Psalm 31:5
Into thine hand I commit my spirit: thou hast redeemed me, O LORD God of truth.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(5) I commit.—Most memorable, even among expressions of the Psalms, as the dying words of our Lord Himself (Luke 23:46), and a long line of Christian worthies. Polycarp, Bernard, Huss, Henry V., Jerome of Prague, Luther, Melancthon, are some of the many who have passed away comforted and upheld by the psalmist’s expression of trust. But death was not in his thought, it was in life, amid its troubles and dangers, that he trusted (Hebrew, deposited as a trust) his spirit (rûach, comp. Isaiah 38:16) to God. But the gift brought to the altar by the seer of old, has been consecrated anew and yet anew.

Lord God of truth.—Comp. 2Chronicles 15:3, where, as here, there is a contrast between Jehovah and idols; but also, as in Deuteronomy 32:4, the “faithful God.”

Psalms

‘INTO THY HANDS’

Psalm 31:5
.

The first part of this verse is consecrated for ever by our Lord’s use of it on the Cross. Is it not wonderful that, at that supreme hour, He deigned to take an unknown singer’s words as His words? What an honour to that old saint that Jesus Christ, dying, should find nothing that more fully corresponded to His inmost heart at that moment than the utterance of the Psalmist long ago! How His mind must have been saturated with the Old Testament and with these songs of Israel! And do you not think it would be better for us if ours were completely steeped in those heart-utterances of ancient devotion?

But, of course, the Psalmist was not thinking about his death. It was an act for his life that he expressed in these words:-’Into Thine hands I commit my spirit.’ If you will glance over the psalm at your leisure, you will see that it is the heart-cry of a man in great trouble, surrounded by all sorts of difficulties, with his very life threatened. He was down in the very depths of darkness, and ringed about by all sorts of enemies at that moment, not sitting comfortably, as you and I are here, but in the midst of the hurly-burly and the strife, when by a dead lift of faith he flung himself clean out of his disasters, and, if I might so say, pitched himself into the arms of God. ‘Into Thine hands I commit my spirit,’ as a man standing in the midst of enemies, and bearing some precious treasure in his hand might, with one strong cast of his arm, fling it into the open hand of some mighty helper, and so baulk the enemies of their prey. That is the figure.

I. Now, let me say a word as to where to lodge a soul for safe keeping.

‘Into Thine hands’-a banker has a strong room, and a wise man sends his securities and his valuables to the bank and takes an acknowledgment, and goes to bed at night, quite sure that no harm will come to them, and that he will get them when he wants them. And that is exactly what the Psalmist does here. He deposits his most precious treasure in the safe custody of One who will take care of it. The great Hand is stretched out, and the little soul is put into it. It closes, and ‘no man is able to pluck them out of My Father’s hand.’

Now that is only a picturesque way of putting the most threadbare, bald, commonplace of religious teaching. The word faith, when it has any meaning at all in people’s minds when they hear it from the pulpit, is extremely apt, I fear, to create a kind of, if not disgust, at least a revulsion of feeling, as if people said, ‘Ah, there he is at the old story again!’ But will you freshen up your notions of what faith it means by taking that picture of my text as I have tried to expand and illuminate it a little by my metaphor? That is what is meant by ‘Into Thy hands I commit my spirit.’ There are two or three ways in which that is to be done, and one or two ways in which it is not to be done.

We do it when we trust Him for the salvation of our souls. There are a great many good Christian people who go mourning all their days, or, at least, sometimes mourning and sometimes indifferent. The most that they venture to say is, ‘But I cannot be sure.’ Our grandfathers used to sing:-

‘‘Tis a point I long to know,

Oft it causes anxious thought.’

Why should it cause anxious thought? Take your own personal salvation for granted, and work from that. Do not work towards it. If you have gone to Christ and said, ‘Lord, I cannot save myself; save me. I am willing to be saved,’ be sure that you have the salvation that you ask, and that if you have put your soul in that fashion into God’s hands, any incredible thing is credible, and any impossible thing is possible, rather than that you should fail of the salvation which, in the bottom of your hearts, you desire. Take the burden off your backs and put it on His. Do not be for ever questioning yourselves, ‘Am I a saved man?’ You will get sick of that soon, and you will be very apt to give up all thought about the matter at all. But take your stand on the fact, and with emancipated and buoyant hearts, and grateful ones, work from it, and because of it. And when sin rises up in your soul, and you say to yourselves, ‘If I were a Christian I could not have done that,’ or, ‘If I were a Christian I could not be so-and-so’; remember that all sin is inconsistent with being a Christian, but no sin is incompatible with it; and that after all the consciousness of shortcomings and failure, we have just to come back to the old point, and throw ourselves on God’s love. His arms are open to clasp us round. ‘Into Thy hands I commit my spirit.’

