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Bible Commentaries

Lange's Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical
Psalms 31

 

 

Verses 1-24

Psalm 31

To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David

1 In thee, O Lord, do I put my trust;

Let me never be ashamed:

Deliver me in thy righteousness.

2 Bow down thine ear to me; deliver me speedily:

Be thou my strong rock, for a house of defence

To save me.

3 For thou art my rock and my fortress;

Therefore for thy name’s sake lead me, and guide me.

4 Pull me out of the net that they have laid privily for me:

For thou art my strength.

5 Into thine hand I commit my spirit:

Thou hast redeemed me, O Lord God of truth.

6 I have hated them that regard lying vanities:

But I trust in the Lord.

7 I will be glad and rejoice in thy mercy:

For thou hast considered my trouble;

Thou hast known my soul in adversities;

8 And hast not shut me up into the hand of the enemy

Thou hast set my feet in a large room.

9 Have mercy upon me, O Lord, for I am in trouble:

Mine eye is consumed with grief,

Yea, my soul and my belly.

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.

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.

12 I am forgotten as a dead man out of mind:

I am like a broken vessel.

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.

14 But I trusted in thee, O Lord:

I said, Thou art my God.

15 My times are in thy hand:

Deliver me from the hand of mine enemies, and from them that persecute me.

16 Make thy face to shine upon thy servant:

Save me for thy mercies’ sake.

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.

18 Let the lying lips be put to silence;

Which speak grievous things proudly and contemptuously against the righteous.

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!

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.

21 Blessed be the Lord:

For he hath shewed me his marvellous kindness in a strong city.

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.

23 O love the Lord, all ye his saints:

For the Lord preserveth the faithful,

And plentifully rewardeth the proud doer.

24 Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart,

All ye that hope in the Lord.

EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL

Its Contents and Composition.—According to Luther, this Psalm “is spoken in the person of Christ and His saints, who are plagued their life long, internally by trembling and alarm, externally by persecution, slander and contempt, for the sake of the word of God, and yet are delivered by God from them all and comforted.” Brentz, Calv, and many of the older interpreters have, with Augustine, interpreted this Psalm as directly Messianic, because the crucified Saviour in the moment of dying ( Luke 23:46) used the words which begin Psalm 31:5. Then the “iniquity,” Psalm 31:10 c, is understood of the sins of the world imputed to Christ. But Stier very properly recognizes in the words of Psalm 31:5 : into Thy hand I commit my spirit, only “the appropriation of an expression which is full of confidence,” which cannot have a prophetical reference, because David, according to Psalm 31:4; Psalm 31:8; Psalm 31:15, hoped for deliverance from the danger still in this life and for this life. Stier maintains the Davidic composition of the Psalm, although he gives up the historical reference of most earlier interpreters, which is again advocated by Delitzsch, to the situation of David in the wilderness of Maôn during his persecution by Saul ( 1 Samuel 23. sq.). There is certainly no weight to be put upon the merely apparent correspondence of the word בְחָפְזִי, Psalm 31:22, with 1 Samuel 23:26, to which the title of the Sept. ἐκστάσεως, Vulg. pro ecstasi is referred by many with the explanation, “for the trembling,” because the Sept, Psalm 31:22, translates ἐκ ἐκστάσει. Yet many resemblances are apparent with the Psalm which are generally put in that period, and if partly the elegiac softness, partly the character of the language remind us of the prophet Jeremiah, and especially Psalm 31:13 a strikingly agrees with Jeremiah 20:10, yet, as even Hupfeld states, there is no evidence in this for the composition of the Psalm by Jeremiah, as Hitzig and Ewald contend, especially as there are frequently found in this prophet expressions and turns of thought from more ancient books, particularly from the Psalm. There is a change in experience, and a transition from expressions of confidence and trust to a lamenting description of need, but this does not show, any more than the final transition from praising God to the exhortation of all the pious, that only after deliverance had taken place (Ruding, Rosenm.), the prayer in time of danger has been connected with thanksgiving for deliverance. When Hengstenberg regards David as speaking from the person of every righteous man in severe trouble, he defaces the historical character of the Psalm, and does away with the limits between explanation and application. The contents are divided into three principal groups, so that at first the prayer for deliverance ( Psalm 31:1-2) bases itself on the confidence in the grace of God peculiar to Him ( Psalm 31:3-5) and previously exhibited to the Psalmist ( Psalm 31:6-8); then from the description of present trouble ( Psalm 31:9-13) it rises anew with protestations of trust in God ( Psalm 31:14-16) and the assurance of being heard ( Psalm 31:17-18); finally it passes over into thankful praise of God for His gracious dealings with all the pious ( Psalm 31:19-20), particularly for the hearing of prayer particularly afforded to the Psalmist ( Psalm 31:21-22), and in the exhortation of all the favored ones to believing hope in God ( Psalm 31:23-24). Compare the hymn: “In dich hab’ ich gehoffet Herr.

