July 16, 2014

Tom Lowe



Psalm 30 (KJV)



Title: Joy Cometh in the Morning

A psalm of David.

Psalm 30 (KJV)


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

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

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

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

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

6 And 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.

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

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

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

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

12 To 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.





The scope of the Psalm corresponds well with a state of rest, and meditation on his past trials. The psalm begins with a celebration of God's delivering favor, in which he invites others to join him; he relates his prayer during a time of distress, and God's gracious and prompt answer.


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


I will extol thee, O Lord

Or “lift thee up on high.” The name of the Lord is high above all other names, He is the most High; and in His nature, there is none besides Him, and there is none like Him; He dwells in the high and holy place; He is above all angels and men; He is above all gods; He is the King of kings, and Lord of lords; He cannot be higher than He is: to extol Him, therefore, is to declare Him to be what He actually is. The psalmist was determined to exalt Him with high praises. The word translated here as “extol” is rendered exalt in other places:

  • Psalm 34:3: “O magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt his name together.”
  • Psalm 99.5: “Exalt you the LORD our God, and worship at his footstool; for he is holy.”
  • Psalm 99:9: “Exalt the LORD our God, and worship at his holy hill; for the LORD our God is holy.”

David might say: ‘“I will extol thee.’ I will have high and honorable 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 favored 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 business.’” He would make God first and supreme in his thoughts and affections; he would do what he could to make Him known; he would elevate Him high in his praises.


for thou hast lifted me up

The Hebrew word used here for “lifted” means ‘to draw out,’ as from a well; and ‘to deliver,’ and ‘to set free.’ Because God had lifted him up, it was appropriate that he would show his gratitude by "lifting up" or extolling the name of God.


“For thou hast lifted me up,” that is to say: from the depths of trouble; from the pit of Sheol; He draws out of it by his effective grace.From the low estate of being unregenerate, and unrepentant.From the mire and clay of sin and misery, in which all men are while unconverted; and out of which they cannot lift themselves, being without strength, and dead in sin: this is God's work. He raises up the poor out of the dust, and lifts up the beggar from the dunghill; and this is an instance of his grace and mercy.This may regard some great fall into sin, from which he was restored, through the grace and power of God.He was lifted up above his enemies, which agrees very well with his being brought to his palace and throne again, upon the defeat of Absalom. He had been drawn up like a prisoner from a dungeon, like Joseph out of the pit, and therefore he loved his deliverer. The Psalmist's praise was reasonable. He had a reason to give the praise that was in his heart. Grace has uplifted us from the pit of hell, from the ditch of sin, from the Quagmire of despondency, from the bed of sickness, from the bondage of doubts and fears. How high has our Lord lifted us? Lifted us up into the children's place, to be adopted into the family of God; 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 above the stars.


And hast not made my foes to rejoice over me

The psalmist declares that the Lord has not permitted his enemies to overcome him; that is, He has delivered him from them. He may be recalling a time when he had been restored to health after suffering from a dangerous illness, and that his enemies had not been allowed to rejoice over his death. Compare:

  • Psalm 41:5: “But my enemies say nothing but evil about me. ‘How soon will he die and be forgotten?’ they ask.”
  • Psalm 35:19: “Don't let my treacherous enemies rejoice over my defeat. Don't let those who hate me without cause gloat over my sorrow.”
  • Psalm 35:24: “Judge me, O LORD my God, according to Your righteousness, And do not let them rejoice over me.”
  • Psalm 38:16: “For I said, Hear me, lest otherwise they should rejoice over me: when my foot slippeth, they magnify themselves against me.”
  • Lsmentations 2:17: “The LORD has done what he planned; he has fulfilled his word, which he decreed long ago. He has overthrown you without pity, he has let the enemy gloat over you, he has exalted the horn of your foes.”


This was the judgment which David feared the most out of the three evils; he said, let me fall into the hand of the Lord, and not into the hand of man. It would indeed be terrible if we were handed over to the will of our enemies. Blessed be the Lord, for we have been safeguarded from such an awful fate. The devil and all our spiritual enemies have not been allowed to rejoice over us, for we have been saved from their deception and snares. Let us give all the glory to Him who has saved us from the terrors of hell and has not allowed our enemies to defeat us.



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


O Lord my God, I cried unto thee

During those occasions when he was in danger and trouble David would cry out to his covenant God and Father? It should be noted that verses 8-10 are an expansion of this verse.

And thou hast healed me

There is not enough information given in the psalm to say with certainty what the psalmist means by “thou hast healed me, but there are several possibilities advanced by Bible scholars. Compare:

  1. “Healed” may be used figuratively for the removal of mental sufferings; but here David may be referring specifically to his grief when he saw the sufferings of his people from the plague, which seems to have completely prostrated him, both in mind and body. Compare:
  • Psalm 41:4: “I said, LORD, be merciful to me: heal my soul; for I have sinned against you.”
  • Psalm 147:4: “I said, LORD, be merciful to me: heal my soul; for I have sinned against you.” In restoring my soul to spiritual health by forgiving the sin which is the cause of my sickness; or it may mean, restore my life - regarding his life as if it were diseased and in danger of extinction.


  1. “Healed me”—Bodily diseases affect all of us eventually, and relief comes by healing. Compare:
  • Psalm 6:2: “Have mercy on me, O LORD; for I am weak: O LORD, heal me; for my bones are vexed.” This is language which would be applied to a case of sickness.
  • Psalm 107:20: “He sent his word, and healed them, and delivered them from their destructions.” He sent his word, and healed them—He did it by a word; it was necessary for him merely to give a command, and the disease left them.


