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Book II
Psalms 42–72

Psalms 42 & 43

An Exile’s Prayer: Why Are You Cast Down?[a]


For the choir director. A maskil[b] by the Sons of Korah.[c]

Longing for the Temple

As a doe pants for streams of water,
so my soul pants for you, O God.
My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.
When can I go and appear before God?[d]
My tears have been food for me day and night,
while people are saying to me all day,
“Where is your God?”

I am overcome by my emotions
whenever I remember these things:
    how I used to arrive with the crowd,
    as I led the procession to the house of God,
    with loud shouts of thanksgiving,
    with the crowd celebrating the festival.


Why are you so depressed,[e] O my soul?
Why so disturbed within me?
Hope in God, for I will again praise him
    for salvation from his presence.[f]

Remembrance of the Lord

My God, my soul is depressed within me.
Therefore I will remember you from the land of the Jordan,
from the heights of Hermon, from Mount Mizar.
Deep calls to deep in the roar of your rapids.
All your breakers and your waves have swept over me.
By day the Lord commands his mercy,
and at night his song is with me—a prayer to the God of my life.
I say to God my Rock, “Why have you forgotten me?
Why must I go around mourning because of oppression by the enemy?”
10 It is like breaking my bones when my foes taunt me.
All day long they say to me, “Where is your God?”


11 Why are you so depressed, O my soul?
Why so disturbed within me?
Hope in God, for I will again praise him
    for my salvation from the face of my God.[g]


  1. Psalm 42:1 These two psalms are treated as a unit since they are united by a common theme, a common refrain, and a single heading.
  2. Psalm 42:1 Maskil is a musical term of uncertain meaning. It may be a skillful song or a song that gives wisdom. This form is used also in Psalms 44 and 45.
  3. Psalm 42:1 The Sons of Korah were a group of levitical musicians, who apparently were descendants of the Korah who rebelled against Moses. In this section of Psalms, Psalms 42–49 were written by them.
  4. Psalm 42:2 A different reading of the Hebrew verb yields the translation see the face of God.
  5. Psalm 42:5 Literally bowed down or cast down
  6. Psalm 42:5 Many translations emend this verse to agree with verses 42:11 and 43:5.
  7. Psalm 42:11 Literally the salvation of my face and my God