Psalm 30:9
What profit is there in my blood, when I go down to the pit? Shall the dust praise you? shall it declare your truth?
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(9) What profit . . .i.e., to God. For the conception of death as breaking the covenant relation between Israel and Jehovah, and so causing loss to Him as well as to them (for Sheôl had its own king or shepherd, Death) by putting an end to all religious service, comp. Hezekiah’s song; Isaiah 38:18. Comp. also Psalm 6:5, and note Psalm 88:11.) Plainly as yet no hope, not even a dim one, had arisen of praising God beyond the grave. The vision of the New Jerusalem, with the countless throngs of redeemed with harps and palms, was yet for the future.

Psalm 30:9. What profit is there in my blood — In my violent, or immature death? What advantage will it be to thee, or thy cause and people, or to any of mankind? When I go down to the pit — When I die, and my body is laid in the grave; shall the dust praise thee? — The words, thus pointed, have a propriety and force which do not immediately appear in the common version. “The psalmist expostulates with God, that the suffering 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; as he would hereby be prevented from publicly celebrating the praises of God, and making those regulations in the solemnities of his worship, which he purposed to make, if God should spare his life and give him the victory.” — Chandler and Dodd.30:6-12 When things are well with us, we are very apt to think that they will always be so. When we see our mistake, it becomes us to think with shame upon our carnal security as our folly. If God hide his face, a good man is troubled, though no other calamity befal him. But if God, in wisdom and justice, turn from us, it will be the greatest folly if we turn from him. No; let us learn to pray in the dark. The sanctified spirit, which returns to God, shall praise him, shall be still praising him; but the services of God's house cannot be performed by the dust; it cannot praise him; there is none of that device or working in the grave, for it is the land of silence. We ask aright for life, when we do so that we may live to praise him. In due time God delivered the psalmist out of his troubles. Our tongue is our glory, and never more so than when employed in praising God. He would persevere to the end in praise, hoping that he should shortly be where this would be the everlasting work. But let all beware of carnal security. Neither outward prosperity, nor inward peace, here, are sure and lasting. The Lord, in his favour, has fixed the believer's safety firm as the deep-rooted mountains, but he must expect to meet with temptations and afflictions. When we grow careless, we fall into sin, the Lord hides his face, our comforts droop, and troubles assail us.What proof is there in my blood - That is, What profit or advantage would there be to thee if I should die? What would be "gained" by it? The argument which the psalmist urges is that he could better serve God 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 also in Psalm 6:5 (see the notes at that verse), and is found again in Psalm 88:10-12, and in the hymn of Hezekiah, Isaiah 38:18-19. See the notes at that passage. The prayer used here is to be understood, not as a prayer at the time of the composition of the psalm, but as that which the psalmist employed at the time when he thought his mountain stood strong, and when God saw suitable to humble him by some calamity - perhaps by a dangerous illness, Psalm 30:6-7.

When I go down to the pit? - To the grave; or, If I should go down to the grave. See the notes at Psalm 30:3.

Shall the dust praise thee? - That which turns to dust; the lifeless remains. See the notes at Psalm 6:5.

Shall it declare thy truth? - 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 was the prevailing desire of his soul. It was to make known the truth of God; to celebrate his praise; to bring others to an acquaintance with him. It cannot be denied that the statement here made is founded on obscure views, or on a misconception of the condition of the soul after death - a misconception which we are enabled 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 for making known the character and perfections of God on earth - for bringing others to the knowledge of the truth, and saving their souls - 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 - yet all that we are to do in this respect on earth 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 error that we may have maintained; we shall not return to warn the sinners whom we neglected to warn. Our work on earth will be soon 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 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 for ever.

8-11. As in Ps 6:5; 88:10; Isa 38:18, the appeal for mercy is based on the destruction of his agency in praising God here, which death would produce. The terms expressing relief are poetical, and not to be pressed, though "dancing" is the translation of a word which means a lute, whose cheerful notes are contrasted with mourning, or (Am 5:16) wailing. What profit is there, to wit, unto thee? as the latter part of the verse explains it. What wilt thou gain by it?

In my blood, i.e. in my violent death, as blood is frequently used, as Genesis 37:26 Numbers 35:33 Joshua 20:3 1 Samuel 25:26,33 Mt 27:6.

