Psalms 31


לַמְנַצֵּחַ מִזְמוֹר לְדָוִד׃   31:1

Psal. 31:1   For the leader, a psalm of David's.

בְּךָ יְהוָה חָסִיתִי אַל־אֵבוֹשָׁה לְעוֹלָם בְּצִדְקָתְךָ פַלְּטֵנִי׃   31:2

Psal. 31:2   In You, O Lord, do I trust;

                              Let me never be ashamed;

                     in Your justice, deliver me.

הַטֵּה אֵלַי אָזְנְךָ מְהֵרָה הַצִּילֵנִי הֱיֵה לִי לְצוּר־מָעוֹז לְבֵית מְצוּדוֹת לְהוֹשִׁיעֵנִי׃   31:3

Psal. 31:3   Extend Your "ear” to me;

                              quickly rescue me;

                      be as a strong Rock for me,

                              as a House of strength, to save me.

כִּי־סַלְעִי וּמְצוּדָתִי אָתָּה וּלְמַעַן שִׁמְךָ תַּנְחֵנִי וּתְנַהֲלֵנִי׃   31:4

Psal. 31:4   For You are my Rock and my Fortress;

                              and for the sake of Your name,

                     may You lead me and guide me.

תּוֹצִיאֵנִי מֵרֶשֶׁת זוּ טָמְנוּ לִי כִּי־אַתָּה מָעוּזִּי׃   31:5

Psal. 31:5   May You fetch me from the net that they have set hidden for me,

                               for You are my Strength.

As you can see here and in several verses below (16, 19, 20, 21, 22, and 23), this psalm contains some uncharacteristically long phrases in both the Hebrew and the English translation.  This makes me wonder if the psalm is one of David’s compositions or if these verses were added to it later by someone else.

בְּיָדְךָ אַפְקִיד רוּחִי פָּדִיתָה אוֹתִי יְהוָה אֵל אֱמֶת׃   31:6

Psal. 31:6   In Your hand I must commit my spirit.

                               You delivered me, O Lord, God of truth.

שָׂנֵאתִי הַשֹּׁמְרִים הַבְלֵי־שָׁוְא וַאֲנִי אֶל־יְהוָה בָּטָחְתִּי׃   31:7

Psal. 31:7   I hate those who maintain false vanities,

                               whereas I rush for refuge to the Lord.

אָגִילָה וְאֶשְׂמְחָה בְּחַסְדֶּךָ אֲשֶׁר רָאִיתָ אֶת־עָנְיִי יָדַעְתָּ בְּצָרוֹת נַפְשִׁי׃   31:8

Psal. 31:8   I must be glad and rejoice in Your mercy,

                                that You perceive my trouble;

                      in afflictions You know my soul.

וְלֹא הִסְגַּרְתַּנִי בְּיַד־אוֹיֵב הֶעֱמַדְתָּ בַמֶּרְחָב רַגְלָי׃   31:9

Psal. 31:9   And You do not deliver me into the hand of the enemy;

                                You set my feet in a broad space.

For some possible clarification of the meaning of the second line, see my remarks pertaining to Psal. 4:2.

                                                                                                                        [Return to Psal. 4:2]

חָנֵּנִי יְהוָה כִּי צַר־לִי עָשְׁשָׁה בְכַעַס עֵינִי נַפְשִׁי וּבִטְנִי׃   31:10

Psal. 31:10   Have mercy on me, O Lord, for trouble is mine;

                                consumed with grief is my eye, my soul, and my body.

כִּי כָלוּ בְיָגוֹן חַיַּי וּשְׁנוֹתַי בַּאֲנָחָה כָּשַׁל בַּעֲוֺנִי כֹחִי וַעֲצָמַי עָשֵׁשׁוּ׃   31:11

Psal. 31:11   For my life is spent with sorrow,

                                and my years with sighing;

                       my strength is feeble with sin,

                                and my bones are consumed.

מִכָּל־צֹרְרַי הָיִיתִי חֶרְפָּה וְלִשֲׁכֵנַי מְאֹד וּפַחַד לִמְיֻדָּעָי רֹאַי בַּחוּץ נָדְדוּ מִמֶּנִּי׃   31:12

Psal. 31:12   I am a reproach from all my enemies,

                                but to my neighbors especially,

                       and a fear to those who know me;

                                 those who see me outside flee from me.

נִשְׁכַּחְתִּי כְּמֵת מִלֵּב הָיִיתִי כִּכְלִי אֹבֵד׃   31:13

Psal. 31:13   I am forgotten as dead, out of mind;

                                 I am like a broken vessel.

כִּי שָׁמַעְתִּי דִּבַּת רַבִּים מָגוֹר מִסָּבִיב בְּהִוָּסְדָם יַחַד עָלַי לָקַחַת נַפְשִׁי זָמָמוּ׃   31:14

Psal. 31:14   For I hear of the slander of many;

                                 through their counseling together against me,

                        fear is out of everywhere.