[Str. I. Psalm 31:1. In Thee, Jehovah, have I taken refuge.Vid. Psalm 7:1; Psalm 11:1.—Let me not be shamed forever.—Most interpreters, ancient and modern, regard this as=never be shamed, which could not very well be expressed otherwise in Hebrew. Hengstenberg however, interprets it: “Though I am put to shame now, yet let not that shame last forever.” This verse and the two following reappear with few variations in Psalm 71:1; Psalm 71:3.

Psalm 31:2. Be Thou to me for a rock of defence, for a house of fortification, to save me.—Compare these figures with those of Psalm 18:2.—C. A. B.]

[Str. II. Psalm 31:3. For Thou art my rock and my fortress.—Perowne: “This has been called illogical. But is it so illogical as it seems? The Psalmist prays, ‘Be Thou to me,’ or rather ‘become to me, prove Thyself to be, my rock and house of defence; for I know that Thou, and Thou only, art my refuge.’ This is the logic of the heart, if not of the intellect; the logic, it may be added, of every prayer of faith.”—Wilt lead me and guide me.—Perowne: “The futures here and in the next verse are not to be rendered as imperatives. They express the strong hope and confidence that it will be done according to his faith and his prayer.”

Psalm 31:4. Wilt pull me out of the net.—Comp. Psalm 9:15; Psalm 25:15.—For Thou art my defence.—The Thou is emphatic. Moll renders it, for Thou, Thou art, etc.

Psalm 31:5. Into Thy hand I commit my spirit.—Perowne: “Upon the expression of confidence in the power and faithfulness of God, follows the expression of the singer’s resolve. My spirit (ruach) is more than my soul or life (nephesh). It is not only from sickness and death, but from sin and all ghostly enemies, that the man of God would be kept, and therefore he commends to God, not his body or his bodily life alone, but the life of his spirit, which is more precious (comp. Isaiah 38:16, ‘life of my spirit’).—I commend (παρατίθεμαι), i.e. place as a deposit, entrust.”—C. A. B.][FN1]

Str. III. Psalm 31:6. I have hated them that regard vain idols.—The Vulgate, Syriac and Arabic versions translate after the Septuagint, “Thou hast hated,” which is preferred by some interpreters, as Venema, Hitzig, Ewald, Olsh, on account of the contrast in the second member of the verse, comp. in Psalm 5. Psalm 31:5 with Psalm 31:7, whilst they read with Cod170 Kenn. the second person shanêtha. The “regarding” does not refer to portents in the sense of the interpretation of signs and magic (Aben Ezra), nor does it express the obedient regarding in the sense of reverence (most interpreters, with reference to Hosea 4:10; Proverbs 27:18), but the trusting and waiting attention which is contained therein (Rosenm, Hengst, Hupf, Delitzsch). The object is not vain things and things of naught in general (Calv, Ruding, Rosenm, Stier), although these are literally designated as “breath of nothingness,” but the idols as the “unsubstantial things of naught” (Hitzig), as the use of this passage in Jonah 2:9 shows. The plural of hebel denotes likewise in Deuteronomy 32:21; Jeremiah 2:5; Jeremiah 8:19; Jeremiah 14:22, the idols on the side of their vanity. Their delusive nature (Hengst.) is here expressed by שָׁוְא, Psalm 7:14; Jeremiah 18:15. God constitutes the contrast as El êmeth, for which 2 Chronicles 15:3 has Elohe êmeth, with the change from the true being of God which ever proves itself true, to the faithful disposition of God which ever proves itself thus as El êmû Nahum, Deuteronomy 32:4 (Delitzsch).—[As for me, I have trusted in Jehovah.—The I is emphatic, as the Thou in Psalm 31:4, and is opposed to those trusting in vain idols.—C. A. B.]

