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Psalms 42:1-2

Context

Book 2
(Psalms 42-72)

Psalm 42 1 

For the music director; a well-written song 2  by the Korahites.

42:1 As a deer 3  longs 4  for streams of water,

so I long 5  for you, O God!

42:2 I thirst 6  for God,

for the living God.

I say, 7  “When will I be able to go and appear in God’s presence?” 8 

1 sn Psalm 42. The psalmist recalls how he once worshiped in the Lord’s temple, but laments that he is now oppressed by enemies in a foreign land. Some medieval Hebrew mss combine Psalms 42 and 43 into a single psalm.

2 tn The meaning of the Hebrew term מַשְׂכִּיל (maskil) is uncertain. The word is derived from a verb meaning “to be prudent; to be wise.” Various options are: “a contemplative song,” “a song imparting moral wisdom,” or “a skillful [i.e., well-written] song.” The term occurs in the superscriptions of Pss 32, 42, 44, 45, 52-55, 74, 78, 88, 89, and 142, as well as in Ps 47:7.

3 tn Since the accompanying verb is feminine in form, the noun אָיִּל (’ayyil, “male deer”) should be emended to אַיֶּלֶת (’ayyelet, “female deer”). Haplography of the letter tav has occurred; note that the following verb begins with tav.

4 tn Or “pants [with thirst].”

5 tn Or “my soul pants [with thirst].” The Hebrew term נֶפֶשׁ (nefesh) with a pronominal suffix is often equivalent to a pronoun, especially in poetry (see BDB 660 s.v. נֶפֶשׁ 4.a).

6 tn Or “my soul thirsts.”

7 tn The words “I say” are supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons and for clarification.

8 tn Heb “When will I go and appear [to] the face of God?” Some emend the Niphal verbal form אֵרָאֶה (’eraeh, “I will appear”) to a Qal אֶרְאֶה (’ereh, “I will see”; see Gen 33:10), but the Niphal can be retained if one understands ellipsis of אֶת (’et) before “face” (see Exod 34:24; Deut 31:11).



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