Psalm 31:16
Make your face to shine on your servant: save me for your mercies' sake.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(16) Make thy face to shine.—As in Psalm 4:6, an echo of the priestly blessing. (Numbers 6:24-26.)

31:9-18 David's troubles made him a man of sorrows. Herein he was a type of Christ, who was acquainted with grief. David acknowledged that his afflictions were merited by his own sins, but Christ suffered for ours. David's friends durst not give him any assistance. Let us not think it strange if thus deserted, but make sure of a Friend in heaven who will not fail. God will be sure to order and dispose all for the best, to all those who commit their spirits also into his hand. The time of life is in God's hands, to lengthen or shorten, make bitter or sweet, according to the counsel of his will. The way of man is not in himself, nor in our friend's hands, nor in our enemies' hands, but in God's. In this faith and confidence he prays that the Lord would save him for his mercies's sake, and not for any merit of his own. He prophesies the silencing of those that reproach and speak evil of the people of God. There is a day coming, when the Lord will execute judgment upon them. In the mean time, we should engage ourselves by well-doing, if possible, to silence the ignorance of foolish men.Make thy face to shine upon thy servant - That is, show me thy favor, or be kind and merciful to me. See the notes at Psalm 4:6.

Save me for thy mercies' sake - On account of thy mercy; or that thy mercy may be manifested. This is always a just ground of appeal to God by a sinner or a sufferer, that God would make our sins and trials an "occasion" for displaying his own character. There are, indeed, other grounds of appeal; but there is no one that is more pure or exalted than this.

16. Make … shine—(Compare Nu 6:25; Ps 4:6). Deprecating from himself, he imprecates on the wicked God's displeasure, and prays that their virulent persecution of him may be stopped. Manifest thy love and favour to me, by answering my prayers, and saving me from all mine enemies. Make thy face to shine upon thy servant,.... In which he prays for the gracious presence of God, the manifestations of himself unto him, the discoveries of his love, the enjoyment of him in Christ, communion with him, the comforts of his Spirit, and joys of his salvation; see Numbers 6:25;

save me for thy mercies' sake; not for any merit and righteousness of his own, but for the sake of the grace and goodness of the Lord; which is putting salvation, whether temporal or spiritual, upon its right foot and foundation; which is never wrought out by, or is for works of righteousness done by men, but according to the grace and mercy of God.

Make thy face to shine upon thy servant: save me for thy mercies' sake.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
16. Comp. the paraphrase in P.B.V., Shew thy servant the light of thy countenance: and see note on Psalm 4:6.

for thy mercy’s sake] R.V. in thy lovingkindness, as in Psalm 31:7; Psalm 31:21.Verse 16. - Make thy face to shine upon thy servant. This expression is first used in the blessing of Moses (Numbers 6:25). Its intrinsic beauty and poetry recommended it to the psalmists, with whom it recurs frequently (camp. Psalm 4:6; Psalm 67:1; Psalm 80:5, 7, 19; Psalm 119:135). It may be regarded as equivalent to "Be thou favourable and gracious unto thy servant." Save me for thy mercies' sake; literally, save me in thy mercy. (Heb.: 31:10-14) After the paean before victory, which he has sung in the fulness of his faith, in this second part of the Psalm (with groups, or strophes, of diminishing compass: 6. 5. 4) there again breaks forth the petition, based upon the greatness of the suffering which the psalmist, after having strengthened himself in his trust in God, now all the more vividly sets before Him. צר־לּי, angustum est mihi, as in Psalm 69:18, cf. Psalm 18:7. Psalm 31:10 is word for word like Psalm 6:8, except that in this passage to עיני, the eye which mirrors the state of suffering in which the sensuous perception and objective receptivity of the man are concentrated, are added נפשׁ, the soul forming the nexus of the spirit and the body, and בּטן, the inward parts of the body reflecting the energies and feelings of the spirit and the soul. חיּים, with which is combined the idea of the organic intermingling of the powers of soul and body, has the predicate in the plural, as in Psalm 88:4. The fact that the poet makes mention of his iniquity as that by which his physical strength has become tottering (כּשׁל as in Nehemiah 4:4), is nothing surprising even in a Psalm that belongs to the time of his persecution by Saul; for the longer this persecution continued, the more deeply must David have felt that he needed this furnace of affliction.