Psalm 31:7-8. Let me exult and rejoice in Thy mercy, Thou who hast regarded my distress, taken knowledge of the needs of my soul; and hast not shut me up in the hand of the enemy, hast set my feet on a wide place.—In Psalm 31:7 cידע with בּ does not denote a theoretical knowledge, but a practical and operative taking knowledge, a looking into (a being concerned about). Hupfeld says that this construction is an unheard of one, and since usage and the accents do not allow of taking the soul as the object of the knowledge (Luther, Stier), he would supply the object and indeed either the suffix, me, or from the immediate context, my distress. But Delitzsch, as the ancient interpreters, refers to Job 12:9; Job 35:15, and Hitzig compares, besides the last passage, Genesis 19:33; Isaiah 9:8, likewise the Arabic, and remarks that על is used for בּ in Job 37:16.—It is possible to regard אשׁר Psalm 31:7 b as a conjunction=that, because (Geier, Delitzsch, Hitzig), so that the subject of the exultation would be stated in the following clauses, as then likewise the perfects are for the most part regarded as prophetical perfects. But it is much more natural to regard it as a relative clause, as Psalm 31:5 b without the relative, an appeal to previous experience as the motive of the prayer and reason of the hope of being heard (Hupf.), so that Psalm 31:7 a is not an antecedent and a promise (most interpreters [A. V.]), but a prayer (Ruding, J. H. Mich.). [Alexander: “To shut up in the hand of any one is to abandon to his power. The expression is a figurative one, but occurs in prose, and even in the history of David. See 1 Samuel 23:11; 1 Samuel 26:8. The figure of the last clause is a favorite with David. See above, on Psalm 4:1; Psalm 18:19; Psalm 18:36.”—C. A. B.]

Str. IV. [ Psalm 31:9-10. Mine eye is consumed with vexation—my soul and my belly.—Compare Psalm 6:7. The soul and belly are general terms enlarging and adding emphasis to the more specific term, eye. The belly stands for the body, yet with a more particular reference to the bowels as the seat of the affections, or as Delitzsch, “the interior of the body reflecting the spiritual and physical activities and experiences.” The soul and the belly thus represent the entire man. The expressions of Psalm 31:10 are to be compared with Psalm 102:3 sq.; Jeremiah 20:18, as well as Psalm 6. The clauses are parallel, the general terms becoming in each case more specific, thus life has its parallel years; grief, sighing; strength, bones. The bones are the frame-work of the body, vid. Psalm 6:3. His iniquity is regarded by the Psalmist as the real cause of all his trouble.—C. A. B.]

Psalm 31:11. Because of all my adversaries I have become a reproach, and to my neighbors a burden, and a terror to mine acquaintance.—J. D. Mich. already conjectured that מְאֹד was a substantive, with the meaning of burden, and compared with the Arabic. Fleischer, in Delitzsch’s commentary, has proved this more accurately and thus made an end of all the difficulties, which arise if we retain the usual meaning of “very,” which the Sept. already expressed with σφόδρα. It has likewise the present order of words, so the placing of “and to my neighbors” after “friends” (Olsh.) does great violence to the text. The words “because of all my adversaries” could be attached to the preceding clause with less difficulty (Ewald) than this. But the translation which is then proposed, “I have become a reproach even to my neighbors exceedingly,” is wrecked upon the fact that the intensive signification of the ו (even, likewise), which most interpreters with Calvin and Geier accept, in connection with the usual division of the clauses and connection of words cannot be proved. It is admissible to regard the ו as explanatory (= and indeed). But this meaning, accepted here by Piscator, Stier, et al, makes such a drawling clause that Hupfeld would rather suppose that the ו has come into the text by mistake or that a substantive has been omitted. Hitzig translates: fled from my neighbors, since he regards the א as a corruption of a נ, but he now reads no longer מָנֹד, but מֻנָּד. Instead of “because of all my enemies,” he translates likewise: from all, etc, which is certainly better than the translation, more than all (Vulg, and many of the older interpreters, even Rosenm.), although it is likewise allowed by the language.

