What does Psalm 30:1 mean?
ESV: A Psalm of David. A song at the dedication of the temple. I will extol you, O LORD, for you have drawn me up and have not let my foes rejoice over me.
NIV: A psalm. A song. For the dedication of the temple. Of David. I will exalt you, LORD, for you lifted me out of the depths and did not let my enemies gloat over me.
NASB: I will exalt You, Lord, for You have lifted me up, And have not let my enemies rejoice over me.
CSB: I will exalt you, Lord, because you have lifted me up and have not allowed my enemies to triumph over me.
NLT: I will exalt you, Lord, for you rescued me. You refused to let my enemies triumph over me.
KJV: {A Psalm and Song at the dedication of the house of David.} I will extol thee, O LORD; for thou hast lifted me up, and hast not made my foes to rejoice over me.
NKJV: {A Psalm. A Song at the dedication of the house of David.} I will extol You, O Lord, for You have lifted me up, And have not let my foes rejoice over me.
Verse Commentary:
The description of this psalm is usually translated with the phrase "the dedication of the temple." Other versions translate this as "the dedication of the house." The Hebrew terms translated as "temple" include the term ba'yit, used here, as well as hekal', which has a more formal meaning. David did not live to see the temple built in Jerusalem (1 Kings 8:17–19), though his son Solomon did (2 Samuel 7:12–13; 1 Kings 7:51; 8:1–66). This psalm might be something David wrote to dedicate the future site of the temple (1 Chronicles 22:1; 2 Chronicles 3:1). That's likely why this psalm includes references to God's forgiveness. David's dedication of the temple site came shortly after he angered God through an unapproved census (1 Chronicles 21:7–14).

David vows to praise God for "drawing him up." This pictures the Lord pulling David from danger and away from death. Psalm 71:20 echoes this by stating: "You who have made me see many troubles and calamities will revive me again; from the depths of the earth you will bring me up again." David's brush with God's wrath, due to his census, is likely the danger from which he was spared (1 Chronicles 21:7–13). Judgment there came in the form of a pestilence or plague. Though this was terrible, it was an alternative to something worse. David could have been conquered by his enemies, letting them "rejoice over" his defeat.

An alternative explanation is that David experienced personal illness. Or, that the plague which struck Israel made him deathly ill. Even if that was the case, there should be no misunderstanding that sickness is always the result of sin—it is not (John 9:1–3). The apostle Paul writes in Philippians 2:25–30 about a severe illness Epaphroditus experienced. He was a fervent servant of the Lord, therefore there is no reason to suspect his illness was related to sin in his life. However, the Lord can use sickness to humble a disobedient believer—or an entire nation—to inspire repentance. This seems to have been the case with David.
Verse Context:
Psalm 30:1–5 opens by praising the Lord. David recalls God's forgiveness and healing, allowing him to live. He calls upon the righteous to praise and thank the Lord. David also reflects upon the brevity of the Lord's anger. Although the Lord disciplined and therefore David wept through the night, his joy soon returned when the discipline ended. For the believer, God's rebuke is temporary, but His love is eternal.
Chapter Summary:
David praises God for His mercy and rescue. This psalm speaks of God pulling David from the brink of ruin, while also speaking of God's righteous judgment. This was likely composed in response to the plague which struck Israel when David took an improper census (1 Chronicles 21:7–14). For believers, the Lord's discipline is temporary, but His love is eternal. Because David has been rescued, he can continue to praise God and worship His name.
Chapter Context:
Psalm 30 is a song of praise for merciful deliverance. King David sinned by taking a census against God's wishes, resulting in God's discipline. The Lord could have let David fall to his enemies, but instead sent a plague on Israel (1 Chronicles 21:7–14). The pestilence was cut short as David begged for leniency (1 Chronicles 21:15–17). Shortly after this, David set aside the future site of the temple (1 Chronicles 22:1; 2 Chronicles 3:1). That dedication seems to be the setting for Psalm 30.
Book Summary:
The book of Psalms is composed of individual songs, hymns, or poems, each of which is a ''Psalm'' in and of itself. These works contain a wide variety of themes. Some Psalms focus on praising and worshipping God. Others cry out in anguish over the pain of life. Still other Psalms look forward to the coming of the Messiah. While some Psalms are related, each has its own historical and biblical context.
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