Psalm 43
"Judge me, O God, and plead my cause against an ungodly nation"
Beginning of Psalm 43 in a German Kurfürstenbibel from 1768
Other name
  • Psalm 42
  • "Iudica me Deus"
LanguageHebrew (original)

Psalm 43 is the 43rd psalm of the Book of Psalms, known in the English King James Version as "Judge me, O God, and plead my cause against an ungodly nation". In the slightly different numbering system used in the Greek Septuagint and Latin Vulgate translations of the Bible, this psalm is Psalm 42. In Latin, it is known as "Iudica me Deus".[1] It is commonly attributed to the sons of Korah. In the Hebrew Bible, it comes within the second of the five books (divisions) of Psalms,[2] also known as the "Elohistic Psalter" because the word YHWH is rarely used and God is generally referred to as "Elohim".[3]

The psalm forms a regular part of Jewish, Catholic, Lutheran, Anglican and other Protestant liturgies.



The following table shows the Hebrew text[4][5] of the Psalm with vowels alongside an English translation based upon the JPS 1917 translation (now in the public domain).

Verse Hebrew English translation (JPS 1917)
1 שׇׁפְטֵ֤נִי אֱלֹהִ֨ים ׀ וְרִ֘יבָ֤ה רִיבִ֗י מִגּ֥וֹי לֹֽא־חָסִ֑יד מֵ֤אִישׁ מִרְמָ֖ה וְעַוְלָ֣ה תְפַלְּטֵֽנִי׃ Be Thou my judge, O God, and plead my cause against an ungodly nation; O deliver me from the deceitful and unjust man.
2 כִּֽי־אַתָּ֤ה ׀ אֱלֹהֵ֣י מָֽעוּזִּי֮ לָמָ֢ה זְנַ֫חְתָּ֥נִי לָֽמָּה־קֹדֵ֥ר אֶתְהַלֵּ֗ךְ בְּלַ֣חַץ אוֹיֵֽב׃ For Thou art the God of my strength; why hast Thou cast me off? Why go I mourning under the oppression of the enemy?
3 שְׁלַח־אוֹרְךָ֣ וַ֭אֲמִתְּךָ הֵ֣מָּה יַנְח֑וּנִי יְבִיא֥וּנִי אֶל־הַֽר־קׇ֝דְשְׁךָ֗ וְאֶל־מִשְׁכְּנוֹתֶֽיךָ׃ O send out Thy light and Thy truth; let them lead me; Let them bring me unto Thy holy mountain, and to Thy dwelling-places.
4 וְאָב֤וֹאָה ׀ אֶל־מִזְבַּ֬ח אֱלֹהִ֗ים אֶל־אֵל֮ שִׂמְחַ֢ת גִּ֫ילִ֥י וְאוֹדְךָ֥ בְכִנּ֗וֹר אֱלֹהִ֥ים אֱלֹהָֽי׃ Then will I go unto the altar of God, unto God, my exceeding joy; And praise Thee upon the harp, O God, my God.
5 מַה־תִּשְׁתּ֬וֹחֲחִ֨י ׀ נַפְשִׁי֮ וּֽמַה־תֶּהֱמִ֢י עָ֫לָ֥י הוֹחִ֣ילִי לֵ֭אלֹהִים כִּי־ע֣וֹד אוֹדֶ֑נּוּ יְשׁוּעֹ֥ת פָּ֝נַ֗י וֵאלֹהָֽי׃ Why art thou cast down, O my soul? And why moanest thou within me? Hope thou in God; for I shall yet praise Him, The salvation of my countenance, and my God.

King James Version

  1. Judge me, O God, and plead my cause against an ungodly nation: O deliver me from the deceitful and unjust man.
  2. For thou art the God of my strength: why dost thou cast me off? why go I mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?
  3. O send out thy light and thy truth: let them lead me; let them bring me unto thy holy hill, and to thy tabernacles.
  4. Then will I go unto the altar of God, unto God my exceeding joy: yea, upon the harp will I praise thee, O God my God.
  5. Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God.

Verse 1

Vindicate me, O God,
And plead my cause against an ungodly nation;
Oh, deliver me from the deceitful and unjust man![6]

"An ungodly nation" comes from words literally meaning a nation without Chesed, meaning kindness or love between people. Alexander Kirkpatrick notes that the "deceitful and unjust man" may be the leader of this nation, who may have "distinguished himself by treachery and malignity", but "it is better to understand the words collectively as a further description of the 'inhuman nation' in general, men of deceit and malignity".[7]


Catholic Church

This psalm was traditionally recited or sung, from the rule of St. Benedict of 530 AD, in the Office for the Lauds of Tuesday, following Psalm 50.

Above all, it is the psalm the priest recites before ascending the altar to celebrate Mass.[8] In the traditional Roman Rite (also known as the Tridentine Mass or Extraordinary Form), the psalm is recited by the priest and altar servers during the prayers at the foot of the altar.[9] The recitation of this psalm at the beginning of Mass was suppressed in 1964 with the Instruction on Implementing Liturgical Norms, Inter Oecumenici.[10]

In the Liturgy of the Hours today, Psalm 43 is recited or sung at Lauds of Tuesday of the second week of the four-week psalter.

Book of Common Prayer

In the Church of England's Book of Common Prayer, this psalm is appointed to be read on the evening of the eighth day of the month.[11]

Latin translations

Psalm 43 in Les Très Riches Heures du duc de Berry, Folio 61v - Psalm XLII (Vulgate) the Musée Condé, Chantilly.

