What Did the Psalmist Mean When Deep Calls Unto Deep?
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What Did the Psalmist Mean When Deep Calls Unto Deep?


As believers, we are often inspired and moved by the rich poetry found in the Psalms. These ancient songs express the deepest human emotions and struggles, providing comfort and guidance for those who read them.

One of the most intriguing phrases in the Psalms is found in Psalm 42:7, “Deep calls unto deep at the noise of Your waterfalls; all Your waves and billows have gone over me.”

This blog post will explore the meaning behind this evocative phrase, providing insight into its spiritual significance and how it can inspire us in our walk with Christ.

The phrase “deep calls unto deep” may initially be challenging to understand, as its meaning is not immediately clear. However, by examining the historical and cultural context of the Psalm, and by delving into the language and imagery used, we can gain a deeper appreciation for the profound spiritual truths it conveys.

In this blog post, we will explore the multiple layers of meaning behind this powerful verse, and discuss how it relates to our own spiritual journey.

What did the psalmist mean when deep calls unto deep?

The Historical and Cultural Context

To understand the meaning of “deep calls unto deep,” it is important to consider the historical and cultural context of Psalm 42. This Psalm is attributed to the sons of Korah, who were Levitical priests responsible for the music and worship in the temple.

They would have been well-acquainted with the spiritual struggles and longings expressed in the Psalm, as they sought to maintain their relationship with God in the midst of the challenges of their day.

The Israelites of that time often faced political turmoil, military threats, and spiritual disorientation. In this context, the Psalmist expresses a deep longing for God’s presence and guidance, even when circumstances seem overwhelming.

This longing for God is the central theme of Psalm 42, and the phrase “deep calls unto deep” serves to emphasize the intensity and this longing.

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The Language and Imagery Used

The phrase “deep calls unto deep” is a poetic and metaphorical expression, using the language of nature to describe the spiritual realm.

The Psalmist speaks of “the noise of Your waterfalls,” evoking an image of powerful and tumultuous water rushing over rocks and cliffs. This image is used to represent the voice of God, which is calling out to the depths of the Psalmist’s soul.

The phrase “deep calls unto deep” can also be interpreted as a call to deeper intimacy with God. The “deep” represents the innermost parts of the human soul, and the call is for that innermost part to respond to the voice of God, which is also from the deep.

This interpretation suggests that God’s call is not merely a surface-level invitation, but a call to deep, meaningful communion with Him.

The Spiritual Significance

The phrase “deep calls unto deep” has significant spiritual implications for believers today. It reminds us that God’s voice is not merely a distant, vague call, but a powerful, personal, and intimate invitation to a deeper relationship with Him.

It calls us to respond to God’s voice with our whole being, including our deepest longings and desires.

Furthermore, the phrase suggests that the voice of God is not something that can be easily ignored or overlooked. Just as the noise of a waterfall is impossible to ignore, God’s call is persistent and insistent, demanding a response from us.

We are called to listen to the voice of God and to allow it to penetrate to the deepest parts of our souls.

The Call to Worship

The phrase “deep calls unto deep” also has implications for our worship. The Psalmist speaks of the noise of God’s waterfalls, which can be interpreted as a metaphor for the sound of worship.

Just as the sound of waterfalls is powerful and awe-inspiring, our worship should be powerful and awe-inspiring, reflecting the glory of God.

Furthermore, the phrase suggests that worship is not merely a surface-level activity, but a call to the deepest parts of our souls. It is a call to engage our entire being in worship, allowing God’s presence to wash over us and transform us.

Our worship should be a response to the deep, powerful call of God, drawing us into deeper intimacy with Him.

The Importance of Spiritual Longing

The phrase “deep calls unto deep” also reminds us of the importance of spiritual longing. The Psalmist expresses a deep longing for God’s presence, even in the midst of difficult circumstances.

This longing is a vital part of our spiritual journey, as it draws us closer to God and helps us to grow in our relationship with Him.

Furthermore, the phrase suggests that our spiritual longing should be intense and passionate, reflecting the depth of our desire for God. We are called to seek after God with all our heart, soul, and strength, allowing our spiritual longing to drive us deeper into His presence.


The phrase “deep calls unto deep” is a powerful and evocative expression found in Psalm 42. It speaks to the deep longings of the human soul and the persistent call of God to draw us into deeper relationship with Him.

As believers, we are called to respond to God’s voice with our whole being, allowing it to penetrate to the deepest parts of our souls.

We are also called to worship with power and passion, reflecting the glory of God in all that we do. May we always be attentive to the deep call of God in our lives, seeking after Him with all our hearts.

Pastor duke taber
Pastor Duke Taber

Pastor Duke Taber

All articles have been written or reviewed by Pastor Duke Taber.
Pastor Duke Taber is an alumnus of Life Pacific University and Multnomah Biblical Seminary.
He has been in pastoral ministry since 1988.
Today he is the owner and managing editor of 3 successful Christian websites that support missionaries around the world.
He is currently starting a brand new church in Mesquite NV called Mesquite Worship Center, a Non-Denominational Spirit Filled Christian church in Mesquite Nevada.