                                They plot to take away my life.

וַאֲנִי עָלֶיךָ בָטַחְתִּי יְהוָה אָמַרְתִּי אֱלֹהַי אָתָּה׃   31:15

Psal. 31:15   Yet I place my trust on You, O Lord;

                                 I say, “You are my God.”

בְּיָדְךָ עִתֹּתָי הַצִּילֵנִי מִיַּד־אוֹיְבַי וּמֵרֹדְפָי׃   31:16

Psal. 31:16   In Your “hand” are my seasons;

                                deliver me from the hand of my enemies and from my persecutors.

הָאִירָה פָנֶיךָ עַל־עַבְדֶּךָ הוֹשִׁיעֵנִי בְחַסְדֶּךָ׃   31:17

Psal. 31:17   Let Your countenance shine upon Your servant:

                                Deliver me in Your merciful kindness.

יְהוָה אַל־אֵבוֹשָׁה כִּי קְרָאתִיךָ יֵבֹשׁוּ רְשָׁעִים יִדְּמוּ לִשְׁאוֹל׃   31:18

Psal. 31:18   O Lord, may I not be disappointed that I call upon You;

                                may the wicked ones be ashamed;

                        may they go silent to the grave.

תֵּאָלַמְנָה שִׂפְתֵי שָׁקֶר הַדֹּבְרֹות עַל־צַדִּיק עָתָק בְּגַאֲוָה וָבוּז׃   31:19

Psal. 31:19   May the lips of falsehood be made silent,

                                whose speeches against a just man are arrogant with pride and contempt.

There’s some rather strange Hebrew grammar in the phrase translated in the second line of this verse.  In my humble opinion, either the third Hebrew word from last or the fourth word (from the front) in this verse is in error.  The former is spelled as a singular adjective, but should be plural (as in are arrogant) to agree with the number of the fourth word, which is plural.  On the other hand, the latter word may be misspelled and should be singular.  The fourth word is peculiar in its own right, as it is masculine in gender but has here a unique feminine plural suffix that doesn’t occur anywhere else in the bible.  To my mind it’s feasible to attribute these seeming “errors” to David’s possibly hinting at his own contempt by suggesting that the arrogant and false speeches of the men against the just are like those of women, that is, unfounded gossip.  On the other hand, it may just be that the word for speeches was spelled as feminine plural to agree with lips, which is also feminine plural.  In this case, the fourth from last word should also be feminine plural.

מָה רַב־טוּבְךָ אֲשֶׁר־צָפַנְתָּ לִּירֵאֶיךָ פָּעַלְתָּ לַחֹסִים בָּךְ נֶגֶד בְּנֵי אָדָם׃   31:20

Psal. 31:20   How great is Your goodness that You reserve for those who revere You,

                                You practice for those who put trust in You,

                        before the children of humanity!

תַּסְתִּירֵם בְּסֵתֶר פָּנֶיךָ מֵרֻכְסֵי אִישׁ תִּצְפְּנֵם בְּסֻכָּה מֵרִיב לְשֹׁנוֹת׃   31:21

Psal. 31:21   You would hide them in the secret of Your presence from the pride of people;

                                You would hide them in a pavilion from the contention of evil speakers.

בָּרוּךְ יְהוָה כִּי הִפְלִיא חַסְדּוֹ לִי בְּעִיר מָצוֹר׃   31:22

Psal. 31:22   Blessed is the Lord,

                                for He has shown the wonder of His kindness to me in a strong city.

וַאֲנִי אָמַרְתִּי בְחָפְזִי נִגְרַזְתִּי מִנֶּגֶד עֵינֶיךָ אָכֵן שָׁמַעְתָּ קוֹל תַּחֲנוּנַי בְּשַׁוְּעִי אֵלֶיךָ׃   31:23

Psal. 31:23   Yet I said in my haste, “I am cut off from before Your sight.”

                                Nevertheless You heard the sound of my supplication in my crying out to You.

אֶהֱבוּ אֶת־יְהוָה כָּל־חֲסִידָיו אֱמוּנִים נֹצֵר יְהוָה וּמְשַׁלֵּם עַל־יֶתֶר עֹשֵׂה גַאֲוָה׃   31:24

Psal. 31:24   Love the Lord, all His holy ones!

                                The Lord preserves the faithful,

                       while repaying the rest, of excellence.

חִזְקוּ וְיַאֲמֵץ לְבַבְכֶם כָּל־הַמְיַחֲלִים לַיהוָה׃   31:25

Psal. 31:25   Have courage and He will strengthen your heart,

                                 all you who wait for the Lord.

In this psalm, although David refers often to the Lord’s faithfulness, he also reveals occasional ambivalence in his faith (vss. 10, 18, 23) and recognition of his iniquities (v. 11).

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