Study Guide: Psalm(s) 42/43

Psalm 42 & 43 were originally one Psalm.   In our discussion, we will treat them as such.

  1. Scan the Psalm and note the different questions posed by the Psalmist to himself.  What do those questions suggest to you about the Psalmist’s personal condition?  (i.e. psycho/emotional, etc.)
  2. What does this Psalm suggest about the Psalmist’s situation-in-life?  What seems to be the source of his anguish?  
  1. How does the theme of distance play in this Psalm?
  2. What paradoxes do you observe in this Psalm? Why does the question of his enemies seem to cause him additional anguish?  “Where is your God?”  What do you think his enemies mean by that?
  3. In what way does the metaphor of water figure in this Psalm?  What does the Psalmist mean by the phrase “Deep calls to deep?”
  4. To whom does the Psalmist seem to address himself in verse 1?  What about verses 2-4?   What about verses 5, 11, and 43:5?  Explore how the Psalmist alternates between these 3 audiences throughout the Psalm.  Why might he be doing that?
  5. In what way is the Psalm a good example of a Psalm that engages the whole person?
  6. While the Psalm depicts an individual lamenting before God, what does it suggest to you that the superscription reads: “For the director of music.  A maskil of the Sons of Korah?  (A maskil is a type of song sung in worship) What does the superscription suggest about how this Psalm ought to be read?  Does the superscription argue against reading this Psalm as the plea of an individual?    What does this suggest about how a Psalm of Lament functions?
  7.  In what ways can you relate to this Psalm?