Further, the Psalmist meant, by committing himself to God, trusting Him in reference to daily life, and all its difficulties and duties. Our act of trust is to run through everything that we undertake and everything that we have to fight with. Self-will wrenches our souls out of God’s hands. A man who sends his securities to the banker can get them back when he likes. And if we undertake to manage our own affairs, or fling ourselves into our work without recognition of our dependence upon Him, or if we choose our work without seeking to know what His will is, that is recalling our deposit. Then you will get it back again, because God does not keep anybody’s securities against his will-you will get it back again, and much good it will do you when you have got it! Self-will, self-reliance, self-determination-these are the opposites of committing the keeping of our souls to God. And, as I say, if you withdraw the deposit, you take all the burden and trouble of it on your own shoulders again. Do not fancy that you are ‘living lives of faith in the Son of God,’ if you are not looking to Him to settle what you are to do. You cannot expect that He will watch over you, if you do not ask Him where you are to go.

But now there is another thing that I would suggest, this committing of ourselves to God which begins with the initial act of trust in Him for the salvation of our souls, and is continued throughout life by the continual surrender of ourselves to Him, is to be accompanied with corresponding work. The Apostle Peter’s memory is evidently hovering round this verse, whether he is consciously quoting it or not, when he says, ‘Let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to Him in welldoing,’ which has to go along with the act of trust and dependence. There must come the continual ordering of the life in accordance with His will; for ‘well-doing’ does not mean merely some works of beneficence and ‘charity,’ of the sort that have monopolised to themselves the name in latter days, but it means the whole of righteous conduct in accordance with the will of God.

So Peter tells us that it is vain for us to talk about committing the keeping of our soul to God unless we back up the committing with consistent, Christlike lives. Of course it is vain. How can a man expect God to take care of him when he plunges himself into something that is contrary to God’s laws? There are many people who say, ‘God will take care of me; He will save me from the consequences.’ Not a bit of it-He loves us a great deal too well for that. If you take the bit between your teeth, you will be allowed to go over the precipice and be smashed to pieces. If you wish to be taken care of, keep within the prescribed limits, and consult Him before you act, and do not act till you are sure of His approval. God has never promised to rescue man when he has got into trouble by his own sin. Suppose a servant had embezzled his master’s money through gambling, and then expected God to help him to get the money to pay back into the till. Do you think that would be likely to work? And how dare you anticipate that God will keep your feet, if you are walking in ways of your own choosing? All sin takes a man out from the shelter of the divine protection, and the shape the protection has to take then is chastisement. And all sin makes it impossible for a man to exercise that trust which is the committing of his soul to God. So it has to be ‘in welldoing,’ and the two things are to go together. ‘What God hath joined let not man put asunder.’ You do not become a Christian by the simple exercise of trust unless it is trust that worketh by love.

But let me remind you, further, that this committing of our souls into God’s hands does not mean that we are absolved from taking care of them ourselves. There is a very false kind of religious faith, which seems to think that it shuffles off all responsibility upon God. Not at all; you lighten the responsibility, but you do not get rid of it. And no man has a right to say ‘He will keep me, and so I may neglect diligent custody of myself.’ He keeps us very largely by helping us to keep our hearts with all diligence, and to keep our feet in the way of truth.