“And thou hast healed me”—the Lord restored his health. The language here evidently refers to the fact that he had been sick, and had then been restored to health. The phrase should be taken literally as restoration from bodily disease, for the Lord is the physician of the body, as well as of the soul; and he either heals immediately, or by giving a blessing to the physician; and the glory for healing mercy should be given to him—“Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name” (Psalm 103:1).


  1. “Healed me” may be understood in a civil sense, of restoring him to his house, his throne and kingdom, and restoring the peace along with it. 


  1. The Lord may have “healed” him of soul diseases, which are natural and hereditary, epidemical, nauseous, mortal, and incurable, except by the grace of God and blood of Christ. The healing of them consists of either the pardon of their sins at conversion and forgiving sins; or the application of pardoning grace, after one falls into sin (back slides)—and this is God's work; no one can heal but Him, and He does it effectively, universally, and freely, which calls for our thankfulness.


  1. “Thou hast healed me”—that is, You have rescued me from the fears and troubles of my mind (which are often compared to diseases). Compare:


  • Psalm 107:20: “He sent out his word and healed them; he rescued them from the grave.” Meaning their diseases, which had almost brought them to the grave and corruption.
  • Isaiah 19:22: “And the LORD shall smite Egypt: he shall smite and heal it: and they shall return even to the LORD, and he shall be entreated of them, and shall heal them.” Jehovah shall indeed "smite Egypt," but it shall be with a merciful objective, in order, after smiting, to "heal." His smiting shall induce them to "return" to Him, and when they return He will forgive and save (comp. Zephaniah 3:8, 9; Jeremiah 12:14-16). Egypt was a Christian country from the third century to the seventh;



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


O Lord, thou hast brought up my soul from the grave

“My soul” means “My life; me.” The meaning is that he had been in imminent danger of death, and had been brought back from the precincts of the grave. His deliverance was a kind of resurrection from the grave, for his sickness was so severe thathe barely escaped death; his recovery was like life from the dead. The soul does not die, nor does it lie and sleep in the grave. “Thou hast brought up my soul from hell”; that is, delivered him from those horrors of conscience and terrors of mind, caused by sin, which were like hell itself unto him. “The sorrows of death compassed me, and the pains of hell got hold on me: I found trouble and sorrow.” (Psalm 116:3).


The word which has been rendered here as "grave" is "Sheol"—a word which, when properly used, commonly denotes the region of the dead; the underworld which is entered through the grave. Compare: 

  • Isaiah 14:9: “Hell from beneath is moved for you to meet you at your coming: it stirs up the dead for you, even all the chief ones of the earth; it has raised up from their thrones all the kings of the nations.” Hell corresponds to the Hebrew Sheol, and to the Greek Hades, and the Latin Inferi. It was a dismal region, where the departed souls of the “lost” descended, and where they remained forever.
  • Psalm 6:5: “For in death there is no remembrance of you: in the grave who shall give you thanks?”
  • Job 33:22: “Yes, his soul draws near to the grave, and his life to the destroyers.” That is, he himself does, for the word soul is often used to denote self.


Thou hast kept me alive

He added “Thou hast kept me alive” to explain the previous phrase, which was ambiguous. “Thou hast kept me alive that I should not go down to the pit” may be better stated as, “thou hast restored me to life from among them that go down to the pit;” or “thou hast distinguished me from them by keeping me alive.” He was already as good as dead, when Jehovah raised him up again. He preserved his physical life when in danger, and maintained his spiritual life; and revived him by His word, under all his afflictions, and kept him from utter and dark despair. Compare:

  • Psalm 9:13: “Have mercy on me, O LORD; consider my trouble which I suffer of them that hate me, you that lift me up from the gates of death.” We understand, “gates” in sense of “power,” “rule,” the gate being the seat of the judge or king, and so, like our “court,” synonymous for his power.
  • Psalm 88:4: “I am counted with them that go down into the pit: I am as a man that has no strength.”With the dead, with them that are worthy of death, with malefactors that are judicially put to death, and are not laid in a common grave, but put into a pit together: thus Christ was reckoned and accounted of by the Jews; the Sanhedrim counted him worthy of death; and the common people cried out Crucify him; and they did crucify him between two malefactors; and so he was numbered or counted with transgressors, and as one of them, Isaiah 53:3.
  • Psalm 28.1: “To you will I cry, O LORD my rock; be not silent to me: lest, if you be silent to me, I become like them that go down into the pit.” “I become like them that go down to the pit”— That is, lest I be in the same condition with them, a dead, lost, undone creature, as I certainly shall be if thou do not help me.


That I should not go down to the pit

The “pit” refers to either the grave or hell. Hence, thou hast kept me from going along with them, and from being where they are, and as they are. Compare:

  • Psalm 69:15: “Let not the flood overflow me, neither let the deep swallow me up, and let not the pit shut her mouth on me.” “And let not the pit shut her mouth upon me”—In his anguish and distress he passes here from the idea of running streams, and deep waters, to that of a well, pit, or cavern - representing himself as "in" that pit, and praying that it might not be closed upon him, leaving him in darkness and in mire, from which he could not escape.
  • Psalm 88:4: “I am counted with them that go down into the pit: I am as a man that has no strength.” See previous clause.
  • Isaiah 38:17: “Behold, for peace I had great bitterness: but you have in love to my soul delivered it from the pit of corruption: for you have cast all my sins behind your back.” “Thou hast cast all my sins”—as in our Lord’s miracles, the bodily healing was the pledge and earnest of the spiritual. “Arise and walk” guaranteed, “Thy sins be forgiven thee” (Matthew 9:2-5).



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


Sing unto the Lord, O ye saints of his

Sing unto the Lord

Sing unto . . .—Better, Play to Jehovah, ye saints of his. (See Note, Psalm 16:10.)




