Psalm 31 – “Petition for Well-Being”

Hebrew-English Text
I. Summary
The psalmist trusts in God, asks to be healed from his sickness, and urges his community to trust in God.

II. Photo
The psalmist is ostracized: “I am a horror to my friends – those who see me on the street avoid me.” (v. 12b)

III. Select Verses
2-4:  I seek refuge in You, O LORD; may I never be disappointed; as You are righteous, rescue me. Incline Your ear to me; be quick to save me; be a rock, a stronghold for me, a citadel, for my deliverance. For You are my rock and my fortress; You lead me and guide me as befits Your name.
10-14: Have mercy on me, O LORD, for I am in distress; my eyes are wasted by vexation, my substance and body too. My life is spent in sorrow, my years in groaning; my strength fails because of my iniquity, my limbs waste away. Because of all my foes I am the particular butt of my neighbors, a horror to my friends; those who see me on the street avoid me. I am put out of mind like the dead; I am like an object given up for lost. I hear the whisperings of many, intrigue on every side, as they scheme together against me, plotting to take my life.
20-21: How abundant is the good that You have in store for those who fear You, that You do in the full view of men for those who take refuge in You. You grant them the protection of Your presence against scheming men; You shelter them in Your pavilion from contentious tongues.
24-25: So love the LORD, all you faithful; the LORD guards the loyal, and more than requites him who acts arrogantly. Be strong and of good courage, all you who wait for the LORD.

IV. Outline
1. Superscription
2. Trust and hope
3. Initial plea
4-7. Affirmation of trust
8-9. Thanks for salvation
10a. Initial petition
10b-14. Complaint
15-16a. Trust
16b-18a. Petition
18b-19. Imprecation: evil people/talk
20-21. Trust in being righteous (pedagogic)
22-23. Blessing/recollection of trouble and salvation
24-25. Pedagogic exhortation

V. Comment
No comment today. Stay tuned.

VI. Works Used
(see “Commentaries” page)
Collins, John J. “Introduction to the Hebrew Bible,” (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2004).
Craigie, Peter C. “Psalms 1-50” Word Biblical Commentary vol. 19 (Waco, Texas: Wordbooks, 1983).
Gerstenberger, Erhard S. “Psalms Part 1 with an Introduction to Cultic Poetry” Forms of Old Testament Literature (Michigan: Eerdmans, 1988).
Photo taken from