Old Testament Commentary - Psalms 31

by Don R. Hender

In ancient days when the written word was not readily available to the common man, the 'traditions' or sacred beliefs of the people were committed to rhyme, rhythm or music. David was a 'Psalmist' a singer of songs. But the songs would not have been necessarily the 'writings' of David, but rather the common traditional hymns of the people which they would recite or sing in order to remember what the words of God were to them. Thus, again, these psalms are to be considered more a reflection of the works of the prophets put to 'hymns' rather than merely the personal recitings of David. David, though the young portion of his life was a model of righteousness, was not a prophet of God. His personally writen songs would not have the weight of scripture as we see and accept in the Psalms today. The Psalms contain many scriptural words of the earlier prophets which did not survive the years of passage anyother way but by that of being preserved in the hymns of the Hebrews. Thus rather than the Psalms being considered the creation of David, they are better considered the hymns of the Hebrews which David did sing and perhaps somewhat popularized more than what they would have been. David would be called upon in his youth to sing the 'Hebrew Hymns' in Saul's court. And though a likely gifted musician with a good singing voice, it is most unlikely that David as such a youth was the author of his songs, but rather the singer and even if in some sense the 'composer', like Handel and the 'Messiah', or Watts and such modern hymns based upon scriptural references. In these cases the words set to the music were those scriptural words of the prophets. Further, many of the psalms are not even attributible to David being the noted singer of them, as they are added post David to the 'Hebrew Hymnal'. Thus when one reads the psalms such as this one which is stated to be Messianic, it needs be remembered that the psalmist, whether singing a known common favorite of the people, or whether singing anew the words from the prophets, is in fact singing from such scriptural sources which make the Psalms prophetic and or a Messianic nature. And thus even beyond the psalmist personal 'interpretation and application, if there be any, the Hebrew psalm itself can always be placed back into a scriptural context of application beyond the single current singer of the psalm.
Scriptural Text [& Editorial]
Commentary & Explanation
Footnotes ~ References ~ JST
       CHAPTER 31          

David trusts in the Lord and rejoices in his mercy—Speaking Messianically he says: Into thine hand I commit my spirit—He counsels: O love the Lord, all ye his saints, for the Lord preserveth the faithful.

To the chief Mucician, A Psalm of David
  1 In thee, O LORD, do I put my atrust; let me never be bashameda: deliver me in thy crighteousness.
  2 Bow down thine ear to me; deliver me speedily: be thou my strong rock, for an house of defence to save me.
  3 For thou art my rock and my fortress; therefore for thy aname's sake lead me, and guide me.

