Summary: We are going to examine this psalm as if it was written by godly King Hezekiah. After David, he was the greatest king ever to sit upon the throne of Judea. He did more to bring the nation back to God than any other king.
April 12, 2015
Title: PSALM 42
A psalm of David.
Psalm 42 (KJV)
1 As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God.
2 My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God?
3 My tears have been my meat day and night, while they continually say unto me, Where is thy God?
4 When I remember these things, I pour out my soul in me: for I had gone with the multitude, I went with them to the house of God, with the voice of joy and praise, with a multitude that kept holyday.
5 Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted in me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him for the help of his countenance.
6 O my God, my soul is cast down within me: therefore will I remember thee from the land of Jordan, and of the Hermonites, from the hill Mizar.
7 Deep calleth unto deep at the noise of thy waterspouts: all THY waves and thy billows are gone over me.
8 Yet the Lord will command his lovingkindness in the day time, and in the night his song shall be with me, and my prayer unto the God of my life.
9 I will say unto God my rock, Why hast thou forgotten me? why go I mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?
10 As with a sword in my bones, mine enemies reproach me; while they say daily unto me, Where is thy God?
11 Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God.
We do not know for certain who wrote this psalm, when it was written or the exact situation of the writer; but those things hardly affect our general understanding of this beautiful psalm. Some have suggested that it was penned by a wandering Levite, far from the beloved Temple in Jerusalem, longing to return and take part again in the corporate worship of the people of God. Some have suggested it was written by David during his flight from Absalom or by a poet in David’s small band of fugitives, but the geography in verse 6 seems to put the setting too far north for that, since David camped over the Jordan at Mahanaim. Others recognize the voice of the Messiah during the time of his rejection and suffering. Still, others detect the plaintive sob of the Jewish remnant during the future Tribulation Period. Then there are those who like to apply it to the believer as he looks back on the days of his first love and longs for the renewal of that kind of fellowship with the Lord. It has also been suggested that the psalm was written by wretched King Jehoiachin on his way to Babylon as a prisoner of Nebuchadnezzar. Never again would he see the Temple he and his fathers had done so much to defile. In him, the royal line of David through Solomon came to an end under the resounding curse of Jeremiah. It is not surprising that he wept. Some have thought the psalm was written by godly King Hezekiah, which is also what I believe. I suppose there are more “opinions” than this, but I am just not aware of them.
We are going to examine this psalm as if it was written by godly King Hezekiah, although it could have been written by any of the godly men I have mentioned. After David, he was the greatest king ever to sit upon the throne of Judea. He did more to bring the nation back to God than any other king. Two tremendously significant events took place in his life. The first was an illness which threatened his very life, and from which he recovered only by a miracle of healing sent by the direct intervention of God. The other was an invasion by the Assyrians which threatened Judah’s independence, and from which he was rescued only by a miracle of help sent by the direct intervention of God. Psalm 42 stands connected with the first of these events, psalm 43 with the second. It would seem that the psalmist’s illness best fits the various moods and movements of this psalm.
Psalms 42 and 43 originally composed one psalm. Psalm 43 has no title of its own. The content and wording of the two are clearly similar (see 42:9b and 43:2b), and psalm 43 has the refrain which appears twice in Psalm 42. The psalm is a lamentation of one who has been hurled into deep despair and believes himself to be so near death that he can already hear the water courses of the underworld, the world of the dead (42:7). His enemies are oppressing him. Their loveless voices taunt him, and one of them, a man of deceit and iniquity, has, with evil intentions spoken lies against him.