Bible Commentaries

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - UnabridgedCommentary Critical Unabridged

Psalms 30

Verse 1

I will extol thee, O LORD; for thou hast lifted me up, and hast not made my foes to rejoice over me.

The dedication of the house of David - namely, the site of the future temple which Solomon built. The Hebrew, chªnukat (H2598), means the consecration of a new building. When David, after the plague sent for numbering the people, offered sacrifices upon the altar of burnt offering, the Lord, by fire from heaven, consecrated the place as "the house of God" (2 Samuel 24:16-25; 1 Chronicles 21:18-30). Heretofore, Gibeon had been the place of the altar; but henceforth the floor of Araunah, by the direction of the prophet Gad, was "the house of God," even before the temple was built on it. Compare 1 Chronicles 22:1-2, with Genesis 28:17-19. Pride through prosperity, and a sudden and severe, but temporary reverse, appear alike in the psalm and in the history. Not the act, but the motive, was the sin, cf. Exodus 30:12 with 2 Samuel 24:3; 2 Samuel 24:15; Psalms 30:6 here. The deliverance resulted from David's prayer; cf. Psalms 30:8-10 with 1 Chronicles 21:17-18; the "sackcloth," 1 Chronicles 21:16, accords with Psalms 30:11. On the terms 'Psalm and Song' [ mizmowr (H4210) and shiyr (H7892), a joyful "song"] see introductions to the Psalms and to the Poetical books. Dathe, in Rogers, better translates the title, 'A Psalm of David, a Song at the dedication of the house' (namely, of God; as "THE house" emphatically means): for "the house," in Hebrew, cannot be construed with "of David" on account of the article being prefixed. So the Chaldaic paraphrase. Psalms 30:1-12.-David's thanksgiving for deliverance from the verge of the pit (Psalms 30:1-3); call to the saints to give thanks for God's holiness, the source of the grace which turns the weeping of the night into the joy of the morning (Psalms 30:4-5); prosperity had caused overweening confidence; so God hid His face and trouble ensued, which drove David to prayer (Psalms 30:8-10); so God turned mourning to dancing and thanksgiving (Psalms 30:11-12.)

I will extol ... lifted me up. David will exalt the Lord, because the Lord has exalted him. The Hebrew [ daalah (H1802)] is properly to draw one up us out of a pit or well (cf. Psalms 30:3-9). David had well-nigh "gone down to the pit."

Hast not made ... The calamity was of so short duration that, though severe, it afforded but little occasion for malicious exultation to David's foes. David had declined the alternative offered him, to flee before his enemies for three months (2 Samuel 24:13).

Verse 2

O LORD my God, I cried unto thee, and thou hast healed me.

O Lord. The invocation of 'Yahweh' in the opening of each of the three first verses marks their close mutual relation.

Thou hast healed me - thou hast removed my spiritual malady (my pride, which brought on me chastisement), and the consequent plague which so reduced my people. Compare Psalms 30:10-11; 1 Chronicles 21:14-27; Isaiah 1:5-6; Isaiah 6:10; 2 Chronicles 36:16, margin.

Verse 3

O LORD, thou hast brought up my soul from the grave: thou hast kept me alive, that I should not go down to the pit.

Thou hast brought up ... - Hebrew, Sheol; Greek, Hades, the unseen world. David, through overwhelming grief at the calamity which his sinful pride had brought upon the people, had been (2 Samuel 24:10; 2 Samuel 24:14; 2 Samuel 24:17) as it were dead, though still living (cf. 2 Corinthians 1:10; Psalms 6:6-7).

Kept me alive ... This is the reading of the Qeri', or Hebrew margin [ miyaarªdiy (H3381), an infinitive with suffix-an objectionable form; cf. ridªtiy in Psalms 30:10 ]; but the Hebrew text is better [ miyowrªdeey (H3381)], 'thou hast brought me alive from among those who go down to the pit.' Compare Psalms 28:1. So also the Syriac, Ethiopic, Vulgate, Septuagint, and Arabic.

Verse 4

Sing unto the LORD, O ye saints of his, and give thanks at the remembrance of his holiness.

David's particular case is a sample of the universal character of God's gracious dealings with all His people; he therefore calls on 'all the saints of God' to join with him in praises (Psalms 97:12).

Give thanks ... his holiness - literally, 'confess (for when we give thanks to God, we can never exceed the truth; we are always only confessing what God actually is) to the memorial of His holiness.' The holy name of God is what God calls His "memorial" (Exodus 3:15; Hosea 12:5). His manifestation in act of His attributes of power, wisdom, and love to His saints, is to be had by them in everlasting remembrance (Isaiah 26:8; Psalms 135:13). "Holiness" is impressed on His "memorial," in that the latter is elevated infinitely above all created beings, and is by them to be regarded with humble adoration. Compare note, Psalms 22:3. His forbearing compassion and grace flow from His "holiness," which is raised far above human passions (cf. Hosea 11:9).

