Ps 31:1-24. The prayer of a believer in time of
deep distress. In the first part, cries for help are mingled with
expressions of confidence. Then the detail of griefs engrosses his
attention, till, in the assurance of strong but submissive faith, he
rises to the language of unmingled joyful trust and exhorts others to
like love and confidence towards God.
1. Expresses the general tone of feeling of
2-4. He seeks help in God's righteous
government (Ps 5:8), and
begs for an attentive hearing, and speedy and effectual aid. With no
other help and no claim of merit, he relies solely on God's regard to
His own perfections for a safe guidance and release from the snares of
his enemies. On the terms "rock," &c., (compare Ps 17:2; 18:2, 50; 20:6; 23:3;
5, 6. commit my spirit—my life, or
myself. Our Saviour used the words on the Cross [Lu 23:46], not as prophetical, but, as many pious
men have done, as expressive of His unshaken confidence in God. The
Psalmist rests on God's faithfulness to His promises to His people, and
hence avows himself one of them, detesting all who revere objects of
idolatry (compare De 32:21; 1Co 8:4).
7. hast known my soul, &c.—had
regard to me in trouble.
8. shut me up … enemy—abandon to
large room—place of safety (compare
9, 10. mine eye, &c.—denotes extreme
weakness (compare Ps 6:7).
grief—mingled sorrow and indignation
soul and … belly—the whole
10. Though the effects ascribed to grief are
not mere figures of speech—
spent … consumed—must be taken
in the modified sense of wasted and decayed.
iniquity—or, suffering by it (see on
11. among—or, literally, "from," or,
"by" my enemies. The latter clauses describe the progress of his
disgrace to the lowest degree, till,
12. he is forgotten as one dead, and contemned
as a useless broken vessel.
13. For—introduces further reasons for
his prayer, the unjust, deliberate, and murderous purposes of his
14-18. In his profession of trust he includes
the terms of the prayer expressing it.
15. times—course of life.
deliver … hand—opposed to "shut
me up," &c., of Ps 31:8.
16. Make … shine—(Compare Nu 6:25; Ps
4:6). Deprecating from
himself, he imprecates on the wicked God's displeasure, and prays that
their virulent persecution of him may be stopped.
19-21. God displays openly His purposed
goodness to His people.
20. the secret of thy presence—or,
covering of Thy countenance; the protection He thus affords;
27:5 for a similar figure;
"dwelling" used there for "presence" here. The idea of security further
presented by the figure of a tent and a fortified city [Ps 31:21].
22. For I said—literally, "And I said,"
in an adversative sense. I, thus favored, was despondent.
in my haste—in my terror.
cut off … eyes—from all the
protection of Thy presence.
23, 24. the Lord … proud
doer—literally, "the Lord is keeping faith," that is, with
His people, and is repaying, &c. Then let none despair, but take
courage; their hopes shall not be in vain.