Psalm 31

Psalm 31[a]

Prayer of Trust and Thanksgiving

1 For the director.[b] A psalm of David.

2 [c]In you, O Lord, I have taken refuge;
let me never be put to shame;
in your righteousness deliver me.
3 Turn your ear to me,
and act quickly to save me.
Be to me a rock[d] of refuge,
a strong fortress to save me.
4 You are truly my rock and my fortress;
for the sake of your name,[e] lead and guide me.
5 Deliver me from the snare that has been set for me,
for you are my refuge.
6 Into your hands I commend my spirit;[f]
you will redeem me, O Lord, God of truth.
7 You hate those who cling to false idols,
but I put my trust in the Lord.
8 I will rejoice and exult in your kindness[g]
because you have witnessed my affliction
and have taken note of my anguish.
9 You have not abandoned me into the power of the enemy;
rather, you have set my feet in the open.
10 [h]Have mercy on me, O Lord,
for I am in trouble.
My weeping is laying waste to my eyes
as well as my soul[i] and my body.
11 My life is consumed with sorrow
and my years with sighing.
My strength ebbs because of my misery,
and my bones are wasting away.
12 I am an object of scorn
to all my enemies,
a loathsome sight to my neighbors,
and an object of dread to my friends.
When people catch sight of me outside,
they quickly turn away.
13 I have passed out of their minds
like someone who has died;
I have become like a broken vessel.[j]
14 I have heard the hissing of many:
“There is terror on every side,”[k]
as they conspire together against me
and plot to end my life.
15 But I place my trust in you, O Lord.
I say, “You are my God.”
16 My life is in your hands;[l]
deliver me from the power of my enemies,
from the clutches of those who pursue me.
17 Let your face shine[m] upon your servant;
save me in your kindness.
18 [n]Do not let me be put to shame, O Lord,
for I have cried out to you.
Let the wicked be put to shame
and lie silent in the netherworld.
19 Let their lying lips be struck dumb,
lips that speak insolently against the righteous
with pride and contempt.
20 [o]How great is your goodness, O Lord,
which you have stored up[p] for those who fear you
and which you bestow on those who take refuge in you,
in the presence of all the people.
21 You hide them in the safety of your presence
from those who conspire against them;
you keep them safe in your shelter,
far away from contentious tongues.
22 Blessed[q] be the Lord,
for he has manifested his wondrous kindness to me
when I was under siege.
23 I had cried out in terror,
“I have been cut off from your sight.”
But you heard my plea
when I cried out to you for assistance.
24 Love the Lord, all his saints.[r]
The Lord protects his loyal servants,
but the arrogant he repays beyond measure.
25 Be strong and courageous in your hearts,
all you who place your hope in the Lord.

Footnotes

  1. Psalm 31:1 Faith, distress, and gratitude alternate in this prayer, evoking the “confessions” of the prophet Jeremiah, his dolorous destiny, and his intimacy with the Lord (Jer 17:14-18; 20:7-18). At the moment of death on the cross, Jesus will use this psalm to express his trusting abandonment to the Father (see Lk 23:46).
    We should be mindful that God will often place us in a situation in which we can unite our voice to that of Christ in reciting this psalm, especially by letting us share his sufferings and making us become like him in death so that we may rise with him from the dead (see Phil 3:10f).
  2. Psalm 31:1 For the director: these words are thought to be a musical or liturgical notation.
  3. Psalm 31:2 No matter what may be the conflict in which we are enmeshed, God remains the one certitude. The images of the rock and the fortress attest to a serene and unshakable trust in God.
  4. Psalm 31:3 Rock: see note on Ps 18:3.
  5. Psalm 31:4 Name: see note on Ps 5:12.
  6. Psalm 31:6 Into your hands I commend my spirit: last words of Christ on the cross (see Lk 23:46) and St. Stephen (see Acts 7:59). Spirit: life itself.
  7. Psalm 31:8 Kindness: see note on Ps 6:5.
  8. Psalm 31:10 The prayer changes tone; after serenity comes a gasping cry. The stricken person is also one who is despised and rejected, an object of utter contempt by others. This is the despairing cry at times when we seem completely alone.
  9. Psalm 31:10 Soul: see note on Ps 6:4.
  10. Psalm 31:13 Like a broken vessel: a customary comparison for something that has been rendered useless (see Isa 30:14; Jer 19:11; 22:28).
  11. Psalm 31:14 There is terror on every side: a cry used when danger lurks (see Jer 6:25; 20:10; 46:5; 49:29).
  12. Psalm 31:16 My life is in your hands: God is the ultimate master of every moment of everyone’s life.
  13. Psalm 31:17 Face shine: see note on Ps 13:2.
  14. Psalm 31:18 See notes on Pss 5:11; 35.
  15. Psalm 31:20 A moment arrives when the believer experiences anew the power of God’s presence. This holds good despite the mockery and false accusations of enemies, that is, the war of words that constitutes one of the greatest trials of our human relationships. Certain of God, the believer does not let himself become enmeshed in conflicts.
  16. Psalm 31:20 Stored up: the psalmist relies on the Lord who has stored up his goodness (his covenant promises) for his faithful ones.
  17. Psalm 31:22 Blessed: see note on Ps 18:47. Kindness: see note on Ps 4:8.
  18. Psalm 31:24 Saints: see notes on Pss 4:4; 16:3; and 34:10. The arrogant: often equal to the wicked, for the arrogant act as if they have no need of God and are a law to themselves (see Pss 10:2-11; 73:6; 94:2-7; Deut 8:14; Isa 2:17; Ezek 28:2, 5; Hos 13:6).

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