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Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Psalms 30:9

 

 

"What profit is there in my blood, if I go down to the pit? Will the dust praise You? Will it declare Your faithfulness?

Adam Clarke Commentary

What profit is there in my blood - My being cut off will not magnify thy mercy. Let not the sword, therefore, come against me. If spared and pardoned, I will declare thy truth; I will tell to all men what a merciful and gracious Lord I have found. Hear, therefore, O Lord; Psalm 30:10.


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Bibliography
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Psalms 30:9". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/psalms-30.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

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.


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Bibliography
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Psalms 30:9". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/psalms-30.html. 1870.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

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.


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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rightes Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
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Bibliography
Gill, John. "Commentary on Psalms 30:9". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/psalms-30.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

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.

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Bibliography
Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Psalms 30:9". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/psalms-30.html. 1599-1645.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

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

Profit — What wilt thou gain by it? The dust - Shall they that are dead celebrate thy goodness in the land of the living? Or, shall my dust praise thee?


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These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.

Bibliography
Wesley, John. "Commentary on Psalms 30:9". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/psalms-30.html. 1765.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

9.What profit is there in my blood? Some explain the verse after this manner: What will it avail me to have lived, unless thou prolongest my life till I shall have finished the course of my vocation? But this exposition seems too strained, especially as the term blood here signifies death, not life: as if David had said, What profit wilt thou derive from my death? This interpretation is farther confirmed by the following clause, where he complains that his lifeless body will then be useless for celebrating the praises of God. And he seems expressly to mention the truth of God, to intimate that it would be unsuitable to the character of God to take him out of the world by an untimely death, before God had accomplished the promise which he had made to him concerning his future heir. As there is a mutual relation between God’s promises and our faith, truth is, as it were, the medium by which God openly shows that he does not merely make liberal promises to us in words, to feed us with empty hopes, and afterwards to disappoint us. Moreover, to obtain a longer life, David draws an argument from the praises of God, to celebrate which we are born and nourished: as if he had said, For what purpose hast thou created me, O God! but that through the whole course of my life I may be a witness and a herald of thy grace to set forth the glory of thy name? But my death will cut short the continuance of this exercise, and reduce me to eternal silence. A question, however, arises here, Does not, it may be said, the death of true believers glorify God as well as their life? We answer, David speaks not simply of death, but adds a circumstance which I have already treated of in the sixth Psalm. As God had promised him a successor, the hope of living longer being taken from him, he had good reason to be afraid lest this promise should be frustrated by his death, and was therefore compelled to exclaim, What profit is there in my blood? It highly concerned the glory of God that he should be preserved alive, until by obtaining his desire, he should be able to bear witness to God’s faithfulness in completely fulfilling his promise to him. By inquiring in the end of the verse, Shall the dust praise thee? he does not mean that the dead are altogether deprived of power to praise God, as I have already shown in the sixth Psalm. If the faithful, while encumbered with a burden of flesh, exercise themselves in this pious duty, how should they desist from it when they are disencumbered, and set free from the restraints of the body? It ought to be observed, therefore, that David does not professedly treat of what the dead do, or how they are occupied, but considers only the purpose for which we live in this world, which is this, that we may mutually show forth to one another the glory of God. Having been employed in this exercise to the end of our life, death at length comes upon us and shuts our mouth.


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Bibliography
Calvin, John. "Commentary on Psalms 30:9". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/psalms-30.html. 1840-57.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Psalms 30:9 What profit [is there] in my blood, when I go down to the pit? Shall the dust praise thee? shall it declare thy truth?

Ver. 9. What profit is there in my blood, &c.] i.e. In my life, say some; q.d. To what purpose have I lived, since religion is not yet settled? In my death (say others, and better), violent death especially, and out of thy favour? Now, all believers have ever abhorred such a kind of death before they were reconciled to God, and had a true feeling of his grace (Diodati).

Shall the dust praise thee? &c.] See Psalms 6:6. {See Trapp on "Psalms 6:6"}


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Bibliography
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Psalms 30:9". John Trapp Complete Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/psalms-30.html. 1865-1868.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Psalms 30:9. What profit, &c.— What gain can there be by my blood? When I go down into the pit, can my dust praise thee? Can it declare thy faithfulness? There is a propriety in asking, Shall the dust praise thee? when the body goes down and moulders in the grave, which does not immediately appear in the common version. The Psalmist expostulates with God, that the suffering him to fall by the sword of the enemy would be of no benefit to his people, nor to the cause of religion, as he would thereby be prevented from publicly celebrating the praises of God, and making those regulations in the solemnity of his worship which he purposed to do, if God would spare his life, and give him the victory. Chandler.