[ Psalm 31:12. Alexander: “The next stage of his calamity was that of contemptuous oblivion, which usually follows the acute one of disgust and shame described in the foregoing verse.—From the heart,i.e. the memory; the expression seems to correspond exactly to the second member of the English proverb: out of sight, out of mind.—The comparison with an earthen vessel, at best of little value, easily broken, and when broken worthless, only fit to be contemptuously thrown aside, is a favorite with Jeremiah, who appears to have derived it, with some other favorite ideas and expressions, from the Psalm before us. See Jeremiah 19:11; Jeremiah 22:28; Jeremiah 25:34; Jeremiah 48:38, and compare Hosea 8:8.”—C. A. B.]

Psalm 31:13. For I hear the whispering of many; terrors round about; whilst they take counsel together against me—they devise to take away my life.—[The usual interpretation of דִבָּה slander does not suit here as Hupfeld shows, and so Hitzig, Delitzsch, Moll, et al. Ewald translates, report. The phrase, “terrors round about,” magor missabib, is a favorite formula in Jeremiah, probably having become a current phrase in the mouths of the people in troublous times. Jeremiah 20:10; also Jeremiah 6:2; Jeremiah 20:3-4; Jeremiah 46:5; Jeremiah 49:29; Lamentations 2:22.—C. A. B.]

[Str. V. Psalm 31:15. My times are in Thy hand.—Perowne: “My times, i.e, all my life, with its ‘sundry and manifold changes,’ its joys and sorrows, its hopes and conflicts, are not the sport of chance, or the creatures of a blind fate but are in Thy hand, O Thou living personal Redeemer. On this confidence are grounded the petitions which follow and the hopes expressed, Psalm 31:18. The second of the petitions, Psalm 31:16, is borrowed from the High Priest’s blessing, Numbers 6:25. Comp. Psalm 4:7.”

Psalm 31:17. Let the wicked be shamed, be silenced in the world below.—For an explanation of Sheol, vid. Psalm 6:5, and the corresponding fate of the wicked, Psalm 9:15. Alexander: “He distinguishes himself as one who calls upon God, from the wicked who do not, and appeals to the righteousness of God as requiring that defeat, and disappointment, and frustration of the hopes, should fall, not upon the class to which he belongs and of which he is the representative, but upon that represented by his enemies, of whom it has been well said, that they are not reckoned sinners because they are his enemies, but enemies because they are sinners, or in other words, enemies to him because they are the enemies of God.”

Psalm 31:18. Let lying lips be put to silence—that is the silence of destruction, as is clear from Psalm 31:17 where the world below is added. The reference is back to the whispering of Psalm 31:13.—Which speak arrogantly against a righteous man with pride and scorn.—Hupfeld: “עָתָק not=hard (as Geier, J. H. Mich.), nor impudent (as Gesen. and most recent interps.) but arrogant, properly with the neck thrown back comp. Psalm 75:5. ‘Speak not with a stiff neck,’ comp. נְטוּי גָרוֹן, Isaiah 3:16), that is proudly, as in all passages where the word occurs ( Psalm 75:5; Psalm 94:4; 1 Samuel 2:3, and here). So Luther already (stiff) and Rosenm.”—C. A. B.]

