On Psalm 31

(Luk 23:46)Darby And Jesus, having cried with a loud voice, said, Father, into thy hands I commit my spirit. And having said this, he expired.

The words "into thy hands I commit my spirit" correspond to Ps 31:5. These words of the Lord are more than just a statement that he was committing his spirit to the Father; they are also a reference to Ps 31:5. In order to determine how Ps 31:5 applied to the death of the Lord Jesus on the cross, Psalm 31 will be examined first.

(Psa 31:1) In thee, O LORD, do I put my trust; let me never be ashamed: deliver me in thy righteousness.
(Psa 31:2) Bow down thine ear to me; deliver me speedily: be thou my strong rock, for an house of defence to save me.
(Psa 31:3) For thou art my rock and my fortress; therefore for thy name's sake lead me, and guide me.
(Psa 31:4) Pull me out of the net that they have laid privily for me: for thou art my strength.

The psalm is a prayer for deliverance. Since verse 10 speaks about "mine iniquity", it is clear that the psalm as a whole cannot be applied to the Lord Jesus, who lived without sin. Verse 22 does not fit either the Lord Jesus, for it states that "I said in my haste, I am cut off from before thine eyes". Verse 22 does not fit the foreknowledge of the Lord, who knew the end from the beginning. Nonetheless, the psalm foreshadows trials experienced by the Lord. The Lord was tested many times and in various ways (such as Mk 1:13, 8:11, 10:2, 12:13, Mt 22:35, Lk 11:16, Jn 8:6). There have been also various schemes against him (such as in Mk 3:6, 11:18, Jn 11:53). In the end he was tested with extreme pain and rejection. Thus, when the Holy Spirit gave David this psalm, he testified not only about personal trials of David, but also about future trials of the Messiah.

(Psa 31:5) Into thine hand I commit my spirit: thou hast redeemed me, O LORD God of truth.

It would be interesting to consider how this verse applied to David. When David said "into thine hand I commit my spirit", he was entrusting himself to God, trusting that he will be delivered and saved from death. He also said "thou hast redeemed me". The Hebrew verb translated "to redeem" speaks about doing whatever is necessary in order to save someone. For example, the verb appears in 1Sa 14:45, Nu 18:15-17, Ex 13:13, and Ps 49:7-9 (49:8-10). In 1Sa 14:45 the people redeemed Jonathan by pleading on his behalf. In Num 18:15-17 the law stated that firstborn sons had to be redeemed and a sum of money was to be paid for their redemption. In Ex 13:13 the law required the firstling of a donkey to be redeemed with a lamb. Such requirements illustrated that the redemption of a life has a cost. Addressing this topic, Ps 49:7-9 states that no man "can by any means redeem his brother, nor give to God a ransom for him ... that he should still live for ever, and not see corruption". Therefore, God himself paid the price required for man to have eternal life. As we read in 1Pe 1:18-19, "ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold ... but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot". Thus, the reference to Ps 31:5 in Lk 23:46 in the context of the cross pointed out to the fact that the redemption price for David and for all believers was being paid at that time. Old Testament saints were redeemed before the redemption price was paid in the sense that it was a sure thing that the price would be eventually paid.

Now, if Ps 31:5 would be interpreted as applying to Christ, the words "Into thine hand I commit my spirit" indicate that he entrusted his spirit to God the Father for what would follow after his death. Ps 31:5 could be contrasted to Ac 7:59. Stephen said "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit" (Ac 7:59). Stephen did not say "I will give you my spirit" but requested "receive my spirit". Stephen did not have authority over the time of his death. He only knew that he would die at some point while he was stoned. On the other hand, speaking of his life, Jesus said "I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father" (Jn 10:18).

(Psa 31:6) I have hated them that regard lying vanities: but I trust in the LORD.
(Psa 31:7) I will be glad and rejoice in thy mercy: for thou hast considered my trouble; thou hast known my soul in adversities;

(Psa 31:8)MKJV and have not shut me up into the hand of the enemy; You have set my feet in a broad place.

The fact that "thou hast known my soul in adversities" could remind us that Jesus did not have an easy life. His adversities emphasized his character, for he did no wrong in spite of facing extreme testing. Speaking of him, Isaiah said that he was "a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief" (Is 53:3).

(Psa 31:9) Have mercy upon me, O LORD, for I am in trouble: mine eye is consumed with grief, yea, my soul and my belly.
(Psa 31:10) For my life is spent with grief, and my years with sighing: my strength faileth because of mine iniquity, and my bones are consumed.