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Bibliography
Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Psalms 30:9". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/psalms-30.html. 1801-1803.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

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 "Psalms 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.


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Bibliography
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Psalms 30:9". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/psalms-30.html. 1685.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

9. What profit… in my blood—He now repeats (Psalms 30:8-10) the argument and urgency of his prayer while in affliction. “Blood” is to be taken in the sense of bloodshed, equal to violent death, as Genesis 37:26; Genesis 37:31, and elsewhere. What gain is there in my violent death, seeing that I confess and repent my wrong?

To the pit—To the grave.

Shall the dust praise thee— “Dust” is an intensive advance from “pit.” For the argument involved, see note on Psalms 6:5


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Bibliography
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Psalms 30:9". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/psalms-30.html. 1874-1909.

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

Psalms 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.


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Bibliography
Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Psalms 30:9". Joseph Benson's Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/psalms-30.html. 1857.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Place. The psalms were commonly composed after the danger was over. David had escaped the lance and the servants of Saul. (Calmet)


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Bibliography
Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Psalms 30:9". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/psalms-30.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

What profit . . . ? Figure of speech Erotesis. App-6.

is there. Supply "[will there be]".

blood = soul. Compare Leviticus 17:11.

the pit. Hebrew. Shachath = destruction (Psalms 55:23; Psalms 103:4), or corruption (Psalms 16:10; Psalms 49:9. Jeremiah 2:6).

Shall . . . ? Figure of speech Erotesis. App-6. Compare Psalms 6:5; Psalms 88:11; Psalms 115:17; Psalms 118:17. Isaiah 38:18.


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Bibliography
Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Psalms 30:9". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/psalms-30.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

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

What profit ... ? - (cf. Psalms 30:3.) God would lose the grateful homage of praise which David rendered to Him on earth. Therefore it cannot be that God will reject His servant's prayer (Psalms 6:5).

Shall the dust ... ? So Hezekiah (Isaiah 38:18-19). God cannot cast aside His truth whereby He promises to forgive fully His people's sins upon their repentance. 1 Chronicles 21:14-17 shows how acutely David felt his people's sufferings; so much so that he cried to the angel with the sword drawn over Jerusalem," I it is that have sinned ... Let thine hand, I pray thee, O Lord my God, be on me ... but not on thy people, that they should be plagued."


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Bibliography
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Psalms 30:9". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/psalms-30.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(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 Psalms 6:5, and note Psalms 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.


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Bibliography
Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Psalms 30:9". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/psalms-30.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

What profit is there in my blood, when I go down to the pit? Shall the dust praise thee? shall it declare thy truth?
What
6:5; 88:10-12; 115:17,18; 118:17; Ecclesiastes 9:10; Isaiah 38:18

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Psalms 30:9". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/psalms-30.html.

Ver. 9. "What profit is there to Thee in my blood, that I should go down to the grave? Will dust praise Thee? will it make known Thy truth?" The two first questions (literally, "What gain is there in my blood? What gain hast Thou if Thou spill my blood, if Thou suffer me to die; or in my going down to the grave?") are answered in the two verses which follow. God would have very little profit. He would be deprived of the praise of the Psalmist, who, in the midst of all his weakness, had continued to be His servant, and whose praise consequently had been pleasant to Him: compare the parallel passage, Psalms 6:5. אמת is neither "grace," nor "faithfulness," nor "friendship," but, as always, "truth." Prominence is here given to that attribute of God which the Psalmist will praise, if God does not give him over to death: compare the song of Hezekiah in Isaiah 38:19, "The living, he shall praise Thee, as I do this day: the father to the children shall make known Thy truth;" and ver. 18: "For the grave cannot praise Thee, death cannot celebrate Thee; they that go down into the pit cannot make known Thy truth." God would be chargeable with untruth, were He to punish His own people with irremediable destruction, after having declared in His word His readiness to forgive their infirmities on their sincere repentance.—1 Chronicles 2:14-17 shows how exactly these words suit the situation to which we suppose them to refer. David had made an offer of his own life, for the deliverance of his people, to the angel with the drawn sword, whom he beheld with eyes which had been opened by a sense of his guilt. Even this offer shows that he looked upon himself as rather dead than alive. The sufferings of his people, of which he himself had been the cause, pierced his heart so severely, that he believed he must have died had they been prolonged.


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Bibliography
Hengstenberg, Ernst. "Commentary on Psalms 30:9". Ernst Hengstenberg on John, Revelation, Ecclesiastes, Ezekiel & Psalms. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/heg/psalms-30.html.

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