Psalms 42

1 To victory, to the sons of Korah. As an hart desireth to the wells of waters; so thou, God, my soul desireth to thee. (To victory, for the sons of Korah, for their teaching. Like a hart desireth a well of water; so, O God, my soul desireth thee.)
2 My soul thirsted to God, the quick well/(the) well of life (My soul thirsted for God, the living well/the well of life); when shall I come, and appear before the face of God?
3 My tears were loaves to me day and night; while it is said to me each day, Where is thy God? (My tears were my only food day and night; while my enemies said to me every day/over and over, Where is thy God?)
4 I bethought of these things, and I poured out in me my soul; for I shall pass into the place of the wonderful tabernacle, till to the house of God. In the voice of full out joying, and acknowledging; is the sound of the eater. (I remembered these things, as I poured out my soul; for I had gone with the people, yea, I had gone with them to the House of God. With words of rejoicing, and praising; yea, the sound of the people going in pilgrimage.)
5 My soul, why art thou sorry; and why troublest thou me? Hope thou in God, for yet I shall acknowledge to him; he is the health of my cheer, and my God. (My soul, why art thou feeling so sad? and why troublest thou me? Hope thou in God, for yet I shall praise him; he is my true help, and my God.)
6 My soul is troubled with(in) myself; therefore, God, I shall be mindful of thee from the land of Jordan, and from the little hill of Hermonites. (My soul is troubled within me; and so, O God, I shall remember thee from the land of the Jordan River, and from Mount Hermon, and Mount Mizar.)
7 Depth calleth depth; in the voice of thy windows. All thine high things, and thy waves; passed over me. (One depth calleth unto another depth; in the rush of thy channels. All thy billows, yea, all thy waves, passed over me.)
8 The Lord sent his mercy in the day; and his song in the night (The Lord sent forth his love in the day; and his song in the night). With me is the prayer to (the) God of my life;
9 I shall say to God, Thou art mine up-taker. Why forgettest thou me; and why go I sorrowful, while the enemy tormenteth me? (I shall say to God, Thou art my defender. So why hast thou forgotten me? and why must I go about in sorrow, while the enemy tormenteth me?)
10 While my bones be broken altogether; mine enemies, that trouble me, despised me. While they say to me, by all days; Where is thy God? (I feel as if my bones be altogether broken, or crushed; when my enemies, who trouble me, despise and scorn me. And they say to me, every day/over and over, Where is thy God?)
11 My soul, why art thou sorry; and why troublest thou me? Hope thou in God, for yet I shall acknowledge to him; he is the health of my cheer, and my God. (My soul, why art thou feeling so sad? and why troublest thou me? Hope thou in God, for yet I shall praise him; he is my true help, 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.

Chapter Summary

To the chief Musician, Maschil, for the sons of Korah. Of the word "Maschil," See Gill on "Ps 32:1," title. Korah was he who was at the head of a conspiracy against Moses and Aaron, for which sin the earth opened its mouth, and swallowed alive him and his company, and fire devoured two hundred and fifty more; the history of which is recorded in Numbers 16:1; yet all his posterity were not cut off, Numbers 26:11; some were in David's time porters, or keepers of the gates of the tabernacle, and some were singers; see 1 Chronicles 6:33; and to the chief musician was this psalm directed for them to sing, for they were not the authors of it, as some {b} have thought; but most probably David himself composed it; and it seems to have been written by him, not as representing the captives in Babylon, as Theodoret, but on his own account, when he was persecuted by Saul, and driven out by men from abiding in the Lord's inheritance, and was in a strange land among the Heathen, where he was reproached by them; and everything in this psalm agrees with his state and condition; or rather when he fled from his son Absalom, and was in those parts beyond Jordan, mentioned in this psalm; see 2 Samuel 17:24; so the Syriac inscription, the song which David sung in the time of his persecution, desiring to return to Jerusalem.

{b} So R. Moses in Muis, Gussetius, Ebr. Comment. p. 918, & others.

Psalms 42 Commentaries

Copyright © 2001 by Terence P. Noble. For personal use only.