Clementine Vulgate

See also: Clementine Vulgate

The Clementine Vulgate was officially adopted as part of the Roman Breviary in 1592. It is also used in dialogue form in the “Prayers at the Foot of the Altar”, as preparation for the Tridentine Mass.

Judica me, Deus, et discerne causam meam de gente non sancta: ab homine iniquo et doloso erue me. Quia tu es, Deus, fortitudo mea: quare me repulisti? et quare tristis incedo, dum affligit me inimicus? Emitte lucem tuam et veritatem tuam: ipsa me deduxerunt, et adduxerunt in montem sanctum tuum, et in tabernacula tua. Et introibo ad altare Dei, ad Deum qui laetificat juventutem meam. Confitebor tibi in cithara, Deus, Deus meus. Quare tristis es, anima mea? et quare conturbas me? Spera in Deo, quoniam adhuc confitebor illi, salutare vultus mei, et Deus meus.

Pian translation

See also: Latin Psalters § Versio Piana

The Pian psalter was completed in 1945 and printed in most Breviaries thereafter.

Ius redde mihi, Deus, et age causam meam adversus gentem non sanctam; ab homine doloso et iniquo libera me, Quia tu es, Deus, fortitudo mea: Quare me reppulisti? Quare tristis incedo, ab inimico oppressus? Emitte lucem tuam et fidelitatem tuam: ipsae me ducant, adducant me in montem sanctum tuum et in tabernacula tua. Et introibo ad altare Dei, ad Deum laetitiae et exsultationis meae, Et laudabo te cum cithara, Deus, Deus meus! 5 Quare deprimeris, anima mea, et tumultuaris in me? Spera in Deum: quia rursus celebrabo eum, Salutem vultus mei et Deum meum.

Nova Vulgata

See also: Nova Vulgata

The Nova Vulgata, a new translation from the Hebrew was completed in 1979 for liturgical use. It is the version used in the current typical edition of the Liturgia Horarum.[12][13]

Iúdica me, Deus, et discérne causam meam de gente non sancta; ab hómine iníquo et dolóso érue me. Quia tu es Deus refúgii mei; quare me reppulísti, et quare tristis incédo, dum afflígit me inimícus? Emítte lucem tuam et veritátem tuam;ipsæ me dedúcant et addúcant in montem sanctum tuum et in tabernácula tua. Et introíbo ad altáre Dei, ad Deum lætítiæ exsultatiónis meæ. Confitébor tibi in cíthara, Deus, Deus meus. Quare tristis es, ánima mea, et quare conturbáris in me? Spera in Deo, quóniam adhuc confitébor illi, salutáre vultus mei et Deus meus.

Stuttgart Vulgate

See also: Stuttgart Vulgate

The Stuttgart Vulgate, completed in 1969, is a non-liturgical version translated for scholarly use.

Iudica me Deus et discerne causam meam a gente non sancta a viro doloso et iniquo salva me. Tu enim Deus fortitudo mea quare proiecisti me quare tristis incedo adfligente inimico. Mitte lucem tuam et veritatem tuam ipsae ducent me et introducent ad montem sanctum tuum et ad tabernaculum tuum. Et introibo ad altare tuum ad Deum laetitiae et exultationis meae. Et confitebor tibi in cithara Deus Deus meus, quare incurvaris anima mea et quare conturbas me? Expecta Dominum quoniam adhuc confitebor ei salutibus vultus mei et Deo meo.

Musical settings

Heinrich Schütz wrote a setting of a paraphrase in German, "Gott, führ mein Sach und richte mich", SWV 140, for the Becker Psalter, published first in 1628. Michel Richard Delalande wrote a grand motet (S.38) to this psalm in 1693. Charles-Hubert Gervais set a Grand motet Judica me Deus in 1723.


  1. ^ "Parallel Latin/English Psalter / Psalmus 42 (43)". Archived from the original on 2017-09-30. Retrieved 2019-09-19.
  2. ^ "Book 2: Chapters 42–72". 2018. Retrieved September 25, 2018.
  3. ^ Rodd, C. S., 18. Psalms in Barton, J. and Muddiman, J. (2001), The Oxford Bible Commentary Archived 2017-11-22 at the Wayback Machine, p. 360
  4. ^ "Psalms – Chapter 43". Mechon Mamre.
  5. ^ "Psalms 43 - JPS 1917".
  6. ^ Psalm 43:1: New King James Version
  7. ^ Kirkpatrick, A. (1906), Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges on Psalm 43, accessed 8 November 2021
  8. ^ Psautier latin-français du bréviaire monastique. 2003 [1938]. p. 220. Consolation dans la liturgie. C'est ce psaume que le prêtre récite avant de monter à l'autel pour la messe. Les sentiments variés de crainte, de désir et d'espérance qu'il exprime, conviennent bien à celui qui va célébrer de si augustes et si redoutables mystères.
  9. ^ bloomingtonlms (2015-04-24). "A brief walkthrough of the Mass: The Prayers at the Foot of the Altar". The Latin Mass Society of Bloomington, IN. Retrieved 2020-09-11.
  10. ^ "Inter Oecumenici Instruction on Implementing Liturgical Norms". Adoremus Bulletin. 1964-09-26. Archived from the original on 2019-09-14. Retrieved 2020-09-11.
  11. ^ Church of England, Book of Common Prayer: The Psalter as printed by John Baskerville in 1762, pp. 196ff
  12. ^ "iBreviary". Retrieved 2020-08-20.
  13. ^ "LIBER PSALMORUM - Nova Vulgata, Vetus Testamentum". Retrieved 2020-08-20.