Psalms 42

Listen to Psalms 42
1 1As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God.
2 2My soul thirsts for God, for 3the living God. When shall I come and 4appear before God?[a]
3 5My tears have been my food day and night, 6while they say to me all the day long, "Where is your God?"
4 These things I remember, as I 7pour out my soul: 8how I would go 9with the throng and lead them in procession to the house of God with glad shouts and songs of praise, 10a multitude keeping festival.
5 11Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you 12in turmoil within me? 13Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation[b]
6 and my God.My soul is cast down within me; therefore I 14remember you 15from the land of Jordan and of 16Hermon, from Mount Mizar.
7 Deep calls to deep at the roar of your waterfalls; 17all your breakers and your 18waves have gone over me.
8 By day the LORD 19commands his steadfast love, and at 20night his song is with me, a prayer to the God of my life.
9 I say to God, 21my rock: "Why have you forgotten me? 22Why do I go mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?"
10 As with a deadly wound in my bones, my adversaries taunt me, 23while they say to me all the day long, "Where is your God?"
11 24Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God.

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Psalms 42 Commentary

Chapter 42

The conflict in the soul of a believer.

Verses 1-5 The psalmist looked to the Lord as his chief good, and set his heart upon him accordingly; casting anchor thus at first, he rides out the storm. A gracious soul can take little satisfaction in God's courts, if it do not meet with God himself there. Living souls never can take up their rest any where short of a living God. To appear before the Lord is the desire of the upright, as it is the dread of the hypocrite. Nothing is more grievous to a gracious soul, than what is intended to shake its confidence in the Lord. It was not the remembrance of the pleasures of his court that afflicted David; but the remembrance of the free access he formerly had to God's house, and his pleasure in attending there. Those that commune much with their own hearts, will often have to chide them. See the cure of sorrow. When the soul rests on itself, it sinks; if it catches hold on the power and promise of God, the head is kept above the billows. And what is our support under present woes but this, that we shall have comfort in Him. We have great cause to mourn for sin; but being cast down springs from unbelief and a rebellious will; we should therefore strive and pray against it.

Verses 6-11 The way to forget our miseries, is to remember the God of our mercies. David saw troubles coming from God's wrath, and that discouraged him. But if one trouble follow hard after another, if all seem to combine for our ruin, let us remember they are all appointed and overruled by the Lord. David regards the Divine favour as the fountain of all the good he looked for. In the Saviour's name let us hope and pray. One word from him will calm every storm, and turn midnight darkness into the light of noon, the bitterest complaints into joyful praises. Our believing expectation of mercy must quicken our prayers for it. At length, is faith came off conqueror, by encouraging him to trust in the name of the Lord, and to stay himself upon his God. He adds, And my God; this thought enabled him to triumph over all his griefs and fears. Let us never think that the God of our life, and the Rock of our salvation, has forgotten us, if we have made his mercy, truth, and power, our refuge. Thus the psalmist strove against his despondency: at last his faith and hope obtained the victory. Let us learn to check all unbelieving doubts and fears. Apply the promise first to ourselves, and then plead it to God.

Cross References 24

  • 1. [Joel 1:20]
  • 2. Psalms 63:1; John 7:37; [Isaiah 41:17; Isaiah 55:1]; See Psalms 84:2
  • 3. Psalms 84:2; Joshua 3:10; Daniel 6:26
  • 4. Psalms 84:7; [Exodus 23:17]
  • 5. Psalms 80:5; Psalms 102:9
  • 6. ver. 10; Psalms 79:10; Psalms 115:2; Joel 2:17; Micah 7:10
  • 7. Psalms 62:8; 1 Samuel 1:15; Job 30:16; Lamentations 2:19
  • 8. [Isaiah 30:29]
  • 9. Psalms 55:14
  • 10. [2 Samuel 6:15]
  • 11. ver. 11; Psalms 43:5; [Matthew 26:38; John 12:27]
  • 12. Psalms 77:3
  • 13. Lamentations 3:24
  • 14. Jonah 2:7
  • 15. 2 Samuel 17:22, 24
  • 16. Deuteronomy 3:9
  • 17. Jonah 2:3
  • 18. Psalms 88:7; See Psalms 32:6
  • 19. Psalms 44:4; Psalms 68:28; Psalms 71:3; Psalms 133:3
  • 20. Job 35:10; [Psalms 4:4; Psalms 16:7; Psalms 63:6; Psalms 77:6; Psalms 119:55, 62, 148; Psalms 149:5]
  • 21. See Psalms 18:2; 2 Samuel 22:2
  • 22. Psalms 38:6; Psalms 43:2
  • 23. See ver. 3
  • 24. See ver. 5

Footnotes 2

  • [a]. Revocalization yields and see the face of God
  • [b]. Hebrew the salvation of my face; also verse 11 and 43:5

Chapter Summary

Psalms 42 Commentaries

The English Standard Version is published with the permission of Good News Publishers.