So let me now just say a word in regard to the blessedness of thus living in an atmosphere of continual dependence on, and reference to, God, about great things and little things. Whenever a man is living by trust, even when the trust is mistaken, or when it is resting upon some mere human, fallible creature like himself, the measure of his confidence is the measure of his tranquillity. You know that when a child says, ‘I do not need to mind, father will look after that,’ he may be right or wrong in his estimate of his father’s ability and inclination; but as long as he says it, he has no kind of trouble or anxiety, and the little face is scarred by no deep lines of care or thought. So when we turn to Him and say, ‘Why should I the burden bear?’ then there comes-I was going to say ‘surging,’ but ‘trickling’ is a better word-into my heart a settled peacefulness which nothing else can give. Look at this psalm. It begins, and for the first half continues, in a very minor key. The singer was not a poet posing as in affliction, but his words were wrung out of him by anguish. ‘Mine eyes are consumed with grief; my life is spent with grief’; ‘I am . . . as a dead man out of mind’; ‘I am in trouble.’ And then with a quick wheel about, ‘But I trusted in Thee, O Lord! I said, Thou art my God.’ And what comes of that? This-’O how great is Thy goodness which Thou hast laid up for them that fear Thee!’ ‘Blessed be the Lord, for He hath showed me His marvellous kindness in a strong city.’ And then, at the end of all, his peacefulness is so triumphant that he calls upon ‘all His saints’ to help him to praise. And the last words are ‘Be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart.’ That is what you will get if you commit your soul to God. There was no change in the Psalmist’s circumstances. The same enemy was round about him. The same ‘net was privily laid for him.’ All that had seemed to him half an hour before as wellnigh desperate, continued utterly unaltered. But what had altered? God had come into the place, and that altered the whole aspect of matters. Instead of looking with shrinking and tremulous heart along the level of earth, where miseries were, he was looking up into the heavens, where God was; and so everything was beautiful. That will be our experience if we will commit the keeping of our souls to Him in well doing. You can bring June flowers and autumn fruits into snowy January days by the exercise of this trust in God. It does not need that our circumstances should alter, but only that our attitude should alter. Look up, and cast your souls into God’s hands, and all that is round you, of disasters and difficulties and perplexities, will suffer transformation; and for sorrow there will come joy because there has come trust.

I need not say a word about the other application of this verse, which, as I have said, is consecrated to us by our Lord’s own use of it at the last. But is it not beautiful to think that the very same act of mind and heart by which a man commits his spirit to God in life may be his when he comes to die, and that death may become a voluntary act, and the spirit may not be dragged out of us, reluctant, and as far as we can, resisting, but that we may offer it up as a libation, to use one metaphor of St. Paul’s, or may surrender it willingly as an act of faith? It is wonderful to think that life and death, so unlike each other, may be made absolutely identical in the spirit in which they are met. You remember how the first martyr caught up the words from the Cross, and kneeling down outside the wall of Jerusalem, with the blood running from the wounds that the stones had made, said, ‘Lord Jesus! receive my spirit.’ That is the way to die, and that is the way to live.

One word is all that time permits about the ground upon which this great venture of faith may be made. ‘Thou hast redeemed me, Lord God of Truth.’ The Psalmist, I think, uses that word ‘redeemed’ here, not in its wider spiritual New Testament sense, but in its frequent Old Testament sense, of deliverance from temporal difficulties and calamities. And what he says is, in effect, this: ‘I have had experience in the past which makes me believe that Thou wilt extricate me from this trouble too, because Thou art the God of Truth.’ He thinks of what God has done, and of what God is. And Peter, whom we have already found echoing this text, echoes that part of it too, for he says, ‘Let them commit the keeping of their souls to Him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator,’ which is all but parallel to ‘Lord God of Truth.’ So God will continue as He has begun, and finish what He has begun.

‘A faithful Creator-’ He made us to need what we do need, and He is not going to forget the wants that He Himself has incorporated with our human nature. He is bound to help us because He made us. He is the God of Truth, and He will help us. But if we take ‘redeemed’ in its highest sense, the Psalmist, arguing from God’s past mercy and eternal faithfulness, is saying substantially what the Apostle said in the triumphant words, ‘Whom He did foreknow, them He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son . . . and whom He did predestinate them He also . . . justified, and whom He justified them He also glorified.’ ‘Thou hast redeemed me.’ ‘Thou art the God of Truth; Thou wilt not lift Thy hand away from Thy work until Thou hast made me all that Thou didst bind Thyself to make me in that initial act of redeeming me.’

So we can say, ‘He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?’ You have experiences, I have no doubt, in your past, on which you may well build confidence for the future. Let each of us consult our own hearts, and our own memories. Cannot we say, ‘Thou hast been my Help,’ and ought we not therefore to be sure that He will not ‘leave us nor forsake us’ until He manifests Himself as the God of our salvation?

