The Psalter’s Darkest Hour
Works of art by Karl Schmidt-Rottluff, Roger Hiorns, and Lucas Cranach the Younger
Commentaries by Jacob Phillips
Bible passage (Revised Standard Version)
A Song. A Psalm of the Sons of Korah. To the choirmaster: according to Mahalath Leannoth. A Maskil of Heman the Ezrahite.
88O Lord, my God, I call for help by day;
I cry out in the night before thee.
2Let my prayer come before thee,
incline thy ear to my cry!
3For my soul is full of troubles,
and my life draws near to Sheol.
4I am reckoned among those who go down to the Pit;
I am a man who has no strength,
5like one forsaken among the dead,
like the slain that lie in the grave,
like those whom thou dost remember no more,
for they are cut off from thy hand.
6Thou hast put me in the depths of the Pit,
in the regions dark and deep.
7Thy wrath lies heavy upon me,
and thou dost overwhelm me with all thy waves. Selah
8Thou hast caused my companions to shun me;
thou hast made me a thing of horror to them.
I am shut in so that I cannot escape;
9my eye grows dim through sorrow.
Every day I call upon thee, O Lord;
I spread out my hands to thee.
10Dost thou work wonders for the dead?
Do the shades rise up to praise thee? Selah
11Is thy steadfast love declared in the grave,
or thy faithfulness in Abaddon?
12Are thy wonders known in the darkness,
or thy saving help in the land of forgetfulness?
13But I, O Lord, cry to thee;
in the morning my prayer comes before thee.
14O Lord, why dost thou cast me off?
Why dost thou hide thy face from me?
15Afflicted and close to death from my youth up,
I suffer thy terrors; I am helpless.
16Thy wrath has swept over me;
thy dread assaults destroy me.
17They surround me like a flood all day long;
they close in upon me together.
18Thou hast caused lover and friend to shun me;
my companions are in darkness.