[Str. VI. Psalm 31:19. Thou hast laid up.—Perowne: “Literally ‘hidden,’ comp. Psalm 17:4. and ‘the hidden manna,’ Revelation 2:17. This is the love of God manifested to the soul in secret; the next clause tells of its open manifestation, ‘Thou hast wrought.’ ”

Psalm 31:20. Thou screenest them with the screen of Thy countenance from the conspiracies of men.—Hupfeld: “This is here naturally not as Job 24:15, the screen with which his countenance was concealed (mask), but which the countenance of God afforded. The countenance of God (usually in an evil sense as Psalm 21:9) is here the gracious presence of God turned towards the pious in a friendly manner (vid. Psalm 4:6), and the source of all good (vid. Psalm 16:2), particularly His protection, His guarding countenance (comp. the eye of God. Psalm 33:18; Psalm 34:15, comp. Psalm 32:8.) as it marched in the pillar of cloud and of fire with the Israelites through the wilderness, Exodus 33:14-15, which, therefore, in Isaiah 4:5-6 likewise serves as a screen. Here this presence is in connection with the figure of one seeking protection, whom God receives into His dwelling as a guest, where he is ‘before the face of God;’ hence a screen (properly hiding-place, latibulum=מַחֲבֵא comp. Isaiah 4:6; Isaiah 32:2) is attributed to him so far as the dwelling-place of God is such, instead of screen of His tent. Psalm 27:6 (whence the passage was probably derived), comp. the parallel בְסֻכָּה (as in Psalm 27:5); thus mingling it with the figure of a shelter.”—C. A. B.]

Str. VII. Psalm 31:21. In a strong city.—This expression is usually taken as a figure of safety either with the comparison omitted “as in a strong city” (Symm, Stier), or the בּ is regarded as an expression of the comparison, “as a strong city” (Hengst.). If we suppose that there is a historical reference, it is more natural to refer to Ziklag (Delitzsch) than Keila. It is possible from the language to translate; in a besieged city, which then can either be taken as a figure of trouble or be referred to an actual fact. It is taken in the latter reference by Hitzig who refers to Jeremiah 38.

[In my confusion.—Hupfeld: “This is not my hasty flight (Hengst.) but in my surprise, confusion, as Jerome in stupore meo, Aquil. ἐν θαμβάσει, Symm. ἐκπληξει, Calv. in præcepitatione mea = perturbatione animi (which then drives to hasty flight, but is not the flight itself). It is the infin. constr. of חפז=to be terrified, confused (comp. בהל) Deuteronomy 20:3 (with יָרֵא) 2 Samuel 4:4, (לָנוּם) 2 Kings 7:15; Job 40:23; and only afterwards flee (as in the Niphal=הִמָּזוֹן)”—C. A. B.]—I am cut off from the presence of Thine eyes.—Instead of “cut off” (=separated), which Delitzsch and Hupfeld advocate, Hengst. and Hitzig translate after the Rabbins, Geier et al. “blotted out.”

Str. VIII. Psalm 31:23. Jehovah keepeth faith.—It is possible to translate this likewise: Jehovah preserveth the faithful. (Chald, Jerome, Rabbins, Calvin, et al.) finally Hupfeld. [So A. V.]. Yet the parallelism does not force us to regard this abstract as concrete. But this pretended parallelism is rather produced by this interpretation.[FN2]

[ Psalm 31:24. All ye that wait.—Perowne. “(The Psalm ends as Psalm 27.). Hope and waiting are marks peculiarly of the Old Testament dispensation. It is true even in the New, one apostle writes, ‘We are saved by hope.’ And another says, ‘It doth not yet appear what we shall be:’ but he adds what no believer in the days of types and shadows could have said, ‘We know that when He shall appear, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.’ Wonderful indeed is the hopeful trust of the saints of old in God, when we remember that they did not know Him as God manifest in the flesh.—C. A. B.”]

