Psalm 31

Notes (NET Translation)

For the music director; a psalm of David.

1 In you, O LORD, I have taken shelter! Never let me be humiliated! Vindicate me by rescuing me!

2 Listen to me! Quickly deliver me! Be my protector and refuge, a stronghold where I can be safe!

3 For you are my high ridge and my stronghold; for the sake of your own reputation you lead me and guide me.

4 You will free me from the net they hid for me, for you are my place of refuge.

5 Into your hand I entrust my life; you will rescue me, O LORD, the faithful God.

Jesus uses v 5a in Luke 23:46 before dying. This is not a resignation to fate but rather a statement of trust in God’s ability to deliver and protect.

The psalmist sought (v 18) and received deliverance from death and trusted in the coming of such deliverance; Jesus, on the other hand, gave expression to the same statement of trust as he died. He anticipated not deliverance from death, but trusted God even in dying and death (a trust that was later fulfilled in resurrection). It is in the light of the use of the psalm in the words of Jesus that its transformation for contemporary faith becomes clear. The psalmist prayed for life, for deliverance from death, and that is the psalm’s fundamental and legitimate sense. But in the context of resurrection faith, the psalm may also be used as a prayer in death, expressing trust and commitment to the life lying beyond the grave. It was a perspective denied to the psalmist, but follows naturally from the use of his words in the mouth of Jesus.1

6 I hate those who serve worthless idols, but I trust in the LORD.

7 I will be happy and rejoice in your faithfulness, because you notice my pain and you are aware of how distressed I am.

8 You do not deliver me over to the power of the enemy; you enable me to stand in a wide open place.

9 Have mercy on me, for I am in distress! My eyes grow dim from suffering. I have lost my strength.

10 For my life nears its end in pain; my years draw to a close as I groan. My strength fails me because of my sin, and my bones become brittle.

The LXX and Sym read “because of my weakness” instead of “because of my sin.”

If people are inclined to assume that trouble always links with sin or that no one can ever truly claim to be committed to God, LXX reminds them that the former is not so and that the latter can be. If people are inclined to exclude or forget the possibility that all our lives are affected by our wrongdoing and that our trouble can be increased by it, MT reminds them of that.2

11 Because of all my enemies, people disdain me; my neighbors are appalled by my suffering — those who know me are horrified by my condition; those who see me in the street run away from me.

12 I am forgotten, like a dead man no one thinks about; I am regarded as worthless, like a broken jar.

13 For I hear what so many are saying, the terrifying news that comes from every direction. When they plot together against me, they figure out how they can take my life.

14 But I trust in you, O LORD! I declare, “You are my God!”

15 You determine my destiny! Rescue me from the power of my enemies and those who chase me.

16 Smile on your servant! Deliver me because of your faithfulness!

17 O LORD, do not let me be humiliated, for I call out to you! May evil men be humiliated! May they go wailing to the grave!

The situation is one in which there has to be shame somewhere: either the suppliant or the enemies are faithless people. Thus the converse of a plea not to be shamed is a plea that the enemies may have that experience as their accusations are shown to be false.3

18 May lying lips be silenced — lips that speak defiantly against the innocent with arrogance and contempt!

19 How great is your favor, which you store up for your loyal followers! In plain sight of everyone you bestow it on those who take shelter in you.

20 You hide them with you, where they are safe from the attacks of men; you conceal them in a shelter, where they are safe from slanderous attacks.

21 The LORD deserves praise for he demonstrated his amazing faithfulness to me when I was besieged by enemies.

22 I jumped to conclusions and said, “I am cut off from your presence!” But you heard my plea for mercy when I cried out to you for help.

23 Love the LORD, all you faithful followers of his! The LORD protects those who have integrity, but he pays back in full the one who acts arrogantly.

24 Be strong and confident, all you who wait on the LORD!

Bibliography

Craigie, Peter C., and Marvin E. Tate. Psalms 1-50. Nashville: Nelson Reference & Electronic, 2004.

Goldingay, John. Psalms: Volume 1: Psalms 1-41. Kindle Edition. Baker Academic, 2006.

Kidner, Derek. Psalms 1-72: An Introduction and Commentary. Downers Grove, Ill.: Inter-Varsity Press, 2008.

VanGemeren, Willem. Psalms. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan, 2008.


  1. Craigie 2004, p. 263 
  2. Goldingay 2006, loc. 8879-8881 
  3. Goldingay 2006, loc. 8944-8946 
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