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Bible Commentaries

John Trapp Complete Commentary
Psalms 31



Verse 1

Psalms 31:1 « To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David. » In thee, O LORD, do I put my trust; let me never be ashamed: deliver me in thy righteousness.

A Psalm of David] Made, say Vatablus and others, at that time when Saul pursued David in the wilderness of Maon, 1 Samuel 23:24. But by many circumstances and passages of this psalm it appeareth more probable that it was, as the former, composed when Absalom was up, 2 Samuel 15:10-12 Sss Psalms 31:11-12; Psalms 31:22 of this psalm, with 2 Samuel 17:24; 2 Samuel 17:27; 2 Samuel 19:33; Joseph. Antiq. lib. 7, cap. 9.

Ver. 1. In thee, O Lord, do I put my trust] Hic Psalmus varia mixtus et magna effectuum vicissitudine insignis est. This psalm is strangely mixed and made up of many and divers passions and petitions, according to the change of times and estate. In the time of affliction he prayeth, in the time of consolation he praiseth the Lord, Ecclesiastes 7:15. In these three first verses is little said but what had been before said, and is already opened.

Let me never be ashamed] i.e. Repulsed, worsted, defeated.

In thy righteousness] And not according to mine own righteousnes, saith Kimchi, or, according to thy faithfulness.

Verse 2

Psalms 31:2 Bow down thine ear to me; deliver me speedily: be thou my strong rock, for an house of defence to save me.

Ver. 2. Bow down thine ear to me, deliver me] This repetition of his petition is no vain babbling, as Matthew 6:9, but an effect and an evidence of greatest earnestness, as Matthew 26:44.

For an house of defence] Where the enemy can as little hurt me as when I was in the hold, 1 Samuel 22:4.

Verse 3

Psalms 31:3 For thou [art] my rock and my fortress; therefore for thy name’s sake lead me, and guide me.

Ver. 3. For thou art my rock and my fortress] Such places David had been forced to fly to; but still he trusted in God.

Lead me, and guide me] Duc me, et deduc me. A metaphor from captains and generals, who lead on their armies with greatest art and industry (Vatab.).

Verse 4

Psalms 31:4 Pull me out of the net that they have laid privily for me: for thou [art] my strength.

Ver. 4. Pull me out of the net] That noted net, as the Hebrew hath it; Nam Zu denotat rem notam omnibus, saith Kimchi. David was not caught in it; but the enemies presumed he would be, so selling the hide before the beast was taken; as did likewise the proud Spaniards, when, coming against England in 1588, they triumphed before the victory, and sang,

Tu quae Romanas suevisti temnere leges,

Hispano disces subdere cells iugo.

But blessed be God, the net brake, and we escaped, Psalms 124:7.

For thou art my strength] As a tree is strongest at the root, and a branch or bough next the trunk or stock, and the farther it groweth out from thence the smaller and weaker it groweth too; so the nearer the creature is to God the stronger; and on the contrary.

Verse 5

Psalms 31:5 Into thine hand I commit my spirit: thou hast redeemed me, O LORD God of truth.

Ver. 5. Into thine hand I commit my spirit] So did our Saviour, so did St Stephen, and divers of the dying martyrs, with these very words, most apt and apposite surely for such a purpose. But what a wretch was that Huberus, who died with these words in his mouth, I yield my goods to the king, my body to the grave, and my soul to the devil.

Thou hast redeemed] And so hast best right unto me.

O Lord God of truth] I know whom I have trusted.

Verse 6

Psalms 31:6 I have hated them that regard lying vanities: but I trust in the LORD.

Ver. 6. I have hated them that regard lying vanities] i.e. Idols, or aught else besides the living God, who giveth us all things richly to enjoy, 1 Timothy 6:17, Jonah 2:8. {See Trapp on "Jonah 2:8"} Vanitates vanitatis, Vatablus rendereth it, and telleth us that some understand it of astrology. R. David doth so in this note of his upon the text, Astrologos et incantatores in fuga mea non consului, sed in Domino et prophetis eius confisus sum; I have not consulted astrologers and soothsayers in my trouble, but have trusted to the Lord and his prophets.

Verse 7

Psalms 31:7 I will be glad and rejoice in thy mercy: for thou hast considered my trouble; thou hast known my soul in adversities;

Ver. 7. I will be glad and rejoice] In the midst of trouble faith will find matter of joy; as extracting abundance of comfort in most desperate distresses from the precious promises and former experiences.

Thou hast known my soul in adversity] God knows our souls best, Psalms 1:6, and we know him best, in adversity. Isaiah 63:16, the Church thought she should know him in the midst of all his austerities.

Verse 8

Psalms 31:8 And hast not shut me up into the hand of the enemy: thou hast set my feet in a large room.

Ver. 8. Thou hast not shut me up, &c.] i.e. Not given me into their power. See Psalms 27:12.

Thou hast set my feet in a large room] So that I can freely and fearlessly go in and out. See Psalms 25:15.

Verse 9

Psalms 31:9 Have mercy upon me, O LORD, for I am in trouble: mine eye is consumed with grief, [yea], my soul and my belly.

