“You have removed lover and friend far from me; My acquaintances are in darkness” (Ps. 88:18).
This may seem to us a dreadful and miserable way to end a Psalm. It is not one which appears to result in the deliverance of the one praying. Some argue that the text should read “my acquaintances are in darkness” whereas others suggest it should be read something like “darkness is my [only] friend.” Thus, it is possible that the Psalmist is complaining that, since he has been cast away from God and from all other earthly friends, the only friend that he has left is total darkness. The sentiment would therefore be similar to that expressed in Job 17:14, “if I say to the pit, ‘You are my father,’ and to the worm, ‘My mother,’ or ‘My sister.'”
On the other hand, some argue that the text is best understood as expressing the fact that his friends are “in” darkness insofar as they are no longer visible or accessible to him. The thought would be similar to what is expressed in Job 19:13, which reads “He has put my brothers far from me, and those who knew me are wholly estranged from me.” The second part of the verse would therefore merely be a restatement of the first part, whereas, on the first aforementioned reading, it would be a further explication of the first part of the verse. Whatever the case may be, both sentiments are echoed elsewhere throughout Psalm and Job, as well as in other portions of the Bible:
All his brothers and sisters and everyone who had known him before came and ate with him in his house. They comforted and consoled him over all the trouble the LORD had brought on him, and each one gave him a piece of silver and a gold ring.
Because of all my enemies, I am the utter contempt of my neighbors and an object of dread to my closest friends– those who see me on the street flee from me.
Even my close friend, someone I trusted, one who shared my bread, has turned against me.
I am a foreigner to my own family, a stranger to my own mother’s children;
You have taken from me my closest friends and have made me repulsive to them. I am confined and cannot escape;
You have taken from me friend and neighbor– darkness is my closest friend.
Bitterly she weeps at night, tears are on her cheeks. Among all her lovers there is no one to comfort her. All her friends have betrayed her; they have become her enemies.
“I called to my allies but they betrayed me. My priests and my elders perished in the city while they searched for food to keep themselves alive.