DOCTRINAL AND ETHICAL

1. “This Psalm is again a true song from the depths as well according to the extent and measure of the sufferings as the corresponding experience of faith and grace; therefore it is a song of the struggling Church and for the militant Church.” (Taube). In severe troubles those have a great consolation, who have previously gained not only the true knowledge, but likewise the living knowledge of God and a personal experience of the blessings of trust in God and communion with God. It is to them a true help in prayer and serves to strengthen their faith, as well as to awaken new hopes and encourage to perseverance. David “is in the position to give God a name, which alone has already been a mighty shield in the day of trouble. He names Him the faithful God, has learned to know that all other hopes previous to this, are vain, and knows that God knows about him in the day of need.” (Tholuck).

2. The name of God says not only, who God Isaiah, what God desires, what God does, but likewise reminds the souls of the pious of what they have already received from God and what they may always expect from God. They need merely to entreat it in faith and to accept it and appropriate it in humility with thanksgiving. There is connected with such a remembrance, therefore, a refreshment and an encouragement. John Huss strengthened himself on his way to the stake by repeatedly praying from Psalm 31:5 of this Psalm. The same verse was the last word of the dying Stephen, of Polycarp, of Basil the Great. For many examples: vid. Geier and Bake.

3. The soul often feels itself straitened by bodily trouble; and again anxiety of heart causes likewise the body to fail. The only reliable helper against both kinds of need is Jehovah, the faithful God, whose government is as just as it is gracious. He is the redeeming and the delivering God. It is therefore well done to commit our spirits into the hands of this God even with respect to the life of the body. The servant of God thus declares not only his pious disposition and the wish to be preserved by the power and grace of God, but he likewise makes his deliverance sure. For whether he is externally about to die or to live, his communion with God is strengthened and sealed by this resignation, and thus he gains the pledge, that he has not taken refuge with God in vain.

4. The true communion and closer union of the pious with Jehovah constitute not only the pledge of their deliverance, but at the same time the foundation of their hopes and the means of their realization. For on the one side they know that they are internally and externally separated from the worshippers of idols in all things, by the fact that they hold fast to, witness to and strengthen this communion with God by faith and trust in God in the severest sufferings and trials, amid the terrors which surround them and in connection with the scorn and threats of those who regard them as lost; on the other side they continue to be mindful of their sins as well as their weakness and are led to communion with God in the strongest manner even by this, that they have to base their deliverance as well as their salvation not on their own works and merits, but solely on the power and grace of God and that they can safely expect it from the faithfulness of God. Ut infinitum non potest finiri, ita nec termini misericordiæ statui (Savonarola).

5. There may certainly be times in the life of pious men, when the countenance of God seems to be turned away or veiled from them and the feeling of the presence of God threatens almost to vanish. In such gloomy times the more earnestly the light of the Divine countenance is sought and the more fervently the attestation of the Divine presence, which alone comforts and helps, is implored out of the experience of the trouble of abandonment, the more manifestly is disclosed to the soul, the faithfulness of God, or the Being and Providence of God which are eternally the same, the more vitally do the riches of the Divine fulness of power and grace present themselves, the more powerfully does the remembrance of the self-evidencing miracle of the distribution of these treasures work upon them. Thus the confidence of trust in God returns, and in the assurance of the hearing of prayer, the cry for help is transformed into a song of praise and the praise of the Lord is connected with the exhortation of their companions to love God, in thankfulness for His grace which has been previously shown to them; and the encouragement to steadfastness in waiting upon God in the view of His righteous Providence. The conception of the virtus totius psalmi in the Gloss. ord. is to narrow, “ne carnis fragilitas timeat tot mala seculi.” Burk’s divisions are more correct in his Gnomon: “fiducia erga dominum declaratur; exercita eam promoventia narrantur; preces ad dominum adduntur; usus generalis exinde elictur.”

