Psalm 31:12

 

EXPOSITION

Verse 12. I am forgotten as a dead man out of mind. All David's youthful prowess was now gone from remembrance; he had been the saviour of his country, but his services were buried in oblivion. Men soon forget the deepest obligations; popularity is evanescent to the last degree: he who is in every one's mouth today may be forgotten by all tomorrow. A man had better be dead than be smothered in slander. Of the dead we say nothing but good, but in the psalmist's case they said nothing but evil. We must not look for the reward of philanthropy this side of heaven, for men pay their best servants but sorry wages, and turn them out of doors when no more is to be got out of them. I am like a broken vessel, a thing useless, done for, worthless, cast aside, forgotten. Sad condition for a king! Let us see herein the portrait of the King of kings in his humiliation, when he made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant.

 

EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS

Verse 12. I am forgotten as a dead man out of mind. A striking instance of how the greatest princes are forgotten in death is found in the deathbed of Louis XIV. "The Louis that was, lies forsaken, a mass of abhorred clay; abandoned `to some poor persons, and priests of the Chapelle Ardente,' who make haste to put him `in two lead coffins, pouring in abundant spirits of wine.' The new Louis with his court is rolling towards Choisy, through the summer afternoon: the royal tears still flow; but a word mispronounced by Monseigneur d'Artois sets them all laughing, and they weep no more." Thomas Carlyle in "The French Revolution."

Verse 12. I am forgotten, etc. As a dying man with curtains drawn, whom friends have no hope of, and therefore look off from; or rather like a dead man laid aside out of sight and out of mind altogether, and buried more in oblivion than in his grave; when the news is, "she is dead, trouble not the Master." Luke 8:49 . Anthony Tuckney, D.D., 1599-1670.

Verse 12. I am like a broken vessel. As a vessel, how profitable soever it hath been to the owner, and how necessary for his turn, yet, when it is broken is thrown away, and regarded no longer: even so such is the state of a man forsaken of those whose friend he hath been so long as he was able to stand them in stead to be of advantage to them. Robert Cawdray.

Verse 12-15

Forgot as those who in the grave abide,
And as a broken vessel past repair,
Slandered by many, fear on every side.
Who counsel take and would my life ensnare.
But, Lord, my hopes on thee are fixed: I said,
Thou art my God, my days are in thy hand;
Against my furious foes oppose thy aid,
And those who persecute my soul withstand. George Sandys.

 

HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS

Verse 12. The world's treatment of its best friends.