Just a Bit O’ History… Psalm 42: A Psalm of Pleading, and Quiet Trust.


Psalm 42



Verse 1. ‘As the hart panteth after the water brooks,’

…gives the keynote to the psalm which must have been often in the thoughts of the early Christians in the time of persecution. The hart is a common emblem on the walls of the Catacombs where they found refuge, and the whole psalm was often sung at the close of Communion.

Verse 5. ‘Why art thou cast down, 0 my soul? and why art thou disquieted in me?’

The narrative of the death of the Bohemian martyrs, who suffered at Prague in 1621, says, ‘ John Schultis was the next. And who on the scaffold said, “Why art thou cast down. 0 my soul? Hope thou in God; for I shall yet praise him.” “The righteous seem in the eyes of men to die, but indeed they go to their rest.” Then kneeling down, he said,” Come, come, Lord Jesus, and do not tarry;” and so he was beheaded.’

There is a wild but beautiful pass called Dalveen, which connects Nithsdale with Clydesdale, and has communication with numerous glens around; among them with the famous defile of the Enterkin. From its sequestered character and ready doors of escape it was a favourite refuge for ‘the wanderers,’ Here, in the summer of 1685, Daniel M’Michael was surprised by the troopers and told to prepare for death. He calmly said, ‘If my life must go for his cause, I am willing; God will prepare me.’ He was shot in the presence of some of his relatives while singing part of this psalm”

Verse 8. ‘His loving-kindness yet the Lord Command will in the day; His song’s with me by night; to God, by whom I live, I’ll pray.’

His friends carried his body to the romantic church yard of Durisdeer, ‘the door of the oak forest,’ where he lies under a rude stone with a quaint epitaph–

‘Daniel was cast into the lions’ den
For praying unto God, and not to men;
Thus lions cruelly devoured me
For bearing unto truth my testimony;
I rest in peace till Jesus rend the cloud,
And judge ‘twixt me and those who shed my blood.’

Psalm 42

As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God? My tears have been my food day and night, while people say to me all day long, “Where is your God?”  These things I remember as I pour out my soul: how I used to go to the house of God under the protection of the Mighty One with shouts of joy and praise among the festive throng.  Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.  My soul is downcast within me; therefore I will remember you from the land of the Jordan, the heights of Hermon—from Mount Mizar.  Deep calls to deep in the roar of your waterfalls; all your waves and breakers have swept over me.  By day the Lord directs his love, at night his song is with me— a prayer to the God of my life.  I say to God my Rock, “Why have you forgotten me? Why must I go about mourning, oppressed by the enemy?” My bones suffer mortal agony as my foes taunt me, saying to me all day long, “Where is your God?”  Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.


Written by John Ker, D. D.
Taken from, “The Psalms in History and Biography”