What does Psalm 31:10 mean?
ESV: For my life is spent with sorrow, and my years with sighing; my strength fails because of my iniquity, and my bones waste away.
NIV: My life is consumed by anguish and my years by groaning; my strength fails because of my affliction, and my bones grow weak.
NASB: For my life is spent with sorrow And my years with sighing; My strength has failed because of my guilt, And my body has wasted away.
CSB: Indeed, my life is consumed with grief and my years with groaning; my strength has failed because of my iniquity, and my bones waste away.
NLT: I am dying from grief; my years are shortened by sadness. Sin has drained my strength; I am wasting away from within.
KJV: For my life is spent with grief, and my years with sighing: my strength faileth because of mine iniquity, and my bones are consumed.
NKJV: For my life is spent with grief, And my years with sighing; My strength fails because of my iniquity, And my bones waste away.
Verse Commentary:
The reference to "iniquity" here is obscure. At least some of David's troubles are blamed on this flaw. He does not identify any specific sin. Still, the presence of that sin led to spiritual weakness, and that led to physical weakness (Psalm 31:9). To his credit, David was aware of his sin and its consequences. He openly asked for God's gracious lenience. David's plea here might be a way of confessing his sin while noting its devastating effects.

In Old Testament thought, bones were the essence of a person's physical form. The same Hebrew term, 'etsem, means both "bones" and "self" or "essence." Speaking of someone's bones referred to deep, critical issues (Psalm 38:3; 102:3). Bones are typically the longest-lasting part of a body (Genesis 50:25; Exodus 13:19). When bones are decomposing or weakening, it's a sign of terrible distress.

It's possible this psalm was written around the same time as Psalm 32. In that song, David notes that when he kept silent about his sin of adultery, he was wracked by weakness and misery (Psalm 32:3–4). He recognized that God was convicting him of his sin and his strength vanished. However, when he confessed his sin, the Lord forgave him (Psalm 32:5). Believers should not try to cover up their sins. Proverbs 28:13 warns: "Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper." However, the same verse promises: "But he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy."
Verse Context:
Psalm 31:9–13 continues David's psalm of praise. He asks the Lord to be gracious to him. He mentions how sin leads to spiritual weakness, while also mourning how the deadly threat of his enemies has caused friends to abandon him. He hears rumors and conversations that inspire terror, knowing his foes scheme against him. And yet, David will not succumb to despair; he chooses to trust in God, as the next passage shows.
Chapter Summary:
Because God has rescued him in the past, David chooses to trust the Lord even when he is in danger. Neighbors and friends may abandon him, and enemies may plot, but David is confident he will be vindicated. He also calls on others to be firm and brave as they choose to trust in God.
Chapter Context:
David mentions dangers and enemies in this psalm. He may have been referring to besieged cities such as Keilah (1 Samuel 23:1–15) or Ziklag (1 Samuel 30). Despite the plots of his enemies and abandonment by friends, David trusts in the Lord, receives an answer to his prayer, and encourages his fellow believers to love the Lord and be strong. This echoes themes also seen in Psalms 4, 25, and 71.
Book Summary:
The book of Psalms is composed of individual songs, hymns, or poems, each of which is a ''Psalm'' in and of itself. These works contain a wide variety of themes. Some Psalms focus on praising and worshipping God. Others cry out in anguish over the pain of life. Still other Psalms look forward to the coming of the Messiah. While some Psalms are related, each has its own historical and biblical context.
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