When I go down to the pit; when I die. See Poole "Psalm 30:3". Shall they that are dead, or gone down into the dust, celebrate thy faithfulness and goodness in the land of the living? Or shall my dust or dead corpse praise thee? No, Lord, shouldst thou cut me off in the beginning of my reign, thy name would lose the praises which many will return to thee for my life, and be exposed to reproaches, as if thou hadst not kept thy word with me; and I should lose those opportunities of praising thy name, and serving my generations, which I prize above my life. What profit is there in my blood?.... Should that be shed, and he die by the hands of his enemies, through divine permission: death is not profitable to a man's self by way of merit; it does not atone for sin, satisfy justice, and merit heaven; even the death of martyrs, and of such who shed their blood, died in the cause of Christ, and for his sake, is not meritorious; it does not profit in such sense: there is profit in no blood but in the blood of Christ, by which peace is made, pardon procured, and redemption obtained. Indeed death is consequentially profitable to good men; it is an outlet of all sorrows and afflictions, and the inlet of joy and happiness; it is the saints' passage to heaven, and upon it they are immediately with Christ, and rest from their labours: nor is there profit in the blood of the saints to them that shed it; for when inquisition is made for it, vengeance will be taken on them who have shed it, and blood will be given them to drink, as will be particularly to antichrist: nor is there any profit in it to the Lord himself; which seems to be what is chiefly designed, since it is used by the psalmist as an argument with him in prayer, that he might not be left by him, and to his enemies, so as to perish, since no glory could accrue to God by it from them; they would not give him thanks for it, but ascribe it to themselves, and say their own hand had done it; so far, the psalmist suggests, would his death be from being profitable to God, that it would rather be a loss to the interest of religion; since he had not as yet fully restored religion, and settled the pure worship of God in order, and made the preparations for the building the house of God he intended. God may be glorified in the death of his people; either by their dying in the faith of interest in him; or by suffering death for his name's sake; but, in a strict sense, there is nothing either in life or death in which man can be profitable unto God; see Job 22:2; some understand this of life; because the life is in the blood: as if the sense was, of what advantage is life to me? it would have been better for the if I had never been born, had had no life and being at all, if I must for ever be banished from thy presence, and go down to the pit of hell, which they suppose is designed in the following phrase;

when I go down to the pit; though the grave seems rather to be meant, and the former sense is best;

shall the dust praise thee? that is, men, whose original is dust, being reduced to dust again, as the body at death, when laid in the grave, and corrupted there, is; this lifeless dust cannot praise the Lord: the soul indeed dies not with the body; nor does it sleep in the grave with it; nor is it unemployed in heaven; but is continually engaged in the high praises of God: but the sense of the psalmist is, that should he die, and be buried, and be reduced to dust, he should no more praise the Lord in the land of the living, among men, to the glory of divine grace and goodness; so that this revenue of his glory would be lost. Shall it declare thy truth? either the truth of the Gospel, which lies in the word of God; or rather the faithfulness of God in the performance of his promises; see Psalm 40:10.

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

(k) David means that the dead are not profitable to the congregation of the Lord here in the earth: therefore he would live to praise his Name, which is the end of man's creation.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
9. What advantage would it be to Thee to slay me? Nay, Thou wouldest lose Thy servant’s praises. For the form of the question cp. Job 22:3. The same motive is appealed to in Hezekiah’s prayer, Isaiah 38:18-19. Cp. Psalm 6:5; Psalm 88:10 ff; Psalm 115:17. On this gloomy view of death as the interruption of communion with God, see Introd. p. xciii ff.

the dust] Not the dust into which the body is dissolved, but the grave, as in Psalm 22:15; Psalm 22:29.

thy truth] God’s faithfulness (Psalm 25:5), which is the object of the praises of the faithful.Verse 9. - What profit is there in my blood, when I go down to the pit! What advantage wilt thou derive from my death, if thou killest me, either by the plague, which may as well fasten upon me as upon any one else, 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? (comp. Psalm 6:5; Psalm 88:10; Psalm 115:17; Isaiah 38:18). In death, so far as the power of death extends, there can be no action; the lips cease to move, and therefore cannot hymn God's praise - 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 this, unless revivified and formed into another living body. (Heb.: 30:2-4) The Psalm begins like a hymn. The Piel דּלּה (from דּלה, Arab. dlâ, to hold anything long, loose and pendulous, whether upwards or downwards, conj. V Arab. tdllâ equals , to dangle) signifies to lift or draw up, like a bucket (דּלי, Greek ἀντλίον, Latin tollo, tolleno in Festus). The poet himself says what that depth is into which he had sunk and out of which God had drawn him up without his enemies rejoicing over him (לי as in Psalm 25:2), i.e., without allowing them the wished for joy at his destruction: he was brought down almost into Hades in consequence of some fatal sickness. חיּה (never: to call into being out of nothing) always means to restore to life that which has apparently or really succumbed to death, or to preserve anything living in life. With this is easily and satisfactorily joined the Kerמ מיּרדי בור (without Makkeph in the correct text), ita ut non descenderem; the infinitive of ירד in this instance following the analogy of the strong verb is ירד, like יבשׁ, ישׁון, and with suffix jordi (like josdi, Job 38:4) or jaaredi, for here it is to be read thus, and not jordi (vid., on Psalm 16:1; Psalm 86:2).

(Note: The Masora does not place the word under יו וחטפין קמציןאלין תיבותא יתירין ו (Introduction 28b), as one would expect to find it if it were to be read mijordi, and proceeds on the assumption that mijārdi is infinitive like עמדך (read ‛amādcha) Obadiah 1:11, not participle (Ewald, S. 533).)

The Chethb מיורדי might also be the infinitive, written with Cholem plenum, as an infinitive Genesis 32:20, and an imperative Numbers 23:8, is each pointed with Cholem instead of Kamtez chatuph; but it is probably intended to be read as a participle, מיּורדי: Thou hast revived me from those who sink away into the grave (Psalm 28:1), or out of the state of such (cf. Psalm 22:22) - a perfectly admissible and pregnant construction.

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