God has done nothing but hurt me
I pray day and night
This is a song. A psalm of Korah’s family and an enlightening psalm of Heman the Ezrahite. Note to the music leader: To the tune of “Mahalath Leannoth.”1 LORD, you’re the God who can save me.
I’ve been crying out to you.
Day and night I’ve been praying.
2 Please listen to me.
Tune into my voice and listen to what I’m saying.
3 I’ve had all I can take.
I’m about to fall into the grave.
4 I’m as good as dead now.
My strength is gone.
5 I’m already a discarded corpse,
Like someone murdered and buried,
Gone and forgotten,
Disconnected from you.
6 You’ve dropped me into your deepest pit,
A dark and deep hole in the ground.
7 Your waves of anger have beat me down.
I’m drenched and drowning in it.
Lights are going out8 You’ve turned my friends against me.
You made them hate me.
I’m a shut-in now,
And I can’t go out anymore.
9 The light is going out in my eyes.
I’ve been calling you every day, LORD.
I’ve lifted my hands reaching out to you.
Will you help me when I’m dead?10 Are you going to perform miracles for me when I’m dead?
Do the dead spirits stand and sing your praises?
Instruments11 Do the dead compliment you on your loving kindness?
Do they talk about how reliable you are?
12 Are your miracles on display in the darkness of death?
Do people remember your goodness in the Land of Forgetfulness?
13 But, LORD, here I am crying for your help.
First thing every morning I’m praying to you.
14 LORD, why do you refuse to help me?
Why do you avoid me and hide when I come calling?
15 I’ve been suffering miserably since I was young.
Whatever direction I turn, you have a terror waiting for me.
16 Your anger has hit me like a tidal wave.
Your terrors have destroyed me.
17 They’ve engulfed me like water around an island.
They’ve got me completely surrounded.
18 You have turned my family and friends against me.
My only companion is darkness.
The subtitle wasn’t part of the original psalm. Korah was a musical family in the tribe of Levi, one of the 12 tribes that made up the original nation of Israel. Levite families worked as priests and worship leaders and assistants for the Jewish nation.
“An enlightening psalm” is a guess. The original Hebrew word is maskil (mass-KEEL). Scholars say they aren’t sure what it means. They say they don’t even know if the word refers to the lyrics or the music. Maskil sounds a bit like another Hebrew word, askilkha, which means “let me enlighten you.” Some scholars associate maskil with a root word, sakal, which generates a lot of words with various meanings such as: thoughtful, instructive, wise, and proper. One theory is that the word relates to both lyrics and music. It could, for example, describe the lyrics as “thoughtful” and the music as a harmony fit for that theme.
A man named Heman shows up in Israelite history as a famous advisor to King Solomon (1 Chronicles 25:5) and a singer (1 Chronicles 6:33). “Ezrahite” is apparently another name for the Zerahites, an extended family in the tribe of Judah.
It’s unknown what mahalath leannoth means. It could be the tune to which the song is sung or recited. It might be a style of music. It might be the name of the songwriter. Guesses are based mainly on context clues, which are few and not especially helpful.
Literally, Sheol, a word Old Testament writers used to describe the place of the dead. It is a kind of underworld where the dead are cut off from the living—and from God—and there is no coming back.
The word in the original language of Hebrew is selah. Bible scholars haven’t figured out what it means yet, so all we can do is guess. It could mean “pause for effect,” “instrumental interlude,” or “choir singing ‘Amen.’” We’re offering a guess instead of selah. Though selah might be the better way to go because it’s always correct, it’s also always incomprehensible. “Instruments” has a good chance of being wrong, but at least we convey the idea that the Hebrew word behind it probably has something to do with enhancing the song.
No. That’s the presumed answer to both rhetorical questions. Many seemed to believe what the writer of Ecclesiastes expressed: that the dead know nothing (9:5).
- Sorry, there are currently no questions for this chapter.