Who Wrote Psalms 42? (What is the message in Psalms 42?)

My friends and I often ask each other Bible-related questions for fun and to pass the time. In our previous “question and answer” session, one of them asked who the author of Psalms 42 is.

This topic sparked a heated debate with varying answers.

As a theologian, I’ve studied many books in the Bible including the Psalms and the different authors. So, using my vast knowledge I ended the debate by giving a detailed response.

So, in case you are also wondering, let’s look at who wrote Psalms 42.

A majority of reputable scholars are convinced that David was the author of Psalms 42. The scholars also believe that the phrase “of the sons of Korah” in the psalm’s title denotes that the song was directed to them.

Join me as I address the message, context, meaning, as well as people’s interpretation of this psalm. Equally, I’ll analyze who the psalmist addresses in the psalm and some popular related commentaries.

Who are the sons of Korah in Psalms 42?

The phrase “sons of Korah” can be equally stated as the descendants of Korah. Korah was a rebellious individual during the time of Moses while journeying to the Promised Land (Numbers 16).

His rebelliousness in association with his accomplices resulted in their supernatural death (Numbers 16:28-35). Yet, God still spared Korah’s sons, who came to be his ministers.

During David’s reign, prominent figures, such as prophet Samuel and others like Herman, an acknowledged leader in choral and orchestral music, came from Korah’s lineage as mentioned in 1 Chronicles 12:6: “Elkanah, Ishiah, Azarel, Joezer and Jashobeam the Korahites.”

It’s the Korahite singers that are referred to in Psalms 42.

What is the message in Psalms 42?

What is the message in Psalms 42?
What is the message in Psalms 42? Image source: Pixabay

Psalm 42’s message revolves around a dire need to worship God. In the first verse (Psalm 42:1), the psalmist likens their thirst for God to a deer’s thirst for water.

Verse two of the same chapter (Psalm 42:2) ends with a question asking when the psalmist will meet God: this shows the urgent need for worship.

What is the context and background of Psalms 42?

From the psalm’s contents, it is clear that the psalmist (David) was separated from God’s worship, which inspired his longing to get back to worshiping God.

Therefore, scholars suggest that the psalm must have been written at the time when Saul persecuted David or when Absalom staged a Rebellion against him.

David was separated from the sanctuary in both instances and disadvantaged in waiting upon God in public settings. It is from these separations from God that the psalmist longs to get back to worshipping God.

What is the meaning of Psalms 42?

Believers are convinced that the psalm aims to champion the relevance of hoping in God even during times of persecution.

In the final verse, Psalm 42:11, the psalmist encourages their soul to keep praising and hoping in God, even when downcast: “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.”

How do people interpret Psalms 42?

According to believers, most people are often hinged to the first and second sections of the psalm, where the psalmist expresses his longing to worship God and their sad lament before the Lord.

From their perspective, most people often don’t realize the last phase, where the psalmist expresses their impeccable confidence in God.

In the fifth verse (Psalms 42:5), the psalmist convinces themselves to keep hoping in God, for God is their savior.

Who is the psalmist addressing in Psalms 42?

Who Wrote Psalms 42? 
Who is the psalmist addressing in Psalms 42? Image source: Pixabay

From the psalm’s title, it is apparent that it addresses the director of music. However, a thorough analysis of the Psalms shows that the psalmist generally addresses his own soul.

Theologians believe it is safe to assume the psalmist used their intrapersonal worship to inspire praise through the choral and orchestral group, thus directing the song to the music director.

What are some popular commentaries on Psalms 42?

The Coffman’s Commentaries on the Bible, the Smith’s Bible Commentary, and the Precept Austin’s Commentary are among the most popular bible commentaries on Psalm 42.

One concept outstands in all the commentaries: the psalmist’s impeccable need to praise and worship God.

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