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Commentary on Psalms - Volume 1
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Psalm 30:11-12

11. Thou hast turned my mourning into dancing; thou hast loosed my sackcloth, and girded me with gladness. 12. That my glory may sing praise to thee, and not be silent: O Jehovah my God! I will set forth thy praise for ever.

 

11. Thou hast turned my mourning into dancing. David concludes the psalm as he had begun it, with thanksgiving. He affirms that it was by the help and blessing of God that he had escaped safe; and he then adds, that the final object of his escape was, that he might employ the rest of his life in celebrating the praises of God. Moreover, he shows us that he was not insensible or obdurate under his afflictions, but mourned in heaviness and sorrow; and he also shows that his very mourning had been the means of leading him to pray to God to deprecate his wrath. Both these points are most worthy of our observation, in order, first, that we may not suppose that the saints are guilty of stoical insensibility, depriving them of all feeling of grief; and, secondly, that we may perceive that in their mourning they were exercised to repentance. This latter he denotes by the term sackcloth. It was a common practice among the ancients to clothe themselves with sackcloth when mourning, 633633     This custom was not confined to the Israelites. It was practiced also among the heathen nations. An instance of this is recorded in Jonah 3:5-8. It appears from Plutarch, that this was also sometimes practiced among the Greeks. The Hebrew word for sackcloth is שק, sak; and it is remarkable that the word sak exists in various languages, denoting the same thing. It shows the unaffected character of real sorrow, leading men to neglect the adorning of their persons, when we find several nations manifesting it by wearing the same dismal garb, and employing a word of the same sound to express it. for no other reason, indeed, than that like guilty criminals, they might approach their heavenly Judge, imploring his forgiveness with all humility, and testifying by this clothing their humiliation and dissatisfaction with themselves. 634634     “Ne monstrant qu’abjection et desplaisanee d’eux-mesmes. — Fr. We know also that the orientals were addicted beyond all others to ceremonies. We perceive, therefore, that David, although he patiently submitted himself to God, was not free from grief. We also see that his sorrow was “after a godly sort,” as Paul speaks, (2 Corinthians 7:10;) for to testify his penitence he clothed himself with sackcloth. By the term dancing, he does not mean any wanton or profane leaping, but a sober and holy exhibition of joy like that which sacred Scripture mentions when David conveyed the ark of the covenant to its place, (2 Samuel 6:16.) If we may conjecture, however, we may gather from this, that the great danger of which David speaks in this psalm is by some improperly restricted to sickness, as it was very improbable that he would put on sackcloth when he was confined to a sick-bed. This, indeed, would not be a sufficient reason of itself, but in a doubtful case, as this is, it is not destitute of force. David therefore means, that, laying aside his mourning apparel, he returned from a state of heaviness and sorrow to joy; and this he ascribes to the grace of God alone, asserting that he had been his deliverer.

12. That my glory may sing praise to thee. In this verse he more fully expresses his acknowledgement of the purpose for which God had preserved him from death, and that he would be careful to render him a proper return of gratitude. Some refer the word glory to the body, and some to the soul, or the higher powers of the mind. Others, as the pronoun my, which we have supplied, is not in the Hebrew text, prefer to translate it in the accusative case, supplying the word every man, in this way: That every man may celebrate thy glory; as if the prophet had said, This is a blessing worthy of being celebrated by the public praises of all men. But as all these interpretations are strained, I adhere to the sense which I have given. The Hebrew word כבוד, kebod, which signifies glory, it is well known, is sometimes employed metaphorically to signify the tongue, as we have seen in Psalm 16:9. And as David adds immediately after, I will celebrate thy praise for ever, the context demands that he should particularly speak of his own duty in this place. His meaning, therefore, is, O Lord, as I know that thou hast preserved me for this purpose, that thy praises may resound from my tongue, I will faithfully discharge this service to thee, and perform my part even unto death. To sing, and not be silent, is a Hebrew amplification; as if he had said, My tongue shall not be mute, or deprive God of his due praise; it shall, on the contrary, devote itself to the celebration of his glory.


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