We often turn to Isaiah 53, Psalm 22, and Zechariah 12:10 when thinking of very specific prophecies of Jesus, however we have another less well-known contender: Psalm 31. Jesus drew our attention to Psalm 31 when He committed his spirit to the LORD while on the cross. Let us now examine this important passage in English translations from the Septuagint (originally written ~250 B.C.), Masoretic Hebrew (originally written between 6th and 10th centuries A.D.), and several English Bible translations. Since the New Testament authors also referred to the Septuagint, I will provide New Testament cross references.
The Septuagint (Brenton/Bible Hub): (30:5) Into thine hands I will commit my spirit: thou hast redeemed me, O Lord God of truth. Thou has hated them that idly persist in vanities: but I have hoped in the Lord. I will exult and be glad in thy mercy: for thou hast looked upon mine affliction; thou hast saved my soul from distresses. And thou hast not shut me up into the hands of the enemy: thou hast set my feet in a wide place. Pity me, O Lord, for I am afflicted: my eye is troubled with indignation, my soul and by belly. For my life is spent with grief, and my years with groanings: my strength has been weakened through poverty, and my bones are troubled. I became a reproach among all mine enemies, but exceedingly so to my neighbours, and a fear to mine acquaintance: they that saw me without fled from me. I have been forgotten as a dead man out of mind: I am become as a broken vessel. For I heard the slander of many that dwelt round about: when they were gathered together against me, they took counsel to take my life. But I hoped in thee, O Lord: I said, Thou art my God.
Luke 23:46 ESV: Then Jesus, calling out with a loud voice, said, ‘Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!’ And having said this he breathed his last.”
English translations vary on why the author’s strength has been weakened from my affliction (NIV), iniquity (KJV, ISV, ESV), sinfulness (HCSB), and sin (NET). Jesus had taken on the sins of the world.
2 Corinthians 12:9-10 ESV: “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
Hebrew (Chabad): In Your hand I entrust my spirit; You have redeemed me, O Lord, God of truth. I hated those who await worthless vanities, but I hoped for the Lord. I will exult and rejoice in Your kindness, for You have seen my affliction; You have known the troubles of my soul. And you did not deliver me into the hands of an enemy; You have placed my feet in a broad place. Be gracious to me, O Lord, for I am in distress; my eye is dimmed from anger, my soul and my belly. For my life is spent in grief and my years in sighing; my strength has failed because of my iniquity, and my bones have decayed. From all my tormentors I have become a reproach-and very much so to my neighbors-and fright to my acquaintances; those who see me outside avoid me. I was forgotten like a dead person, out of mind; I was like a lost utensil. For I heard the gossip of many, terror from all sides when they take counsel together against me; they plotted to take my soul. But I trusted in You, O Lord; I said, “You are my God.”
Take notice of a few important variations that I have italicized. This prophecy stated that the author would be a reproach to those who tormented Him (the Pharisees who called for His crucifixion) and His acquaintances and neighbors would abandon Him. Recall the way that Jesus’ male apostles, with the exception of the beloved John, abandoned Him when He was being crucified. Only His female apostles, Mother Mary, and John (the son of Zebedee) remained at the cross. The rest feared for their lives and did not want to suffer the same fate. It wasn’t until Jesus appeared to them that they came out of hiding and began to preach fearlessly for Him. They preached for decades, despite being jailed, stoned, beaten, and eventually crucified (Peter), beheaded (Paul), stoned to death (Stephen), and slain for preaching (James the Just and James the brother of John and son of Zebedee). They were uniquely positioned to know the truth and they had been called to share the Good News with all. Let’s carry the torch and persevere in our faith, following the example of our pioneer and perfecter, Jesus Christ! Let’s let our light so shine!