“O ye saints of his” denotes those to whom He has been gracious and merciful, and has blessed with pardoning grace, and justifying righteousness, adoption, and a right to eternal life. They are holy godly persons; in whose hearts principles of grace and holiness are formed; and who are kind and generous to others, all which are called “saints” here; and these are the Lord's; they are set apart for Him, and they are sanctified by Him; and therefore the psalmist calls upon them to give thanks to God, because of the mercy which he had experienced. He invites them to unite with him in praising God who had showed him so much mercy. It was not because they had been helped by these tokens of divine favor; but:

(1)   Because when we receive divine mercy, we desire that others may join us in giving expression to the praise due to God.

(2)  Because others may learn from the mercies bestowed on us that God is worthy of praise, or may see in His dealings with us an argument for His goodness; and may, therefore, appropriately unite with us in giving Him His due praise.


Thus religion diffuses its influence all around us, and tends to "unite" the hearts of many at every demonstration of the character of God. Unfaithfulness is solitary and antisocial; religion is social; and, no matter on whom the favor is bestowed, its effect is to unite the hearts of many to each other and to God.


David felt that he could not praise God enough himself, and therefore he would enlist the hearts of others. "Sing unto the Lord, O ye saints of his." David would not fill his choir with degenerates, but with sanctified persons, who could sing from their hearts. He calls to you, the people of God, because you are saints: and if sinners are wickedly silent, let your holiness compel you to sing. You are His saints—chosen, blood-bought, called, and set apart for God and sanctified on purpose, so that you could offer the daily sacrifice of praise. Abound in this heavenly duty, and "Sing unto the Lord." It is a pleasing habit to have, and it is a profitable pursuit. You should not need to be stirred up very often to perform such a pleasant a service.


Whatever the occasion was that prompted his praise, however, the people who had escaped the pestilence had almost exactly the same reason for praising and thanking God that David had, and were bound to join him in his thanksgiving service.


And give thanks at the remembrance of his holiness

“And give thanks,” or rather, “let’s sing praises to his holy name.” Possibly Exodus 3:15 was in the poet’s mind. “And God said moreover to Moses, Thus shall you say to the children of Israel, the LORD God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you: this is my name for ever, and this is my memorial to all generations” (Ex. 3:15). “My memorial”—that is, the designation by which I shall be remembered. Compare:

  • Psalm 97:12: “Rejoice in the LORD, you righteous; and give thanks at the remembrance of his holiness.”The idea is, when His holiness comes before the mind; when it is remembered; when it is thought of—Give thanks or rejoice!
  • Psalm 103:1: “Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name.” Let all my thoughts and affections be engaged, united, and raised to the highest pitch in and for this work.
  • Psalm 106:47: “Save us, LORD our God, and gather us from the nations, that we may give thanks to your holy name and glory in your praise.” That they may join with us in giving thanks for thy incomparable goodness.
  • Psalm 145:21: “My mouth shall speak the praise of the LORD: and let all flesh bless his holy name for ever and ever.”All God's works show forth his praises. He satisfies the desire of every living thing, except the unreasonable among men, who are satisfied with nothing. He does good to all men; his own people in a special manner. Many children of God, who have been ready to fall into sin, to fall into despair, have tasted His goodness in preventing their falls, or recovering them speedily by his graces and helps.


“Give thanks at the remembrance,” or, at the mention, of his holiness — When you recollect, or when others celebrate the holiness of God’s nature; which he shows by his works, by his mercy and truth, and his care and kindness toward his saints. Of the holiness of God, or of the rectitude and sanctity of his nature, demonstrated by his faithfulness to his promises, David had the highest and most comfortable assurance.


“At the remembrance of his holiness”—"to the memorial." The Hebrew is, "to the memory of his holiness." The sense is, in calling to recollection the acts of his holiness, or his holy perfections. The word "holiness" is used here in a large sense as denoting, not so much the hatred of sin, as benevolence, kindness, mercy— the divine compassion toward those who are in trouble or danger. It is true that “God is a holy God” is a proper subject for rejoicing and praise. But the fact that God is a God of truth and justice, a God who cannot look upon sin except with loathing, a God in whose nature is combined every possible perfection; but that is not the exact idea here. The word “holiness” refers to His compassion, goodness, kindness, and to the acts by which those qualities had been manifested to the psalmist, as laying a proper foundation for gratitude and praise. Holiness” is an attribute which inspires the deepest awe, and demands a reverent mind, and we should give thanks at the remembrance of it. "Holy, holy, holy!" is the song of seraphim and cherubim; let us join them not dismally, as though we trembled at the holiness of God, but cheerfully, as humbly rejoicing in it. “Holiness” appears in all his ways and works of providence and grace, and both in the redemption and sanctification of his people; and besides this, there is the “holiness” of Christ, which is imputed to his saints, and the sanctification of the Spirit, which is wrought in them; and at the remembrance of each of these it highly becomes them to give thanks to the Lord, since these are the things by which they are made to be partakers of his kingdom and glory. “Holiness” is the sum of God's perfections.). Compare:

  • Psalm 22:3: “But you are holy, O you that inhabit the praises of Israel.” Thou art righteous and blameless. This indicates that the sufferer had still unwavering confidence in God.
  • Exodus 3:15: “And God said moreover to Moses, Thus shall you say to the children of Israel, the LORD God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you: this is my name for ever, and this is my memorial to all generations.” Jehovah is the predominant name of God throughout the rest of the Old Testament.
  • Psalm 135:13: “Your name, O LORD, endures for ever; and your memorial, O LORD, throughout all generations.” Jehovah’s Name is called His memorial, because it brings to mind all that He is and does.


