on Psalms 31 :5
Into thine hand I commit my spirit - These words, as they stand in the Vulgate, were in the highest credit among our ancestors; by whom they were used in all dangers, difficulties, and in the article of death. In manus tuas, Domine, commendo spiritum meum, was used by the sick when about to expire, if they were sensible; and if not, the priest said it in their behalf. In forms of prayer for sick and dying persons, these words were frequently inserted in Latin, though all the rest of the prayer was English; for it was supposed there was something sovereign in the language itself. But let not the abuse of such words hinder their usefullness. For an ejaculation nothing can be better; and when the pious or the tempted with confidence use them, nothing can exceed their effect. "Into thy hands I commend my spirit; for thou hast redeemed me, O Lord God of truth." I give my soul to thee, for it is thine: thou hast redeemed it by thy blood; it is safe nowhere but in thy hand. Thou hast promised to save them that trust in thee; thou art the God of truth, and canst not deny thyself. But these words are particularly sanctified, or set apart for this purpose, by the use made of them by our blessed Lord just before he expired on the cross. "And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Πατερ, εις χειρας σου παρατιθεμαι το πνευμα μου· 'Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit,'" Luke 23:46. The rest of the verse was not suitable to the Savior of the world, and therefore he omits it; but it is suitable to us who have been redeemed by that sacrificial death. St. Stephen uses nearly the same words, and they were the last that he uttered. Acts 7:59.
on Psalms 31 :5
Into thine hand I commit my spirit - The Saviour used this expression when on the cross, and when about to die: Luke 23:46. But this does not prove that the psalm had originally a reference to him, or that he meant to intimate that the words originally were a prophecy. The language was appropriate for him, as it is for all others in the hour of death; and his use of the words furnished the highest illustration of their being appropriate in that hour. The act of the psalmist was an act of strong confidence in God in the midst of dangers and troubles; the act of the Saviour was of the same nature, commending his spirit to God in the solemn hour of death. The same act of faith is proper for all the people of God, alike in trouble and in death. Compare Acts 7:59. The word "spirit" may mean either "life," considered as the animating principle, equivalent to the word "myself;" or it may mean more specifically the "soul," as distinguished from the body. The sense is not materially varied by either interpretation.
Thou hast redeemed me - This was the ground or reason why the "psalmist" commended himself to God; this reason was not urged, and could not have been by the Saviour, in his dying moments. He committed his departing spirit to God as his Father, and in virtue of the work which he had been appointed to do, and which he was now about finishing, as a Redeemer; we commit our souls to Him in virtue of having been redeemed. This is proper for us:
(a) because he has redeemed us;
(b) because we have been redeemed for him, and we may ask Him to take His own;
(c) because this is a ground of safety, for if we have been redeemed, we may be certain that God will keep us; and
(d) because this is the only ground of our security in reference to the future world.
What "David" may have understood by this word it may not be easy to determine with certainty; but there is no reason to doubt that he may have used it as expressive of the idea that he had been recovered from the ruin of the fall, and from the dominion of sin, and had been made a child of God. Nor do we need to doubt that he had such views of the way of salvation that he would feel that he was redeemed only by an atonement, or by the shedding of blood for his sins. To all who are Christians it is enough to authorize them to use this language in the midst of troubles and dangers, and in the hour of death, that they have been redeemed by the blood of the Saviour; to none of us is there any other safe ground of trust and confidence in the hour of death than the fact that Christ has died for sin, and that we have evidence that we are interested in his blood.
O Lord God of truth - True to thy promises and to thy covenant-engagements. As thou hast promised life and salvation to those who are redeemed, they may safely confide in thee. See the notes at 2 Corinthians 1:20.
on Psalms 31 :5
31:5 My spirit - My soul or life; to preserve it from the malice of mine enemies. For - Thou hast delivered me formerly, and therefore I commit myself to thee for the future. O Lord, and c. - Who hast shewed thyself so, in making good thy promise.