Psalms 30


The psalmist returns thanks to God for deliverance from great

danger, 1-3.

He calls upon the saints to give thanks to God at the

remembrance of his holiness, because of his readiness to save,

4, 5.

He relates how his mind stood affected before this great trial

and how soon an unexpected change took place, 6, 7;

mentions how, and in what terms, he prayed for mercy, 8-10;

shows how God heard and delivered him and the effect it had

upon his mind, 11, 12.


This Psalm or song is said to have been made or used at the

dedication of the house of David, or rather the dedication of a

house or temple; for the word David refers not to habbayith,

the house, but to mizmor, a Psalm. But what temple or

house could this be? Some say, the temple built by Solomon; others

refer it to the dedication of the second temple under Zerubbabel,

and some think it intended for the dedication of a third temple,

which is to be built in the days of the Messiah. There are others

who confine it to the dedication of the house which David built

for himself on Mount Sion, after he had taken Jerusalem from the

Jebusites; or to the purgation and re-dedication of his own house,

that had been defiled by the wicked conduct of his own son

Absalom. Calmet supposes it to have been made by David on the

dedication of the place which he built on the threshing floor of

Araunah, after the grievous plague which had so nearly desolated

the kingdom, 2Sa 24:25; 1Ch 21:26. All the parts of the Psalm

agree to this: and they agree to this so well, and to no other

hypothesis, that I feel myself justified in modelling the comment

on this principle alone.

Verse 1. I will extol thee-for thou hast lifted me up] I will

lift thee up, for thou hast lifted me up. Thou hast made me

blessed, and I will make thee glorious. Thou hast magnified me in

thy mercy; and I will show forth thy praise, and speak good of thy


I have made some remarks on this Psalm in the Introduction.

In this Psalm we find seven different states of mind distinctly


1. It is implied, in the first verse, that David had been in

great distress, and nearly overwhelmed by his enemies.

2. He extols God for having lifted him up, and having preserved

him from the cruelty of his adversaries, Ps 30:1-3.

3. He is brought into great prosperity, trusts in what he had

received, and forgets to depend wholly on the Lord, Ps 30:4-6.

4. The Lord hides his face from him, and he is brought into

great distress, Ps 30:7.

5. He feels his loss, and makes earnest prayer and supplication,

Ps 30:8-10.

6. He is restored to the Divine favour, and filled with joy,

Ps 30:11.

7. He purposes to glory in God alone, and to trust in him for

ever, Ps 30:12.

As it is impossible for any man to have passed through all these

states at the same time; it is supposed that the Psalm, like many

others of the same complexion, has been formed out of the

memoranda of a diary. See this point illustrated in the


Thou hast lifted me up] Out of the pit into which I had fallen:

the vain curiosity, and want of trust in God, that induced me to

number the people. Bishop Horsley translates, Because thou hast

depressed me. I thank God for my humiliation and afflictions,

because they have been the means of teaching me lessons of great

profit and importance.

Verse 2. Thou hast healed me.] Thou hast removed the plague from

my people by which they were perishing in thousands before my


Verse 3. Thou hast brought up my soul from the grave] I and my

people were both about to be cut off; but thou hast spared us in

mercy, and given us a most glorious respite.

Verse 4. Sing unto the Lord, O ye saints of his] Ye priests, who

wait upon him in his sanctuary, and whose business it is to offer

prayers and sacrifices for the people, magnify him for the mercy

he has now showed in staying this most destructive plague.

Give thanks at the remembrance of his holiness.] "Be ye holy,"

saith the Lord, "for I am holy." He who can give thanks at the

remembrance of his holiness, is one who loves holiness; who

hates sin; who longs to be saved from it; and takes

encouragement at the recollection of God's holiness, as he sees in

this the holy nature which he is to share, and the perfection

which he is here to attain. But most who call themselves

Christians hate the doctrine of holiness; never hear it inculcated

without pain; and the principal part of their studies, and those

of their pastors, is to find out with how little holiness they can

rationally expect to enter into the kingdom of God. O fatal and

soul-destroying delusion! How long will a holy God suffer such

abominable doctrines to pollute his Church, and destroy the souls

of men?

Verse 5. For his anger endureth but a moment] There is an

elegant abruptness in these words in the Hebrew text. This is the

literal translation: "For a moment in his anger. Lives in his

favour. In the evening weeping may lodge: but in the morning

exultation." So good is God, that he cannot delight in either the

depression or ruin of his creatures. When he afflicts, it is for

our advantage, that we may be partakers of his holiness, and be

not condemned with the world. If he be angry with us, it is but

for a moment; but when we have recourse to him, and seek his face,

his favour is soon obtained, and there are lives in that

favour-the life that now is, and the life that is to come.

When weeping comes, it is only to lodge for the evening; but

singing will surely come in the morning. This description of

God's slowness to anger, and readiness to save, is given by a man

long and deeply acquainted with God as his Judge and as his


Verse 6. In my prosperity I said, I shall never be moved.] Peace

and prosperity had seduced the heart of David, and led him to

suppose that his mountain-his dominion, stood so strong, that

adversity could never affect him. He wished to know the physical

and political strength of his kingdom; and, forgetting to depend

upon God, he desired Joab to make a census of the people; which

God punished in the manner related in 2Sa 24:1-17, and which he

in this place appears to acknowledge.

