PSALM 30 OVERVIEW
Title. A Psalm and Song at the Dedication of the House of David; or rather, A Psalm; a Song of Dedication for the House. By David. A song of faith since the house of Jehovah, here intended, David never lived to see. A Psalm of praise, since a sore judgment had been stayed, and a great sin forgiven. From our English version it would appear that this Psalm was intended to be sung at the building of that house of cedar which David erected for himself, when he no longer had to hide himself in the Cave of Adullam, but had become a great king. If this had been the meaning, it would have been well to observe that it is right for the believer when removing, to dedicate his new abode to God. We should call together our Christian friends, and show that where we dwell, God Dwells, and where we have a tent, God has an altar. But as the song refers to the temple, for which it was David's joy to lay by in store, and for the site of which he purchased in his later days the floor of Ornan, we must content ourselves with remarking the holy faith which foresaw the fulfilment of the promise made to him concerning Solomon. Faith can sing --
"Glory to thee for all the grace
I have not tasted yet."
Throughout this Psalm there are indications that David had been greatly afflicted, both personally and relatively, after having, in his presumption, fancied himself secure. When God's children prosper one way, they are generally tried another, for few of us can bear unmingled prosperity. Even the joys of hope need to be mixed with the pains of experience, and the more surely so when comfort breeds carnal security and self confidence. Nevertheless, pardon soon followed repentance, and God's mercy was glorified. The Psalm is a song, and not a complaint. Let it be read in the light of the last days of David, when he had numbered the people, and God had chastened him, and then in mercy had bidden the angel sheathe his sword. On the floor of Ornan, the poet received the inspiration which glows in this delightful ode. It is the Psalm of the numbering of the people, and of the dedication temple which commemorated the staying of the plague.
Division. In Psalms 30:1-3 , David extols the Lord for delivering him. Psalms 30:4-5 he invites the saints to unite with him in celebrating divine compassion. In Psalms 30:6-7 he confesses the fault for which he was chastened, Psalms 30:8-10 repeats the supplication which he offered, and concludes with commemorating his deliverance and vowing eternal praise.
Verse 1. I will extol thee. I will have high and honourable conceptions of thee, and give them utterance in my best music. Others may forget thee, murmur at thee, despise thee, blaspheme thee, but "I will extol thee," for I have been favoured above all others. I will extol thy name, thy character, thine attributes, thy mercy to me, thy great forbearance to my people; but, especially will I speak well of thyself; "I will extol thee," O Jehovah; this shall be my cheerful and constant employ. For thou hast lifted me up. Here is an antithesis, "I will exalt thee, for thou hast exalted me." I would render according to the benefits received. The Psalmist's praise was reasonable. He had a reason to give for the praise that was in his heart. He had been drawn up like a prisoner from a dungeon, like Joseph out of the pit, and therefore he loved his deliverer. Grace has uplifted us from the pit of hell, from the ditch of sin, from the Slough of Despond, from the bed of sickness, from the bondage of doubts and fears: have we no song to offer for all this? How high has our Lord lifted us? Lifted us up into the children's place, to be adopted into the family; lifted us up into union with Christ, "to sit together with him in heavenly places." Lift high the name of our God, for he has lifted us up above the stars. And hast not made my foes to rejoice over me. This was the judgment which David most feared out of the three evils; he said, let me fall into the hand of the Lord, and not into the hand of man. Terrible indeed were our lot if we were delivered over to the will of our enemies. Blessed be the Lord, we have been preserved from so dire a fate. The devil and all our spiritual enemies have not been permitted to rejoice over us; for we have been saved from the fowler's snare. Our evil companions, who prophesied that we should go back to our old sins, are disappointed. Those who watched for our halting, and would fain say, "Aha! Aha! So would we have it!" have watched in vain until now. O happy they whom the Lord keeps so consistent in character that the lynx eyes of the world can see no real fault in them. Is this our case? let us ascribe all the glory to him who has sustained us in our integrity.
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Title. "A Psalm and Song," etc. It is thought that when these two words of Psalm and Song are both put in the title of a Psalm, it is meant that the sound of instruments was to be joined with the voice when they were sung in the Temple, and that the voice went before when it is said Song and Psalm, and did come after when it is said Psalm and Song. John Diodati.
