Bible Commentaries
Psalms 30

Scott's Explanatory Notes, Practical Observations on the book PsalmsScott on the Psalms

Verses 1-12

Psalms 30:1-12 Title. This title may be rendered, " A " Psalm : a song at the dedication of the house for David." When advanced to the throne, and possessed of mount Zion, the Psalmist built himself a house, which no doubt he dedicated to God, by fervent prayer and joyful thanksgivings ; and perhaps by making a religious feast for his friends. (Note, Deuteronomy 20:5-9.) But there is nothing in this Psalm peculiarly appropriate to that occasion ; and it was evidently composed either after a dangerous illness, or when he had experienced some extraordinary deliverance.

Many think, that it was used after Absalom’s rebellion, when David returned to Jerusalem ; and, having purified his house from the defilement which had polluted it, he solemnly dedicated both it and himself to God.

(Marg. V. 1, 2. (Notes, Psalms 35:17-19; Psalms 35:25-28. Psalms 41:11-13.) Healed. (2) If this word be literally understood, a dangerous illness and an unexpected recovery, gave occasion to the Psalm. But some think the expression to be used figuratively, as no doubt it frequently is ; and to denote a forlorn and honeless condition, like that of a sick man given over by pnysicians, and unable to help himself. The expectation of his death, formed by David’s enemies, and the joy and triumph which that event would have given them, peculiarly suit the state of things during Absalom’s rebellion. (Notes, Psalms 41:1-8.)

V. 3. Notes, Psalms 16:8-11. Psalms 28:1. Psalms 116:8-12. Psalms 118:17-18.

V. 4. ’ The word ’ rendered saints) ’ signifieth ’ them that have received mercy, and shew mercy liberally * unto others.’ Several words, varying in meaning, but all implying genuine piety and holiness, are translated " saints " in different parts of Scripture. By persons of this character, the holiness of God, (or his moral excellencies, as displayed in his word, and by his works,) is reflected on with admiring and grateful love, and celebrated with joyful praises. (Notes, Exodus 15:11. Is. 6: 1- 4; 30: 8 -11. Revelation 4:6-8.)

V. 5. The concise manner in the original of this verse is very expressive. " For a moment in his anger; life in "his favour: weeping may lodge in the evening; but " singing in the morning." No doubt this is meant exclusively of weeping penitents, or submissive suffering believers ; and not of the ungodly or hypocritical.

(Notes, Psalms 103:9. Psalms 126:5-6. Matthew 5:4.) We may here ’ see his ’ clemency to his faithful servants : whom he may correct ’ very sharply for a little time ; but is soon reconciled, and then extends his favour to them without any end : and sends deliverance to them so unexpectedly and suddenly, as well as seasonably, that where nothing but lamentations were heard over night, there nothing but shouts of ’ joy are heard in the morning.’ Bp. Patrick.

V. 6- 8. When the Psalmist had been delivered from Saul’s persecuting malice, and was settled peaceably in his kingdom, and rendered victorious over the enemies of Israel ; lie seems to have concluded, that his trials and dangers were over, and that he should thenceforth have uninterrupted peace. (Note?, 2 Samuel 7:13-18; 2 Samuel 19:26-29.)

But while he ascribed his great prosperity, and the firm establishment of his authority, to the faithfulness, power, and love of God ; he seems to have given way to unwarranted confidence, and to have remitted his vigilance and activity, and probably the fervency of his devotion. (Note, 2 Samuel 11:15.) Thus he was gradually drawn into a course of inexpedient indulgence ; and at length into most aggravated guilt, in the matter of Uriah, which threatened the final ruin of his comfort, reputation, authority, and family ; and actually exposed him to sharp rebukes, anguish of spirit, and overwhelming domestick afflictions : till Absalom’s rebellion formed a sort of crisis in his case ; and reduced him to such a humble, submissive, believing, and devout, state of mind, as prepared him for returning peace and comfort. (Notes, 2 Sam. xi- 20:) The Lord " hid his "face and he was troubled:" (Notes, Psalms 10:1. Psalms 13:1-4:) his deepest trouble, however, was but for a moment : his weeping, when both sins and sufferings combined to render him inconsolable, continued for a night, and joy came in the morning. God, in answer to his prayers, " restored to " him the joy of his salvation;" (Note, Psalms 51:12-13:) and he spent the rest of his days in a degree of prosperity, honour, and comfort, which, in so dreadful a case as his had been, was beyond what could at all have been expected.