His holy name is that which brings to remembrance all that He is and does. It is here called the memorial of His holiness, because it is his mercy and faithfulness which the Psalmist is celebrating. “For our heart shall rejoice in him, because we have trusted in his holy name.” (Psalm 33:21). That is, in “him,” the “name” often being put for the person himself.



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


For his anger endureth but a moment

The Hebrew is, there is but "a moment in his anger." That is, his anger lasts for a short time, or brief period. The reference here is to the troubles and sorrows through which the psalmist had passed, as compared with his happiness which followed. Though at the time they might have seemed to be long, yet, as compared with the many mercies of life, with the joy which had come after them, and with the hopes now treasured, they seemed to last for only a moment. God, according to the view of the psalmist, is not a Being who takes pleasure in anger; not one who keeps it always in his mind; not one who is unwilling to show mercy and kindness: he is a Being who is willing to be merciful, and though he may be displeased with the conduct of men, yet his displeasure is not cherished and nourished, but passes away with the occasion, and is remembered no more. He forsakes them for a moment, and their light afflictions endure no longer—“For a small moment have I forsaken you; but with great mercies will I gather you” (Isaiah 54:7).The sixty or seventy years of the Captivity were but as a moment of time compared with the long ages during which God had tenderly watched over and protected his Church, and, still more, compared with the eternity during which he was now about to show himself her constant Guardian and Protector. There had been a little wrath; or rather, one burst of wrath; and then Mercy had resumed her mastery. The face hid for a moment had been allowed once more to shine upon the afflicted people; and the momentary indignation would be followed by, and swallowed up in, ever-lasting kindness. Compare:

  • Isaiah 26:20: “Come, my people, enter you into your chambers, and shut your doors about you: hide yourself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be over.”He insinuates, that all their afflictions, however long and tiresome they might seem, were for a short time and seemed momentary in comparison with that happiness which was reserved for them;



In his favour is life;

It is His nature to impart life. He spares life; and He will give eternal life. It is, in other words, not His nature to inflict death; death is to be traced to something else. Death is not pleasing or gratifying to Him; it is pleasing and gratifying to Him to confer life. His favor secures life; death is an evidence of His displeasure - that is, death is caused by sin leading to His displeasure. If a man has the favor of God, he is sure of life; if not life in this world, then life in the world to come. By “His favor” which is meant His free love and favour in Christ towards His people; and means either the duration of it, that it lives and always is, even when he seems to be angry, and that it lasts as long as life does, even to all eternity. Neither death nor life can separate us from His love, or rather the effects of it; it is what makes the present life the proper life, and really comfortable; without it men may be said to be dead rather than to live, in spite of all of life’s enjoyments; and therefore it is better than life, because it revives the soul in a spiritual sense, and makes grace lively; it invigorates faith, encourages hope, and makes love abound, and it erupts in eternal life. Compare Psalm 63:3: “Because your loving kindness is better than life, my lips shall praise you.” Thy favor and thy mercy is of more value than life; more to be desired than life, though life is the most valued and valuable thing pertaining to this world which we can possess.


Weeping may endure for a night;

“Weeping” is representedhere as a person. “Weeping may endure for a night” is a reference to the time when afflictions usually seem the most severe and press the hardest upon persons; when they feel them more intensely, because they are free from diversions, and have the leisure time to grumble, and moan; and may cause a night of “weeping,” a night of affliction, or of darkness and desertion. “Endure for a night” denotes the short duration of the affliction. The word rendered here as "endure" means “to lodge, to sojourn,” as one does for a little time. The idea is, that weeping is like a stranger—a wayfaring person (wandered, vagabond, nomad, vagrant)—who lodges for a night only. In other words, sorrow will soon pass away, and will be followed by joy.


But joy cometh in the morning

“But joy cometh in the morning” has the idea of singing, shouting, and exultation. That is, if we have the friendship of God, sorrow will always be temporary, and will always be followed by joy. After a night of sorrow or affliction, the morning will come; a morning without clouds; a morning when the causes of sorrow and afflictions will disappear. This often occurs in the present life; it will always occur to the righteous in the life to come. The sorrows of this life last for just a moment, and they will be followed by the light and the joy of heaven. Then, if not before, all the sorrows of the present life, however long they may appear to last, will seem like it lasted for a brief moment. Weeping, though it may have made life here seem like one unbroken night, will be followed by one eternal day without a sigh or a tear.


“Joy cometh in the morning” refers to the time when all nature is fresh and happy, when man rises cheerful from his bed, darkness fades away, light breaks forth, and the sun rises and casts its beams, and everything looks pleasant and enjoyable. Moreover, the mercies of God are new every morning, which causes joy, and calls for thankfulness; and especially it is a time of joy after weeping and darkness, when the Son of righteousness arises with the intention of healing; as He will rise in perfection on the resurrection morn, when the dead in Christ will rise first, and be like Him, and reign with Him forever.



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


And in my prosperity

 “And in.”—Better, “But as for me, in.” The mental struggle through which the psalmist had made his way to this sublime faith is now told in the most vivid manner.


“Prosperity,” (better, “security”)—as it is used here is either the outward prosperity he had when he was settled in his kingdom, and acknowledged king by all the tribes of Israel, and had gotten the victory over all his enemies, and was at peace with all those nations around Israel; or he means inward and spiritual prosperity, for he had a spiritual appetite for the Word of God. And having received grace from the Lord, he was growing in it, and in the knowledge of Christ; he was favored with communion with God, and having fresh discoveries of pardoning grace and mercy, and having subdued his vices, the inward man was renewed with spiritual strength.


He thought he was past all danger of further troubles. The Hebrew word which has been rendered “prosperity,” denotes peace and tranquility, arising from an affluent, prosperous condition. When God had settled him quietly on the throne, he thought his troubles were over, and that he would enjoy uninterrupted happiness; that God had made him secure from all dangers, as though he had taken refuge in an inaccessible mountain, that he had made his prosperity firm, and no longer subject to change than a mountain is liable to be removed from its place. 


