1 Like as the hart for water-brooks
in thirst doth pant and bray;
So pants my longing soul, O God,
that come to thee I may.

2 My soul for God, the living God,
doth thirst: when shall I near
Unto thy countenance approach,
and in God’s sight appear?

3 My tears have unto me been meat,
both in the night and day,
While unto me continually,
Where is thy God? they say.

4 My soul is poured out in me,
when this I think upon;
Because that with the multitude
I heretofore had gone:

With them into God’s house I went,
with voice of joy and praise;
Yea, with the multitude that kept
the solemn holy days.

5 O why art thou cast down, my soul?
why in me so dismayed?
Trust God, for I shall praise him yet,
his count’nance is mine aid.

6 My God, my soul’s cast down in me;
thee therefore mind I will
From Jordan’s land, the Hermonites,
and ev’n from Mizar hill.

7 At the noise of thy water-spouts
deep unto deep doth call;
Thy breaking waves pass over me,
yea, and thy billows all.

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:

9 And I will say to God my rock,
Why me forgett’st thou so?
Why, for my foes’ oppression,
thus mourning do I go?

10 ‘Tis as a sword within my bones,
when my foes me upbraid;
Ev’n when by them, Where is thy God?
’tis daily to me said.

11 O why art thou cast down, my soul?
why, thus with grief oppresed,
Art thou disquieted in me?
in God still hope and rest:

For yet I know I shall him praise,
who graciously to me
The health is of my countenance,
yea, mine own God is he.

To the chief Musician, Maschil, for the sons of Korah.

Perhaps this psalm was composed by David, when the unnatural rebellion of Absalom had forced him from the sanctuary of God, and to take up his lodging eastward of Jordan, 2 Sam. 15:13-19. We have in it, (1.) Ardent longings after nearness to, and familiar intimacy with God, in his public ordinances and sanctuary, ver. 1-2. (2.) Mournful lamentations and bitter groanings on account of God’s withdrawing his comfortable smiles; of the want of the once-enjoyed ordinances of God, and fellowship with his saints; of the depressing impressions of God’s wrath; and of his enemies’ insolent upbraiding of him on account of the departure and distance of his God, ver. 3-4, 6-7, 9-10. (3.) Believing remembrance of God’s former favours, ver. 6; and self-encouraging hopes of future ones, ver. 5, 8, 11.

Have I experimentally understood all these things? My soul, let me charge thee to beware of dissimulation with God, and of compassing him about with lies, under pretence of praising him. Dare not to sing these lines without inward, without ardent longings for the Lord; without earnest claiming of him as thy own God, upon the foundation of his new-covenant grant of himself to me in the gospel; without assured hopes of his future, his everlasting kindness to me-ward.