Open main menu

Psalm 42 is the 42nd psalm of the Book of Psalms, generally known in English by its first verse, in the King James Version, "As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God". The Book of Psalms is the third section of the Hebrew Bible, and a book of the Christian Old Testament. In the Hebrew Bible, Psalm 42 opens the second of the five books (divisions) of Psalms.[1] In the Greek Septuagint version of the bible, and in its Latin translation in the Vulgate, this psalm is Psalm 41 in a slightly different numbering system. In Latin, it is known as "Sicut cervus".[2] The psalm is a hymn psalm. It is one of twelve psalms attributed to the sons of Korah.

Psalm 42
"As the hart panteth after the water brooks"
Hymn psalm
Folio 97v - Psalm XLI.jpg
Beginning of Psalm 42 in Les Très Riches Heures du duc de Berry (fol. 97v), with an illustration of a drinking hart
Other name
  • Psalm 41
  • "Sicut cervus"
LanguageHebrew (original)

The psalm is a regular part of Jewish, Catholic, Anglican and Protestant liturgies. It is As pants the hart in the metrical version by Tate and Brady (1696). It has been set to music often, notably in Handel's As pants the hart and Mendelssohn's Psalm 42.


Structure and themesEdit

While the psalm is attributed to the "sons of Korah", the text is written in the first person singular.[3] The psalm can be divided into two parts, each ending with the same line (verses 6 and 12).[4]

The psalmist bemoans all the troubles he has endured in his exile and prays for salvation.[3] He laments his remoteness from the temple of God and expresses his desire for the renewal of the divine presence.[4] Henry speculates that David might have composed this psalm when he was prevented from returning to the sanctuary in Jerusalem either due to persecution by Saul or because of Absalom's revolt.[5]


Hebrew Bible versionEdit

Following is the Hebrew text and an English translation of Psalm 42:[6]