Ver. 9. Have mercy upon me, O Lord] Antiquum obtine, Do now, Lord, as thou hitherto hast done.

For I am in trouble] Overwhelmed with the terrors of death, and ready to sink, animus mihi pendet, I know not what to do.

Mine eye is consumed with grief] Computruit facies mea, mine eye ( nitor oculi, vel facies) is gnawn away, or worm-eaten.

Yea, my soul, and my belly] Belly may be taken for the whole body, which was pined away and infeebled with pensiveness. Vatablus by soul understandeth the natural appetite after meat, and by belly the digestion, both which were decayed.

Verse 10

Psalms 31:10 For my life is spent with grief, and my years with sighing: my strength faileth because of mine iniquity, and my bones are consumed.

Ver. 10. For my life is spent with grief, &c.] Which threateneth the thread of life, and soon snappeth it in sunder, 2 Corinthians 7:10. See Proverbs 17:22; Proverbs 17:25. {See Trapp on "Proverbs 17:22"} {See Trapp on "Proverbs 17:25"}

My strength faileth] So that I stumble and stagger, Psalms 27:2.

Because of mine iniquity] Or, my misery; for sin hales misery at the heels of it; and the Scripture often confoundeth the names of the cause and of the effects.

And my bones are consumed] Heb. moth eaten.

Verse 11

Psalms 31:11 I was a reproach among all mine enemies, but especially among my neighbours, and a fear to mine acquaintance: they that did see me without fled from me.

Ver. 11. I was a reproach among all mine enemies] Such as Shimei, who now insulted lustily; Leoni mortuo vel mus insultat.

But especially among my neighbours] My near allies and friends, such as Absalom and Ahithophel; these most vexed me.

And a fear to mine acquaintance] It is no new thing that those which should most love men do sometimes, either for fear or flattery of others, make least account of them.

They that did see me without (or, in the streets) fled from me] To shift for themselves; since to own me, whom they could not help, was bootless, and, besides, perilous.

Verse 12

Psalms 31:12 I am forgotten as a dead man out of mind: I am like a broken vessel.

Ver. 12. I am forgotten as a dead man out of mind] How soon dead men are forgotten, even by those that promise to remember them longest of all, experience teacheth; trust not to protestations of best friends in that case.

I am like a broken vessel] Of which there is no further use or esteem.

Verse 13

Psalms 31:13 For I have heard the slander of many: fear [was] on every side: while they took counsel together against me, they devised to take away my life.

Ver. 13. For I have heard the slander of many] Or, as Calvin, Mollerus, and others render it, magnorum, of the great ones, such as take counsel (so it followeth here), which the vulgar seldom do; and their tongues oft are no slander, as we say.

Fear was on every side] Magormissabib, Pashur’s new name and doom, Jeremiah 20:3-4; but good David’s condition at this time: without were fightings, within were fears.

While they took counsel together against me] See 2 Samuel 16:20, where we have an exposition of this verse. {See Trapp on "2 Samuel 16:20"}

Verse 14

Psalms 31:14 But I trusted in thee, O LORD: I said, Thou [art] my God.

Ver. 14. But I trusted in thee, O Lord] In this distress I acted my faith upon thy power and promises; this was right, and that which God aimed at; for we can no way more honour him. Hence it is that he is very jealous of our trust; neither can he endure that any idol of jealousy should be set up in our hearts.

I said, Thou art my God] In nearest relation and dearest affection, whatever befalleth me.

Verse 15

Psalms 31:15 My times [are] in thy hand: deliver me from the hand of mine enemies, and from them that persecute me.

Ver. 15. My times are in thy hand] Both the time of my abode on earth and all those various occurrences of that time, all is predetermined by thee; particularly how long I shall suffer, and when I shall be delivered. See 1 Chronicles 29:30, Job 7:20.

Deliver me from the hand of mine enemies] Oh command deliverances for me; for thou canst easily do it. And here observe how David riseth in his requests; he laid the covenant for a foundation, and then he well knew he might be bold to ask anything.

Verse 16

Psalms 31:16 Make thy face to shine upon thy servant: save me for thy mercies’ sake.

Ver. 16. Make thy face to shine, &c.] Which by reason of the clouds of affliction clustering about me, I cannot for present perceive. {See Trapp on "Psalms 4:6"} {See Trapp on "Psalms 30:7"}

Save me, &c.] i.e. Deliver me out of these dangers.

Verse 17

Psalms 31:17 Let me not be ashamed, O LORD for I have called upon thee: let the wicked be ashamed, [and] let them be silent in the grave.

Ver. 17. Let me not be ashamed] i.e. Disappointed of my hopes.

Let the wicked be ashamed] For they call not upon God, but shame those that do, Psalms 14:4; Psalms 14:6.

Let them be silent in the grave] Let their large spoken mouths be stopped with a spadeful of mould.

Verse 18

Psalms 31:18 Let the lying lips be put to silence; which speak grievous things proudly and contemptuously against the righteous.

