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Out of the Depths I Cry, LORD

Out of the depths I cry, LORD

Versifier: Robert Swets (1981)
Tune: GENEVAN 130
Published in 1 hymnal

Printable scores: PDF, MusicXML
Audio files: MIDI

Versifier: Robert Swets

(no biographical information available about Robert Swets.) Go to person page >

Text Information

First Line: Out of the depths I cry, LORD
Title: Out of the Depths I Cry, LORD
Versifier: Robert Swets (1981)
Language: English
Copyright: Text © 1987, CRC Publications


A cry from the depths, and a profession of confidence in God's gracious forgiveness and help.

Scripture References:
st. 1 = vv. 1-4
st. 2 = vv. 5-8

One of the fifteen "Songs of Ascents" (120-134) the Israelites sang as they went up to worship at the temple in Jerusalem, Psalm 130 may have been composed for worshipers who came to the temple to pray when suffering affliction (the "depths" referred to in v. 1). These suffering worshipers acknowledge that their deepest need is for God's forgiveness, but that is also their hope and assurance, for the LORD forgives the sins of the people (st. 1). In that confidence, they eagerly "wait for the LORD" to be gracious and to deliver them from their trouble. And to all God's people they say, "Hope in the LORD, for . . . with him is full redemption" (v. 7; st. 2). In early Christian liturgy Psalm 130 was designated as one of the seven penitential psalms (the others are 6, 32, 38, 51, 102, and 143).

Robert Swets (b. Minneapolis, MN, 1950) wrote the unrhymed versification of Psalm 130 in 1980 for the Psalter Hymnal. Another setting of Psalm 130 is at 256.

Educated at Calvin College, Grand Rapids, Michigan, and the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Swets served as choir director in several Reformed and Christian Reformed congregations in the Grand Rapids area. Swets has published Sixteen Sonnets (1975) and a number of other poems.

Liturgical Use:
Like the other penitential psalms, 130 is most useful in the service of confession/forgiveness of sin. It is particularly appropriate for Lent. See further comment at PHH 131.

--Psalter Hymnal Handbook



GENEVAN 130 was first published in the 1539 edition of the Genevan Psalter. The 1564 harmonization by Claude Goudimel (PHH 6) originally placed the melody in the tenor. GENEVAN 130 is a Dorian tune consisting of four long lines in which the rhythm of line 3 is a fitting contrast to the repeated rhyt…

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Psalter Hymnal (Gray) #130
  • Full Score (PDF, XML)
  • Bulletin Score (PDF)
  • Bulletin Score (melody only) (PDF)


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