The idea of this clause is the feeling of security, resulting from uninterrupted good fortune, andthe carnal pride that is apt to spring from prosperity. Compare:

  • Proverbs 1:32: “For the turning away of the simple shall slay them, and the prosperity of fools shall destroy them.” Prosperity commonly proves to be the cause of their ruin, by making them presumptuous, and secure, and worldly, and proud, and forgetful of God, which provokes God’s wrath, and brings upon them swift and certain destruction.
  • Deuteronomy 32:15: “But Jeshurun waxed fat, and kicked: you are waxen fat, you are grown thick, you are covered with fatness; then he forsook God which made him, and lightly esteemed the Rock of his salvation.” But Jeshurun waxed fat, and then he forsook God, the Rock of his salvation.


I said, I shall never be moved

When in outward prosperity men are apt to sing a hymn to themselves, and imagine it will always be that way with them—that they will have a healthy body, and enjoy the material comfort of worldly things—even good men are subject to this infirmity: “Then I said, I shall die in my nest, and I shall multiply my days as the sand” (Job 29:18). When they are comfortable and prosperous, they are ready to conclude it will always be that way with them, or even get better. It is indeed true, they can never be moved as far as their state and condition with respect to God; not from his heart, where they are set as a seal; nor out of the arms of Christ, and the covenant of grace; nor out of the family of God; nor from a state of justification and grace; but they may be moved as far as their exercise of grace and discharge of their duty, in which their service may vary; and especially when they are self-confident, and depend upon their own strength for the performance of these things, and for a continuance in such settings, which seems to have been David's case; and therefore he corrects himself, and his sense of things (v. 7). 


He "said in his heart," as wicked men often do, “I shall not be moved;” literally, I shall not be moved forever. His heart was lifted up, and in the spirit of self-glorification he gave the command for the people to be counted. The result was the plague, and the death of seventy thousand of his subjects. He doesn’t give the details here, because he is content to trace his sin to its bitter root of pride, and to glance at its punishment (v. 7) and his repentance (vs. 8-10).


Instead of conceiving that we shall never be moved, we ought to remember that we shall very soon be moved completely. Nothing under the moon lasts forever. Because I happen to be prosperous today, I must not think that I shall be so tomorrow. As it is with a wheel, the uppermost spokes move down to the bottom in due time, so it is with human conditions. There is a constant revolution; many who are in the dust today shall be highly elevated tomorrow; while those who are now on top shall soon fall to the earth. Prosperity had evidently turned the Psalmist's head, or he would not have been so self-confident. He stood by grace, and yet forgot himself, and so he took a fall. Dear reader, don’t we have the same proud stuff in all our hearts? Let us beware for fear that the fumes of intoxicating success get into our brains and make fools of us also.



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


Lord, by thy favor thou hast made my mountain to stand strong

Thou hast firmly settled me in my kingdom, which he calls his mountain; first, because kingdoms are usually called mountains in the prophetical writings. A mountain, due to its height, is a very natural representation of a superior condition. And second, it is a reference to mount Zion, the fortress which he had recently taken, which was called his mountain, because he had made his dwelling there, and there he had built his royal palace. He looked upon all this as the effect of God’s favor to him, and he promised himself that his future peace and happiness would be as undisturbed and unshakable as mount Zion itself.  And third, the word “mountain” seems to be used to denote that on which he relied for his security or strength, like the mountain, or the inaccessible hills, constituted a refuge and security in times of danger. Compare:

  • Psalm 18:1-2: “I will love you, O LORD, my strength.The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower.”He defends me: He drives my enemies before Him and gives me the victory.
  • Psalm 18:33: “He makes my feet like hinds' feet, and sets me on my high places.” David’s high places are the mountain strongholds, the occupation of which secured him in the possession of the country.
  • Psalm 27:5: “For in the time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion: in the secret of his tabernacle shall he hide me; he shall set me up on a rock.”He shall set me up on a rock—A place where I shall be secure; a place inaccessible to my enemies.


“My mountain” does not refer to Mount Moriah, or Mount Zion, as some have supposed, for the passage relates to a former period of his life when these were not yet in his possession; but he speaks of himself as having, through the favor of God, put himself into a strong position—a position where he feared no enemy and no change; where he thought he was entirely secure—the state of "prosperity" to which he had referred in the previous verse. In that state, however, God showed him that there was no real security except in His favor: security not in what a man can own, but in the favor of God alone. Lord, by thy favor thou hast made my mountain to stand strong” It was thy favor which had given me the "prosperity" whereby I was exalted, and which I thought was rooted in myself—which had made Zion strong, and enabled me to triumph over my enemies. Kingdoms are usually called mountains in prophetical writings. Compare:

  • Psalm 46:3, 4: “Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. Selah.There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacles of the most High.”The rolling ocean breaking against the sides of the mountains on its shore, and seeming to shake them to their foundation. The word rendered "swelling" means properly majesty, glory; then pride, haughtiness, insolence. Literally, "though the mountains tremble through their pride."
  • Isa 2:2: “And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the LORD's house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow to it.”The temple was built on mount Moriah, which was hence called the mountain of the Lord's house.
  • Jeremiah 51:25: “Behold, I am against you, O destroying mountain, said the LORD, which destroy all the earth: and I will stretch out my hand on you, and roll you down from the rocks, and will make you a burnt mountain.” Babylon was situated in a plain, but is called a mountain here, by reason of its superiority and eminence above all other places; and perhaps also on account of its lofty walls, palaces, and other edifices; and it has the epithet of destroying, on account of its being the cause of the destruction of many nations.


