The praise lament of Heman: Psalm 88, the God of my salvation has led me into darkn

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The lament of Heman : Psalm 88, the God of my salvation has led me into darkness,

A Psalm of the sons of Korah

The sons of Korah, those bouncers in the temple who wrote Psalms had an unusual family tree. Centuries before, Korah opposed Moses. God's holiness challenged and the earth opened up and all who belonged to Korah.


Not all the sons of Korah died, so said a sneaky, easy to miss, verse a few chapters later.

Some found satisfaction protecting God;s holiness physically as gatekeepers protectors of the temple and as protectors of hearts as Psalm writers, writing songs of Praise in Books 2 and 3 of the Psalms writing such things as:

As the deer pants for the water so my soul longs after You
Glorious things of Thee are spoken
God is our refuge and strength
Great is the Lord and greatly to be praised in the city of our God
Better is one day in your house than a thousand elsewhere

But their final song most unusual. No praise. No trust. A lament with no resolution of hope. It was almost like falling in the dark pit of of their forefather Korah.

One of their own steps forward and sings:. Heman.

O LORD, God of my salvation;
I, cry out day and night before you.

Psalms is from the word meaning praises
Tehillah-to sing hallal, a new song, a hymn of spontaneous praise glorifying God in song, A 'sing hallelujah' song
This is a song and a Psalm
A strange praise. This praise of Heman, and a lament, if it is a praise at all.
Praise seems absent form this Psalm although hinted in the title

Incessant, persistent in prayer throughout

You have caused my companions to shun me;
you have made me a horror to them.
An appeal to God through questions
Do you work wonders for the dead?
Do the departed rise up to praise you? Selah

Relentless but unrelieved Heman appeals to the character of God and presses on.

Is your steadfast love declared in the grave,
or your faithfulness in Abaddon?
But I, O LORD, cry to you;
in the morning my prayer comes before you.
Your wrath has swept over me;
your dreadful assaults destroy me.
Darkness has become my companion

And in his tears and prayers, Heman doesn't see
He is also painting a picture of one who will be abandoned by friends, arrested and tried and bear the wrath of God to death

The Praise will come , in the next Psalm
It will be like the 'hinds feet of the dawn' the early morning light hinted in the title of Psalm 22, a Psalm that contains the cry "my God my God why have you forsaken me'.

Ethan will sing in Pslam 89 his song of God’s love for the seed of Abraham, calling him a beloved Son, indeed the Messiah and called anointed through his forsaking - before, during and after.

And in his tears and prayers and praise, Ethan doesn't see

He is also painting a picture of one who will be beloved, chosen, yet forsaken, die and rise. The songs of the mostly priestly singers end in the Psalms with Heman and Ethan. And a fitting end. A portrait of the ultimate atonement.

Heman and Ethan would smile if they knew Jesus sang the song with them

I will sing of the mercy of the Lord forever
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Puritan Board Sophomore
First mistake was the title..... Heman not Ethan.... I can't edit the thread name and fix it
This is the most bleak of all the Psalms with no words of praise or trust


Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger
Staff member
In the first v, "God of my salvation" is a statement of faith.

But yes, overall this is the Psalm of our bitterest sorrow.

How precious to know that God has given us a prayer, words to say even for that moment.

How tragic to think that for some Christians, the only religion they know is one that commands them to be relentlessly cheery--or else bad things will happen to them; suffering is all your own fault.


Puritan Board Sophomore
I am told that the largest group of Psalms are laments. By the way.... I believe this Psalm didn't make it into the Trinity Hymnal, probably because all the other laments had some upturn at the end except this one

I will have to look into whether this is really also a praise Psalm... most of the sources I looked at and listed to claimed it.. but should look into it more

Most people saying it is a praise, say its in the word Psalm itself. Psalm is in the title ....A song, a psalm of the sons of Korah....
The Book of Psalms (Hebrew: תְּהִלִּים or תהילים Tehillim meaning "Praises") Interesting phrase as well.. one person said there was a word in the titlle that literally means hemlock
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Puritan Board Sophomore
Revised to try and give the claim to this being a praise song left to the reader
I expanded this to give background to the sons of Korah since this is their last and most unusual song

Ps 44 in book 2 is also a forsaking Psalm of the Sons of Korah but expressed hope and turns up.
Memnomically, Ps 22, 44, 88 go together
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