Verse 7. Thou didst hide thy face] Thou didst show thyself

displeased with me for my pride and forgetfulness of thee: and

then I found how vainly I had trusted in an arm of flesh.

Verse 8. I cried to thee, O Lord] I found no help but in him

against whom I had sinned. See his confession and prayer,

2Sa 24:17.

Made supplication.] Continued to urge my suit; was instant in


Verse 9. What profit is there in my blood] My being cut off will

not magnify thy mercy. Let not the sword, therefore, come against

me. If spared and pardoned, I will declare thy truth; I will tell

to all men what a merciful and gracious Lord I have found. Hear,

therefore, O Lord; Ps 30:10.

Verse 11. Thou hast turned-my mourning into dancing] Rather into

piping. I have not prayed in vain. Though I deserved to be cut off

from the land of the living, yet thou hast spared me, and the

remnant of my people. Thou hast taken away my sackcloth, the

emblem of my distress and misery, and girded me with gladness,

when thou didst say to the destroying angel, when he stood over

Jerusalem ready to destroy it: "It is enough, stay now thy hand;"

2Sa 24:16.

Verse 12. To the end that my glory may sing] The word

cabod, which we here translate glory, is sometimes taken to

signify the liver. Here it is supposed to mean the tongue; why not

the heart? But does not David mean, by his glory, the state of

exaltation and honour to which God had raised him, and in which he

had before too much trusted; forgetting that he held it in a state

of dependence on God? Now he was disciplined into a better

sentiment. My glory before had sung praise to myself; in it I had

rested; on it I had presumed; and intoxicated with my success, I

sent Joab to number the people. Now my glory shall be employed for

another purpose; it shall give thanks to God, and never be silent.

I shall confess to all the world that all the good, the greatness,

the honour, the wealth, prosperity, and excellence I possess, came

from God alone; and that I hold them on his mere good pleasure. It

is so; therefore, "O Lord my God, I will give thanks unto thee for


The old Psalter translates and paraphrases the last verse

thus:-That my joy syng til the, and I be noght stanged: Lord my

God withouten ende I sal schryf til the. The dede and the sorrow

of oure syn God turnes in til joy of remission; and scheres oway

oure sekk-(drives away our distress) and umgyfs (surrounds) qwen

we dye, with gladness. That oure joy syng til hym, that has gyfen

us that joy; for we be no more stanged (stung) with conscience of

syn: na drede of dede or of dome; bot withouten ende we sal loue

(praise) him. Na tunge may telle na herte may thynk the mykelnes

of joy that es in louing (praising) of hym in gast, and in

sothfastnes, i.e., spirit and truth.


There are two parts in this Psalm:-

I. The giving of thanks for delivery from a great danger,

Ps 30:1-3.

II. An exhortation to others to follow his example, and thus

acknowledge God's merciful dealings with them, Ps 30:4-12.

I. He begins with thanksgiving: "I will extol thee, O Lord;" and

adds the causes.

1. "Thou hast lifted me up," as one out of a deep dark pit.

2. "Thou hast not made my foes to triumph over me;" but rather

turned their mirth into sadness.

3. "Thou hast healed me;"-both in body and mind.

4. "Thou hast brought up my soul from the grave;" restored me to

life, when apparently condemned to death.

5. He earnestly sought these blessings: "O Lord my God, I cried

unto thee," and thou didst for me all that I have mentioned.

II. After having given thanks, he calls on the saints to

acknowledge and celebrate the goodness of God to him and to

others: "Sing unto the Lord," &c. And to induce them to do this,

he gives the instance in himself, that God was angry with him, but

soon appeased.

1. He was angry, but his anger endured but a moment; but life,

and a continuance of it, are from his favour.

2. And justly angry he was for his sin and carnal confidence:

"In my prosperity I said, I shall never be moved."

3. The effect of his anger was: "He hid his face, and I was


This is the example that he sets before the saints, that they be

not secure when the world goes well with them; lest they have

experience of God's displeasure, as he had.

Next he shows the means he used to avert God's wrath; and this

he proposes as a pattern for all to follow in like cases.

1. He betook himself to prayer. 2. He sets down the form he


1. He that is ill sends for the physician-so did I. This was the

fruit of my chastisement; I cried unto thee, O Lord; and unto the

Lord I made supplication.

2. And the form he used was this:-I earnestly pleaded with God

thus: 1. "What profit is there in my blood when I go down to the

pit?" 2. "Shall the dust praise thee? shall it declare thy truth?"

3. Can a dead man praise thee, or canst thou make good thy

promises to the dead? 4. And he concluded with, "Hear, O Lord, and

have mercy upon me; O Lord, be thou my helper."

3. He shows the effect of his prayer: "Thou hast turned my

mourning into dancing, thou hast put off my sackcloth, and girded

me with gladness."

4. For what end God did this: "That my glory may sing praise to

thee, and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give thanks to thee

for ever."

Now, O ye saints, 1. You see my case; 2. You see what course I

took; 3. You see the effect; 4. You see the end why God was so

good to me, that I should praise him. To you, who are in my state,

I propose my example. Betake yourselves to God in your

necessities; and, having obtained deliverance by earnest prayer

and faith, remember to return praise to God for his ineffable


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