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Psalms 88:1-3

Context
Psalm 88 1 

A song, a psalm written by the Korahites; for the music director; according to the machalath-leannoth style; 2  a well-written song 3  by Heman the Ezrachite.

88:1 O Lord God who delivers me! 4 

By day I cry out

and at night I pray before you. 5 

88:2 Listen to my prayer! 6 

Pay attention 7  to my cry for help!

88:3 For my life 8  is filled with troubles

and I am ready to enter Sheol. 9 

1 sn Psalm 88. The psalmist cries out in pain to the Lord, begging him for relief from his intense and constant suffering. The psalmist regards God as the ultimate cause of his distress, but nevertheless clings to God in hope.

2 tn The Hebrew phrase מָחֲלַת לְעַנּוֹת (makhalat lÿannot) may mean “illness to afflict.” Perhaps it refers to a particular style of music, a tune title, or a musical instrument. The term מָחֲלַת also appears in the superscription of Ps 53.

3 tn The meaning of the Hebrew term מַשְׂכִּיל (maskil) is uncertain. The word is derived from a verb meaning “to be prudent; to be wise.” Various options are: “a contemplative song,” “a song imparting moral wisdom,” or “a skillful [i.e., well-written] song.” The term occurs in the superscriptions of Pss 32, 42, 44, 45, 52-55, 74, 78, 88, 89, and 142, as well as in Ps 47:7.

4 tn Heb “O Lord God of my deliverance.” In light of the content of the psalm, this reference to God as the one who delivers seems overly positive. For this reason some emend the text to אַלֹהַי שִׁוַּעְתִּי (’alohay shivvatiy, “[O Lord] my God, I cry out”). See v. 13.

5 tn Heb “[by] day I cry out, in the night before you.”

6 tn Heb “may my prayer come before you.” The prefixed verbal form is understood as a jussive, indicating the psalmist’s desire or prayer.

7 tn Heb “turn your ear.”

8 tn Or “my soul.”

9 tn Heb “and my life approaches Sheol.”



TIP #08: Use the Strong Number links to learn about the original Hebrew and Greek text. [ALL]
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