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
Pay attention 7 to my cry for help!
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 lÿ’annot) 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
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.”