Bible Commentaries

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

Psalms 31

Verse 1-2

1. David"s cry for rescue31:1-2

Because David was trusting in the Lord he called on Him to defend him. He could do this because God had promised to aid those who looked to Him for help in troubling times (e.g, Deuteronomy 28:1-14). David used many figures of speech that picture God as a secure fortress in these verses. [Note: Psalm 31:1-3 also appear in71:1-3.]

Verses 1-24

Psalm 31

This Lamentations -thanksgiving psalm grew out of an experience in David"s life in which his foes plotted to kill him. That incident reminded David that the Lord would protect those who trust in Him. He urged others who might encounter similar affliction to love and trust in God as well.

Verse 3-4

David believed God would free him from his present entangling problems because the Lord had promised to help the righteous in their afflictions.

Verses 3-8

2. David"s confidence in God"s love31:3-8

The psalmist"s confidence that the Lord would protect him was strong.

Verse 5

David committed his life to God"s care. He did so confidently because God had faithfully delivered him in the past and had proved true to His promises. The Lord Jesus prayed the first line of this prayer on the cross ( Luke 23:46). We should also follow this example in our times of suffering ( 1 Peter 4:19).

Verse 6

The opposite of trusting in Yahweh is putting confidence in an idol, a vain object of hope, whatever that object might be (cf. Jonah 2:8).

Verse 7-8

Even though the psalmist had not yet experienced deliverance, he delighted in the loyal love of his God. God had not handed him over to his enemy, so the prospects for the future were encouraging. Even though final deliverance was yet to come, David could praise God as he waited for it since he believed God would be faithful to His promises to help His afflicted. Paul and Silas sang praises to God in the Philippian jail with the same confidence ( Acts 16:25).

Verses 9-13

3. David"s lament over his danger31:9-13

David recounted some of the reasons he needed God"s help. Among other things, he admitted his own sins were partly responsible for his sufferings (v10). Mainly it was the opposition of evil people that accounted for his distress. They had resisted, slandered, and schemed against him. He felt alone in standing for what was right.

"In the psalmists" world the righteous and the wicked do not peacefully coexist in the name of pluralism. Rather the wicked marshal all their cunning and power in an effort to annihilate the righteous ( Psalm 31:13; Psalm 56:5-6; Psalm 71:10; Psalm 143:3)." [Note: Chisholm, "A Theology . . .," p279.]

Verses 14-18

4. David"s prayer for deliverance31:14-18

Reaffirming his trust in the Lord, David called on Him to silence his enemies and to save him from their hateful hands. He asked God to shut their slanderous mouths also.

Verses 19-22

5. David"s praise of God31:19-22

The psalmist extolled Yahweh for His goodness to those who seek refuge in Him. God protects them from evil conspiracies and verbal attacks. The Lord had been faithful to David under attack. The reference to the besieged city ( Psalm 31:21) could be figurative or literal. Even though David"s faith had faltered, God still supported and saved him.

Verse 23-24

6. David"s exhortation to the godly31:23-24

David urged those who hope in God to love Him purposefully because He is faithful to save the godly. He wanted to encourage others as they waited for Yahweh"s salvation.

What about the godly who have perished at the hands of evil oppressors? Our lives do not end when we die. In the light of New Testament revelation we know that God will vindicate the righteous after death if He allows us to fall before the wicked in this life. When David lived he had the promises of the Mosaic Covenant that guaranteed the godly long life in the Promised Land (e.g, Exodus 20:12; et al.). God will vindicate the godly who die prematurely-after death ( Isaiah 26:19; Daniel 12:2; 2 Corinthians 5:10).

In view of God"s consistent faithfulness to His promises to bless the righteous and punish the wicked, the godly can endure periods of persecution and suffering with strong confidence. We can trust in the Lord"s eventual deliverance, and even praise Him as we endure rough times.

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Bibliographical Information
Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Psalms 31". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". 2012.