Ver. 18. Let the lying lips be put to silence] Heb. the lips of a lie, mendaciorum artifices, as Jeremiah 9:3; Jeremiah 9:5. Among the Persians it was αιχιστον το φευδεσθαι, held a base shame to tell a lie. Oh that it were so among Christians! When shall that golden age return, that the argument may again proceed, Sacerdos est, non fallet; Christianus est, non mentietur; He is a minister, he will not deceive; he is a Christian, therefore he will not lie? (Herod. in Clio; Xenoph. Cyroep.; Strab. lib. 15).

Which speak grievous things] Heb. a hard thing; dura et atr ociaverba, durable and longlasting reproaches, such as stick, and leave a scar, though the wound be healed up. Calumniare audacter, aliquid saltem adhaerebit. Such mouths shall one day smoke for it, 1:15.

Proudly and contemptuously] Heb. In pride and contempt. It is pride that causeth contempt of others. Compare Proverbs 3:34, 1 Peter 5:5. David elsewhere complaineth of proud, rhetorical mockers.

Verse 19

Psalms 31:19 [Oh] how great [is] thy goodness, which thou hast laid up for them that fear thee; [which] thou hast wrought for them that trust in thee before the sons of men!

Ver. 19. Oh how great is thy goodness] The prophet venteth himself by way of exclamation, as finding it unspeakable; fitter to be believed than possible to be discoursed; words are too weak to utter it. What shall we say to these things? quoth that great apostle, Romans 8:31.

Which thou hast laid up] Heb. hidden. Besides that good which God worketh openly for his before the sons of men, a great part of his wonderful kindness is hidden from the world, and in part also from themselves, both in respect of the fountain, 1 John 3:1-2, Colossians 3:3, the fulness, 1 Corinthians 2:9, and the inward sealing up thereunto, 1 Corinthians 2:11-12, Revelation 2:17, Proverbs 14:10.

For them that fear thee; that trust in thee] For faith must be actuated; and when we have such a precious promise as this we must suck and be satisfied, Isaiah 66:11, put on to get the goodness of God to work, which is done by believing. Catch hold, as David did, 1 Chronicles 17:23-26; and make the utmost of God’s loving-kindness laid up in a promise; press it, and oppress it, till the goodness be expressed out of these breasts of consolation.

Verse 20

Psalms 31:20 Thou shalt hide them in the secret of thy presence from the pride of man: thou shalt keep them secretly in a pavilion from the strife of tongues.

Ver. 20. Thou shalt hide them in the secret of thy presence] In the golden cabinet of thy gracious providence, where they shall be as safe as if they were in heaven.

Thou shalt keep them secretly in a pavilion] A kind of speech taken from princes’ retiringrooms and withdrawing chambers, which are sacred places (Diodati).

From the strife of tongues] From the calumnies and contumelies of graceless tongue-smiters. The Arabic rendereth it, from the insurrection of tongues. Sedition is first in the tongue, and then in the hand; an unruly tongue setteth on fire, James 3:5 But the saints have a promise that as no weapon formed against them shall prosper, so every tongue that riseth against them in judgment shall be condemned, Isaiah 54:17.

Verse 21

Psalms 31:21 Blessed [be] the LORD: for he hath shewed me his marvellous kindness in a strong city.

Ver. 21. Blessed be the Lord] This should always be in a Christian’s mouth, as Deo gratias was in Austin’s. He can never want matter, and should, therefore, ever find a heart.

For he hath shewed me his marvellous kindness] Mirificavit bonitatem suam, hath been far better to me than my hopes.

In a strong city] In Mahanaim, 2 Samuel 18:27, where it is likely he made this and some other psalms.

Verse 22

Psalms 31:22 For 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.

Ver. 22. For I said in my haste, I am cut off, &c.] A frightful and sinful saying, doubtless, full of diffidence and despair. See the like Psalms 116:11, Job 9:16, 13:22, Psalms 77:1-3; Joh_2:4. Thus he spake when he, trembling, fled, and was posting away.

Nevertheless thou heardest the voice of my supplication] A pitiful poor one though it were, and full of infirmity. God considereth whereof we are made; he taketh not advantages against his suppliants; it would be wide with them if he should.

Verse 23

Psalms 31:23 O love the LORD, all ye his saints: [for] the LORD preserveth the faithful, and plentifully rewardeth the proud doer.

Ver. 23. O love the Lord] Let not your hasty discontent beget in you hard thoughts of God or heavy thoughts against yourselves, as it hath done in me; but love him, trust him, and he will do you right.

And plentifully rewardeth] Heb. repayeth abundantly, or with surplus, in seipso vel in semine suo. It may be rendered, Upon the remainder, and understood of the proud man’s posterity, wherein God will be sure to meet with him.

Verse 24

Psalms 31:24 Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the LORD.

Ver. 24. Be of good courage, &c.] Bear up, be stout, and steadfast in the faith under trials. See Psalms 27:14, with the note. Thus good courage cometh not but from the true love of God, Psalms 31:23.


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Bibliography Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Psalms 31:4". John Trapp Complete Commentary. 1865-1868.

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