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Commentary Critical and Explanatory
on the Whole Bible

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 Chapter 87
Chapter 89
 
 
 
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PSALM 88

      Ps 88:1-18. Upon Mahalath--either an instrument, as a lute, to be used as an accompaniment (Leannoth, "for singing") or, as others think, an enigmatic title (see on Ps 5:1, Ps 22:1, and Ps 45:1, titles), denoting the subject--that is, "sickness or disease, for humbling," the idea of spiritual maladies being often represented by disease (compare Ps 6:5, 6; 22:14, 15, &c.). On the other terms, see on Ps 42:1 and Ps 32:1. Heman and Ethan (see on Ps 89:1, title) were David's singers (1Ch 6:18, 33; 15:17), of the family of Kohath. If the persons alluded to (1Ki 4:31; 1Ch 2:6), they were probably adopted into the tribe of Judah. Though called a song, which usually implies joy (Ps 83:1), both the style and matter of the Psalm are very despondent; yet the appeals to God evince faith, and we may suppose that the word "song" might be extended to such compositions.

      1, 2. Compare on the terms used, Ps 22:2; 31:2.

      3. grave--literally, "hell" (Ps 16:10), death in wide sense.

      4. go . . . pit--of destruction (Ps 28:1).
      as a man--literally, "a stout man," whose strength is utterly gone.

      5. Free . . . dead--Cut off from God's care, as are the slain, who, falling under His wrath, are left, no longer sustained by His hand.

      6. Similar figures for distress in Ps 63:9; 69:3.

      7. Compare Ps 38:2, on first, and Ps 42:7, on last clause.

      8. Both cut off from sympathy and made hateful to friends (Ps 31:11).

      9. Mine eye mourneth--literally, "decays," or fails, denoting exhaustion (Ps 6:7; 31:9).
      I . . . called-- (Ps 86:5, 7).
      stretched out--for help (Ps 44:20).

      10. shall the dead--the remains of ghosts.
      arise--literally, "rise up," that is, as dead persons.

      11, 12. amplify the foregoing, the whole purport (as Ps 6:5) being to contrast death and life as seasons for praising God.

      13. prevent--meet--that is, he will diligently come before God for help (Ps 18:41).

      14. On the terms (Ps 27:9; 74:1; 77:7).

      15. from . . . youth up--all my life.

      16, 17. the extremes of anguish and despair are depicted.

      18. into darkness--Better omit "into"--"mine acquaintances (are) darkness," the gloom of death, &c. (Job 17:13, 14).


Copyright Statement
These files are a derivative of an electronic edition prepared from text scanned by Woodside Bible Fellowship.

This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.

Bibliography Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Psalm 88". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory
on the Whole Bible". <http://classic.studylight.org/com/jfb/view.cgi?book=ps&chapter=088>. 1871.  

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