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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.

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22. And I said in my fear. David here confesses that for his distrust he deserved to be deserted by God and left to perish. It is true that to confess this before men he felt to be a shameful thing; but that he may the more fully illustrate the grace of God to him, he hesitates not to publish the shame of his fault. He repeats almost the same acknowledgement in Psalm 116:11, “I said in my haste, All men are liars.” I am aware that the Hebrew word חפז, chaphaz, is explained by some as meaning flight; as if David, in fleeing from death, because he was unable to make resistance, was stricken with this fear. But I refer it rather to his trouble of mind. Whether, therefore, we translate it haste or fear, it means that he had been, as it were, carried headlong to entertain the thought that he was neglected by God. And this haste is opposed to calm and deliberate consideration; for although David was stricken with fear, he did not faint under the trial, and this persuasion did not continue fixed in his mind. For we know that the faithful are often disquieted by fears and the heat of impatience, or driven headlong as it were by their too hasty or precipitate wishes, but afterwards they come to themselves. That David’s faith had never been overthrown by this temptation appears from the context, for he immediately adds, that God had heard the voice of his supplications; but if his faith had been extinguished, he could not have brought his mind earnestly to engage in prayer, and therefore this complaint was only a lapse of the tongue uttered in haste. Now if peevish hastiness of thought could drive this holy prophet of God, a man who was adorned with so many excellencies, to despair, how much reason have we to fear, lest our minds should fail and fatally ruin us? This confession of David, as we have already observed, serves to magnify the grace of God; but at the same time he sufficiently shows, in the second clause of the verse, that his faith, although severely shaken, had not been altogether eradicated, because he ceased not meanwhile to pray. The saints often wrestle in this manner with their distrust, that partly they may not despond, and that partly they may gather courage and stimulate themselves to prayer. Nor does the weakness of the flesh, even when they are almost overthrown, hinder them from showing that they are unwearied and invincible champions before God. But although David stoutly resisted temptation, he nevertheless acknowledges himself unworthy of God’s grace, of which he in some measure deprived himself by his doubt. For the Hebrew particle אכן, aken, is here to be understood adversatively and rendered yet, intimating that David had been preserved without any desert of his own, inasmuch as God’s immeasurable goodness strove with his unbelief. But as it is a sign of affirmation in Hebrew, I have thought proper to translate it, Yet truly. I have no doubt that he opposes his language to the various temptations with which, it is probable, his mind had been driven hither and thither.




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