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Psalm 88 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Psalm 88[a]

A Despairing Lament

A song; a psalm of the Korahites. For the leader; according to Mahalath. For singing; a maskil of Heman the Ezrahite.


Lord, the God of my salvation, I call out by day;
    at night I cry aloud in your presence.
Let my prayer come before you;
    incline your ear to my cry.
[b]For my soul is filled with troubles;
    my life draws near to Sheol.
I am reckoned with those who go down to the pit;
    I am like a warrior without strength.
My couch is among the dead,
    like the slain who lie in the grave.
You remember them no more;
    they are cut off from your influence.
You plunge me into the bottom of the pit,
    into the darkness of the abyss.
Your wrath lies heavy upon me;
    all your waves crash over me.


Because of you my acquaintances shun me;
    you make me loathsome to them;
Caged in, I cannot escape;
10     my eyes grow dim from trouble.

All day I call on you, Lord;
    I stretch out my hands to you.
11 [c]Do you work wonders for the dead?
    Do the shades arise and praise you?


12 Is your mercy proclaimed in the grave,
    your faithfulness among those who have perished?[d]
13 Are your marvels declared in the darkness,
    your righteous deeds in the land of oblivion?


14 But I cry out to you, Lord;
    in the morning my prayer comes before you.
15 Why do you reject my soul, Lord,
    and hide your face from me?
16 I have been mortally afflicted since youth;
    I have borne your terrors and I am made numb.
17 Your wrath has swept over me;
    your terrors have destroyed me.
18 All day they surge round like a flood;
    from every side they encircle me.
19 Because of you friend and neighbor shun me;
    my only friend is darkness.


  1. Psalm 88 A lament in which the psalmist prays for rescue from the alienation of approaching death. Each of the three stanzas begins with a call to God (Ps 88:2, 10, 14) and complains of the death that separates one from God. The tone is persistently grim.
  2. 88:4–8 In imagination the psalmist already experiences the alienation of Sheol.
  3. 88:11–13 The psalmist seeks to persuade God to act out of concern for divine honor: the shades give you no worship, so keep me alive to offer you praise.
  4. 88:12 Perished: lit., “Abaddon,” the deepest part of Sheol.
New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Scripture texts, prefaces, introductions, footnotes and cross references used in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC All Rights Reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

Psalm 88 New International Version (NIV)

Psalm 88[a]

A song. A psalm of the Sons of Korah. For the director of music. According to mahalath leannoth.[b] A maskil[c] of Heman the Ezrahite.

Lord, you are the God who saves me;
    day and night I cry out to you.
May my prayer come before you;
    turn your ear to my cry.

I am overwhelmed with troubles
    and my life draws near to death.
I am counted among those who go down to the pit;
    I am like one without strength.
I 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.

You have put me in the lowest pit,
    in the darkest depths.
Your wrath lies heavily on me;
    you have overwhelmed me with all your waves.[d]
You have taken from me my closest friends
    and have made me repulsive to them.
I am confined and cannot escape;
    my eyes are dim with grief.

I call to you, Lord, every day;
    I spread out my hands to you.
10 Do you show your wonders to the dead?
    Do their spirits rise up and praise you?
11 Is your love declared in the grave,
    your faithfulness in Destruction[e]?
12 Are your wonders known in the place of darkness,
    or your righteous deeds in the land of oblivion?

13 But I cry to you for help, Lord;
    in the morning my prayer comes before you.
14 Why, Lord, do you reject me
    and hide your face from me?

15 From my youth I have suffered and been close to death;
    I have borne your terrors and am in despair.
16 Your wrath has swept over me;
    your terrors have destroyed me.
17 All day long they surround me like a flood;
    they have completely engulfed me.
18 You have taken from me friend and neighbor—
    darkness is my closest friend.


  1. Psalm 88:1 In Hebrew texts 88:1-18 is numbered 88:2-19.
  2. Psalm 88:1 Title: Possibly a tune, “The Suffering of Affliction”
  3. Psalm 88:1 Title: Probably a literary or musical term
  4. Psalm 88:7 The Hebrew has Selah (a word of uncertain meaning) here and at the end of verse 10.
  5. Psalm 88:11 Hebrew Abaddon
New International Version (NIV)

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