David Under Stress

Psalm 31

An EasyEnglish Translation with Notes (about 1200 word vocabulary) on Psalm 31


Gordon Churchyard

Words in boxes are from the Bible. Words in brackets, ( ), are not in the Hebrew Bible.


Jesus said, "Father, into your hands I give my spirit". (Luke 23:46 Your spirit lives on after your body dies. "Into your hands" means "to you").

Psalm 31

  (This is) for the music leader.
(It is) a psalm of David

v1   LORD, I am trusting in you.
  Do not let me ever become ashamed.
  Make me free, because you always do what is right.

v2   Listen to me and send me help very soon.
  LORD, be a rock for me to hide behind.
  Make my house a fortress and keep me safe.

v3   You really are my rock and my fortress.
  Because of your name, lead me and be my guide.

v4   You are my fortress.
  Make me free from the trap that they hid for me.

v5   I put my spirit into your hand.
  Send me help, LORD God of truth.

v6   I hate people that believe in false gods.
  I am trusting in the LORD.

v7   I am very happy because of your kind love.
  It makes me want to dance.
  You saw my trouble.
  You knew that I was under stress.

v8   You did not give me into the hands of my enemies.
  You made my feet to stand in a wide place.

v9   LORD, give me mercy because I am in trouble.
  My eyes and my stomach and my whole body
  are sick because I am sad.

v10   My life must come to an end because I am so sad.
  My years will finish while I am crying.
  I am so unhappy that I have become weak.
  My bones are weak.

v11   All my enemies hate me.
  People that live near me do not like me.
  Even my friends are afraid of me.
  People that see me in the street run away.

v12   Everybody has forgotten me.
  I am just like a broken pot.

v13   I heard people say unkind things about me.
  There is danger everywhere.
  They are making bad plans for me.
  They want to kill me.

v14   But I am still trusting in you, LORD.
  I am saying that you are my God.

v15   My times are in your hand.
  Save me from the hand of my enemies
  and from the people that are trying to catch me.

v16   Shine the light of your face on your servant.
  Send help to me because of your kind love.

v17   LORD, do not let me become ashamed.
  I am shouting out to you for help.
  Let the godless become ashamed.
  Let them be silent in Sheol.

v18   Let the lips that tell lies become silent.
  They say unkind things about good people.
  They think that they are better than them and they hate them.

v19   You have prepared many good things
  for those that are afraid of you.
  You did this in front of everybody.
  You did it for those that trust in you.

v20   You will hide them from the bad plans that men make.
  They will not hear the bad things that people say.
  They will be in a secret place with you.

v21   Bless the LORD.
  He showed me his kind love when I was under stress.

v22   I said too soon that you were not watching over me.
  But you did hear my voice when I prayed to you for help.

v23   Love the LORD, everyone that has enjoyed his kind love.
  He will keep safe those that are always his servants,
  but he will pay back those that are proud.

v24   Everyone that hopes in the LORD:
  be strong and be brave in your heart.

Word list

stress ~ illness in the body or mind because life is difficult

fortress ~ a safe place built of stones and rocks

The Story of Psalm 31

Below is a table of Psalm 31. It shows us the 4 important parts.

1 - 6

7 - 8

9 - 18

19 - 24

David prays for help

God sends help

David prays for help AGAIN

God sends help AGAIN


In the first part David was in trouble. We are not sure when. Probably it was when Saul was trying to catch him. David prayed to God for help. God sent help and Saul did not catch David. This made David very happy. He put this in the second part of the psalm. But then it happened again. This time it was worse. So, David prayed for help again. This is in the next part of the psalm. The last part of the psalm tells us that God sent help again.

What Psalm 31 means

Psalm 31: 1 8: In Psalm 31:1 "ashamed" means "let my enemies win". These enemies hid the trap in Psalm 31:4. They wanted to catch David. But God sent help to David, so that he could go anywhere. This is what "the wide place" in Psalm 31:8 means. David believed that God did this because "of your name" (Psalm 31:3). God made his name famous when he answered David.

Psalm 31: 9 24: In Psalm 31:9-12 we read about the results of stress. When life is very difficult we have stress. It makes us ill. It made David so ill that he thought that he was going to die. But David still trusted in the LORD. He wrote, "My times are in your hand". (Psalm 31:15) This means that God decided what would happen to David. "Shine the light of your face" is another way of saying "be kind". David is the servant in Psalm 31:16. It is not a bad thing to be afraid of God. (Psalm 31:19) It means that we see how great he is, and how small we are. Some Bibles translate "everyone that has enjoyed his kind love" as "saints". (Psalm 31:23). "Saint" is another word for "Christian". They are people that have enjoyed the kind love of God. We must remember, in Psalm 31:24, that the Jews believed that you thought in your heart.

Something to do

1.  Look for the key words in Psalm 31. They are the special words. Mark them in some way. The words are: trusting; ashamed; kind love; help; and stress.

2.  If you are under stress (feeling ill because life is difficult) then be like David . . . TRUST IN THE LORD! Ask him for help.


2001, Wycliffe Associates (UK)

This publication is written in EasyEnglish Level A (1200 words)

January 2001

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