Thou didst hide thy face

The Lord may hide His face from His people, and yet they remain safe; their mountain stands strong in that respect; yet this generally produces a change in circumstance; it yields trouble, and faith and hope become feeble and lethargic in their acts and practices. This shows the changeableness of circumstances, which they are not to be depended upon, since they are entirely due to the pleasure of God. It is very likely that David may have had in mind the matter of Absalom's rebellion, which came as a surprise, when David was very prosperous and felt secure; when he thought his kingdom was secure. Then he was shown how insecure and uncertain was everything that he relied on, and how absolutely, after all that he had done, he was dependent on God for his safety. To “hide the face” is synonymous in scripture with the withdrawing of favor, or with displeasure. Compare: 

  • Psalm 13:1: “How long, LORD? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me?”  God hides or withholds from his people, his love, and the manifestation of it, his gracious presence, and the light of his smiling countenance. 
  • Psalm 104:29: “You hide your face, they are troubled: you take away their breath, they die, and return to their dust.”If God withdraws the light of his countenance from any living thing, instantly it feels the loss. It is “troubled,” cast down, confounded


And I was troubled

I was baffled, perplexed, agitated, and terrified. I was thrown into sudden fear, for all that I had so confidently relied on, all that I thought was so firm, was suddenly swept away. We do not know what this was in the case of the psalmist. It may have been the strength of his own fortifications; it may have been the number and discipline of his army; it may have been his own conscious power and skill as a warrior; it may have been his wealth; it may have been the two invasions of the Philistines, which happened soon after they found he had been anointed king over Israel (2 Samuel 5:17); it may have been his bodily health—he may have thought that none of these things could fail. When that on which he so confidently relied was swept away, he was agitated, troubled, and anxious. The same thing may occur now, and often does occur, when people rely on their own strength, their health, their wealth. Suddenly any of these may be swept away; suddenly they are often swept away, to teach such men—even good men—their dependence on God, and to show them how vain is every other refuge.


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


I cried to thee, O Lord

When he was in trouble, that is, when the Lord had hid his face from him, and he was aware that He had departed from him: he was not stupid and unaffected by it; nor did he turn his back on God, and seek another God. Instead, he cried after a departing God, which showed his love for Him, and his faith in Him, by looking again towards His holy temple, and waiting upon Him to return.From all this, it seems that God withdrawing from him made his prayers more fervent.


His confession and prayer, when he realized that the Lord had left him, may well be found in 2 Samuel 24:17: “And David spoke to the LORD when he saw the angel that smote the people, and said, See, I have sinned, and I have done wickedly: but these sheep, what have they done? let your hand, I pray you, be against me, and against my father's house” (2 Samuel 24:17). David learned an important lesson, which is that no one can give himself cheerfully to prayer, until he has been softened by the cross, and thoroughly subdued. And this is the main advantage of experiencing afflictions, that while they make us aware of our wretchedness, they stimulate us again to pray for the favor of God.


and unto the Lord I made supplication

He prayed in the most humble manner, pleading with God for His grace and mercy, and that He would again show him His face and favour—“I cried to the LORD with my voice; with my voice to the LORD did I make my supplication” (Psalm 142:1). "With my voice" means aloud, and therefore earnestly.



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


What profit is there in my blood

“What profit is there in my blood”—that is, what profit or advantage would there be to you if I should die? What would be “gained” by it? The argument which the psalmist uses is that he could serve Godbetter by his life than by his death; that his death, by removing him from the earth, would prevent his rendering the service which he might by his life. The same argument is presented in several other passages. Compare:

  • Psalm 6:5: “For in death there is no remembrance of you: in the grave who shall give you thanks?”This language implies that David “desired” to praise God, but that he could not hope to do it in the grave.
  • Psalm 88:10-12: “Will you show wonders to the dead? shall the dead arise and praise you? Selah.Shall your loving kindness be declared in the grave? or your faithfulness in destruction?Shall your wonders be known in the dark? and your righteousness in the land of forgetfulness?”God’s wonders will not even be known in the darkness of death, nor His righteousness, and His faithfulness to His covenant in the land of oblivion: where men neither remember God nor are remembered by Him; where thought, feeling, and action are at an end.
  • Isaiah 38:18: “For I will declare my iniquity; I will be sorry for my sin.”Sin, he confesses, is the cause of his suffering.


The prayer used here by David was not given at the time of the composition of the psalm, but at a time when the psalmist thought his mountain (kingdom) stood strong, and when God saw fit to humble him by some calamity—perhaps by a dangerous illness—“When I felt secure, I said, ‘I will never be shaken.’ O LORD, when you favored me, you made my mountain stand firm; but when you hid your face, I was dismayed” (Psalm 30:6-7).


What advantage will you derive from my death, if you kill me, either by the plague, or by the misery and mental strain of seeing my subjects, my innocent sheep, suffer? God has “no pleasure in the death of him that dieth” (Ezekiel 18:32), and certainly can obtain no profit from the destruction of any of his creatures. Shall the dust praise thee? In death, there can be no action; the lips cease to move, and therefore cannot sing of God's goodness—that is, what profit or advantage would there be to thee if I should die? What would be "gained" by my death?


When I go downto the pit

“When I go down to the pit,” that is, when I die, and my body is laid in the grave, shall the dust which remains praise thee? The psalmist complains to God, that by allowing him to fall by the sword of the enemy, or to be cut off in any other way in the beginning of his reign, would be of no benefit to his people, nor to the cause of religion; since he would be prevented from publicly celebrating the praises of God, and worshiping Him, which he proposed to do, if God would spare his life and give him the victory. Should I die, thy name would lose the praises which many will return to thee for my life, and be exposed to criticisms, as if thou had not kept thy word to me; and I should lose those opportunities of praising thy name, and serving my people, which I prize more than my life.