Thy Name's Sake 
Often the sinful soul feels little deserving of God's good treatment and mercies. In such states of feeling so unworthy, one tend to plead to God that God will minister unto them to their benefit in their unworthy state, not for the sake of the sinner, but to the glory of God. Often in Israel's history the plea to the Lord was to stand forth for Israel so that the name of the God of Israel would stand well before the world and not for any particular deservngness of Israel itself. And other way of perceiveing this is that before God, man is nothing. And it is only to the glory of God and for the sake of God's good name and his covenant to man, that the Lord does condesend to preserve and administer to the needs of his people. This seems to be the proper interpretation and understanding of the concept of God acting for his own name's sake. Certainly David of his own merits had fallen and did not deserve God's protective hand and strong right arm, but for the sake of Jehovah's anointed King as set before the world, did David plead for God to act.
In this respect it seems appropriate to recall that it is God's work and glory to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man. Thus for the glory of God, for the glory of His name, for his name's sake, is falledn man redeemed from their fallen state and brought into the state of immortality and even eternal life through Christ the Lord.
In another sense, David, David meaning 'Beloved', was in fact himself a 'name sake' of Jehovah. Jehovah being the 'Beloved Son of the Father. David thus bore one of the scared names of Jehovah as his own name. He was in this sense Jehovah's name sake. This is an important item to be aware of, as 'David', 'Beloved', is one of the many names of our God. And by the name of David will he rule and reign as King David the Messiah of the Millennial Reign.
 1a let me never be ashamed When David sings for the Lord to never let him be ashamed one must consider that the path we walk to God has two sides and thus does also shame. David in particular experienced the feelings of 'shame' withdrawal on both fronts. That is some who have come unto the Lord who is Christ and have accepted and do call Him Lord, do at times before the world tend to fell feelings of 'shame' of declaring God and membership in his Church before the world. King David faced the high and mighty, the proud and pompous, the wealthy and the sophisticated of the worldly kingdoms which had hierarchys of Gods, and riches and palaces. Before the 'high society and sophistries' of the world, the simple humble religious faith in but one God can tend to cause one to shrink from the societal pressures of the world and be ashames of Christ as the case may be.
On the other hand, if one bears the burden of sins, which we all do to varying degree, the weight of that sin and the shame thereof, whether forgiven and repented of or not, can cause one to experience shame before the face of those he associates with in the realm of the religeous arena. David had sinned, grievious sins to the point that his rewards on high would be curtailed. What was David to do? Hide in a closet from shame and not face the world on a daily basis. He was King, anointed of God to such status. He could not hide his face from his fellows in shame. He could not just stay home from Church and avoid everyone for the rest of his life. He would have to face them, knowing full well that many if not all of them knew of David's transgressions. Often the shame of sin keeps one from the face of God.
David had to deal with the two edge sword of shame and he requested in the prayer of song that the Lord would aid him in not being ashames. He needed help to not be ashamed of the God of Israel before the nations of the world. And he need help to not be ashamed before all of Israel for the sins he had committed. Though one cannot condone David's transgressions, one must admire the fact that David did not turn away from the Lord but did knowingly seek him still, for as Peter put it, when one knows an understands just who is God, there is none else to whom one can turn. He is God and before him we all are sinners. There is none other to whom we can go. There is none other to whom we can turn. Give David credit, despite his sinful nature and the sinners laid to his charge, David knew this well. This is no other God and there is no other way. To whom else can one turn when one come to this level of understanding and knowledge. The answer is to none else, for only the Lord is placed to be our God. And to him only can we turn and in him only can we trust.
 1a TG Trust in God
   b TG Shame
   c Dan. 9:16
 3a Ps. 23:3; Ps. 109:21
  4 Pull me out of the anet that they have laid bprivily for me: for thou art my strength.
  5 Into thine hand I commit my aspirita: thou hast redeemed me, O LORD God of truth.
  6 I have hated them that regard lying vanities: but I trust in the LORD.
 5a Into thine hand I commit my spirit From some prophetic source now lost, other than in David's personal application of it, the phrase 'Into thine hands I commit or commend my spirit' is here applied by David unto himself though it is the prophetic words which some prophet has set forth as those which the Messiah would state as he completed his missiion as dying upon the cross. From this utterance known likely from the days of Adam and Enoch to be the final words of the crucified Redeemer, it is learned that upon one's death, if they do indeed seek redemption and resurrection through the Lord, they are to commit their spirits unto him as opposed to some other source for keeping in death until the day of redeptionand resurrection does come. Christ upon the cross did commit his spirit unto the Father as he body passed into the state of death. May all of us so stipulate our spirits unto the care of God as we pass from this mortality and await the coming status of immortality in the day of the Lord.  4a Ps. 9:15; Ps. 25:15
   b OR secretly
 5a Luke 23:46
  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 abelly.
  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 afled from me.
  12 I am aforgotten as a dead man out of mind: I am like a broken bvessel.
  13 For I have heard the aslander of many: fear was on every side: while they took counsel together against me, they devised to take away my life.
  14 But I atrusted 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 ashine upon thy servant: save me for thy mercies' sake.
  17 Let me not be aashamed, O LORD; for I have called upon thee: let the wicked be ashamed, and let them be silent in the grave.
  18 Let the alying lips be put to bsilence; which speak grievous things proudly and contemptuously against the righteous.
  19 Oh how great is thy agoodness, 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 apavilion from the bstrife 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 ahaste, I am cut off from before thine eyes: nevertheless thou heardest the voice of my supplications when I cried unto thee.
  23 O alove the LORD, all ye his saints: for the LORD bpreserveth the cfaithful, and plentifully drewardeth the proud doer.
  24 Be of good acourage, and he shall strengthen your heart, all ye that bhope in the LORD.