Psalms 30 Summary - The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges
A thanksgiving for recovery from an almost fatal sickness, and a reflection on the lessons which it was sent to teach. Cp. Psa 119:67. The Psalmist praises Jehovah for preserving his life in answer to his prayer (Psa 30:1-3), and calls upon the godly to join him in thanksgiving (Psa 30:4-5). He goes on to relate his own experience of God’s mercy. In prosperity he had grown presumptuous, till God withdrew His favour, and trouble came (Psa 30:6-7). Then he pleaded that his life might be spared (Psa 30:8-10): his prayer was answered; his life was prolonged that he might praise Jehovah, and in thanksgiving will he employ the remainder of his days (Psa 30:11-12).
The Psalm is entitled, A Psalm; a Song at the Dedication of the House; a Psalm of David (R.V.): and this title has generally been supposed to refer to the occasion for which the Psalm was written. But commentators are not agreed whether the House means the Temple or David’s Palace. The term dedication is used of a house (Deu 20:5), or city walls (Neh 12:27), as well as of sacred things and places (Num 7:10 ff.; 1Ki 8:63; Ezr 6:16-17). Some refer it to David’s palace in Zion (2Sa 5:11), and suppose that he had recently recovered from a severe illness: others to the dedication of the site of the Temple (1Ch 21:26; 1Ch 22:1) after the great Plague, regarding the allusions to sickness in the Psalm as not literal but figurative of the anguish which the king felt for the sufferings of his people.
But it is most probable that the title does not refer to the occasion of the Psalm at all, but to its liturgical use at the Dedication of the Second Temple (Ezr 6:16), or in later times at the Feast of the Dedication, to which it is assigned in the Talmudic treatise Sopherim. Comp. the title of Psalms 92, and of 29 in the LXX. The title appears to be a composite one. The words A Song at the Dedication of the House are inserted awkwardly between A Psalm and of David. The Feast of the Dedication (Joh 10:22) was instituted by Judas Maccabaeus in b.c. 165, to commemorate the purification of the Temple after its desecration by Antiochus Epiphanes, and the erection of the new altar of burnt-offering ( 1Ma 4:52 ff.; 2Ma 10:1 ff.).
But it does not follow that the Psalm was written for either of these occasions. More probably it was already familiar, and was selected as appropriate to the circumstances. The very existence of the nation had been at stake; it had been suddenly and unexpectedly freed from a crushing tyranny and as it were restored to life; and this Psalm supplied it with fitting language in which to give thanks for its deliverance. The experience of the individual had been repeated in that of the nation.
This thanksgiving corresponds to the prayer of Psalms 6. Comp. Psa 30:2 b with Psa 6:2 b; Psa 30:5 a with Psa 6:1 a; Psa 30:7 b with Psa 6:2-3; Psa 6:10; Psa 30:9 with Psa 6:5. Hezekiah’s prayer (Isa 38:10-20) seems to contain reminiscences of it; comp. especially Isa 38:18-20 with Isa 38:9 ff.
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The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges
The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges is a biblical commentary set published in parts by Cambridge University Press from 1882 onwards. Anglican bishop John Perowne was the general editor. The first section published was written by theologian Thomas Kelly Cheyne and covered the Book of Micah.
Perowne exercised limited editorial control over the writers of individual commentaries: his aim was "to leave each contributor to the unfettered exercise of his own judgment".