HOMILETICAL AND PRACTICAL

Our confession says what we know and teach about God; our prayer, what we believe and hope about God; our life how we love and honor God.—Our sins bring us to shame and disgrace, but not so with our trust in God.—Man can do nothing better than trust in God’s faithfulness, build on God’s strength, look upon God’s countenance.—He who has God as his friend, need not fear the crowd of his enemies; God provides him a better refuge than a fortified city.—A hearty trust in God can only exist in connection with a sincere resignation to God, both mutually strengthen one another and lead to waiting for help and salvation.—We can observe how the soul prospers by that upon which it puts its confidence; upon what its love depends; upon what its hope is directed. That man alone is helped, who not only commits his external fortunes, but likewise his spirit into the hand of God.—It is not enough to have hopes in the mind; all depends to what they are directed, upon what they are based, how long they hold out—God sees not only our misery; He is concerned about our needs; He delivers, those who trust Him from ruin; This is reason enough for prayer, praise and thanksgiving,—The effects of sin extend to the soul and the body; but God is the Redeemer and Helper in time of need; this is experienced by those who believe on Him, turn to Him, wait on Him.—We may know that we are innocent towards men and appeal to the righteousness of God to protect us against their unrighteous treatment of us, and yet we must confess ourselves guilty before God and console ourselves with the grace of God.—For those who fear God, there is not only laid up a treasure of good things in the future, but God likewise imparts to them now out of these riches that which is needful of grace.Communion with God is the tabernacle of safety for believers in all the trials and dangers of life.

Starke: Believing hearts speak with their God as a child with his father, secretly lament their troubles to Him, are comforted by His almighty protection and commit themselves to His Divine government.—Although we may not prescribe the time and hour of help to our God, yet He allows us to call upon Him to hasten the help, though with entire resignation to His will.—He who allows himself to be led by human advice and wisdom alone, often errs, but he who is guided by the advice of God can accomplish great things. If Satan and his followers have ventured even to lay snares for our Redeemer, how much more will he strive to do us harm? But he who has the Lord of strength with him will not be injured by him.—The impenitent know of no true sorrow for sin; but the penitent feel anxiety of conscience Song of Solomon, that soul and body are often nigh to death.—A true servant of God is not excluded forever from the light of grace, nor cast out in the darkness.—God’s chamber of grace has many secret corners, in which our enemies will be obliged to leave us alone.—Believers may strengthen themselves and confirm their confidence in God by a faithful use of the promises of grace and a believing use of prayer.

Calvin: Nothing is more difficult when we see our faith mocked by the whole world, than to direct our words to God alone and to rest in the testimony of our conscience that He is our God.—Osiander: Although we are sinners, yet we may call upon God for help on account of the unreasonableness of our enemies, when our cause is a just one.—Selnekker: These are glorious consolations to a godly man: 1) that God gives him to know heavenly Wisdom of Solomon 2) that He protects him against all tyrants and all misfortunes; 3) that He gives him everlasting treasures and everlasting goods, eternal life and eternal blessedness.—Menzel: How shall suffering Christians strengthen their confidence and their faith? David refers us: 1) to God’s righteousness, 2) to His strong power, 3) to the honor of His name, 4) to His faithfulness and goodness, 5) to his own example and experience.—We learn: 1) what distresses and trials befall the believer; 2) that our dear Lord God does not reject His own children on account of such weaknesses, but spares them, and indeed can suffer that they pour out and lament their weaknesses before Him; 3) we should be careful not to meddle with those who are plagued and troubled.—Bake: Let us believe without guile, live without guile, die without guile, and so we will please God.—Arndt: All temporal and eternal consolation arises from this faith and hope, that God is our God.—Where faith and love meet together and both depend on God, God cannot refuse us anything.—Franke: If we had our heart truly given to God, the world would soon show itself displeased.—Frisch: To know one in trouble is the mark of true friendship. The pious David boasts this of our God. Make and retain God as your friend; He knows your soul in trouble. His knowledge is power, consolation and life.—Tholuck: Great evil serves to awaken in man the consciousness of sin.—The faith of David sees not the number and power of his enemies, but the hand of God alone, which distributes to men their lots. Thus the believer transacts his business in his chamber with his God instead of with his enemies; and whilst they fancy that they are entirely safe, the power of his prayers fights against them from heaven.—Schaubach: It is so easy to explain the word “trust:” it is not so difficult to believe that the Almighty God is able to help out of every trouble; but to be sure that the Lord will and wishes to help likewise me and thee in every affliction, in which we have fallen for the sake of His honor, that will only be learned and exercised by true and manifold experience.—Taube: How hope does not let a believer’s heart be ashamed even in the deepest need: 1) it impels to prayer and supports prayer; 2) it hopes even under circumstances where nothing is to be hoped; 3) it is therefore so gloriously crowned with the assurance of a hearing, that it praises loudly and extols the wonderful goodness and faithfulness of the Lord.