It is a blessed thing to lay ourselves in the hands of God, but the New Testament tells us, ‘It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.’ The alternative is one that we all have to face,-either ‘into Thy hands I commit my spirit,’ or into those hands to fall. Settle which of the two is to be your fate.

Psalm 31:5. Into thy hand — That is, to thy care and custody; I commit my spirit — My soul or life, either to preserve it from the malice of mine enemies, or, if they are permitted to kill my body, to receive it. For my case is almost desperate, and I am ready to give up the ghost. But our Lord used those words, when expiring on the cross, in a more proper and literal sense than they can be applied to David. He used them, probably, to convince the Jews that, though suffering, he was the Messiah, and that son of David who should sit on his throne for ever. For thou hast redeemed me — Thou hast delivered me formerly in great dangers, and therefore I willingly and cheerfully commit myself to thee for the future: O Lord God of truth — Who hast showed thyself to be such to me in making good thy promises.

31:1-8 Faith and prayer must go together, for the prayer of faith is the prevailing prayer. David gave up his soul in a special manner to God. And with the words, ver. 5, our Lord Jesus yielded up his last breath on the cross, and made his soul a free-will offering for sin, laying down his life as a ransom. But David is here as a man in distress and trouble. And his great care is about his soul, his spirit, his better part. Many think that while perplexed about their worldly affairs, and their cares multiply, they may be excused if they neglect their souls; but we are the more concerned to look to our souls, that, though the outward man perish, the inward man may suffer no damage. The redemption of the soul is so precious, that it must have ceased for ever, if Christ had not undertaken it. Having relied on God's mercy, he will be glad and rejoice in it. God looks upon our souls, when we are in trouble, to see whether they are humbled for sin, and made better by the affliction. Every believer will meet with such dangers and deliverances, until he is delivered from death, his last enemy.Into thine hand I commit my spirit - The Saviour used this expression when on the cross, and when about to die: Luke 23:46. But this does not prove that the psalm had originally a reference to him, or that he meant to intimate that the words originally were a prophecy. The language was appropriate for him, as it is for all others in the hour of death; and his use of the words furnished the highest illustration of their being appropriate in that hour. The act of the psalmist was an act of strong confidence in God in the midst of dangers and troubles; the act of the Saviour was of the same nature, commending his spirit to God in the solemn hour of death. The same act of faith is proper for all the people of God, alike in trouble and in death. Compare Acts 7:59. The word "spirit" may mean either "life," considered as the animating principle, equivalent to the word "myself;" or it may mean more specifically the "soul," as distinguished from the body. The sense is not materially varied by either interpretation.

Thou hast redeemed me - This was the ground or reason why the "psalmist" commended himself to God; this reason was not urged, and could not have been by the Saviour, in his dying moments. He committed his departing spirit to God as his Father, and in virtue of the work which he had been appointed to do, and which he was now about finishing, as a Redeemer; we commit our souls to Him in virtue of having been redeemed. This is proper for us:

(a) because he has redeemed us;

(b) because we have been redeemed for him, and we may ask Him to take His own;

(c) because this is a ground of safety, for if we have been redeemed, we may be certain that God will keep us; and

(d) because this is the only ground of our security in reference to the future world.

What "David" may have understood by this word it may not be easy to determine with certainty; but there is no reason to doubt that he may have used it as expressive of the idea that he had been recovered from the ruin of the fall, and from the dominion of sin, and had been made a child of God. Nor do we need to doubt that he had such views of the way of salvation that he would feel that he was redeemed only by an atonement, or by the shedding of blood for his sins. To all who are Christians it is enough to authorize them to use this language in the midst of troubles and dangers, and in the hour of death, that they have been redeemed by the blood of the Saviour; to none of us is there any other safe ground of trust and confidence in the hour of death than the fact that Christ has died for sin, and that we have evidence that we are interested in his blood.

O Lord God of truth - True to thy promises and to thy covenant-engagements. As thou hast promised life and salvation to those who are redeemed, they may safely confide in thee. See the notes at 2 Corinthians 1:20.

