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BOOK II

(Psalms 42–72)

Psalm 42

Longing for God and His Help in Distress

To the leader. A Maskil of the Korahites.

1

As a deer longs for flowing streams,

so my soul longs for you, O God.

2

My soul thirsts for God,

for the living God.

When shall I come and behold

the face of God?

3

My tears have been my food

day and night,

while people say to me continually,

“Where is your God?”

 

4

These things I remember,

as I pour out my soul:

how I went with the throng,

and led them in procession to the house of God,

with glad shouts and songs of thanksgiving,

a multitude keeping festival.

5

Why are you cast down, O my soul,

and why are you disquieted within me?

Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,

my help 6and my God.

 

My soul is cast down within me;

therefore I remember you

from the land of Jordan and of Hermon,

from Mount Mizar.

7

Deep calls to deep

at the thunder of your cataracts;

all your waves and your billows

have gone over me.


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Ps 42:1-11. Maschil—(See on Ps 32:1, title). For, or of (see Introduction) the sons of Korah. The writer, perhaps one of this Levitical family of singers accompanying David in exile, mourns his absence from the sanctuary, a cause of grief aggravated by the taunts of enemies, and is comforted in hopes of relief. This course of thought is repeated with some variety of detail, but closing with the same refrain.

1, 2. Compare (Ps 63:1).

panteth—desires in a state of exhaustion.

2. appear before God—in acts of worship, the terms used in the command for the stated personal appearance of the Jews at the sanctuary.

3. Where is thy God?—implying that He had forsaken him (compare 2Sa 16:7; Ps 3:2; 22:8).

4. The verbs are properly rendered as futures, "I will remember," &c.,—that is, the recollection of this season of distress will give greater zest to the privileges of God's worship, when obtained.

5. Hence he chides his despondent soul, assuring himself of a time of joy.

help of his countenance—or, "face" (compare Nu 6:25; Ps 4:6; 16:11).

6. Dejection again described.

therefore—that is, finding no comfort in myself, I turn to Thee, even in this distant "land of Jordan and the (mountains) Hermon, the country east of Jordan.

hill Mizar—as a name of a small hill contrasted with the mountains round about Jerusalem, perhaps denoted the contempt with which the place of exile was regarded.

7. The roar of successive billows, responding to that of floods of rain, represented the heavy waves of sorrow which overwhelmed him.




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