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30. Psalm 30

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

2O Lord my God, I cried unto thee, and thou hast healed me.

3O Lord, thou hast brought up my soul from the grave: thou hast kept me alive, that I should not go down to the pit.

4Sing unto the Lord, O ye saints of his, and give thanks at the remembrance of his holiness.

5For his anger endureth but a moment; in his favour is life: weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.

6And in my prosperity I said, I shall never be moved.

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

8I cried to thee, O Lord; and unto the Lord I made supplication.

9What profit is there in my blood, when I go down to the pit? Shall the dust praise thee? shall it declare thy truth?

10Hear, O Lord, and have mercy upon me: Lord, be thou my helper.

11Thou hast turned for me my mourning into dancing: thou hast put off my sackcloth, and girded me with gladness;

12To 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.

9. What profit is there in my blood? Some explain the verse after this manner: What will it avail me to have lived, unless thou prolongest my life till I shall have finished the course of my vocation? But this exposition seems too strained, especially as the term blood here signifies death, not life: as if David had said, What profit wilt thou derive from my death? This interpretation is farther confirmed by the following clause, where he complains that his lifeless body will then be useless for celebrating the praises of God. And he seems expressly to mention the truth of God, to intimate that it would be unsuitable to the character of God to take him out of the world by an untimely death, before God had accomplished the promise which he had made to him concerning his future heir. As there is a mutual relation between God’s promises and our faith, truth is, as it were, the medium by which God openly shows that he does not merely make liberal promises to us in words, to feed us with empty hopes, and afterwards to disappoint us. Moreover, to obtain a longer life, David draws an argument from the praises of God, to celebrate which we are born and nourished: as if he had said, For what purpose hast thou created me, O God! but that through the whole course of my life I may be a witness and a herald of thy grace to set forth the glory of thy name? But my death will cut short the continuance of this exercise, and reduce me to eternal silence. A question, however, arises here, Does not, it may be said, the death of true believers glorify God as well as their life? We answer, David speaks not simply of death, but adds a circumstance which I have already treated of in the sixth Psalm. As God had promised him a successor, the hope of living longer being taken from him, he had good reason to be afraid lest this promise should be frustrated by his death, and was therefore compelled to exclaim, What profit is there in my blood? It highly concerned the glory of God that he should be preserved alive, until by obtaining his desire, he should be able to bear witness to God’s faithfulness in completely fulfilling his promise to him. By inquiring in the end of the verse, Shall the dust praise thee? he does not mean that the dead are altogether deprived of power to praise God, as I have already shown in the sixth Psalm. If the faithful, while encumbered with a burden of flesh, exercise themselves in this pious duty, how should they desist from it when they are disencumbered, and set free from the restraints of the body? It ought to be observed, therefore, that David does not professedly treat of what the dead do, or how they are occupied, but considers only the purpose for which we live in this world, which is this, that we may mutually show forth to one another the glory of God. Having been employed in this exercise to the end of our life, death at length comes upon us and shuts our mouth.


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