What does Psalm 31:21 mean?
ESV: Blessed be the Lord, for he has wondrously shown his steadfast love to me when I was in a besieged city.
NIV: Praise be to the Lord, for he showed me the wonders of his love when I was in a city under siege.
NASB: Blessed be the Lord, For He has shown His marvelous faithfulness to me in a besieged city.
CSB: Blessed be the Lord, for he has wondrously shown his faithful love to me in a city under siege.
NLT: Praise the Lord, for he has shown me the wonders of his unfailing love. He kept me safe when my city was under attack.
KJV: Blessed be the Lord: for he hath showed me his marvelous kindness in a strong city.
NKJV: Blessed be the Lord, For He has shown me His marvelous kindness in a strong city!
Verse Commentary:
David extols the Lord, saying God had wondrously shown unfailing love. He connects his praise to what seems to be a specific event: being trapped under a siege. The city may have been Keilah (1 Samuel 23:1–15) or Ziklag (1 Samuel 30). It may even refer to Jerusalem. At one point, David's son Absalom and his followers, including David's counselor, Ahithophel, sought to overthrow him (2 Samuel 17:1–14). Yet in all these situations, David survived to continue serving God's will.

Wisely, David acknowledges that the Lord loved him even when he experienced grave danger. The Lord's divine love is constant, whether skies are fair or when skies darken, thunder rolls, and lightning flashes. Paul testifies in Romans 8:39 that nothing in all creation "will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord."
Verse Context:
Psalm 31:14–22 comes after David expressed sorrow over persecution and abandonment. Despite hardship, David tells God he still trusts in Him. He regarded the Lord as the foundation of his confidence. David asks the Lord to be forgiving and merciful, preserving him from the enemies who have attacked him. This passage celebrates God's forgiving nature, while looking back on prior instances of rescue.
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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