The Divine Lamp

The unfolding of thy words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple…Make thy face shine upon thy servant, and teach me thy statutes

Father Boylan’s Introduction to Psalm 31

Posted by Dim Bulb on March 17, 2013


THERE is no very definite development of idea throughout this psalm. It contains expressions of confidence, petition, complaint, and thanksgiving, and these do not, in every case, seem to pass over into each other naturally. The poem gives the impression of being built up on conventional lines of liturgical psalmody, and does not appear to be a natural expressionof personal or communal experience. The title pro extasi which is wanting in several ancient Latin Psalters, and has nothing correspondingto it in the oldest Greek Codices, nor in the Hebrew, is obviously derived from verse 23. If David is to be regarded as the author of the psalm, it belongs to the period of his persecution by Saul, and, in particular, to the time when he was in the desert of Maon and had begun to despair of being able to evade Saul (cf. 1 Sam 23:26). The prophet Jonah has borrowed from this psalm verses 7 and 23 (cf. Jonah 2:5, Jonah 2:9). Our Lord used verse 6 on the cross, and verses 10-16 might be taken as prophetically descriptive of Our Lord in His Passion. The psalm, however, is not immediately Messianic; but it may be regarded as (in passages at least) indirectly or figuratively Messianic. The history of David and of Israel may be taken generally as typical of the career of the Messias. The critics who maintain the post-exilic dating of this poem, find in it several imitations or echoes of Jeremias (verse 11= Jer 20:18 ; verse 13b = Jer 22:28; verse 14 = Jer 20:10; verse 18 = Jer 17:18; verse 23 = Lamentation 3:54). It is interesting to note in this psalm the echoes of several other psalms (cf. verses 2-4 and Ps 69:1-3; verse 4 and Ps 21:3 ; verse 5 and Ps 9:16; verse 9 and Ps 16:20; verse 12 and Ps 36:12).

One Response to “Father Boylan’s Introduction to Psalm 31”

  1. […] Father Boylan’s Introduction to Psalm 31. […]

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