Verse Hebrew English
1 לַֽמְנַצֵּ֜חַ מַשְׂכִּ֥יל לִבְנֵי־קֹֽרַח For the conductor, a maskil of the sons of Korah.
2 כְּאַיָּ֗ל תַּֽעֲרֹ֥ג עַל־אֲפִיקֵי־מָ֑יִם כֵּ֚ן נַפְשִׁ֨י תַֽעֲרֹ֖ג אֵלֶ֣יךָ אֱלֹהִֽים As a hart cries longingly for rivulets of water, so does my soul cry longingly to You, O God.
3 צָמְאָ֬ה נַפְשִׁ֨י | לֵֽאלֹהִים֘ לְאֵ֪ל֫ חָ֥י מָתַ֥י אָב֑וֹא וְ֜אֵֽרָאֶ֗ה פְּנֵ֣י אֱלֹהִֽים My soul thirsts for God, for the living God; when will I come and appear before God?
4 הָֽיְתָה־לִּ֬י דִמְעָתִ֣י לֶ֖חֶם יוֹמָ֣ם וָלָ֑יְלָה בֶּֽאֱמֹ֥ר אֵלַ֥י כָּל־הַ֜יּ֗וֹם אַיֵּ֥ה אֱלֹהֶֽיךָ My tears were my bread day and night when they say to me all day long, "Where is your God?"
5 אֵ֚לֶּה אֶזְכְּרָ֨ה | וְאֶשְׁפְּכָ֤ה עָלַ֨י | נַפְשִׁ֗י כִּ֚י אֶֽעֱבֹ֨ר | בַּסָּךְ֘ אֶדַּדֵּ֗ם עַד־בֵּ֥ית אֱלֹ֫הִ֥ים בְּקֽוֹל־רִנָּ֥ה וְ֜תוֹדָ֗ה הָ֘מ֥וֹן חוֹגֵֽג These things I will remember, and I will pour out my soul [because of the pain which is] upon me, how I passed on with the throng; I walked slowly with them until the house of God with a joyful shouting and thanksgiving, a celebrating multitude.
6 מַה־תִּֽשְׁתּ֬וֹחֲחִ֨י | נַפְשִׁי֘ וַתֶּֽהֱמִ֪י עָ֫לָ֥י הוֹחִ֣ילִי לֵֽ֖אלֹהִים כִּי־ע֥וֹד אוֹדֶ֗נּוּ יְשׁוּע֥וֹת פָּנָֽיו Why are you downcast, my soul, and why do you stir within me? Hope to God, for I will yet thank Him for the salvations of His presence.
7 אֱֽלֹהַ֗י עָלַי֘ נַפְשִׁ֪י תִשְׁתּ֫וֹחָ֥ח עַל־כֵּ֗ן אֶ֖זְכָּרְךָ מֵאֶ֣רֶץ יַרְדֵּ֑ן וְ֜חֶרְמוֹנִ֗ים מֵהַ֥ר מִצְעָֽר My God, my soul is downcast upon me; therefore, I will remember You from the land of Jordan and the peaks of Hermon, from the young mountain.
8 תְּהֽוֹם־אֶל־תְּה֣וֹם ק֖וֹרֵא לְק֣וֹל צִנּוֹרֶ֑יךָ כָּל־מִשְׁבָּרֶ֥יךָ וְ֜גַלֶּ֗יךָ עָלַ֥י עָבָֽרוּ Deep calls to deep to the sound of Your water channels; all Your breakers and waves passed over me.
9 יוֹמָ֚ם | יְצַוֶּ֬ה יְהֹוָ֨ה | חַסְדּ֗וֹ וּ֖בַלַּיְלָה שִׁירֹ֣ה עִמִּ֑י תְּ֜פִלָּ֗ה לְאֵ֣ל חַיָּֽי By day, may the Lord command His kindness, and at night, may His resting place be with me, a prayer to the God of my life.
10 אֽוֹמְרָ֚ה | לְאֵ֥ל סַלְעִי֘ לָמָ֪ה שְׁכַ֫חְתָּ֥נִי לָֽמָּה־קֹדֵ֥ר אֵ֜לֵ֗ךְ בְּלַ֣חַץ אוֹיֵֽב I will say to God, my Rock, "Why have You forgotten me? Why should I walk in gloom under the oppression of the enemy?"
11 בְּרֶ֚צַח | בְּֽעַצְמוֹתַ֗י חֵֽרְפ֥וּנִי צֽוֹרְרָ֑י בְּאָמְרָ֖ם אֵלַ֥י כָּל־הַ֜יּ֗וֹם אַיֵּ֥ה אֱלֹהֶֽיךָ With murder in my bones, my oppressors have reproached me by saying to me all day long, "Where is your God?"
12 מַה־תִּֽשְׁתּ֬וֹחֲחִ֨י | נַפְשִׁי֘ וּמַה־תֶּֽהֱמִ֪י עָ֫לָ֥י הוֹחִ֣ילִי לֵֽ֖אלֹהִים כִּי־ע֣וֹד אוֹדֶ֑נּוּ יְשׁוּעֹ֥ת פָּ֜נַ֗י וֵֽאלֹהָֽי Why are you downcast, my soul, and why do you stir within me? Hope to God, for I will yet thank Him for the salvations of my countenance and my God.

King James VersionEdit

  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 daytime, 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.



Sephardi Jews recite Psalm 42 on the first and second nights of Sukkot prior to the evening prayer.[7] Those who follow the custom of the Gra say Psalm 42 as the Song of the Day on the second day of Sukkot.[8]

Verse 2 is said during Selichot.[8]

Psalm 42 is one of the ten Psalms of the Tikkun HaKlali of Rebbe Nachman of Breslov.[9][10]

This psalm is traditionally recited as a prayer for the end of the exile, and "to find favor in the eyes of others".[11]

New TestamentEdit

The Septuagint rendering of some words in verse 5[note 1] shows close resemblance to the words of Jesus during the Agony in the Garden[note 2] as recorded in Matthew 26:38[12] or Mark 14:34[13][14][15] A part of the next verse[note 3] in Greek also resembles what was spoken by Jesus during the same event,[note 4] according to John 12:27.[16][17]

Catholic ChurchEdit

Catholic teaching sees in the psalm a longing for piety by the church.[18] In the Extraordinary form of the Roman Rite, it is sung or recited in the Easter Vigil during the procession to the baptismal font.[19] In the Ordinary form of the Roman Rite, the psalm is recited or sung following the seventh reading of the Easter Vigil.[20]

