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 31:23


O love the Lord, all ye his saints. A most affecting exhortation, showing clearly the deep love of the writer to his God: there is the more beauty in the expression, because it reveals love toward a smiting God, love which many waters could not quench. To bless him who gives is easy, but to cling to him who takes away is a work of grace. All the saints are benefited by the sanctified miseries of one, if they are led by earnest exhortations to love their Lord the better. If saints do not love the Lord, who will? Love is the universal debt of all the saved family: who would wish to be exonerated from its payment? Reasons for love are given, for believing love is not blind. For the Lord preserveth the faithful. They have to bide their time, but the recompense comes at last, and meanwhile all the cruel malice of their enemies cannot destroy them. And plentifully rewardeth the proud doer. This also is cause for gratitude: pride is so detestable in its acts that he who shall mete out to it its righteous due, deserves the love of all holy minds.

Explanatory Notes and Quaint Sayings

O love the Lord, all ye his saints. The holy psalmist in the words does, with all the warmth of an affectionate zeal, incite us to the love of God, which is the incomparably noblest passion of a reasonable mind, its brightest glory and most exquisite felicity; and it is, as appears evident from the nature of the thing, and the whole train of divine revelation, the comprehensive sum of that duty which we owe to our Maker, and the very soul which animates a religious life, that we “love the Lord with all our heart, and strength, and mind.” William Dunlap. A.M., 1692-1720.

O love the Lord, all ye his saints, etc. Some few words are to be attended in the clearing of the sense. Saints here in the text is or may be read, ye that feel mercies. “Faithful,” the word is sometimes taken for persons, sometimes things; and so the Lord is said to preserve true men, and truths, faithful men, and faithfulnesses. He plenteously rewardeth the proud doer; or, the Lord rewardeth plenteously; the Lord, who doth wonderful things. Plenteously is either in cumulum, abunde, or in nepotes, as some would have it; but I would rather commend, than go about to amend translations: though I could wish some of my learned brethren’s quarrelling hours were spent rather upon clearing the originals, and so conveying over pure Scripture to posterity, than in scratching others with their sharpened pens, and making cockpits of pulpits. Hugh Peter’s “Sermon preached before both Houses of Parliament, “the Lord Mayor and Aldermen of the City of London, and the Assembly of Divines, at the last Thanksgiving Day, April 2. For the recovering of the West, and disbanding of 5,000 of the King’s Horse, etc., 1645.

And plentifully rewardeth the proud doer. The next query is, how God rewardeth the proud doer? in which, though the Lord’s proceedings be diverse, and many times his paths in the clouds, and his judgments in the deep, and the uttermost farthing shall be paid the proud doer at the great day; yet so much of his mind he hath left unto us, that even in this life he gives out something to the proud which he calls “the day of recompense, “which he commonly manifests in these particulars:

  1. By way of retaliation—for Adonibezek that would be cutting off thumbs, had his thumbs cut off. Judges 1:7. So the poor Jews that cried so loud, “Crucify him, crucify him, “were so many of them crucified, that if you believe Josephus, there was not wood enough to make crosses, nor in the usual place room enough to set up the crosses when they were made. Snares are made and pits are digged by the proud for themselves commonly, to which the Scripture throughout gives abundant testimony.
  2. By shameful disappointments, seldom reaping what they sow, nor eating what they catch in hunting, which is most clear in the Jewish State when Christ was amongst them. Judas betrays him to get money, and hardly lived long enough to spend it. Pilate, to please Caesar, withstands all counsels against it, and gives way to that murder, by which he ruined both himself and Caesar. The Jewish priests, to maintain that domination and honour (which they thought the son of Joseph and Mary stole from them) cried loud for his death, which proved a sepulchre to them and their glory. And the poor people that crucified him (through fear of the Romans taking their city) by his death had their gates opened to the Romans—yea, Caesar himself, fearing a great change in his government by Christ living near him (which today sets all the king craft in the world to work) met such a change that shortly he had neither crown nor sceptre to boast of, if you read the story of Titus and Vespasian, all which dealings of God with the proud is most elegantly set forth unto us by the psalmist. “Behold, he travaileth with iniquity, and hath conceived mischief, and brought forth falsehood. He made a pit, and digged it, and is fallen into the ditch which he made.”—Hugh Peters.

Hints to the Village Preacher

An exhortation to love the Lord.

  1. The matter of it, love the Lord.
  2. To whom addressed, all ye his saints.
  3. By whom spoken.
  4. With what arguments supported, for the Lord preserveth, etc.

The Treasury of David.

Singing psalms


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