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Bible Commentaries

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible
Psalms 31



Verse 1

Psalm 31:1-24. The prayer of a believer in time of deep distress. In the first part, cries for help are mingled with expressions of confidence. Then the detail of griefs engrosses his attention, till, in the assurance of strong but submissive faith, he rises to the language of unmingled joyful trust and exhorts others to like love and confidence towards God.

Expresses the general tone of feeling of the Psalm.

Verses 2-4

He seeks help in God‘s righteous government (Psalm 5:8), and begs for an attentive hearing, and speedy and effectual aid. With no other help and no claim of merit, he relies solely on God‘s regard to His own perfections for a safe guidance and release from the snares of his enemies. On the terms “rock,” etc., (compare Psalm 17:2; Psalm 18:2, Psalm 18:50; Psalm 20:6; Psalm 23:3; Psalm 25:21).

Verse 5-6

commit my spirit — my life, or myself. Our Savior used the words on the Cross [Luke 23:46 ], not as prophetical, but, as many pious men have done, as expressive of His unshaken confidence in God. The Psalmist rests on God‘s faithfulness to His promises to His people, and hence avows himself one of them, detesting all who revere objects of idolatry (compare Deuteronomy 32:21; 1 Corinthians 8:4).

Verse 7

hast known my soul, etc. — had regard to me in trouble.

Verse 8
enemy — abandon to (1 Samuel 23:11).

large room — place of safety (compare Psalm 18:19).

Verse 9-10

mine eye, etc. — denotes extreme weakness (compare Psalm 6:7).

grief — mingled sorrow and indignation (Psalm 6:7).

soul and … belly — the whole person.

Verse 10

Though the effects ascribed to grief are not mere figures of speech -

spent … consumed — must be taken in the modified sense of wasted and decayed.

iniquity — or, suffering by it (see on Psalm 40:12).

Verse 11

among — or, literally, “from,” or, “by” my enemies. The latter clauses describe the progress of his disgrace to the lowest degree, till,

Verse 12

he is forgotten as one dead, and contemned as a useless broken vessel.

Verse 13

For — introduces further reasons for his prayer, the unjust, deliberate, and murderous purposes of his foes.

Verses 14-18

In his profession of trust he includes the terms of the prayer expressing it.

Verse 15

times — course of life.

deliver … hand — opposed to “shut me up,” etc., of Psalm 31:8.

Verse 16
shine — (Compare Numbers 6:25; Psalm 4:6). Deprecating from himself, he imprecates on the wicked God‘s displeasure, and prays that their virulent persecution of him may be stopped.

Verses 19-21

God displays openly His purposed goodness to His people.

Verse 20

the secret of thy presence — or, covering of Thy countenance; the protection He thus affords; compare Psalm 27:5 for a similar figure; “dwelling” used there for “presence” here. The idea of security further presented by the figure of a tent and a fortified city [Psalm 31:21 ].

Verse 22

For I said — literally, “And I said,” in an adversative sense. I, thus favored, was despondent.

in my haste — in my terror.

cut off … eyes — from all the protection of Thy presence.

Verse 23-24

the Lord … proud doer — literally, “the Lord is keeping faith,” that is, with His people, and is repaying, etc. Then let none despair, but take courage; their hopes shall not be in vain.


Copyright Statement
These files are a derivative of an electronic edition prepared from text scanned by Woodside Bible Fellowship.
This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.

Bibliography Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Psalms 31:4". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". 1871-8.

Lectionary Calendar
Wednesday, October 21st, 2020
the Week of Proper 24 / Ordinary 29
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