Thanksgiving for Deliverance from Death
1 A psalm. A song for the dedication of the temple. Of David.
2 I will exalt you, O Lord,
for you have raised me out of the depths[b]
and have not let my enemies exult over me.
3 O Lord, my God,
I called to you and you healed me.[c]
4 O Lord, you lifted me up from the netherworld;[d]
you saved me from sinking into the pit.
5 Sing praise to the Lord, O you his saints;[e]
give thanks to his holy name.
6 For his anger lasts for only a moment,
while his goodwill endures for a lifetime.
Weeping may last throughout the night,[f]
but at daybreak there is rejoicing.
7 In time of good fortune, I said,
“Nothing can ever sway me.”[g]
8 O Lord, in your goodness
you established me as an impregnable mountain;
however, when you hid your face,
I was filled with terror.
9 [h]To you, O Lord, I cried out,
and I implored my God for mercy:
10 “What advantage would my death provide
if I descend into the pit?
Can the dust praise you?
Can it proclaim your faithfulness?
11 Listen, O Lord, and have mercy on me;
O Lord, be my helper.”
12 You have turned my mourning into dancing;
you have taken away my sackcloth[i]
and clothed me with joy.
13 My heart[j] will therefore sing
in unceasing praise to you;
O Lord, my God,
I will praise you forever.
- Psalm 30:1 This is a psalm of thanksgiving arising out of the experience of someone who was at death’s door because of an illness, compounded by feelings of haughtiness in time of prosperity and despair in times of humiliation. The Lord listened to his cry and healed him; hence the psalmist calls for praise. This psalm came to be applied to Israel itself, especially in its experience of the Exile, and was chanted at the Feast of the Dedication of the Temple in commemoration of the purification of the temple in 164 B.C. (see Ezr 6:16; 1 Mac 4:36ff).
This psalm reminds us that while we await life eternal and union with Christ, the present life with its adversities offers us the opportunity to receive from the divine goodness a cure, various deliverances, and even spiritual resurrection.
- Psalm 30:2 Out of the depths: a common Old Testament phrase of extreme distress (see Pss 69:3, 16; 71:20; 88:6; 130:1; Lam 3:55; Jon 2:2) usually connected with the words “the grave” and “the pit.”
- Psalm 30:3 You healed me: other passages that proclaim God as a healer are: Pss 103:3; 107:20; Hos 6:1; 7:1; 11:3; 14:5.
- Psalm 30:4 Netherworld: symbol for a life-threatening experience (see Ps 18:6; Jon 2:2). Pit: metaphor for the grave.
- Psalm 30:5 Saints: see note on Ps 16:3. Name: see note on Ps 5:12.
- Psalm 30:6 Last throughout the night: literally, “come in at evening to lodge,” like a guest seeking a night’s rest.
- Psalm 30:7 In time of good fortune, I said, “Nothing can ever sway me”: security brings forgetfulness of God (see Deut 8:8-10; Hos 13:6; Prov 30:9). The secure psalmist spoke similar words to those of the wicked in Ps 10:6 and so lost the blessing promised to the righteous (see Ps 15:5).
- Psalm 30:9 In the stillness and inactivity of the pit, no one gives praise to God; the psalmist prays to be delivered so that he may rejoin those who worship the Lord (see Pss 6:6; 88:11-13; 115:17; Isa 38:18).
- Psalm 30:12 Sackcloth: a symbol of mourning (see Ps 35:13; Gen 37:34).
- Psalm 30:13 Heart: see note on Ps 4:8.