Title. At the dedication of it. (tybh tknx) The original word ($nx) signifies initiari, egkainizein, rei novae primam usurpationem. So Cocceius, to initiate, or the first use that is made of anything. It was common, when any person had finished a house and entered into it, to celebrate it with great rejoicing, and keep a festival, to which his friends are invited, and to perform some religious ceremonies, to secure the protection of heaven. Thus, when the second temple was finished, the Priests and Levites, and the rest of the captivity, kept the dedication of the house of God with joy, and offered numerous sacrifices. Ezra 6:16 . We read in the New Testament John 10:22 , of the feast of the dedication appointed by Judas Maccabaeus, in memory of the purification and restoration of the temple of Jerusalem, after it had been defiled and almost laid in ruins by Antiochus Epiphanes; and celebrated annually, to the time of its destruction by Titus, by solemn sacrifices, music, songs, and hymns, to the praises of God, and feasts, and everything that could give the people pleasure, for eight days successively. Josephus Ant. 1:7. Judas ordained, that "the days of the dedication should be kept in their season, from year to year, with mirth and gladness." 1 4:59 . And that this was customary, even amongst private persons, to keep a kind of religious festival, upon their first entrance into a new house, appears from the order of God De 20:5, that no person who had built a new house should be forced into the army, "if he had not dedicated the house," i.e., taken possession of it according to the usual ceremonies practised on such occasions; a custom this that hath more or less prevailed amongst all nations. Thus the Romans dedicated their temples, their theatres, their statues, and their palaces and houses. Suet. Octav. c. 43. p 13; c. 31. p 9. Samuel Chandler.
Title. The present Psalm is the only one that is called a shir, or song, in the first book of the Psalms, i.e., Psalms 1-41. The word (ryf) shir is found in the titles of Psalms 45, 46, 48, 65, 68, 75, 83, 87, 88, 92, 108, 120, 134. Psalm 18 is entitled, "a shirah (or song) of deliverance from his enemies," and the present shir may be coupled with it. Christopher Wordsworth.
Title. As by offering the first fruits to God they acknowledged that they received the increase of the whole year from him, in like manner, by consecrating their houses to God, they declared that they were God's tenants, confessing that they were strangers, and that it was he who lodged and gave them a habitation there. If a levy for war, therefore, took place, this was a just cause of exemption, when any one alleged that he had not yet dedicated his house. Besides, they were at the same time admonished by this ceremony, that every one enjoyed his house aright and regularly, only when he so regulated it that it was as it were a sanctuary of God, and that true piety and the pure worship of God reigned in it. The types of the law have now ceased, but we must still keep to the doctrine of Paul, that whatsoever things God appoints for our use, are still "sanctified by the word of God and prayer." 1 Timothy 4:4-5 . John Calvin.
Whole Psalm. Calmet supposes it to have been made by David on the dedication of the place which he built on the threshing floor of the Araunah, after the grievous plague which had so nearly desolated the kingdom. 2 Samuel 24:25 1 Chronicles 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. Adam Clarke.
Whole Psalm. In the following verses I have endeavoured to give the spirit of the Psalm, and to preserve the frequent antitheses.
I will exalt thee, Lord of hosts,
For thou'st exalted me;
Since thou hast silenced Satan's boasts,
I will therefore boast in thee.
My sins had brought me near the grave,
The grave of black despair;
I looked, but there was none to save,
Till I looked up in prayer.
In answer to my piteous cries,
From hell's dark brink I am brought:
My Jesus saw me from the skies,
And swift salvation wrought.
All through the night I wept full sore,
But morning brought relief;
That hand, which broke my bones before,
Then broke my bonds of grief.
My mourning he to dancing turns,
For sackcloth joy he gives,
A moment, Lord, thine anger burns,
But long thy favour lives.
Sing with me then, ye favoured men,
Who long have known his grace;
With thanks recall the seasons when
Ye also sought his face.
C. H. S.
Verse 1. I will extol thee, O Lord; for thou hast lifted me up. I will lift thee up, for thou hast lifted me up. Adam Clarke.
Verse 1. Thou hast lifted me up. (yntyld) The verb 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 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." 2 Samuel 5:12 . Samuel Chandler.
HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS
Title. House dedication, and how to arrange it.
Whole Psalm. In this ode we may see the workings of David's mind before, and under, and after, the affliction.
- Before the affliction: Psalms 30:6 .
- Under the affliction: Psalms 30:7-10 .
- After the affliction: Psalms 30:11-12 .
Verse 1. (first clause). God and his people exalting each other.
Verse 1. (second clause). The happiness of being preserved so as not to be the scorn of our enemies.
Verse 1. The disappointment of the devil.
WORKS WRITTEN ABOUT THE THIRTIETH PSALM IN SPURGEON'S DAY
Meditations upon the XXX Psalme of David. By Sir RICHARD BAKER. (See Page 10.)
In Chandler's Life of David (Vol. II., pp. 8-15), there is an Exposition of Psalm 30.