[Matth. Henry: They that have in sincerity avouched the Lord for theirs may expect the benefit of His being Song of Solomon, for God’s relations to us carry with them both name and thing.—It is the wisdom and duty of every one of us solemnly to commit our spirits into the hands of God to be sanctified by His grace, devoted to His honor, employed in His service, and fitted for His kingdom.—Those know not how to value their hope in God who cannot find joy enough in that hope to balance their grievances, and silence their griefs.—Let those that are airy and gay take heed of running into extremes, and never set sorrow at defiance; God can find out ways to make them melancholy if they will not otherwise learn to be serious.—Such swallow friends the world is full of, that are gone in winter. Let those that fall on the losing side not think it strange if they be thus deserted, but make sure a Friend in heaven that will not fail them, and make use of Him.—There is enough in God’s goodness both for the portion and inheritance of all His children, when they come to their full age, and for their maintenance and education during their minority. There is enough in bank, and enough in hand.—The saints are God’s hidden ones.—Special preservations call for particular thanksgivings.—Barnes: We shall live as long as God has appointed; we shall pass through such changes as He directs; we shall die when and where and how He chooses. In the faithful discharge of our duty, therefore, we may commit all these things to Him and leave all at His disposal.—Spurgeon: Faith’s repetitions are not vain. The avowal of our reliance upon God in times of adversity is a principal method of glorifying Him.—In our most importunate intercessions, we must find breathing time to bless the Lord; praise is never a hindrance to prayer, but rather a lively refreshment therein.—Better spend our years in sighing than in sinning.—If we wantonly give a portion of our strength to sin, it will by and by take the remainder from us.—We must not look for the reward of philanthropy this side of heaven, for men pay their best servants but sorry wages, and turn them out of doors when no more is to be got out of them.—The sovereign arbiter of destiny holds in His own power all the issues of our life; we are not waifs and straws upon the ocean of fate, but are steered by infinite wisdom toward our desired haven. Providence is a soft pillow for anxious heads, an anodyne for care, a grave for despair.—We generally speak amiss when we are in a hurry. Hasty words are but for a moment on the tongue, but they often lie for years on the conscience.—C. A. B.]

Footnotes:

FN#1 - Perowne: “With these words our Lord breathed out His life, Luke 23:46, as He had before used words from another Psalm in His agony on the cross. The first words were from a Psalm (the22) which, typically at least, foreshadowed His sufferings; whereas, this is not in the same way predictive. But the Holy One of God, in that last hour of mortal agony, chose these words of one of His servants, to express the solemn surrender of His life. And in so doing, He gave them a new interpretation. The Jewish singer only meant by them that he put himself and all his hopes into the hand of God. Jesus meant by them, that by His own Acts, of His own free will, He gave up His spirit, and therewith His life, to the Father. And they who have died with their Lord, have died with the same words on their lips. These were the last words of Polycarp, of Bernard, of Huss, of Jerome of Prague, of Luther, Melanchthon, and many others. ‘Blessed are they,’ says Luther, ‘who die not only for the Lord, as martyrs: not only in the Lord, as all believers; but likewise with the Lord, as breathing forth their lives in these words, Into Thy hand I commend my spirit.’ ”—C. A. B.]

FN#2 - Hengst, Hitzig, Riehm and Alexander agree with Moll in his rendering. Riehm: “The clause is parallel not with the first clause of the verse, but with the third as the accusatives indicate, and forms the contrast to it, as in Exodus 34:7.” Perowne follows Hupfeld and the more ancient interpreters.—C. A. B.]

 


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Bibliography Information
Lange, Johann Peter. "Commentary on Psalms 31:4". "Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/lcc/psalms-31.html. 1857-84.

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