V. 9, 10. If God had permitted his offending servant to be slain, or to die of disease ; he could no more have served the cause of religion, or glorified him in his church on earth : but, if spared, he purposed to celebrate the mercy and truth of God among his people, and hoped thus to do essential service to Israel. (Notes, Psalms 71:17-18; Psalms 88:10-12. Isaiah 38:17-22.) The concluding part of the first book of Chronicles, shews that his purposes and expectations were fully accomplished.

V. 11, 12. These verses illustrate the doctrine of the fifth verse, by the Psalmist’s own experience; whose case seemed as likely to form an exception to the general rule, as any that could well be conceived. The figurative language, used on the occasion, is highly descriptive of the most exulting gladness, and most animated, constant, and unmingled praises ; such as are found in the six concluding Psalms. (Marg. Ref. Notes, Psalms 145:1-2. Psalms 146:2.) The tongue, when thus employed, is the distinguishing honour of our animal frame ; and seems to be meant by " my glory." (Comp. Psalms 16:9, with Acts 2:26.)


We ought to dedicate all our possessions to him, who gave them to us : and our habitations should be daily entrusted to his care, and consecrated to his service, by the word of God and prayer ; and by excluding from them, as far as we can, whatever is displeasing in his sight. And when our comforts have been interrupted, and are again restored; we should renew our dedication of them to the service of our God. But alas! how many houses, even of men called Christians, are not only destitute of religion, but are also scenes of such impiety and wickedness, that one might almost be led to conclude, they had been set part to the service of the devil ! In this militant state it calls for our admiring gratitude, when the Lord lifts us up out of one difficulty after another, and does not sufter our foes to rejoice over us. Returning health, or deliverance from imminent dangers, is peculiarly pleasant, when given in answer to fervent prayers. But the redemption of our souls from " the pit of destruction " calls for our greatest thankfulness ; and he, who heard the Saviour in the depth of his distresses and raised him from the dead, will thus save and bless all his true disciples. Let us then praise God for that earnest and pledge of all our mercies and hopes, and call upon all the saints to join us in our hallelujahs. That may " rejoice at the remembrance of his holiness : " for as the Lord hates sin, and has taught them to hate it, his purity assures them, that he will wholly sanctify them ; and all his perfections, according to his covenant of grace and mercy, afford security for their eternal salvation. His anger, which is everlasting against the impenitent, in respect of his offending children " endureth but for a " moment." He will frown, rebuke, and correct them, and they will mourn and repent ; this may continue for a night, but joy will speedily return : and the renewed sense of his favour, which is their life and comfort, like the rising sun, will make it morning with their souls. But let all beware of unwarranted confidence and carnal security : neither outward prosperity nor inward peace is here immoveable : the Lord in his favour has fixed the believer’s safety firm as the deep-rooted mountains ; but in every thing else he may expect to be shaken, and to meet with temptations and afflictions. When we grow unwatchful, we fall into sin ; and the Lord hides his face, our comforts droop, troubles assail, and perhaps our enemies insult over us. And to arise from such depths requires redoubled earnestness and diligence, renewed humble confessions, and fervent, importunate prayers. We should intreat the Lord, that we may not close our lives under his frown, in a way dishonourable to his name, or unprofitable to our brethren ; and we may properly pray to have our lives spared, that we may yet praise him on earth and declare his truth. In this way our comforts will be again restored; the penitent’s sackcloth will in due time be changed for the robe of salvation, and the garments of praise ; (Note, Isaiah 61:10-11:) and our tongues will be our glory, being employed to the glory of our God. But indeed the continuance of life, and even that of our bodies in the grave, will be but as a moment, compared with eternity; and whatever may befall us by the way, or however we come to the end of our course ; if we have learned to love and 1 praise God on earth, we shall exult in his favour and give him thanks for ever and ever.

Bibliographical Information
Scott, Thomas. "Commentary on Psalms 30". Scott's Explanatory Notes, Practical Observations on the book Psalms. 1804.