The text of Psalm 31:12 upon which the lxx rendering is based, was just the same as ours: παρὰ πάντας τοὺς ἐχθρούς μου ἐγενήθην ὄνειδος καὶ τοῖς γείτοσί μου σφόδρα καὶ φόβος τοῖς γνωστοῖς μου. But this σφδόρα (Jerome nimis) would certainly only be tolerable, if it could be rendered, "I am become a reproach even to my neighbours exceedingly" - in favour of this position of מאד we might compare Judges 12:2, - and this rendering is not really an impossible one; for not only has ו frequently the sense of "even" as in 2 Samuel 1:23, but (independently of passages, in which it may even be explained as "and that," an expression which takes up what has been omitted, as in Amos 4:10) it sometimes has this meaning direct (like καὶ, et -etiam), Isaiah 32:7; Hosea 8:6 (according to the accents), 2 Chronicles 27:5; Ecclesiastes 5:5 (cf. Ew. @a7352, b). Inasmuch, however, as this usage, in Hebrew, was not definitely developed, but was only as it were just developing, it may be asked whether it is not possible to find a suitable explanation without having recourse to this rendering of the ו as equivalent to גּם, a rendering which is always hazardous. Olshausen places ולשׁכני after למידעי, a change which certainly gets rid of all difficulty. Hitzig alters מאד into מנּד, frightened, scared. But one naturally looks for a parallel substantive to חרפּה, somewhat like "terror" (Syriac) or "burden." Still מגור (dread) and משּׂאת (a burden) do not look as though מאד could be a corruption of either of those words. Is it not perhaps possible for מאד itself to be equivalent in meaning to משׂאת? Since in the signification σφόδρα it is so unsuited to this passage, the expression would not be ambiguous, if it were here used in a special sense. J. D. Michaelis has even compared the Arabic awd (awdat) in the sense of onus. We can, without the hesitation felt by Maurer and Hupfeld, suppose that מאד has indeed this meaning in this passage, and without any necessity for its being pointed מאד; for even the adverb מאד is originally a substantive derived from אוּד, Arab. âd (after the form מצד from צוּד) gravitas, firmitas, which is then used in the sense of graviter, firmiter (cf. the French ferme). אוּד, Arab. âd, however, has the radical signification to be compressed, compact, firm, and solid, from which proceed the significations, which are divided between âda, jaı̂du, and âda, jaûdu, to be strong, powerful, and to press upon, to burden, both of which meanings Arab. 'dd unites within itself (cf. on Psalm 20:9).

The number of opponents that David had, at length made him a reproach even in the eyes of the better disposed of his people, as being a revolter and usurper. Those among whom he found friendly shelter began to feel themselves burdened by his presence because they were thereby imperilled; and we see from the sad fate of Abimelech and the other priests of Nob what cause, humanly speaking, they, who were not merely slightly, but even intimately acquainted with him (מידּעים as inn Psalm 55:14; Psalm 88:9, 19), had for avoiding all intercourse with him. Thus, then, he is like one dead, whom as soon as he is borne out of his home to the grave, men are wont, in general, to put out of mind also (נשׁכּח מלּא, oblivione extingui ex corde; cf. מפּה, Deuteronomy 31:21). All intimate connection with him is as it were sundered, he is become כּכלי אבד, - a phrase, which, as we consider the confirmation which follows in Psalm 31:14, has the sense of vas periens (not vas perditum), a vessel that is in the act of אבד, i.e., one that is set aside or thrown away, being abandoned to utter destruction and no more cared for (cf. Hosea 8:8, together with Jeremiah 48:38, and Jeremiah 22:28). With כּי he gives the ground for his comparison of himself to a household vessel that has become worthless. The insinuations and slanders of many brand him as a transgressor, dread surrounds him on every side (this is word for word the same as in Jeremiah 20:10, where the prophet, with whom in other passages also מגור מסּביב is a frequent and standing formula, under similar circumstances uses the language of the psalmist); when they come together to take counsel concerning him (according to the accents the second half of the verse begins with בּהוּסדם), they think only how they may get rid of him. If the construction of ב with its infinitive were intended to be continued in Psalm 31:14, it would have been וזממוּ לקחת נפשׁי or לקחת נפשׁי יזמּוּ.

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