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Psalm 131: Bible Study of Only Three Verses

Rev. Margaret Minnicks is an ordained Bible teacher. She writes many articles that are Bible lessons.


David wrote 73 of the 150 Psalms. Some of them are long, and some of them are short. Psalm 131 is very short with only three verses. Psalms 133 and 134 are the other psalms with three verses. Psalm 117 is ever shorter with two verses.

About Psalm 131

Psalm 131 is a psalm of hope, confidence, and a quiet spirit. This psalm tells us that David did not think he was above others even though he had been anointed to be king. He was a mighty man of valor and a brave soldier. He was a powerful man, but he did not think he was more than others. He had many wives, concubines, and servants, yet he was humble. David also had many enemies.

Since Psalm 131 is so short, the entire psalm is written here with an explanation of each of the three verses. The first two verses include David's personal testimony about his humility and contentment. The final verse is David's national exhortation for God's people.

Verse 1

"LORD, my heart is not haughty, nor mine eyes lofty: neither do I exercise myself in great matters, or in things too high for me."

David is a wonderful example of someone who learned the twin truths of humility and contentment. David begins the psalm by saying his heart was not proud even though he had a lot to be proud of. After all, Samuel anointed him to be king, he slew Goliath, brought the Ark of God out of Philistine captivity, and God called him "A man after God's own heart." David could have bragged about his accomplishments, but he remained humble.

In the very first verse of Psalm 131, David teaches us three things.

1. Do not be proud in your heart.
David begins his prayer by saying, “My heart is not proud.” The psalmist knew that to practice humility, it must start with your heart.

2. Do not be proud in your attitude towards others.
David says, “My eyes are not haughty.” He knew that a proud heart has to do with personal pride in himself. When he talked about not have haughty eyes, he was admitting that he didn't look down on people except to lift them up.

3. Do not feel that you have to know or understand it all.
First, do not be proud in your heart. Secondly, do not look down on others with haughty eyes. Thirdly, do not feel that you have to know or understand everything. David says, “I do not concern myself with great matters or things too wonderful for me.”

David admitted these are things that are too high for him, things that were too difficult for him to understand. Like David, we should be willing to admit that there are things we cannot do, and many things we do not understand.

Verse 2

"Surely I have behaved and quieted myself, as a child that is weaned of his mother: my soul is even as a weaned child."

There are three instructions about learning contentment here in verse 2.

1. Be still before the Lord.
David admits that he had learned to be still before the Lord. He knew how to be still before God. He acknowledged that God is God. He used this same concept in Psalm 46:10 when he said, "Be still and know that I am God."

2. Quiet your soul.
David says: “I have stilled and quieted my soul.” The word “quieted” here means to be silent. David eliminated those things which agitate his soul. A quiet soul only comes from God. It is His gift to us.

3. Rest like a weaned child with its mother.
In this psalm, David has gone through the weaning process. He no longer screamed and had temple tantrums when he didn't get what he wanted. In other words, David is now at a stage of maturity when he can rest like a child that has already been weaned from its mother.

Verse 3

"Let Israel hope in the LORD from henceforth and forever."

David found that what he did for himself was good for him. That's why he wrote the psalm to let others know how his lifestyle was good for him. Therefore, he exhorts and encourages others to follow his examples.

David closes Psalm 131 with two final pieces of advice.

1. Put your hope in the Lord.
David encourages others to put their hope in the Lord. He invites others to share the same restful peace that he has experienced within his own soul.

2. Do it now and forevermore
David began this psalm by addressing God. Now he closes the psalm by addressing God’s people. He tells them to put their hope in God now and forever.


Psalm 131 teaches us to practice humility before the Lord, find contentment, and rest. The psalm also teaches us to be humble in our walk before the Lord.

Everyone should want a quiet and restful soul, and everyone can have those things when they do what David did. Repent and get rid of pride in yourself. Get rid of a proud attitude towards others. Let go of the need to know and understand everything. Be content like a weaned child. Then put your hope in God now and forevermore.