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Bible Commentaries

Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures

Psalms 131

Verses 1-3

Psalms 131:0

Introduction Scholars generally agree that the songs of ascent were read or sung when the children of Israel were gathered together.

Psalms 131:1 (A Song of degrees of David.) LORD, my heart is not haughty, nor mine eyes lofty: neither do I exercise myself in great matters, or in things too high for me.

Psalms 131:1 Word Study on “degrees” - Strong says the Hebrew word “ma’alah” ( מַעֲלָה ) (H4609) literally means, “elevations,” and in book of Psalms it means, “a climatic progression.” Strong says this word is derived from the Hebrew verb “‘alah” ( עָלָה ) (H5927), which means “to ascend.” This noun occurs 45 times in the Old Testament Scriptures and is often translated “steps,” as in 1 Kings 10:19. In 2 Kings 20:9-11 “ma’alah” ( מַעֲלָה ) is translated “degrees,” referring to the ten steps the shadow regressed on the king’s sundial.

Psalms 131:1 “neither do I exercise myself in great matters, or in things too high for me” - Comments - This would be like seeking the limelight or being know-it-all person (Romans 12:16).

Romans 12:16, “Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits.”

Psalms 131:1 Comments - David refers to his heart, his eyes, and his activities in Psalms 131:1, which reflects the three-fold make-up of man: spirit, soul and body. Brandon Cash says David is essentially saying, “God, I am not you.” He suggests this phrase in Psalms 131:0 is limited to God’s majesty. [121] David is saying he will not try to do what only God can do in his time (Psalms 71:19; Psalms 106:21-22).

[121] Brandon Cash, “Hurry Up and Wait,” Evangelical Homiletics Society 2007 Conference, Talbot School of Theology, La Mirada, California, 12 October 2007.

Psalms 71:19, “Thy righteousness also, O God, is very high , who hast done great things: O God, who is like unto thee!”

Psalms 106:21-22, “They forgat God their saviour, which had done great things in Egypt; Wondrous works in the land of Ham, and terrible things by the Red sea.”

Psalms 131:1 Scripture Reference - Note a similar verse:

1 Peter 5:5-6, “Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:”

Psalms 131:2 Surely I have behaved and quieted myself, as a child that is weaned of his mother: my soul is even as a weaned child.

Psalms 131:2 Comments - In Psalms 131:2 David is saying that that he has calmed his soul, he is at rest. He is content and resting as a child in his mother’s arms. To lean on the arm of flesh is not rest, but to lean on the everlasting arms is truly rest (Isaiah 30:15).

Isaiah 30:15, “For thus saith the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel; In returning and rest shall ye be saved; in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength: and ye would not.”

Note a similar verse in 1 Peter 5:7, “Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.”

Psalms 131:3 Let Israel hope in the LORD from henceforth and for ever.

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Bibliographical Information
Everett, Gary H. "Commentary on Psalms 131". Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures. 2013.