss 30:4; 97:12. “Death” here refers to the realm of death where the dead reside. See the reference to Sheol in the next line.
2 tn The rhetorical question anticipates the answer, “no one.”
sn In Sheol who gives you thanks? According to the OT, those who descend into the realm of death/Sheol are cut off from God’s mighty deeds and from the worshiping covenant community that experiences divine intervention (Pss 30:9; 88:10-12; Isa 38:18). In his effort to elicit a positive divine response, the psalmist reminds God that he will receive no praise or glory if he allows the psalmist to die. Dead men do not praise God!
4 tn Heb “in Abaddon,” a name for Sheol. The noun is derived from a verbal root meaning “to perish,” “to die.”
5 tn Heb “known.”
6 tn Heb “darkness,” here a title for Sheol.
7 tn Heb “forgetfulness.” The noun, which occurs only here in the OT, is derived from a verbal root meaning “to forget.”
sn The rhetorical questions in vv. 10-12 expect the answer, “Of course not!”