There is No Psalm 43

There is No Psalm 43
Psalms 42 and 43

Okay. Yes there is a Psalm 43. But perhaps there should not have been.

We note with commentators a couple of things. First, the poetry, subject matter, and mood of Psalm 42 continues without interruption in what we label as Psalm 43. By all appearances these two psalms are actually a single work, which for some reason became separated and separately numbered.

Second, examine the title line of nearby psalms on either side of 42 and 43. From at least Psalm 32 to 53 (we stopped looking), every psalm except 43 begins with a title line, such as “To the choir director: a psalm of so-and-so.” If 43 is a stand-alone piece, why didn’t it receive a title like its neighbors?

By the way, in Jewish renderings of our psalms, these title lines are numbered, and given verse number one. Christian Bibles leave these title lines unnumbered, but they are part of scripture. Look for a Jewish Publication Society printing of the Jewish TANAKH, which is our Christian Old Testament, either online or in your Christian book store.

And here’s another by the way: How many psalms are there in your Bible? 150 yes? Now do an internet search for “Psalm 151.”

For your enjoyment and study, here are Psalms 42 and 43, pulled from the New King James Version and connected together without break and without numbering. Is there a natural break?

To the Chief Musician. A Contemplation of the sons of Korah.

As the deer pants for the water brooks,
So pants my soul for You, O God.
My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.
When shall I come and appear before God?
My tears have been my food day and night,
While they continually say to me,
“Where is your God?”

When I remember these things,
I pour out my soul within me.
For I used to go with the multitude;
I went with them to the house of God,
With the voice of joy and praise,
With a multitude that kept a pilgrim feast.

Why are you cast down, O my soul?
And why are you disquieted within me?
Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him
For the help of His countenance.
O my God, my soul is cast down within me;
Therefore I will remember You from the land of the Jordan,
And from the heights of Hermon,
From the Hill Mizar.
Deep calls unto deep at the noise of Your waterfalls;
All Your waves and billows have gone over me.
The LORD will command His lovingkindness in the daytime,
And in the night His song shall be with me—
A prayer to the God of my life.

I will say to God my Rock,
“Why have You forgotten me?
Why do I go mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?”
As with a breaking of my bones,
My enemies reproach me,
While they say to me all day long,
“Where is your God?”

Why are you cast down, O my soul?
And why are you disquieted within me?
Hope in God;
For I shall yet praise Him,
The help of my countenance and my God.

Vindicate me, O God,
And plead my cause against an ungodly nation;
Oh, deliver me from the deceitful and unjust man!
For You are the God of my strength;
Why do You cast me off?
Why do I go mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?

Oh, send out Your light and Your truth!
Let them lead me;
Let them bring me to Your holy hill
And to Your tabernacle.
Then I will go to the altar of God,
To God my exceeding joy;
And on the harp I will praise You,
O God, my God.

Why are you cast down, O my soul?
And why are you disquieted within me?
Hope in God;
For I shall yet praise Him,
The help of my countenance and my God.
(NKJV)

Do you see a break?

If you choose to reply, please cite scripture and let us know what your commentary says about the connection between these two psalms.

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