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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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9. Have mercy upon me, O Jehovah! To move God to succor him, he magnifies the greatness of his misery and grief by the number of his complaints; not that God needs arguments to persuade him, but because he allows the faithful to deal familiarly with him, that they may disburden themselves of their cares. The greater the number of afflictions with which they are oppressed, the more do they encourage themselves, while bewailing them before God, in the hope of obtaining his assistance. These forms of expression may seem hyperbolical, but it is obvious that it was David’s purpose to declare and set forth what he had felt in his own person. First, he says that his eyes, his soul, and his belly, were consumed with grief. From this it appears that it was neither lightly nor for a short time that he was thus tormented and vexed by these calamities. Indeed, he was endued with so much meekness of spirit that he would not allow himself to be excited easily, and by a slight circumstance, nor vexed by immoderate sorrow. He had also been for a long time inured to the endurance of troubles. We must, therefore, admit that his afflictions were incredibly severe, when he gave way to such a degree of passion. By the word anger, too, he shows that he was not at all times of such iron-like firmness, or so free from sinful passion, as that his grief did not now and then break forth into an excess of impetuosity and keenness. Whence we infer that the saints have often a severe and arduous conflict with their own passions; and that although their patience has not always been free from peevishness, yet by carefully wrestling against it, they have at last attained this much, that no accumulation of troubles has overwhelmed them. By life some understand the vital senses, an interpretation which I do not altogether reject. But I prefer to explain it as simply meaning, that, being consumed with grief, he felt his life and his years sliding away and failing. And by these words again, David bewails not so much his pusillanimity of mind as the grievousness of his calamities; although he was by no means ashamed to confess his infirmity, for which he was anxiously seeking a remedy. When he says, that his strength failed under his sorrow, some interpreters prefer reading, under his iniquity; and I confess that the Hebrew word עון, on, bears both significations, 644644     “The word עוך,” says Hammond, “as it signifies sin, so it signifies also the punishment of sin, Isaiah 53:6, 11;” and in this last sense this critic here understands it, that it may be connected with grief and sighing, which are mentioned in the preceding clause, and may express those miseries which David’s sins had brought upon him. “וזע” observes Rogers, “signifies here and in some other places, affliction, the punishment or consequence of sin; see Genesis 4:13; 1 Samuel 28:10; 2 Kings 7:9,” etc. - Book of Psalms in Hebrew, metrically arranged, vol. 2, p.188. The Septuagint reads, in poverty or affliction, in which it is followed by the Syriac and Vulgate. nay, more frequently it signifies an offense or a fault. But as it is sometimes used for punishment, I have chosen the sense which appears most agreeable to the context. And although it is true that David was accustomed to ascribe the afflictions which he at any time suffered to his own fault, yet, as he is only recounting his miseries here, without mentioning the cause of them, it is probable that, according to his usual manner, he expresses the same thing twice by different words.