The Psalms of David

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Psalm 42:6-11

v6      My *soul is sad inside me.
     So I will remember you (my God) from:
       ·    the land of (the) Jordan (river)
       ·    (the mountains) of Hermon
       ·    the hill of Mizar.

v7      The deep (waters) make a noise when your *waterfalls thunder.
     All your big *waves and all your little waves roll over me.

v8      In the day time the *LORD sends to me his kind love.
     At night his song is with me.
     My *prayer is to the God of my life.

v9      I will say to the God (that is) my Rock,
     "Why did you forget me? Why must I be so sad?
     You let my enemy do what he likes to me!"

v10    My enemies hurt all my bones.
     The people that fight me are always saying, "Where is your God?"

v11    My *soul, why are you so sad?
     Why are you so *restless inside me?
     Hope in God, because I will *praise him again!
     When God is with me, he will do great things (for me).

What Psalm 42:6-11 means

Verses 6 – 7: In verses 1 - 5 the *psalmist was in dry country, what we call a desert. Now, in verses 6-11, we are in a different country. There is a river and mountains. Where are we? 200 kilometres north of Jerusalem is a group of mountains called the Hermons. Maybe they called one of the hills Mizar, we are not sure. But we do know that the River Jordan started in the Hermons. When it rained a lot the river ran over the rocks and made *waterfalls. In places, it was very deep. When he saw the deep water, it made the *psalmist think of his life. He felt that his enemy was pushing him along *like the water would push him if he fell in! The Hermons were in Israel, where Jehoash was king. Jehoash may have taken the *psalmist hostage in Jerusalem. Then he took him through the deserts of Judah to the hills of Israel.

If this is true, an interesting thing may have happened. In the chapter of Kings that tells us the story of Jehoash (2 Kings 14) we read about a man called Jonah. Maybe Jonah knew Psalm 42. He repeated a bit of verse 7 when the fish swallowed him. You will find it in the book of Jonah, chapter 2. Did Jonah learn the psalm from the hostage? Jonah did live in Israel!

Verse 8: This is the turning-point of the psalm. A turning-point is when something changes. You will see two important changes in this verse. First, he calls God by the name *LORD. Only God’s friends did this in the Old Testament. What happened to make him do this? Everywhere else he used the name God. We believe that what happened was this. He found God was with him in the Hermons. God did not only live in Jerusalem. God was everywhere!

Verses 9 – 10: But there were still questions. (A question is something that you ask.) He asked why God had forgotten him and why he was so sad. He asked why God let his enemies hurt him. And the enemies asked the same question as in verse 3, ‘Where is your God?’ But things are different now. The *psalmist is sure that God is with him and he hopes that things will get better.

Verse 11: So he repeats verse 5. But this time we think that he said it with more belief that it was true. Another way to say this is that he was more sure of it.

Verses 5 and 11 and verse 5 of Psalm 43 are all exactly the same. We think that this is a good reason for thinking that they are really two parts of one psalm.

There are other reasons:

   ·    Psalm 43 does not say at the top who wrote it.

   ·    Some old Bibles print them as one psalm.

Psalm 43

v1      (My) God, say that I am right.
     Tell it to the people that do not love (me).
     *Rescue me from the man that tells *lies and does bad things.

v2      (This is) because you are my *refuge, God.
     Why are you always so *unkind to me?
     Why must I continue to be so sad?
     You let my enemy do what he likes to me!

v3      Send out your light and your *truth.
     Let them be my guide.
     They will bring me to your *holy mountain
       and to the house where you live.

v4      Then I will come to the *altar of God,
     the God that makes me happy.
     I will *praise you with a *harp, God, my God.

v5      My *soul, why are you so sad?
     Why are you so *restless inside me?
     Hope in God, because I will *praise him again!
     When God is with me, he will do great things for me.

 What Psalm 43 means

We have seen that these two psalms are probably about a hostage. Maybe one of the kings that we have already talked about took him hostage. Maybe it was someone else. He probably went through a desert where he saw a *hart. The *hart was *thirsty. It made the *psalmist think that he was *thirsty for God. This was because he could not go to the *temple in Jerusalem. He was sad because he thought that God was still in Jerusalem. (Psalm 42:1-5)

Then he found that God was still with him when he reached the Hermons. All the things round him ... the *waterfalls and the *waves on the water ... were things of God. That meant that God was still with him. This made the *psalmist happier. (Happier means "more happy".) He began to think that his *prayer would get an answer. This is the *prayer in Psalm 42:5 and 11.

We do not know where the hostage went now. It may be Israel, it may be Assyria or it may be Babylon. It may be somewhere else. We do not know if he went home to Jerusalem or if he died a hostage. What we do know is that in Psalm 43 the *psalmist decided that it did not matter. God was with him everywhere that he went! He still thought that God was *unkind to him (the Hebrew word means that God had a very bad smell!) But he believed that God would answer his *prayer. Even if he was a hostage, God would do wonderful things for him.

Verse 1: The *psalmist is asking God to be his *judge. A judge is someone that decides who is right and who is wrong. The *psalmist believes that he is right and he asks God to tell everyone. God will do this by making him free so that he is not a hostage any more. "The people that do not love me" are his enemies, maybe from Israel, Assyria, Babylon or somewhere else. "The man that tells *lies and does bad things" is one of the *psalmist’s enemies. Maybe he was their leader.

Verse 2: But things are still bad for the *psalmist. He believes that God is his *refuge, but God is not doing anything. The *psalmist is still a hostage!

Verse 3: He prays for God to send light and *truth. He believes that they will take him back to Jerusalem. That is where the *holy mountain and the house of God are. The *holy mountain is Mount Zion where the *temple was. It was *holy because the Jews believed that God lived there. Solomon built the *temple about 950 *BC. The King of Babylon (Nebuchadnezzar) destroyed it in 587 *BC. There were other *temples, but we believe that the *psalmist meant this one in Jerusalem. God’s light and *truth would make people see (light) that the *psalmist was right (*truth). He should not be a hostage.

Verse 4: A *harp is something you make music with. We call it a *musical instrument. Psalm 150 tells us about other *musical instruments that the Jews played.

Verse 5: This verse comes three times in the psalm (Psalm 42:5 and 11; and here.) Each time we think that the *psalmist became more certain that God would answer him. (Certain means "sure".) We do not know if God did answer in the way the *psalmist wanted. Maybe he did go back to Jerusalem. Maybe he learned that God was with him where he was hostage. This was all that mattered!

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