King David was one of the most emotional men in the Bible. And he wasn’t afraid of it! He leaned totally into his wild emotional states and gave us the majority of the psalms of canon, ranging from ecstatic praise to deep despair. Here are 12 of the most depressing, emo psalms in the Bible, ranked.
12. Psalm 130
Coming in at number 12 is Psalm 130. This is emo but not too emo yet. David is just getting started. Take a look at verses five and six:
I wait for the Lord,
my soul waits
and I hope for his word.
My soul looks for the Lord,
more than sentinels for daybreak.
More than sentinels for daybreak
Just the tip of the emo iceberg, though.
11. Psalm 143
David is starting to get more vivid in his descriptions with this psalm and is allowing his emotions to be on full display. Check out verses three and four:
The enemy has pursued my soul;
he has crushed my life to the ground.
He has made me dwell in darkness
like those long dead.
My spirit is faint within me;
my heart despairs.
He’s really starting to lean into his emo side and it is a treat.
10. Psalm 55
This psalm is reminiscent of a sad, acoustic ballad. Can’t you just feel the lyrics of verses five through seven starting to stick in your head?
My heart pounds within me;
death’s terrors fall upon me.
Fear and trembling overwhelm me;
shuddering sweeps over me.
I say, “If only I had wings like a dove
that I might fly away and find rest.
This is what it sounds like when doves cry.
9. Psalm 38
Talk about graphic, this psalm delivers! Here are verses six through nine for just a taste.
Foul and festering are my sores
because of my folly.
I am stooped and deeply bowed;
every day I go about mourning.
My loins burn with fever;
there is no wholesomeness in my flesh.
I am numb and utterly crushed;
I wail with anguish of heart.
8. Psalm 6
Very early on we get this emo psalm. Imagine if David wore eyeliner, it would totally be running all over the place in this psalm. For an example, here’s verse seven.
I am wearied with sighing;
all night long I drench my bed with tears;
I soak my couch with weeping.
This psalm is short so you should go read the rest before continuing. We’ll wait for you. We’re always waiting for you.
7. Psalm 10
Getting progressively more and more emo! Check verses 13 through 15 for some “little black backpack” energy.
Why should the wicked scorn God,
say in their hearts, “God does not care”?
But you do see;
you take note of misery and sorrow;
you take the matter in hand.
To you the helpless can entrust their cause;
you are the defender of orphans.
Break the arm of the wicked and depraved;
make them account for their crimes;
let none of them survive.
6. Psalm 142
Verse five of this one really lays the “I’m all allloooooooonnnnnne” on thick.
I look to my right hand to see
that there is no one willing to acknowledge me.
My escape has perished;
no one cares for me.
I think My Chemical Romance must have read this before writing “I’m Not Okay”.
5. Psalm 69
OF COURSE PSALM 69 IS IN THIS LIST! It couldn’t be an emo list without mention of Psalm 69. Verses two through four sound like something Taking Back Sunday or Brand New would sing.
Save me, God,
for the waters have reached my neck.
I have sunk into the mire of the deep,
where there is no foothold.
I have gone down to the watery depths;
the flood overwhelms me.
I am weary with crying out;
my throat is parched.
My eyes fail,
from looking for my God.
You have to love David’s way with descriptions.
4. Psalm 13
Coming in at number four, we have this emo gem. Reminds me of Dashboard Confessional’s “Best Deceptions” or “Screaming Infidelities” (although there is no infidelity going on here!). Check out verses two and three.
How long, Lord? Will you utterly forget me?
How long will you hide your face from me?
How long must I carry sorrow in my soul,
grief in my heart day after day?
How long will my enemy triumph over me?
3. Psalm 22
We are finally getting to the emo-est of the emo. Psalm 22 is not only emo, but long. 32 verses of just pure, raw honesty pouring out all over the page. This is also the psalm that Jesus uttered on the cross and from which some of the prophecies are pulling, which were fulfilled in the crucifixion. Indulge in verses 15 and 16 for a little taste of this despair.
Like water my life drains away;
all my bones are disjointed.
My heart has become like wax,
it melts away within me.
As dry as a potsherd is my throat;
my tongue cleaves to my palate;
you lay me in the dust of death.
2. Psalm 51
These last two psalms were hard to rank but 51 is just slightly less emo than the one that garnered the top spot. When you first read it, you might think, “How on earth is this emo?” but emo doesn’t just mean depressed! David is clearly in anguish here and is trying to reconcile himself with God, similar to how some emo boy might try to plead with his jilted lover. Verses seven through nine read just like a ex’s apology, swearing he’ll be better from now on.
Behold, I was born in guilt,
in sin my mother conceived me.
Behold, you desire true sincerity;
and secretly you teach me wisdom.
Cleanse me with hyssop, that I may be pure;
wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
1. Psalm 88
And now for the most emo psalm of all! Psalm 88. There is nothing darker, nothing more depressed and desperate, nothing more on the brink of complete despair than this psalm. Here it is in all it’s emotional glory:
A song; a psalm of the Korahites. For the leader; according to Mahalath. For singing; a maskil of Heman the Ezrahite.
Lord, the God of my salvation, I call out by day;
at night I cry aloud in your presence.
Let my prayer come before you;
incline your ear to my cry.
For my soul is filled with troubles;
my life draws near to Sheol.
I am reckoned with those who go down to the pit;
I am like a warrior without strength.
My couch is among the dead,
like the slain who lie in the grave.
You remember them no more;
they are cut off from your influence.
You plunge me into the bottom of the pit,
into the darkness of the abyss.
Your wrath lies heavy upon me;
all your waves crash over me.
Because of you my acquaintances shun me;
you make me loathsome to them;
Caged in, I cannot escape;
my eyes grow dim from trouble.
All day I call on you, Lord;
I stretch out my hands to you.
Do you work wonders for the dead?
Do the shades arise and praise you?
Is your mercy proclaimed in the grave,
your faithfulness among those who have perished?
Are your marvels declared in the darkness,
your righteous deeds in the land of oblivion?
But I cry out to you, Lord;
in the morning my prayer comes before you.
Why do you reject my soul, Lord;
and hide your face from me?
I have been mortally afflicted since youth;
I have borne your terrors and I am made numb.
Your wrath has swept over me;
your terrors have destroyed me.
All day they surge round like a flood;
from every side they encircle me.
Because of you, friend and neighbor shun me;
my only friend is darkness.
Do you agree with me? Do you think I got the emo psalms right? Did I leave one off? Tell us in the comments!