Bible Commentaries

Coke's Commentary on the Holy BibleCoke's Commentary

Psalms 30

Verse 1

Psalms 30:0.

David praiseth God for his deliverances: he exhorteth others to praise him by the example of God's dealing with him.

A Psalm and Song, at the dedication of the house of David.

Title. שׁיר מזמור mizmor shiir. A psalm and song, &c.— This excellent composition is well suited to the occasion on which it was penned: for nothing could be more proper than the recollection of the past conduct of Providence, amid the various changes of condition which had attended David, the numerous and dangerous distresses that had befallen him, and the deliverances which God had seasonably wrought out for him; till, at length, he was brought to the height of prosperity, when he saw Jerusalem well fortified, and her numerous buildings rising up under his hand, and his own palace magnificently finished for the residence of himself and family. This psalm is penned with great strength and elegance of diction, and the sentiments of piety in it are truly noble and instructive. The manner in which he describes the interpositions of God's favour, and the gratitude of his own heart, is warm, sententious, and affecting; the periods being short, generally without the connective particles, and answering to the events which crowded fair one after another, and the various affections which inspired him. Nor should the excellent design of it be forgotten; which is to put men in mind of the folly and vanity of that presumption which causes them to forget themselves, and fondly depend on the continuance of their external prosperity; and to shew them, that when their expectations of this kind are highest, they may then be nearest to a severe disappointment by a sudden reverse of their circumstances, in order more effectually to convince them, that, as all their prosperity is originally from God, the continuance of it depends solely on his favour. And, on the other hand, we are instructed, that all the afflictions of life are under a divine direction; that we should never despair, but should apply ourselves to God, when exercised with them, by frequent supplication, and hope in his mercy, who can and will deliver us out of them, if, upon the whole, it be necessary to promote our best and highest happiness. Dr. Chandler.

At the dedication of the house of David The original word חנכה chanukkah signifies to initiate, or the first use which is made of any thing. It was common, when any person had finished a house and entered into it, to celebrate it with great rejoicings, and keep a festival, to which his friends were invited, and to perform some religious ceremonies to procure the protection of heaven. See Deuteronomy 20:5.

Psalms 30:1. Thou hast lifted me up Or, Thou hast drawn me up. The verb דלה dalah is used in its original meaning, to denote the reciprocating motion of the buckets of a well; one descending as the other rises, and vice versa; and it is here applied, with admirable propriety, to point out the various reciprocations and changes of David's fortunes, as described in this psalm, as to prosperity and adversity; and particularly that gracious reverse of his afflicted condition which he now celebrates, God having raised him up to great honour and prosperity; for, having built his palace, he perceived that the Lord had established him king over Israel, and that he had exalted his kingdom, for his people Israel's sake. 2Sa 5:12 and see Schultens on Pro 20:5 and Chandler.

Verse 2

Psalms 30:2. Thou hast healed me The original verb רפא rapa is used either for the healing of bodily disorders, Psa 103:3 or to denote the happy alteration of any person's affairs, either in public or private life, by the removal of any kind of distress, personal or national. Psalms 107:20. Isaiah 19:22. So in the place before us, Thou hast healed me, means, "Thou hast brought me out of my distresses; hast restored my health, and rendered me safe and prosperous." Under Saul he was frequently in the most imminent danger of his life, out of which God wonderfully brought him: this he strongly expresses by saying, Thou hast brought up my soul from sheol: Psalms 30:3. Thou hast kept me alive, that I should not go down to the pit. "I thought myself lost, and saw nothing to prevent my destruction; and I can scarcely help looking on the deliverance that thou hast vouchsafed me, otherwise than as a kind of resurrection from the dead."

Verse 4

Psalms 30:4. Give thanks at the remembrance of his holiness The holiness of God here refers particularly to his truth and faithfulness to his promises, which argues the rectitude and sanctity of his nature. Of this David had the highest and most comfortable assurance, God having at last brought him to the throne, and settled him in the possession of it, notwithstanding he was often reduced to the greatest hazard of his life, and his advancement to the kingdom seemed, according to all human probability, almost impossible. Chandler.

