Next Verse


My soul is in despair

Go to footnote number

within me, therefore

Go to footnote number

I will call you to mind

Go to footnote number

from the land of the JORDAN, and from HERMON

Go to footnote number

and from mount MIZAR.


My despair is deep and it is deep within me, in my very soul, but because of how deep my despair is I will choose to call to mind who You are and how you work. I will do so when I am DESCENDING and can’t stop my downward slide, when I feel I have been SELECTED FOR DESTRUCTION, and when I feel SMALL AND INSIGNIFICANT.



The verb I have rendered as “in despair,” usually means “to bow down, to be humble, to be low.” However, in the verb form in which it appears here, it means “to be downcast, to be in despair, to be depressed.” In all of its verb forms the emphasis is on being low; most of the time it is because one chooses to humble himself and bow down, but in this case it is because the circumstances of life which God has allowed have beaten him down into a state of depression or despair.


When we are in despair, most of us focus on the problems rather than calling to mind who God is and what He has done. The author of this psalm (one of the sons of Korah) had trained himself to choose to focus on God instead of focusing on his problems. We all need to train ourselves to do this because we will never become free of our problems if we focus on our problems.


The verb I have rendered as “I will call …to mind” can also mean “remember.” However, “remember” is less demanding on our part than calling to mind. “Remember” can happen almost accidentally, whereas “call to mind” is a purposeful thing, sometimes requiring that we override our natural tendencies. This is a choice we need to make because calling to mind God’s goodness and kindness do not come naturally to us during times of despair and depression.


The name Hermon, seems to mean “sacred.” It appears to come from a root word meaning “dedicated to destruction.” Something could be set apart or dedicated for a good purpose, or set apart for sure destruction as a punishment. The meaning of word seems to lean toward the punitive form of dedication. However, it was applied to this majestic mountain in a positive way, i.e. considered set apart for religious purposes of certain non-Jewish religions.

I believe the use of these three names in this verse are all figurative, not literal. By that I mean that he did not go to those physical locations in order to call to mind encouraging things about his God. Rather, I think the meanings of these names help describe his emotional state. Is the use of the name Hermon in this verse a positive usage or a negative one? In light of this psalm’s prevalent theme of desperation due to some extreme set of circumstances, and due to the way this verse starts out, the negative theme of destruction seems most natural and obvious.