A song. A psalm of the Sons of Korah. For the director of music. According to mahalath leannoth.b A maskilc of Heman the Ezrahite.
1LORD, you are The GOD WHO Saves me;
day and night I cry out to YOU.
2May my prayer come before YOU;
turn YOUR Ear to my cry.
3I am overwhelmed with troubles
and my life draws near to death.
4I am counted among those who go down to the pit;
I am like one without strength.
5I am set apart with the dead,
like the slain who lie in the grave,
whom YOU Remember no more,
who are cut off from YOUR Care.
6YOU Have Put me in the lowest pit,
in the darkest depths.
7YOUR Wrath Lies heavily on me;
you have overwhelmed me with all YOUR waves.d
8You have taken from me my closest friends
and have made me repulsive to them.
I am confined and cannot escape;
9my eyes are dim with grief.
I call to YOU, LORD, every day;
I spread out my hands to YOU.
10Do you show your wonders to the dead?
Do their spirits rise up and praise you?
11Is your love declared in the grave,
your faithfulness in Destructione ?
12Are your wonders known in the place of darkness,
or your righteous deeds in the land of oblivion?
13But I cry to YOU for help, LORD;
in the morning my prayer comes before YOU.
14Why, LORD, Do YOU Reject me
and Hide YOUR Face from me?
15From my youth I have suffered and been close to death;
I have borne YOUR terrors and am in despair.
16YOUR Wrath Has Swept over me;
YOUR Terrors Have Destroyed me.
17All day long they surround me like a flood;
they have completely engulfed me.
18YOU Have Taken from me friend and neighbor—
darkness is my closest friend.
This psalm is altogether of a mournful and desponding character. The author is a sufferer; he is expecting to die; he fears to die; he longs to live; his mind is overwhelmed with gloom which does not seem to be irradiated by one ray of hope or consolation. It is, in this respect, unlike most of the psalms which relate to sickness, to sorrow, to suffering, for in those psalms generally there springs up, in answer to prayer, a gleam of hope - some cheerful view - some sustaining prospect; so that, though a psalm begins in despondency and gloom, it ends with joy and triumph. Compare, among others, Psalm 6:9-10; Psalm 7:17; Psalm 13:6; Psalm 42:8, Psalm 42:11; Psalm 56:11-13; Psalm 59:16; Psalm 69:34, Psalm 69:36. But in this psalm there is no relief; there is no comfort. As the Book of Psalms was designed to be useful in all ages, and to all classes of people, and as such a state of mind as that described in this psalm might occur again and often - it was proper that such a condition of utter despondency, even in a good man, should be described, in order that others might see that such feelings are not necessarily inconsistent with true religion, and do not prove that even such a sufferer is not a child of God. It is probable that this psalm was designed to illustrate what may occur when disease is such as to produce deep mental darkness and sorrow. And the Book of Psalms would have been incomplete for the use of the church, if there had not been at least one such psalm in the collection.