Psalm 131


In this psalm, David totally humbles himself because he knows he is ignorant when it comes to knowledge, his pride quickly disappears when he acknowledges that it’s only God who knows everything. This suggests that the historical setting for this psalm was sometime early in the reign of David.


‘A song of ascents. Of David.’

Although the headings aren’t inspired by God, they are important because they give us some understanding of the Psalm and they help us to see why it was written. The headings usually tell us four things.

1. Who wrote them, probably wrote them or possibly wrote them.

2. Information about the historical background to the Psalm. Why it was written.

3. They tell us of the tune the Psalm was written to.

4. How it was used.

The heading tells us this is a song of ascents, written by David. Psalms 120-134 all have the same heading.

Coffman, in his commentary, says the following.

‘Several theories of why this group of psalms is so named are available. The Jewish explanation is that there were fifteen steps from the Court of the Women to the Court of the Men in the Temple, and that each of these psalms was sung in succession on those steps. Another view is that these songs were sung in successive phases of the Jews’ return from captivity. Apparently the true explanation is that these psalms were written for the pilgrims journeying to Jerusalem for the great annual feasts, Passover, Pentecost and Tabernacles. ‘It seems most probable that these songs form a collection for the use of pilgrims who came up to Jerusalem at the great feasts.’

‘My heart is not proud, LORD, my eyes are not haughty; I do not concern myself with great matters or things too wonderful for me. But I have calmed and quieted myself, I am like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child I am content. Israel, put your hope in the LORD both now and forevermore.’ Psalm 131:1-3

David begins by saying to the LORD, that his heart is not proud, in other words, he acknowledges that God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble, Proverbs 3:34 / James 4:6 / 1 Peter 5:5.

He says to the LORD that his eyes are not haughty, that is, he didn’t look down arrogantly upon people, thinking he was better than them, Philippians 2:4.

David says that he didn’t concern himself with great matters or things too wonderful for him. In other words, he didn’t want to become more than what God had planned for him, he was content with the position God had put him in and he was content to wait on the Lord to lift him up in His time, Luke 14:8-11 / Philippians 3:12-14.

These great matters and wonderful things can also be speaking about David’s intellect, that is, he may have thought that he knows more than God Himself, Deuteronomy 29:29 / Job 40:1-5 / Job 42:1-6.

Because David refused to let his pride rule him, he chose to quiet himself and as a result, he found himself being calm, Isaiah 38:13. In other words, he found contentment in who he was and what he had.

Because David refused to let his pride rule him, he found himself being like a weaned child, that is, like a child who draws close to their mother for love and comfort, he wants to draw closer to God to be embraced in His love and comfort, Isaiah 28:9 / Isaiah 49:15 / Isaiah 66:13. He wants to be closer to God because, with God, he will be content.

David ends by encouraging all of Israel to put their hope in the LORD, both now and forever, Luke 2:47, because it’s only in the LORD, can they find real contentment.


David speaks about being content with who God made him and what God had given him. If I could pick a song that could sum up our culture in my lifetime, I would pick a song called, ‘I can’t get no satisfaction’.

I remember that song when I was a kid and it’s just as true today, that people are running around saying, ‘I just can’t be content, I can’t get no satisfaction’.

We’re bombarded every day from the moment we turn on our radios in the morning, to the moment we turn off that TV set at night. Bombarded by propaganda that you’re never really going to be happy until you move into this neighbourhood or until you buy that car until you wear this suit until you put this perfume on until your kids go to this school and wear those clothes and get into this college.

The apostle Paul knew exactly what it meant to be content, he said, ‘I’ve learned the secret of being happy at any time and anything that happens.’ Philippians 4:12. Paul learned three things which made him content in any situation.

1. Paul learned to be satisfied with his blessings, Philippians 4:11-12 / Philippians 4:19 / 1 Timothy 6:6-8.

2. Paul learned to be sustained by God’s strength, Philippians 4:13 / 2 Corinthians 12:9.

3. Paul learned to be surrendered to God’s will, Philippians 1:20-21 / Hebrews 13:8.

Go To Psalm 132