Shall the dust praise thee

“Shall the dust praise thee,” that is, men, whose original creation came from the dust of the earth, after being reduced to dust again, as the body is at death, when laid in the grave, and corrupted there—this lifeless dust cannot praise the Lord. The soul doesn’t die with the body, nor does it sleep in the grave with it; nor is it idle in heaven; but is continually engaged in the high praises of God. But the idea of the psalmist here is that should he die, and be buried, and be reduced to dust, he would no more praise the Lord in the land of the living, among men, to the glory of divine grace and goodness; so that this benefit of his glory would be lost. That which turns to dust, the lifeless remains, cannot praise God. David means that the dead are not profitable to the congregation of the Lord here on the earth; therefore, he would rather live to praise his Name, which is the purpose of man's creation.


The “dust” is inanimate, and, while it remains dust, cannot speak. What the freed soul may do, the psalmist does not consider. Very little was known under the old dispensation concerning the intermediate state. Shall it declare thy truth? The dust certainly could not do that, unless revivified and formed into another living body.


Shall it declare thy truth

“Shall it declare thy truth?”—either the truth of the Gospel, which lies in the word of God; or the faithfulness of God in the performance of his promises—which is the object of the praises of the faithful. Compare:

  • Psalm 40:10: “I have not hid your righteousness within my heart; I have declared your faithfulness and your salvation: I have not concealed your loving kindness and your truth from the great congregation.”Neither laziness nor ingratitude nor fear of man has deterred him from openly celebrating those fundamental attributes of the divine character which have been once more manifested in his deliverance.
  • Psalm 25:5: “Lead me in your truth, and teach me: for you are the God of my salvation; on you do I wait all the day.”Jehovah’s truth, so often coupled with His lovingkindness, means His faithfulness; and the sense is either ‘guide me in virtue of thy faithfulness’; or ‘let me live in the experience of thy faithfulness.’


Can a lifeless body stand up in defense of the truth, or make that truth known to the living? This shows on what his heart was really set, or what the prevailing desire of his soul was. It was to make known the truth of God, to celebrate His praise, and to bring others to an acquaintance with Him. It cannot be denied that the statement made here is founded on obscure views, or on a misconception of the condition of the soul after death, a misconception which we are able to correct by the clearer light of the Christian religion; but still there is a truth here of great importance. It is, that whatever we are to do in order to make known the character and perfections of God on earth—for bringing others to the knowledge of the truth, and saving their souls—it is to be done before we go down to the grave. Whatever we may do to honor God in the future world, in the vast eternity on which we enter at death, we are to do while we are still on earth—it is to be accomplished before the eyes are closed, and the lips are made mute in death. We shall not return to do what we have omitted to do on earth; we shall not come back to repair the evils of an inconsistent life; we shall not revisit the world to check the progress of the mistakes that we may have made; we shall not return to warn the sinners whom we neglected to warn. Our work on earth will soon be done—and done finally and forever. If we are to offer prayer for the salvation of our children, neighbors, or friends, it is to be done in this world; if we are to admonish and warn the wicked, it is to be done here; if we are to do anything by way of personal effort for the spread of the Gospel, it is to be done before we die. Whatever we may do in heaven, these things are not to be done there, for when we close our eyes in death, our personal efforts for the salvation of men will cease forever.



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


Hear, O Lord, and have mercy upon me

“Hear, O Lord, and have mercy upon me” is a prayer all of us have uttered at one time or another. David asks the Lord to shine the light of his countenance upon himagain, and to manifest and apply his pardoning grace to him, and to deliver him out of all his afflictions. This, too, is the prayer which he uttered during the calamities referred to in verse 7. It is a cry for mercy founded on the idea referred to in verse 9.


Lord, be thou my helper

“Lord, be thou my helper during this time of trouble, for he knew that the help of man wasuseless; and he was entirely within his rights to ask for help from the Lord, who was able to help him, when no one else could.


Here the psalmist's prayer, uttered during the time of his distress, and he proceeds to declare the result of this prayer in the final verses.



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


Thou hast turned for me my mourning into dancing

Having related his prayer, David now announces the gracious answer which God gave him. This, along with what follows, expresses the success he had in seeking the Lord by prayer and supplication; there was a sudden change of circumstances, as often happens with the people of God; sometimes they are mourning because of sin, their own and others, or on account of afflictions. At other times, it is because of spiritual decay, or through the temptations of Satan, or, as it was with the psalmist on this occasion, because of God hiding his face. His mourning is exchanged for joy and gladness when the Lord extends his pardoning love to them, revives his work in their souls, takes off his afflicting hand from them, rebukes the tempter, and delivers them out of his temptations, and reveals himself, his grace and favour. That is, God had heard his prayer; he had brought his troubles to an end; he had caused his sorrows to be succeeded by joy.


Observe the contrast, God takes away the mourning of his people; and what does he give them instead of it? Quiet and peace, and a great deal more than that. “Thou hast turned for me my mourning into dancing.” He makes their hearts to dance at the sound of his name. Suddenly, in a moment, all was changed. The angel ceased to slay. God directed him to hold his hand. The Prophet Gad was sent with the joyful news to David, and commanded him to immediately build an altar to Jehovah. Then the mourning ceased, and a joyful ceremony was instituted, and dancing was part of it. Compare:

  • Exodus 15:20: “And Miriam the prophetess, the sister of Aaron, took a tambourine in her hand; and all the women went out after her with tambourines and with dances.” ‘In the East dancing was, and is, the language of religion. David, to show his dedication, danced before the Ark with all his might.
  • 1 Samuel 18:6: “And it came to pass as they came, when David was returned from the slaughter of the Philistine, that the women came out of all cities of Israel, singing and dancing, to meet King Saul, with tabrets, with joy, and with instruments of music.” Women used to dance to the sound of the timbrel, and to sing as they danced and played.
  • Psalm 149:3: “Let them praise his name in the dance: let them sing praises to him with the tambourine and harp.” Dancing was a natural expression of joy among the Jews, as it was among other nations of antiquity, in all periods of their history, on occasions of religious as well as secular festivity.