According to the Rule of St. Benedict (530)[21][22] this psalm was traditionally performed at monasteries, to the Office of Matins of Monday.[23] In the Liturgy of Hours today, Psalm 42 is sung or recited on the Monday of the second week.[note 5]

Musical settingsEdit

The musical settings of the psalm include:



K'ayal ta'arog (As the hart pants, verses 2–3) is a popular Jewish song.[25] An early Hasidic nigun was composed by the first Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi. The third Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneersohn (the Tzemach Tzedek) also composed a melody for it.[26]


  1. ^ Verse 5 in English bible numbering, or verse 6 in Hebrew bible numbering, contains ἵνα τί περίλυπος εἶ, ἡ ψυχή, "why are you cast down, O my soul" (ESV).
  2. ^ Gospels of Matthew and Mark note in Greek that Jesus says, περίλυπός ἐστιν ἡ ψυχή μου, "my soul is exceeding sorrowful" (KJV)
  3. ^ Verse 6 in English bible numbering, or verse 7 in Hebrew bible numbering, contains ἡ ψυχή μουταράχθη, "my soul is cast down within me" (ESV)
  4. ^ Gospel of John notes in Greek that Jesus says ἡ ψυχή μου τετάρακται, "my soul (is) troubled" (ESV).
  5. ^ The main cycle of liturgical prayers takes place over four weeks.


  1. ^ "Book 2: Chapters 42–72". 2018. Retrieved September 25, 2018.
  2. ^ Parallel Latin/English Psalter / Psalmus 41 (42) Archived May 7, 2017, at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ a b Abramowitz, Rabbi Jack (2018). "Psalms – Chapter 42". Orthodox Union. Retrieved September 25, 2018.
  4. ^ a b Spurgeon, Charles Haddon (2016). Treasury of David. Bible Study Steps. pp. 1456–7.
  5. ^ Henry, Matthew (2018). "Psalms 42". Bible Study Tools. Retrieved September 25, 2018.
  6. ^ "Tehillim - Psalms - Chapter 42". 2018. Retrieved September 24, 2018.
  7. ^ Nulman, Macy (1996). The Encyclopedia of Jewish Prayer: The Ashkenazic and Sephardic Rites. Jason Aronson. p. 209. ISBN 1461631246.
  8. ^ a b Brauner, Reuven (2013). "Shimush Pesukim: Comprehensive Index to Liturgical and Ceremonial Uses of Biblical Verses and Passages" (PDF) (2nd ed.). p. 37.
  9. ^ Weintraub, Rabbi Simkha Y. (2018). "Psalms as the Ultimate Self-Help Tool". My Jewish Learning. Retrieved September 25, 2018.
  10. ^ Greenbaum, Rabbi Avraham (2007). "The Ten Psalms: English Translation". Retrieved September 25, 2018.
  11. ^ "Categories". Retrieved September 25, 2018.
  12. ^ Matthew 26:38 Greek,
  13. ^ Mark 14:34 Greek,
  14. ^ Kirkpatrick, A. F. (1895). The Book of Psalms: with Introduction and Notes. Books II and III: Psalms XLII-LXXXIX. The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges. Vol. 16. Cambridge: At the University Press. p. 229. Retrieved February 28, 2019.
  15. ^ Kirkpatrick, A. F. (1901). The Book of Psalms: with Introduction and Notes. Books IV and V: Psalms XC-CL. The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges. Cambridge: At the University Press. p. 838. Retrieved February 28, 2019.
  16. ^ John 12:27 Greek,
  17. ^ Kirkpatrick 1895, pp. 229-230.
  18. ^ Exposition on Psalm 42 at New
  19. ^ Missale Romanum, 1962
  20. ^ Missale Romanum, Third Typical Edition, 2002.
  21. ^ Prosper Guéranger, Règle de saint Benoît (Abbaye Saint-Pierre de Solesmes, reprinted 2007) p. 46.
  22. ^ La distribution des Psaumes dans la Règle de Saint Benoît.
  23. ^ Psautier latin-français du bréviaire monastique, (1938/2003) p. 161.
  24. ^ Sicut Cervus, video on YouTube.
  25. ^ "K'ayal Ta'arog". Zemirot Database. Retrieved September 25, 2018.
  26. ^ "Heichal Neginah" (in Hebrew). 2004. Retrieved September 25, 2018.

External linksEdit