Psalm 31:1-24

To the Chief Musician. A Psalm of David.

In You, O Lord, I put my trust;
Let me never be ashamed;
Deliver me in Your righteousness.

Bow down Your ear to me,
Deliver me speedily;
Be my rock of refuge,
A fortress of defense to save me.

For You are my rock and my fortress;
Therefore, for Your name’s sake,
Lead me and guide me.

Pull me out of the net which they have secretly laid for me,
For You are my strength.

Into Your hand I commit my spirit;
You have redeemed me, O Lord God of truth.

I have hated those who regard useless idols;
But I trust in the Lord.

I will be glad and rejoice in Your mercy,
For You have considered my trouble;
You have known my soul in adversities,

And have not shut me up into the hand of the enemy;
You have set my feet in a wide place.

Have mercy on me, O Lord, for I am in trouble;
My eye wastes away with grief,
Yes, my soul and my body!

10 For my life is spent with grief,
And my years with sighing;
My strength fails because of my iniquity,
And my bones waste away.

11 I am a reproach among all my enemies,
But especially among my neighbors,
And am repulsive to my acquaintances;
Those who see me outside flee from me.

12 I am forgotten like a dead man, out of mind;
I am like a broken vessel.

13 For I hear the slander of many;
Fear is on every side;
While they take counsel together against me,
They scheme to take away my life.

14 But as for me, I trust in You, O Lord;
I say, “You are my God.”

15 My times are in Your hand;
Deliver me from the hand of my enemies,
And from those who persecute me.

16 Make Your face shine upon Your servant;
Save me for Your mercies’ sake.

17 Do not let me be ashamed, O Lord, for I have called upon You;
Let the wicked be ashamed;
Let them be silent in the grave.

18 Let the lying lips be put to silence,
Which speak insolent things proudly and contemptuously against the righteous.

19 Oh, how great is Your goodness,
Which You have laid up for those who fear You,
Which You have prepared for those who trust in You
In the presence of the sons of men!

20 You shall hide them in the secret place of Your presence
From the plots of man;
You shall keep them secretly in a pavilion
From the strife of tongues.

21 Blessed be the Lord,
For He has shown me His marvelous kindness in a strong city!

22 For I said in my haste,
“I am cut off from before Your eyes”;
Nevertheless You heard the voice of my supplications
When I cried out to You.

23 Oh, love the Lord, all you His saints!
For the Lord preserves the faithful,
And fully repays the proud person.

24 Be of good courage,
And He shall strengthen your heart,
All you who hope in the Lord.

Your righteousness (v.1) — David is confident that God, in His righteousness, will do what is best for David, for God’s righteousness, which is perfect, requires that He stay true to His promises (righteousness and truthfulness being, in the Bible, coordinate, inseparable qualities). And God had promised to establish David’s kingdom (see 2 Samuel 7:16) as well as to give him rest. Not surprisingly, therefore, David employs the same phraseology in v.3b (“Thou will lead me and guide me”) as he does in Psalm 23:2-3, in connection with the same notion of God providing what is best for His child: “He leads me beside waters of rest (plural for emphasis) … He guides me.” That God’s best does not necessarily include immediate deliverance from physical distress or persecution is evident from the quotation of 5b (“Into Thy hand I commit My spirit”) by Jesus Himself on the cross (Luke 23:46) — which, for the sake of God’s greater glory and achieving what was truly best for man, it was the Father’s will that He endure. — Wechsler, pages 95-96

rock (v.3) = a massive rock formation, such as a cliff or the side of a mountain, that is humanly impossible to move.

fortress (v.3) = an inaccessible place (mesuda — related to “Masada” the Jewish fortress on the Dead Sea)

The first part of verse 5 was quoted by Jesus Christ on the cross as recorded in Luke 23:46: And when Jesus had cried out with a loud voice, He said, “Father, ‘into Your hands I commit My spirit.’” Having said this, He breathed His last.

useless idols (v.6) = lying, empty vanities — I think this can refer not just to carved images, but anything that replaces God as a passion or purpose in life

You have set my feet in a wide place (v.8) — the thought here being that the Lord placed David in a place where there was no fear of falling

The sense of verse 11 seems, to me, to be that when David’s neighbors saw how much he was attacked by his enemies, they assumed that he must have been in the wrong.

I am like a broken vessel (v.12) — I think the meaning here is that he had become incapable of performing the task for which he was created.

fear is on every side (v.13) — This phrase occurs in Jeremiah 6:25; 20:3; 46:5; 49:29, and in Jeremiah 20:10, it is quoted and the pattern of the entire verse is repeated. The simile of a broken vessel (v.12) was also used frequently by Jeremiah (Jeremiah 18:4; 19:10-11; 22:28).

Verse 14 would be a powerful response to any affliction.

Make Your face shine upon (v.16) = show favor to

in a strong city (v.21) = in a besieged city, in a city under attack

be of good courage (v.24) — David ends his psalm with an appeal to Israel, using a term employed in Joshua 1:9, at the very beginning of Israel’s national existence.

Both Williams and Pettingill consider this a Messianic psalm, Pettingill because Christ quoted part of verse 5 on the cross, and Williams because he so considers all Davidic psalms. When the psalmist speaks of his “iniquity” in verse 10, Pettingill says that this refers to our iniquities that the Savior took upon Himself. Williams changes the meaning of the word to “affliction,” but I can find nowhere else that this word is translated that way.

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