Psalm 42:1 - Longing for God and His Help in Distress.

Psalm 42:1: Longing for God and His Help in Distress.

Psalm 42:1 (KJV) As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so 
panteth my soul after thee, O God. 

Psalm 42:1 (NCV) As a deer thirsts for streams of water, so I 
thirst for you, God. 

Psalm 42:1 (GWT) As a deer longs for flowing streams, so my soul 
longs for you, O God. 


Psalms 42-49 were written by the sons of Korah. Korah was a 
Levite who led a rebellion against Moses (Numbers 16:1-35). He was 
killed, but his descendants remained faithful to God and continued to 
serve God in the temple. David appointed men from the clan of Korah to 
serve as choir leaders (1 Chron. 6:31-38), and they continued to be 
temple musicians for hundreds of years (2 Chron. 20:18-19). [Life 
Application SB] 


The figure is that of a deer longing for water in the midst of a 
prolonged drought. [Ryrie SB] 

The image is one of a lover separated for a time from his 
beloved. [The 365-Day Devotional Commentary] 

The verb "to pant" is unusually expressive of a spiritual thirst 
for God. [Nelson SB] 


The refrain "Why are you cast down, O my soul?" ties psalms 42 & 
43 together (42:5, 11; 43:5). Why was the writer so depressed? 
For one thing, God seemed far from him in his hour of need 
(42:1-3). He felt like a thirsty deer in the desert, searching for water. 
But the Lord is never far away; He is near even when you do not 
recognize Him (Isa. 41:10; Heb. 13:5; Ps. 48:7). 
The writer's depression was aggravated because he looked back at 
"the good old days" (42:4-6). He longed to return to Jerusalem and 
minister in the temple. Sometimes retirement or a change of residence 
will make people depressed. The older we get, the less we enjoy 
What should you do when depression starts to control you? "Hope 
In God" (42:5, 11; 43:5). Look at the future and not at the past. 
If you feel drowned by circumstances, keep in mind that they are 
His waves and billows (42:7), and He knows what is best for you. 
Stop feeding on your feelings (42:3) and start feeding on His Word 
(43:3). God will guard you and guide you, no matter how miserable you 
may feel. God is greater than your feelings. Walk by faith and He 
will see you through. [Chapter by Chapter Bible Commentary by Warren 

What Are Some Biblical Cures For Common Depression?

Depression can be relieved by meditating on God's Word. 
Depression is one of the most common emotional ailments. One antidote for 
depression is to meditate on the record of God's goodness to his people. 
This will take your mind off the present situation and give you hope 
that it will improve. It will focus your thoughts on God's ability to 
help you rather than on your inability to help yourself. When you 
feel depressed, take advantage of this psalm's antidepressant. Read 
the Bible's accounts of God's goodness and meditate on them. 

Depression can be relieved by patience. Later in this psalm, the 
writer tells his own soul to be patient. There are plenty of reasons 
from the past to trust God. In spite of the discouragement of the 
moment, the author is convinced that God has plans for tomorrow that are 
better. That fact may not make the darkness bright, but it may make it 
more bearable until the morning. 

Depression can be relieved by expecting God to act. The psalmist 
confidently closes this song with a statement of hope in the midst of 
difficult emotions. He may not feel like it, but he knows that he will 
"again have plenty of reason to praise him for all that he will do" 
(42:11). [Life Application SB re vs. 6 of 1-11] 


As the life of a deer depends upon water, so our lives depend 
upon God. Those who seek him and long to understand him find 
never-ending life. Feeling separated from God, this psalmist wouldn't rest 
until he restored his relationship with God because he knew that his 
very life depended on it. [Life Application SB] 

Feeling God is absent causes God's people to suffer. Prayer, 
Bible promises, praise, and hopeful waiting on God can help us endure 
and rediscover God's presence and salvation.... Corporate worship 
gives encouragement, strengthens faith, provides a sense of fellowship 
and identity, and gives instruction for the worshiper. [Disciple SB