Verse 5

For his anger endureth but a moment; in his favour is life: weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.

His anger ... God's 'holy memorial,' or ever- memorable holy name, (Psalms 30:4), in its forgiving mercy, is here set forth-literally, 'for (there is but) a moment in His anger.' Compare God's description of His everlasting kindness to Israel, after His momentary anger (Isaiah 54:7-10).

Life - after the sorrowful "moment," through "His anger," there comes again "life through His favour" - life in its fullest sense, salvation, joy, and blessedness (cf. Psalms 30:3, last clause; Psalms 16:11; Psalms 34:12; Psalms 36:9).

Weeping ... - literally, 'in the evening, Weeping (turns in to) pass the night,' (cf. Jeremiah 14:8, end). "Weeping" is personified as a lodger who, 'at evening,' turns in to 'tarry for the night' [ yaaliyn (H3885)].

Joy (cometh) ... "Weeping" gives place to "joy," a new and better guest. So the chastisement inflicted by God on David for his pride in numbering the people lasted only from morning until evening (2 Samuel 24:15).

Verse 6

And in my prosperity I said, I shall never be moved.

Here follows the body of the psalm, the detailed description of the distress which he had brought on himself by his elation through prosperity, and of the grace of God which so wonderfully restored him.

In my prosperity ... This was the secret language of my heart, though unuttered by my lips. "In my prosperity" - i:e., because of its generating carnal security, and leading me to pride myself on the numbers of my people, rather than on God (Proverbs 1:32; Deuteronomy 8:10-14; Deuteronomy 32:15; Hos. 22:6 ).

Verse 7

LORD, by thy favour thou hast made my mountain to stand strong: thou didst hide thy face, and I was troubled.

By thy favour ... - "by thy favour" (not because of my merits), answering to "in His favour is life" (Psalms 30:5) - literally, 'thou hast established strength for my mountain;' thou hast made my affairs and kingdom stand secure as a mountain: cf. for "mountain" as an image of unshaken firmness, Isaiah 2:2; Psalms 76:4, especially applicable to David's dominion, the central seat of which was on Mount Zion (cf. 2 Samuel 5:8-9; 2 Samuel 5:12; Nehemiah 3:25; Micah 4:8).

I was troubled - `confounded;' referring to the stupifying effect on David of the sudden stroke whereby God so thinned Israel's numbers, on which David had so prided himself.

Verse 8

I cried to thee, O LORD; and unto the LORD I made supplication.

Here begins the humble prayer which the sore chastisement led David to offer.

I cried ... - having none else to flee to, and desiring none else.

I made supplication (Ethchannan) - 'I supplicated FOR GRACE,' as distinguished from a claim on the ground of merits.

Verse 9

What profit is there in my blood, when I go down to the pit? Shall the dust praise thee? shall it declare thy truth?

What profit ... ? - (cf. Psalms 30:3.) God would lose the grateful homage of praise which David rendered to Him on earth. Therefore it cannot be that God will reject His servant's prayer (Psalms 6:5).

Shall the dust ... ? So Hezekiah (Isaiah 38:18-19). God cannot cast aside His truth whereby He promises to forgive fully His people's sins upon their repentance. 1 Chronicles 21:14-17 shows how acutely David felt his people's sufferings; so much so that he cried to the angel with the sword drawn over Jerusalem," I it is that have sinned ... Let thine hand, I pray thee, O Lord my God, be on me ... but not on thy people, that they should be plagued."

Verse 10

Hear, O LORD, and have mercy upon me: LORD, be thou my helper.

No JFB commentary on this verse.

Verse 11

Thou hast turned for me my mourning into dancing: thou hast put off my sackcloth, and girded me with gladness;

Thou hast turned ... - (cf. Psalms 30:5.)

Sackcloth - the robe symbolical of humble penitence, which David and the elders had assumed under God's visitation on the people, because of David's pride in numbering them; an undesigned coincidence with 1 Chronicles 21:16, "David and the elders of Israel ... clothed in sackcloth, fell upon their faces."

Verse 12

To the end that my glory may sing praise to thee, and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give thanks unto thee for ever.


(My) glory may sing ... So the Septuagint, as the English version, understand "my" to "glory" - i:e., 'my tongue.' (cf. Psalms 16:9, note). I think "glory" is all that is glorious in me and in thy saints. David had called on the 'saints of the Lord' to "sing unto the Lord" (Psalms 30:4). Here he resumes the thought, and by putting "glory" absolutely, implies that the soul and tongue, not of himself only, but also of the saints, should glorify God by singing unto Him. As in Psalms 30:9 David had made it his plea for deliverance, that if not saved from the pit, he could not praise the Lord, so now he makes the praise of the Lord to be the object of the deliverance by this time granted to him.

Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Psalms 30". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". 1871-8.