What does Psalm 34:22 mean?
ESV: The LORD redeems the life of his servants; none of those who take refuge in him will be condemned.
NIV: The LORD will rescue his servants; no one who takes refuge in him will be condemned.
NASB: The Lord redeems the souls of His servants, And none of those who take refuge in Him will suffer for their guilt.
CSB: The Lord redeems the life of his servants, and all who take refuge in him will not be punished.
NLT: But the Lord will redeem those who serve him. No one who takes refuge in him will be condemned.
KJV: The LORD redeemeth the soul of his servants: and none of them that trust in him shall be desolate.
NKJV: The Lord redeems the soul of His servants, And none of those who trust in Him shall be condemned.
Verse Commentary:
This final verse of Psalm 34 proclaims that God rescues those who serve Him—anyone and everyone who believes in Him will be saved (John 3:16–18). The apostle Paul wrote: "There is therefore no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus" (Romans 8:1).

The immediate context of this statement is David's celebration of rescue from danger. Freedom from all suffering is not part of God's plan—something David himself understood well (Psalm 34:19). What is promised by God is ultimate, eternal salvation and restoration (John 10:28; Revelation 21:4). Those who follow the will of God in salvation (John 6:28–29) are guaranteed to be rescued from judgment (Romans 8:33–34).

When He condemned the world in Noah's time, God commanded Noah and his family to enter the ark, and then He shut them in (Genesis 7:13, 16). Outside the ark, the wicked perished, but inside the ark Noah and his family were safe. The ark is representative of Christ. All who are in Him are safe forever. God has shut us in. But outside Christ, all unbelievers perish unless they believe on Him (John 3:36).
Verse Context:
Psalm 34:15–22 contrasts what the Lord does for those who fear Him against what happens to the wicked. God watches over the righteous and answers their cry for help. He delivers the righteous from their troubles and draws near to them. He protects the righteous and redeems them. On the other hand, He opposes the wicked and condemns them. While David certainly experienced victories in his life, he also understood that God's love and provision have an eternal perspective (Romans 8:28–30). Verse 20 includes a reference which the Gospel of John ties to Jesus' role as Messiah.
Chapter Summary:
David praises the Lord for delivering him from the Philistines, and he invites others to join him in singing joyfully to the Lord. He extols the virtue of fearing the Lord and remembering His goodness. He encourages the Lord's people to respect God and offers wisdom leading to a long and blessed life. At the end of this psalm David emphasizes the distinction the Lord draws between the wicked and the righteous. He cares for the righteous and will not condemn them, but He condemns the wicked.
Chapter Context:
David composed this psalm after he escaped from the Philistines at Gath. He accomplished this by feigning insanity and later sheltered in the cave of Adullum. This experience is recorded in 1 Samuel 21:10—22:1. Like Psalm 25, this is an acrostic psalm. Every verse except the final one begins with a successive letter of the Hebrew alphabet. First Peter 2:3 alludes to the psalm's eighth verse, and 1 Peter 3:10–12 quotes verses 12–16 of Psalm 34. John 19:36 refers to Psalm 34:20.
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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