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Second Book—Psalms 42–72

Psalm 42[a]

Longing for God’s Presence in the Temple

For the leader. A maskil of the Korahites.[b]


As the deer longs for streams of water,(A)
    so my soul longs for you, O God.
My soul thirsts for God, the living God.
    When can I enter and see the face of God?[c](B)
My tears have been my bread day and night,(C)
    as they ask me every day, “Where is your God?”(D)
Those times I recall
    as I pour out my soul,(E)
When I would cross over to the shrine of the Mighty One,[d]
    to the house of God,
Amid loud cries of thanksgiving,
    with the multitude keeping festival.(F)
Why are you downcast, my soul;
    why do you groan within me?
Wait for God, for I shall again praise him,
    my savior and my God.


My soul is downcast within me;
    therefore I remember you
From the land of the Jordan[e] and Hermon,
    from Mount Mizar,(G)
[f]Deep calls to deep
    in the roar of your torrents,
    and all your waves and breakers
    sweep over me.(H)
By day may the Lord send his mercy,
    and by night may his righteousness be with me!
    I will pray[g] to the God of my life,
10 I will say to God, my rock:
    “Why do you forget me?(I)
Why must I go about mourning
    with the enemy oppressing me?”
11 It shatters my bones, when my adversaries reproach me,
    when they say to me every day: “Where is your God?”
12 Why are you downcast, my soul,
    why do you groan within me?
Wait for God, for I shall again praise him,
    my savior and my God.


  1. Psalms 42–43 Ps 42–43 form a single lament of three sections, each section ending in an identical refrain (Ps 42:6, 12; 43:5). The psalmist is far from Jerusalem, and longs for the divine presence that Israel experienced in the Temple liturgy. Despite sadness, the psalmist hopes once again to join the worshiping crowds.
  2. 42:1 The Korahites: a major guild of Temple singers (2 Chr 20:19) whose name appears in the superscriptions of Ps 42; 44–49; 84–85; 87–88.
  3. 42:3 See the face of God: “face” designates a personal presence (Gn 33:10; Ex 10:28–29; 2 Sm 17:11). The expressions “see God/God’s face” occur elsewhere (Ps 11:7; 17:15; cf. Ex 24:10; 33:7–11; Jb 33:26) for the presence of God in the Temple.
  4. 42:5 The shrine of the Mighty One: this reading follows the tradition of the Septuagint and the Vulgate.
  5. 42:7 From the land of the Jordan: the sources of the Jordan are in the foothills of Mount Hermon in present-day southern Lebanon. Mount Mizar is presumed to be a mountain in the same range.
  6. 42:8 Deep calls to deep: to the psalmist, the waters arising in the north are overwhelming and far from God’s presence, like the waters of chaos (Ps 18:5; 69:2–3, 15; Jon 2:3–6).
  7. 42:9–10 I will pray…I will say: in the midst of his depression the psalmist turns to prayer. Despite his situation he trusts the Lord to deliver him from his sorrow so that he may enter the Temple precincts and praise him once again (Ps 43:3–4, 5b).