The Treasury of David

The Treasury of David is one of several C.H. Spurgeon books that are in the public domain. If you propose to study the Psalms, I suggest you download this as a companion for your other references.

Psalm 31

Title. To the Chief Musician—a Psalm of David. The dedication to the chief musician proves that this song of mingled measures and alternate strains of grief and woe was intended for public singing, and thus a deathblow is given to the notion that nothing but praise should be sung. Perhaps the Psalms, thus marked, might have been set aside as too mournful for temple worship, if special care had not been taken by the Holy Spirit to indicate them as being designed for the public edification of the Lord’s people. May there not also be in Psalms thus designated a peculiar distinct reference to the Lord Jesus? He certainly manifests himself very clearly in the twenty-second, which bears this title; and in the one before us we plainly hear his dying voice in the fifth verse. Jesus is chief everywhere, and in all the holy songs of his saints he is the chief musician. The surmises that Jeremiah penned this Psalm need no other answer than the fact that it is “a Psalm of David.”

Subject. The psalmist in dire affliction appeals to his God for help with much confidence and holy importunity, and ere long finds his mind so strengthened that he magnifies the Lord for his great goodness. Some have thought that the occasion in his troubled life which led to this Psalm, was the treachery of the men of Keilah, and we have felt much inclined to this conjecture; but after reflection it seems to us that its very mournful tone, and its allusion to his iniquity demand a later date, and it may be more satisfactory to illustrate it by the period when Absalom had rebelled, and his courtiers were fled from him, while lying lips spread a thousand malicious rumours against him. It is perhaps quite as well that we have no settled season mentioned, or we might have been so busy in applying it to David’s case as to forget its suitability to our own.

Division. There are no great lines of demarcation; throughout the strain undulates, falling into valleys of mourning, and rising with hills of confidence. However, we may for convenience arrange it thus: David testifying his confidence in God pleads for help, Psalms 31:1-6; expresses gratitude for mercies received, Psalms 31:7-8; particularly describes his case, Psalms 31:9-13; vehemently pleads for deliverance, Psalms 31:14-18; confidently and thankfully expects a blessing, Psalms 31:19-22; and closes by showing the bearing of his case upon all the people of God.
The Treasury of David.

Psalm 31:7


I will be glad and rejoice in thy mercy. For mercy past he is grateful, and for mercy future, which he believingly anticipates, he is joyful. In our most importunate intercessions, we must find breathing time to bless the Lord: praise is never a hindrance to prayer, but rather a lively refreshment therein. It is delightful at intervals to hear the notes of the high sounding cymbals when the dolorous sackbut rules the hour. Those two words, glad and rejoice, are an instructive reduplication, we need not stint ourselves in our holy triumph; this wine we may drink in bowls without fear of excess. For thou hast considered my trouble. Thou hast seen it, weighed it, directed it, fixed a bound to it, and in all ways made it a matter of tender consideration. A man’s consideration means the full exercise of his mind; what must God’s consideration be? Thou hast known my soul in adversities. God owns his saints when others are ashamed to acknowledge them; he never refuses to know his friends. He thinks not the worse of them for their rags and tatters. He does not misjudge them and cast them off when their faces are lean with sickness, or their hearts heavy with despondency. Moreover, the Lord Jesus knows us in our pangs in a peculiar sense, by having a deep sympathy towards us in them all; when no others can enter into our griefs, from want of understanding them experimentally, Jesus dives into the lowest depths with us, comprehending the direst of our woes, because he has felt the same. Jesus is a physician who knows every case; nothing is new to him. When we are so bewildered as not to know our own state, he knows us altogether. He has known us and will know us: O for grace to know more of him! “Man, know thyself, “is a good philosophic precept, but “Man, thou art known of God, “is a superlative consolation. Adversities in the plural—”Many are the afflictions of the righteous.”

Explanatory Notes and Quaint Sayings

I will be glad and rejoice in thy mercy. In the midst of trouble faith will furnish matter of joy, and promise to itself gladness, especially from the memory of by past experiences of God’s mercy; as here, I will be glad and rejoice in thy mercy.…The ground of our gladness, when we have found a proof of God’s kindness to us should not be in the benefit so much as in the fountain of the benefit; for this giveth us hope to drink again of the like experience from the fountain which did send forth that benefit. Therefore David says, I will be glad and rejoice in thy mercy. David Dickson.

Thou hast considered my trouble:

Man’s plea to man, is, that he never more

Will beg, and that he never begged before:

Man’s plea to God, is, that he did obtain

A former suit, and, therefore sues again.

How good a God we serve, that when we sue,

Makes his old gifts the examples of his new!

—Francis Quarles.

Thou hast known my soul in adversities. One day a person who, by the calamities of war, sickness, and other affliction, had been reduced from a state of affluence to penury, came to Gotthold in great distress. He complained that he had just met one of his former acquaintances, who was even not distantly related to him, but that he had not condescended to bow, far less to speak to him, and he had turned his eyes away, and passed him as if he had been a stranger. O sir, he exclaimed with a sigh, how it pained me! I felt as if a dagger had pierced my heart! Gotthold replied, Do not think it strange at all. It is the way of the world to look high, and to pass unnoticed that which is humble and lowly. I know, however, of One who, though he dwelleth on high, humbleth himself to behold the things that are in heaven and in the earth Psalms 113:5-6, and of whom the royal prophet testifies: Thou hast known my soul in adversities. Yes; though we have lost our rich attire, and come to him in rags; though our forms be wasted because of grief, and waxed old (Psalms 6:7, Luther’s Version); though sickness and sorrow have consumed our beauty like a moth Psalms 39:11; though blushes, and tears, and dust, overspread our face Psalms 69:7, he still recognises, and is not ashamed to own us. Comfort yourself with this, for what harm will it do you at last, though men disown, if God the Lord have not forgotten you? Christian Scriver.

Hints to the Village Preacher

  1. An endearing attribute rejoiced in.
  2. An interesting experience related.
  3. A directly personal favour from God delighted in.

(centre clause). Consider the measure, the effects, the time, the tempering, the ending, and the recompense.

(last clause). The Lord’s familiarity with his afflicted.
The Treasury of David.

Singing psalms


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