Verse 5

Psalms 30:5. For his anger endureth but a moment There is but a moment in his anger; life and happiness in his favour: weeping may come to lodge with us in the evening, but singing shall dwell with us in the morning. The accomplishment of God's promises must, as to the season of it, be left to the disposal of his all-wise providence; and there may be a considerable time, and many afflictions, between the giving of the promise and the performance of it. Good men, however, shall not finally be disappointed; and, though some events may seem to be arguments of his displeasure towards them, yet, as the Psalmist found by his own experience, the duration of his anger is but short; comparatively, but for a moment; but the effects of his favour substantial and durable. His favour is חיים chaiim, lives; i.e. long life, and lasting happiness of life, are the sure effects of it. Weeping may come to lodge with us in the evening. Its stay will be short, like a guest who lodges with us only for a night; but in the morning singing for joy shall return, and abide with us. These are poetical illustrations of the shortness of God's anger, and the permanent effects of his favour, which the Psalmist further illustrates by his own example.

Verses 6-7

Psalms 30:6-7. And in my prosperity I said There should not be a full stop at the end of the 6th verse, but after the words stand strong in the 7th; where the next period should begin, Thou didst hide thy face; I was troubled. The word שׁלו shalev rendered prosperity, denotes peace and tranquillity, arising from an affluent prosperous condition. When God had settled him quietly on the throne, he thought that all his troubles were over, and that he should enjoy uninterrupted happiness; that God had made his mountain so strong that it should never be moved: i.e. had placed him secure from all danger, as though he had taken refuge in an inaccessible mountain; or made his prosperity firm, and no more subject to alteration than a mountain is liable to be removed out of its place; or raised him to an eminent degree of honour and prosperity; a mountain by its height being a very natural representation of a superior condition, remarkable for power, affluence, and dignity. He had taken the fortress of Mount Sion, which was properly his mountain, as he had fixed upon it for his dwelling: it was strong by nature, and rendered almost impregnable by the fortifications that he had added to it. This he regarded as the effect of God's favour to him, and promised himself that his peace and happiness for the future should be as undisturbed and unshaken as Mount Sion itself. To hide one's face, is to refuse to see, or be seen, by another, and argues displeasure, and a denial of assistance and favour. The Psalmist means, that when God withdrew his protection, displeased with his presumption and the security that he had fondly promised himself, he was immediately disturbed by fresh troubles, and his dream of uninterrupted tranquillity vanished. He refers, I believe, to the two invasions of the Philistines, soon after they found that he had been anointed king over Israel.

2 Samuel 5:17; 2 Samuel 5:25. In this unexpected distress, he cried unto the Lord, and in his supplication said as in Psalms 30:9-10. Chandler.

Verse 9

Psalms 30:9. What profit, &c.— What gain can there be by my blood? When I go down into the pit, can my dust praise thee? Can it declare thy faithfulness? There is a propriety in asking, Shall the dust praise thee? when the body goes down and moulders in the grave, which does not immediately appear in the common version. The Psalmist expostulates with God, that the suffering him to fall by the sword of the enemy would be of no benefit to his people, nor to the cause of religion, as he would thereby be prevented from publicly celebrating the praises of God, and making those regulations in the solemnity of his worship which he purposed to do, if God would spare his life, and give him the victory. Chandler.

Verse 12

Psalms 30:12. To the end that my glory, &c.— The Philistines had invaded David soon after his establishment on the throne, and before he had taken possession of his new-built palace; so that he was engaged in fresh difficulties, and could not enjoy the tranquillity which he promised himself. In this unexpected exigency he applied himself to God; and the effect was, his being soon delivered out of all his fears, by the utter defeat of his enemies; which he describes by the pleasing expression of God's turning his mourning into dancing; putting off his sackcloth, and girding him with gladness. He had now an opportunity of dedicating his house, and taking possession of it, with all those tokens of joy which were usual on such occasions; and with those solemn praises to God which he owed him as his great deliverer, and the kind author of his prosperity. The word my not being in the original, this clause might be better rendered, That every one may sing glory to thee, and not be silent: "They who celebrate with me the dedication of my house, and all my people who see and share in my prosperity." Chandler.