Thou hast put off my sackcloth

Sackcloth was worn during times of mourning for the passing of a loved one, and in times of calamity and distress, and as a token of humiliation and repentance.  The king had clothed himself in sackcloth on the occasion mentioned here. Compare:

  • 1 Chronicles 21:16: “And David lifted up his eyes, and saw the angel of the LORD stand between the earth and the heaven, having a drawn sword in his hand stretched out over Jerusalem. Then David and the elders of Israel, who were clothed in sackcloth, fell on their faces.” The wearing of sackcloth was probably accompanied by fasting.
  • Isa 37:1: “And it came to pass, when king Hezekiah heard it, that he rent his clothes, and covered himself with sackcloth, and went into the house of the LORD.” He tore his clothes, and covered himself with sackcloth; the one because of the blasphemies he heard; the other because of the destruction he and his people were threatened with.
  • Genesis 37:34: “And Jacob rent his clothes, and put sackcloth on his loins, and mourned for his son many days.”He put sackcloth upon his loins; put off his usual apparel, and put on a coarse garment on his loins next to his flesh, as another token of his great trouble and affliction for the loss of his son; which though afterwards was frequently done in times of public or private mourning, yet this is the first time we read of it. Whether Jacob was the first that used it, and later generations imitated him, is not certain; however it appears that this usage, as well as that of rending clothes on sorrowful occasions, were very ancient.


He (figuratively speaking) takes off their sackcloth, whichmeans that God had taken away their sorrow with the causes of it. That is good. What a delight to be rid of the clothing of despair! But what then? He clothes us. And how? With some commonly worn clothing? No, but with that royal vestment which is the apparel of glorified spirits in heaven.


And girded me with gladness

“Thou hast girded me with gladness.” This is better than wearing garments made of silk or cloth made of gold, adorned with embroidery and covered with gems. Many a poor man wears this heavenly apparel wrapped around his heart, though cotton and corduroy are his only outward garb; and such a man needs not envy the emperor in all his pomp. Glory be to thee, O God, if, by a sense of full forgiveness and present justification, You have enriched my spiritual nature, and filled me with all the fullness of God. “It is God that girds me with strength, and makes my way perfect” (Psalm 18:32). “That girds me with strength” means that He gives me strength both of mind and body for battle. It is a metaphor taken either from a military girdle, or from a common girdle, with which their loose garments were girt about them, by which they were rendered fitter for any action.



12 To 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.


To the end that my glory may sing praise to thee, and not be silent

Meaning either his soul, the glorious part of him or his tongue, which is the glory of it, and with which he glorified God. The ultimate purpose of God's mercies to us is our praise to Him. The "tongue" would indeed be the instrument of uttering praise, but still the reference here is to the exalted powers of the soul, rather than to the instrument of praise. Let all that is capable of praise within me, all my powers, be employed in celebrating the goodness of God.  There is no evidence that he referred to his "tongue" or his "heart" particularly, but the expression seems to be equivalent to "my highest powers"—all the powers and faculties of my nature.  Compare:

  • Psalm 16:9: “Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoices: my flesh also shall rest in hope.” The meaning here is, that whatever there was in him that was honorable, dignified, or glorious—all the faculties of his soul, as well as his heart—had occasion to rejoice in God.
  • Acts 2:26: “Therefore did my heart rejoice, and my tongue was glad; moreover also my flesh shall rest in hope.”The word "heart" here expresses "the person," and is the same as saying "I rejoice."
  • Psalm 108:1: “O god, my heart is fixed; I will sing and give praise, even with my glory.”The Psalmist’s stedfast will and purpose is to sing God’s praises.


O Lord my God, I will give thanks unto thee for ever

This verse states the purpose for which the psalmist now understood that God intended to accomplish by His dealings with him in the various scenes of his past life. The purpose of God, in all these various dealings, was, that he should learn to praise the Lord.

  • In the prosperity which had been bestowed on him. (vs. 6, 7)
  • In the reverses and trials by sickness or otherwise which had come upon him. (vs. 3, 7)
  • In the deliverance which God had granted him in answer to his prayers. (vs. 2, 3, 10, 11)


"His own purpose" now, as he entered his new palace and dedicated it to God, was, to praise God with his highest powers forever: to consecrate all that he had to his gracious Preserver; to make his house, not a habitation of gaiety and sin, but an abode of serious piety—a home where the happiness sought would be that which is found in the influence of religion. It is hardly necessary to add that every new dwelling should be entered by a family with feelings similar to these; that the first act of the head of a family on entering a new home—whether it is a palace or a cottage—should be to solemnly consecrate it to God, and to resolve that it shall be a house where His praises shall be celebrated, and where the influence of religion shall be invoked to guide and sanctify all the members of the family.


“And not be silent.” O Lord my God, I will give thanks unto thee for ever. Great mercies deserve perpetual remembrance. “The LORD was ready to save me: therefore we will sing my songs to the stringed instruments all the days of our life in the house of the LORD” (Isaiah 38:20). “Therefore we will sing my songs”—the song of Hezekiah was designed evidently not as a mere record, but to be used in celebrating the praises of God, and probably in a public manner in the temple. The restoration of the monarch was a fit occasion for public rejoicing; and it is probable that this limerick was composed to be used by the company of singers that were employed constantly in the temple.