5, 6. commit my spirit—my life, or myself. Our Saviour used the words on the Cross [Lu 23:46], not as prophetical, but, as many pious men have done, as expressive of His unshaken confidence in God. The Psalmist rests on God's faithfulness to His promises to His people, and hence avows himself one of them, detesting all who revere objects of idolatry (compare De 32:21; 1Co 8:4). Into thine hand, i.e. to thy care and custody,

I commit my spirit, i.e. my soul or life, called a man’s spirit, as Ecclesiastes 3:21 12:7, &c. Either,

1. To receive it; for my case is almost desperate, and I am ready to give up the ghost. Or,

2. To preserve it from the plots and malice of mine enemies.

Thou hast redeemed me; thou hast delivered me formerly in great dangers, and therefore I willingly and cheerfully commit myself to thee for the future.

O Lord God of truth; who hast showed thyself to be so to me, in making good thy promises.

Into thine hand I commit my spirit,.... Either his life, as to a faithful Creator and Preserver, who was the God of his life, gave him it, and upheld his soul in it; or his soul, and the eternal salvation of it, which he committed into the hand of the Lord his Redeemer, where he knew it would be safe, and out of whose hands none can pluck; or this he might say, as apprehensive of immediate death, through the danger he was in; and therefore commits his spirit into the hands of God, to whom he knew it belonged, and to whom it returns at death, and dies not with the body, but exists in a separate state, and would be immediately with him. Our Lord Jesus Christ used the same words when he was expiring on the cross, and seems to have taken them from hence, or to refer to these, Luke 23:46;

thou hast redeemed me, O Lord God of truth; which may be understood, either of the temporal redemption of his life from destruction in times past, which encouraged him to commit his life into the hands of God now, who was the same, and changed not; or of spiritual and eternal redemption from sin by the blood of Christ, and which the psalmist speaks of as if it was past, though it was to come, because of the certainty of it; just as Isaiah speaks of the incarnation and sufferings of Christ, Isaiah 9:6; and of which he was assured, because the Lord, who had provided, appointed, and promised the Redeemer, was the God of truth, and was faithful to every word of promise; and Christ, who had engaged to be the Redeemer, was faithful to him that appointed him; and having an interest therefore in this plenteous redemption, by virtue of which he was the Lord's, he committed himself into his hands.

Into thine {c} hand I commit my spirit: thou hast redeemed me, O LORD God of truth.

(c) He desires God not only to take care of him in this life, but that his soul may be saved after this life.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
5. I commit &c.] Or, as P.B.V. and R.V., I commend my spirit. To God’s care he entrusts as a precious deposit the life inbreathed by God Himself (Job 10:12; Job 17:1). The context makes it plain that it is for the preservation of his life that he thus entrusts himself to God; but the further application of the words to the departing spirit is obvious and natural, and it is sanctioned and consecrated by our Lord’s use of them on the Cross (Luke 23:46). Cp. the noble words of Wis 3:1; “The souls of the righteous are in the hand of God:” and John 10:28 f.; 2 Timothy 1:12; 1 Peter 4:19 (noting how a faithful Creator corresponds to thou God of truth here). “The many instances on record, including St Polycarp, St Basil, Epiphanius of Pavia, St Bernard, St Louis, Huss, Columbus, Luther, and Melancthon—of Christians using these words at the approach of death, represent how many millions of unrecorded cases!” Kay.

The words, Thou hast redeemed me, O Lord, thou God of truth, give the double ground of this confidence, in his own past experience, and the known character of Jehovah as the God of faithfulness. Redeemed primarily means delivered from temporal distress (2 Samuel 4:9); but for the Christian the word must bear a deeper significance.

Verse 5. - Into thine hand I commit my spirit. Our Lord's adoption of these words, and application of them to himself and his own departure from earth, have given them a special sacredness beyond that which attaches to Scripture generally. At the same time, they have impressed on them a new meaning, since David was not thinking of a final committal of his soul, as distinct from his body, into the hands of the Creator, but only intended solemnly to commit himself, both soul and body, into the Divine keeping, to be preserved from the attacks of his enemies. Thou hast redeemed me, O Lord God of truth; or, thou hast delivered me, O Lord God of truth. It is redemption in the general sense of "deliverance from peril," not redemption from sin, of which the psalmist speaks. David, having frequently experienced such deliverance in the past, is emboldened to expect now another deliverance. Psalm 31:5(Heb.: 31:2-9) The poet begins with the prayer for deliverance, based upon the trust which Jahve, to whom he surrenders himself, cannot possibly disappoint; and rejoices beforehand in the protection which he assumes will, without any doubt, be granted. Out of his confident security in God (הסיתי) springs the prayer: may it never come to this with me, that I am put to confusion by the disappointment of my hope. This prayer in the form of intense desire is followed by prayers in the direct form of supplication. The supplicatory פלּטני is based upon God's righteousness, which cannot refrain from repaying conduct consistent with the order of redemption, though after prolonged trial, with the longed for tokens of deliverance. In the second paragraph, the prayer is moulded in accordance with the circumstances of him who is chased by Saul hither and thither among the mountains and in the desert, homeless and defenceless. In the expression צוּר מעוז, מעוז is genit. appositionis: a rock of defence (מעוז from עזז, as in Psalm 27:1), or rather: of refuge (מעוז equals Arab. m‛âd, from עוּז, עוז equals Arab. 'âd, as in Psalm 37:39; Psalm 52:9, and probably also in Isaiah 30:2 and elsewhere);