REFLECTIONS.—1st, Every house of a child of God will be a sanctuary where prayer and praise are daily offered.

1. David begins with the voice of thanksgiving for the mercies that he had tasted; his foes sought his ruin, he was sick perhaps in body, and afflicted in mind; the grave seemed to be open to receive him; but he cried, and the Lord heard him, and delivered him out of all his troubles; therefore he well resolves, I will extol thee, for thou hast lifted me up; will declare thy greatness and goodness, and ascribe the whole of my salvation to thy power and grace. Note; (1.) We brought into the world with us the disease of mortal corruption; it is matter of unspeakable joy, if, by the blood and grace of Jesus, our dying souls are healed. (2.) Recoveries from sickness deserve songs of praise, and that the life preserved by God's mercy be anew devoted to his glory. (3.) In all afflictive cases, whether of body or mind, the prayer of faith availeth much,—always for consolation, and frequently for bodily health.

2. He calls upon others to join in the song of praise. Sing unto the Lord, O ye saints of his: this is the character of God's people; they are separated from sin, and by divine grace renewed in righteousness and true holiness; and therefore they give thanks at the remembrance of his holiness; pleased with beholding this glorious attribute of their God; satisfied in the righteousness of all his ways, and deriving comfort from the consideration that, as in a measure they resemble him now, they shall shortly awake up in his perfect image. For his anger endureth but a moment; not that we are to impute to him any such imperfection or turbulence in his holy mind as we feel; but, according as men chastise in anger those who offend them, God deals thus with those who sin against him; but to true believers, even this is not the stroke of an enemy, but the rod of a father, gently correcting us for our good. In his favour is life; spiritual life, eternal life, which is the sure portion of the faithful, notwithstanding momentary afflictions. Weeping may endure for a night; and some wearisome nights our sins and folly provoke God to make us feel, when he withdraws, and darkness and distress surround us; but joy cometh in the morning; the season of sorrow is short; and, as the welcome sun returning dispels the shadows of the night, so does God return to lift up the light of his countenance on his mourning saints, and wakens up their joyful praises. Note; In all our troubles here, we should remember that they are light afflictions, and but for a moment; the far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory which is to follow, will abundantly compensate.

2nd, We are ever apt to be running to extremes, too elated with comfort, or too dejected in distress. This was David's case:
1. In his prosperity he grew secure, confident that he should never be moved: his foes all vanquished, and his throne firmly settled, he thought himself fixed as a mountain: and, though he ascribes it to divine grace, he seems to place some trust of his stability on himself. Note; Worldly prosperity is dangerously intoxicating; it is what lulls men in general asleep.

2. Trouble overtook him; and dejection of soul, from the fear of God's favour being withdrawn, sunk him low into the dust, yet not into despair; he cried unto the Lord, and made his supplication; finding his weakness, and feeling now where alone his strength lay, he pleads hard for mercy and help in this his time of need. Note; In our lowest frames, let nothing drive us from prayer; as long as we cry to God, there is hope in our end.

3. Soon the glad change appears; while he is speaking, God answers; his sorrows turn to joy; his mourning is ended, and songs of melody and love declare the praises of him who brought him out of darkness into his marvellous light: such experience engages his glory, his soul, his tongue to praise God for ever; and these lively expressions of his gratitude he trusts shall not only last while life and breath endure below, but be perpetuated through the countless ages of eternity. Go then, thou redeemed soul, and do likewise.

Bibliographical Information
Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Psalms 30". Coke's Commentary on the Holy Bible. 1801-1803.