World Wide Study Bible
a Bible passage
31. Psalm 31
1In thee, O Jehovah, do I take refuge;
Let me never be put to shame:
Deliver me in thy righteousness.
2Bow down thine ear unto me; deliver me speedily:
Be thou to me a strong rock,
A house of defence to save me.
3For thou art my rock and my fortress;
Therefore for thy name's sake lead me and guide me.
4Pluck me out of the net that they have laid privily for me;
For thou art my stronghold.
5Into thy hand I commend my spirit:
Thou hast redeemed me, O Jehovah, thou God of truth.
6I hate them that regard lying vanities;
But I trust in Jehovah.
7I will be glad and rejoice in thy lovingkindness;
For thou hast seen my affliction:
Thou hast known my soul in adversities;
8And thou hast not shut me up into the hand of the enemy;
Thou hast set my feet in a large place.
9Have mercy upon me, O Jehovah, for I am in distress:
Mine eye wasteth away with grief, yea, my soul and my body.
10For my life is spent with sorrow,
And my years with sighing:
My strength faileth because of mine iniquity,
And my bones are wasted away.
11Because of all mine adversaries I am become a reproach,
Yea, unto my neighbors exceedingly,
And a fear to mine acquaintance:
They that did see me without fled from me.
12I am forgotten as a dead man out of mind:
I am like a broken vessel.
13For I have heard the defaming of many,
Terror on every side:
While they took counsel together against me,
They devised to take away my life.
14But I trusted in thee, O Jehovah:
I said, Thou art my God.
15My times are in thy hand:
Deliver me from the hand of mine enemies, and from them that persecute me.
16Make thy face to shine upon thy servant:
Save me in thy lovingkindness.
17Let me not be put to shame, O Jehovah; for I have called upon thee:
Let the wicked be put to shame, let them be silent in Sheol.
18Let the lying lips be dumb,
Which speak against the righteous insolently,
With pride and contempt.
19Oh how great is thy goodness,
Which thou hast laid up for them that fear thee,
Which thou hast wrought for them that take refuge in thee,
Before the sons of men!
20In the covert of thy presence wilt thou hide them from the plottings of man:
Thou wilt keep them secretly in a pavilion from the strife of tongues.
21Blessed be Jehovah;
For he hath showed me his marvellous lovingkindness in a strong city.
22As for me, I said in my haste,
I am cut off from before thine eyes:
Nevertheless thou heardest the voice of my supplications
When I cried unto thee.
23Oh love Jehovah, all ye his saints:
Jehovah preserveth the faithful,
And plentifully rewardeth him that dealeth proudly.
24Be strong, and let your heart take courage,
All ye that hope in Jehovah.
1. In thee, O Jehovah! have I put my trust. Some are of opinion that this psalm was composed by David, after he had most unexpectedly escaped out of the wilderness of Maon; to which I do not object, although it is only a doubtful conjecture. Certainly he celebrates one or more of the greatest of his dangers. In the commencement he tells us what kind of prayer he offered in his agony and distress; and its language breathes affection of the most ardent nature. He takes it for a ground of hope that he trusted in the Lord, or continued to trust in him; for the verb in the past tense seems to denote a continued act. He held it as a principle, that the hope which depends upon God cannot possibly be disappointed. Meanwhile, we see how he brings forward nothing but faith alone; promising himself deliverance only because he is persuaded that he will be saved by the help and favor of God. But as this doctrine has been expounded already, and will yet occur oftener than once, it is sufficient at present to have glanced at it. Oh! that all of us would practice it in such a manner as that, whenever we approach to God, we may be able with David to declare that our prayers proceed from this source, namely, from a firm persuasion that our safety depends on the power of God. The particle signifying for ever may be explained in two ways. As God sometimes withdraws his favor, the meaning may not unsuitably be, Although I am now deprived of thy help, yet cast me not off utterly, or for evermore. Thus David, wishing to arm himself with patience against his temptations, would make a contrast between these two things, — being in distress for a time, and remaining in a state of confusion. 636636 “Feroit une antithese entre ces deux choses, Estre en destresse pour un temps, et demeurer confus.” — Fr. But if any one choose rather to understand his words in this way, “Whatever afflictions befall me, may God be ready to help me, and ever and anon stretch forth his hand to me, as the case requires,” I would not reject this meaning any more than the other. David desires to be delivered in the righteousness of God, because God displays his righteousness in performing his promise to his servants. It is too much refinement of reasoning to assert that David here betakes himself to the righteousness which God freely bestows on his people, because his own righteousness by works was of no avail. Still more out of place is the opinion of those who think that God preserves the saints according to his righteousness; that is to say, because having acted so meritoriously, justice requires that they should obtain their reward. It is easy to see from the frequent use of the term in The Psalms, that God’s righteousness means his faithfulness, in the exercise of which he defends all his people who commit themselves to his guardianship and protection. David, therefore, confirms his hope from the consideration of the nature of God, who cannot deny himself, and who always continues like himself.
2. incline thine ear unto me. These words express with how much ardor David’s soul was stimulated to pray. He affects no splendid or ornate language, as rhetoricians are wont to do; but only describes in suitable figures the vehemence of his desire. In praying that he may be delivered speedily there is shown the greatness of his danger, as if he had said, All will soon be over with my life, unless God make haste to help me. By the words, house of defense, fortress, and rock, he intimates, that, being unable to resist his enemies, his hope rests only on the protection of God.