(Note: It can hardly be doubted, that, in opposition to the pointing as we have it, which only recognises one מעוז (מעז) from עזז, to be strong, there are two different substantives having this principal form, viz., מעז a fortress, secure place, bulwark, which according to its derivation is inflected מעזּי, etc., and מעוז equivalent to the Arabic ma‛âdh, a hiding-place, defence, refuge, which ought to have been declined מעוזי or מעוּזי like the synonymous מנוּסי (Olshausen 201, 202). Moreover עוּז, Arab. 'âd, like חסה, of which it is the parallel word in Isaiah 30:2, means to hide one's self anywhere (Piel and Hiph., Hebrew העיז, according to the Kamus, Zamachshari and Neshwn: to hide any one, e.g., Koran 3:31); hence Arab. 'â‛d, a plant that grows among bushes (bên esh-shôk according to the Kamus) or in the crevices of the rocks (fi-l-hazn according to Neshwn) and is thus inaccessible to the herds; Arab. 'wwad, gazelles that are invisible, i.e., keep hidden, for seven days after giving birth, also used of pieces of flesh of which part is hidden among the bones; Arab. 'ûdat, an amulet with which a man covers himself (protegit), and so forth. - Wetzstein.

Consequently מעוז (formed like Arab. m‛âd, according to Neshwn equivalent to Arab. ma'wad) is prop. a place in which to hide one's self, synonymous with מחסה, מנוס, Arab. mlâd, malja‛, and the like. True, the two substantives from עזז and עוז meet in their meanings like praesidium and asylum, and according to passages like Jeremiah 16:19 appear to be blended in the genius of the language, but they are radically distinct.)

a rock-castle, i.e., a castle upon a rock, would be called מעוז צוּר, reversing the order of the words. צוּר מעוז in Psalm 71:3, a rock of habitation, i.e., of safe sojourn, fully warrants this interpretation. מצוּדה, prop. specula, signifies a mountain height or the summit of a mountain; a house on the mountain height is one that is situated on some high mountain top and affords a safe asylum (vid., on Psalm 18:3). The thought "show me Thy salvation, for Thou art my Saviour," underlies the connection expressed by כּי in Psalm 31:4 and Psalm 31:5. Lster considers it to be illogical, but it is the logic of every believing prayer. The poet prays that God would become to him, actu reflexo, that which to the actus directus of his faith He is even now. The futures in Psalm 31:4, Psalm 31:5 express hopes which necessarily arise out of that which Jahve is to the poet. The interchangeable notions הנחה and נהל, with which we are familiar from Psalm 23:1-6, stand side by side, in order to give urgency to the utterance of the longing for God's gentle and safe guidance. Instead of translating it "out of the net, which etc.," according to the accents (cf. Psalm 10:2; Psalm 12:8) it should be rendered "out of the net there," so that טמנוּ לּי is a relative clause without the relative.