Without question, this verse does not apply to Jesus, since we read about "mine iniquity". The Lord Jesus is without sin. However, the suffering mentioned in this verse did foreshadow the suffering of Christ. While David suffered because of his sin, Jesus suffered for our sins. As we read in 2Co 5:21, "he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him". Now, the verb translated "spent" in Ps 31:10 means also "to end, finish, complete, ... ". A translation "my life is ended with grief, and my years with sighing" would remind us of the end of Messiah's life.

(Psa 31:11) 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 fled from me.

The Lord was a reproach to both Gentiles (Mk 15:16-20, Lk 23:36-37) and Jews (Mk 14:65, Mt 27:41-43). The statement that "I was ... a fear to mine acquaintance" was illustrated at the cross when "all his acquaintance ... stood afar off" (Lk 23:49). Additionally, when Jesus was arrested, everyone left him and fled (Mk 14:50). At that time not even Peter wanted to be associated with Jesus, for he swore "I know not this man of whom ye speak" (Mk 14:71). Another verse that speaks about the fear of the disciples is Jn 20:19.

(Psa 31:12) I am forgotten as a dead man out of mind: I am like a broken vessel.
(Psa 31:13) For I have heard the slander of many: fear was on every side: while they took counsel together against me, they devised to take away my life.

(Mar 14:55) And the chief priests and all the council sought for witness against Jesus to put him to death; and found none.
(Mar 14:56) For many bare false witness against him, but their witness agreed not together.

(Psa 31:14) But I trusted in thee, O LORD: I said, Thou art my God.
(Psa 31:15) My times are in thy hand: deliver me from the hand of mine enemies, and from them that persecute me.
(Psa 31:16) Make thy face to shine upon thy servant: save me for thy mercies' sake.

Jesus faced extreme testing. Nonetheless, he remained without sin to the end. He overcame his trials. However, he did not overcome without prayer. If Jesus needed to pray, so much more do we.

(Psa 31:17) Let me not be ashamed, O LORD; for I have called upon thee: let the wicked be ashamed, and let them be silent in the grave.

The Hebrew word translated "grave" is שאול, which is rendered in other translations "Sheol".

(Psa 31:18) Let the lying lips be put to silence; which speak grievous things proudly and contemptuously against the righteous.
(Psa 31:19) Oh how great is thy goodness, 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!
(Psa 31:20) Thou shalt hide them in the secret of thy presence from the pride of man: thou shalt keep them secretly in a pavilion from the strife of tongues.

The Lord said that in him we will have peace, in spite of troubles in the world (Jn 16:33).

(Psa 31:21) Blessed be the LORD: for he hath shewed me his marvellous kindness in a strong city.

The phrase עיר מצור "strong city" appears again in Ps 60:9 (60:11), and in the plural form ערי מצור in 2Ch 8:5. In both cases the phrase refers to fortified cities. Interpreting this phrase the same way in Ps 31:21, the verse would refer to a fortified city. If the verse is applied to the Lord Jesus, it would appear to refer to Jerusalem.

(Psa 31:22) For I said in my haste, I am cut off from before thine eyes: nevertheless thou heardest the voice of my supplications when I cried unto thee.

Clearly, Ps 31:22 applies to David, not to the Lord, for the Lord knew how things would turn out. Nonetheless, Ps 31:22 could be understood as foreshadowing the magnitude of the trials of the Messiah.

(Psa 31:23) O love the LORD, all ye his saints: for the LORD preserveth the faithful, and plentifully rewardeth the proud doer.
(Psa 31:24) Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the LORD.

Those who belong to God are right to hope in the Lord because Christ has redeemed them. Apart from this redemption, since God is righteous, they would be right to expect judgment on their sin. In this psalm we read "in thy righteousness deliver me" (Ps 31:1) and "for thy name's sake lead me and guide me" (Ps 31:3). Because God has redeemed his own, he is righteous when he delivers and guides them. He has paid the price of their sin when Jesus died on the cross. The words of the Lord on the cross "into thy hands I commit my spirit" (Lk 23:46) invite the hearer to supply the remaining part of Ps 31:5, namely, "thou hast redeemed me, O LORD God of truth". We could conclude that the reference of the Lord to Ps 31:5 invites people to consider the significance of what was taking place at that time: the price of their redemption was being paid.


Home