Psalm 88:18
(18) And mine acquaintance into darkness.--This is an erroneous rendering. Rather, My acquaintance is darkness, or, darkness is my friend, having taken the place of those removed. The feeling resembles Job 17:14; or we may illustrate by Tennyson's lines:--

"O sorrow, wilt thou live with me,

No casual mistress, but a wife,

My bosom friend, and half my life?

As I confess it needs must be."

Verse 18. - Lover and friend hast thou put far from me (comp. ver. 8 and Job 19:13). And mine acquaintance into darkness; literally, and my intimates [are] darkness; i.e. "when I look for a friend or an acquaintance, my eye meets nothing but darkness," or "dark space."

88:10-18 Departed souls may declare God's faithfulness, justice, and lovingkindness; but deceased bodies can neither receive God's favours in comfort, nor return them in praise. The psalmist resolved to continue in prayer, and the more so, because deliverance did not come speedily. Though our prayers are not soon answered, yet we must not give over praying. The greater our troubles, the more earnest and serious we should be in prayer. Nothing grieves a child of God so much as losing sight of him; nor is there any thing he so much dreads as God's casting off his soul. If the sun be clouded, that darkens the earth; but if the sun should leave the earth, what a dungeon would it be! Even those designed for God's favours, may for a time suffer his terrors. See how deep those terrors wounded the psalmist. If friends are put far from us by providences, or death, we have reason to look upon it as affliction. Such was the calamitous state of a good man. But the pleas here used were peculiarly suited to Christ. And we are not to think that the holy Jesus suffered for us only at Gethsemane and on Calvary. His whole life was labour and sorrow; he was afflicted as never man was, from his youth up. He was prepared for that death of which he tasted through life. No man could share in the sufferings by which other men were to be redeemed. All forsook him, and fled. Oftentimes, blessed Jesus, do we forsake thee; but do not forsake us, O take not thy Holy Spirit from us.Lover and friend hast thou put far from me,.... This is mentioned in Psalm 88:8, and is here repeated; and the account is closed with it, to show that this was a most aggravating circumstance of his affliction, and which bore exceeding hard upon him; and this must be a very uncomfortable case, to be in distress, whether of body or mind, and to have no kind friend near to yield the least help, relief, and comfort; so Christ's lovers and friends, his disciples, who loved him and he loved them, and reckoned them as his friends, and was a friend to them, when he was taken by his enemies, they all forsook him, and fled, Matthew 26:56,

and mine acquaintance into darkness; either by death into the dark grave, which Job calls the land of darkness and shadow of death, Job 10:21, or being removed from him, so that he could not see them, it was all one to him as if they had been put into darkness, into some dark dungeon, or into the grave itself: or the words may be rendered, mine acquaintance are darkness (i): this was the case of Christ, when on the cross; he had none near him, no acquaintance about him, but darkness; and darkness was over all the land for the space of three hours; and a darkness was on his soul, being forsaken by his Father; and the prince of darkness, with all the fiends of hell, were throwing their fiery darts at him, Matthew 27:45. Thus ends this sorrowful and mournful song; a joyful one follows.

(i) "noti mei sunt tenebrae", Cocceius, Schmidt, Michaelis; "amici mei sunt caligo", Gejerus.

Psalm 88:17
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