Into the hand of this God, who is and will be all this to him, he commends his spirit; he gives it over into His hand as a trust or deposit (פּקּדון); for whatsoever is deposited there is safely kept, and freed from all danger and all distress. The word used is not נפשׁי, which Theodotion substitutes when he renders it τὴν ἐμαυτοῦ ψυχὴν τῇ σῇ παρατίθημι προμηθείᾳ but רוּחי; and this is used designedly. The language of the prayer lays hold of life at its root, as springing directly from God and as also living in the believer from God and in God; and this life it places under His protection, who is the true life of all spirit-life (Isaiah 38:16) and of all life. It is the language of prayer with which the dying Christ breathed forth His life, Luke 23:46. The period of David's persecution by Saul is the most prolific in types of the Passion; and this language of prayer, which proceeded from the furnace of affliction through which David at that time passed, denotes, in the mouth of Christ a crisis in the history of redemption in which the Old Testament receives its fulfilment. Like David, He commends His spirit to God; but not, that He may not die, but that dying He may not die, i.e., that He may receive back again His spirit-corporeal life, which is hidden in the hand of God, in imperishable power and glory. That which is so ardently desired and hoped for is regarded by him, who thus in faith commends himself to God, as having already taken place, "Thou hast redeemed me, Jahve, God of truth." The perfect פּדיתה is not used here, as in Psalm 4:2, of that which is past, but of that which is already as good as past; it is not precative (Ew. 223, b), but, like the perfects in Psalm 31:8, Psalm 31:9, an expression of believing anticipation of redemption. It is the praet. confidentiae which is closely related to the praet. prophet.; for the spirit of faith, like the spirit of the prophets, speaks of the future with historic certainty. In the notion of אל אמת it is impossible to exclude the reference to false gods which is contained in אלהי אמת, 2 Chronicles 15:3, since, in Psalm 31:7, "vain illusions" are used as an antithesis. הבלים, ever since Deuteronomy 32:21, has become a favourite name for idols, and more particularly in Jeremiah (e.g., Psalm 8:1-9 :19). On the other hand, according to the context, it may also not differ very greatly from אל אמוּנה, Deuteronomy 32:4; since the idea of God as a depositary or trustee still influences the thought, and אמת and אמוּנה are used interchangeably in other passages as personal attributes. We may say that אמת is being that lasts and verifies itself, and אמונה is sentiment that lasts and verifies itself. Therefore אל אמת is the God, who as the true God, maintains the truth of His revelation, and more especially of His promises, by a living authority or rule.

In Psalm 31:7, David appeals to his entire and simple surrender to this true and faithful God: hateful to him are those, who worship vain images, whilst he, on the other hand, cleaves to Jahve. It is the false gods, which are called הבלי־שׁוא, as beings without being, which are of no service to their worshippers and only disappoint their expectations. Probably (as in Psalm 5:6) it is to be read שׂנאת with the lxx, Vulgate, Syriac, and Arabic versions (Hitzig, Ewald, Olshausen, and others). In the text before us, which gives us no corrective Ker as in 2 Samuel 14:21; Ruth 4:5, ואני is not an antithesis to the preceding clause, but to the member of that clause which immediately precedes it. In Jonah's psalm, Psalm 2:9, this is expressed by משׁמּרים הבלי־שׁוא; in the present instance the Kal is used in the signification observare, colere, as in Hosea 4:10, and even in Proverbs 27:18. In the waiting of service is included, according to Psalm 59:10, the waiting of trust. The word בּטח which denotes the fiducia fidei is usually construed with בּ of adhering to, or על of resting upon; but here it is combined with אל of hanging on. The cohortatives in Psalm 31:8 express intentions. Olshausen and Hitzig translate them as optatives: may I be able to rejoice; but this, as a continuation of Psalm 31:7, seems less appropriate. Certain that he will be heard, he determines to manifest thankful joy for Jahve's mercy, that (אשׁר as in Genesis 34:27) He has regarded (ἐπέβλεψε, Luke 1:48) his affliction, that He has known and exerted Himself about his soul's distresses. The construction ידע בּ, in the presence of Genesis 19:33, Genesis 19:35; Job 12:9; Job 35:15, cannot be doubted (Hupfeld); it is more significant than the expression "to know of anything;" בּ is like ἐπὶ in ἐπιγιγνώσκειν used of the perception or comprehensive knowledge, which grasps an object and takes possession of it, or makes itself master of it. הסגּיר, Psalm 31:9, συγκλείειν, as in 1 Samuel 23:11 (in the mouth of David) is so to abandon, that the hand of another closes upon that which is abandoned to it, i.e., has it completely in its power. מרחב, as in Psalm 18:20, cf. Psalm 26:12. The language is David's, in which the language of the Tra, and more especially of Deuteronomy (Deuteronomy 32:30; Deuteronomy 23:16), is re-echoed.

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