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Psalms 30:8-12

Context

30:8 To you, O Lord, I cried out;

I begged the Lord for mercy: 1 

30:9 “What 2  profit is there in taking my life, 3 

in my descending into the Pit? 4 

Can the dust of the grave 5  praise you?

Can it declare your loyalty? 6 

30:10 Hear, O Lord, and have mercy on me!

O Lord, deliver me!” 7 

30:11 Then you turned my lament into dancing;

you removed my sackcloth and covered me with joy. 8 

30:12 So now 9  my heart 10  will sing to you and not be silent;

O Lord my God, I will always 11  give thanks to you.

1 tn The prefixed verbal forms in v. 8 are probably preterites; the psalmist recalls that he prayed in his time of crisis.

2 sn The following two verses (vv. 9-10) contain the prayer (or an excerpt of the prayer) that the psalmist offered to the Lord during his crisis.

3 tn Heb “What profit [is there] in my blood?” “Blood” here represents his life.

4 tn The Hebrew term שָׁחַת (shakhat, “pit”) is often used as a title for Sheol (see Pss 16:10; 49:9; 55:24; 103:4).

5 tn Heb “dust.” The words “of the grave” are supplied in the translation for clarification.

6 tn The rhetorical questions anticipate the answer, “Of course not!”

sn According to the OT, those who descend into the realm of death/Sheol are cut off from God’s mighty deeds and from the worshiping covenant community that experiences divine intervention (Pss 6:5; 88:10-12; Isa 38:18). In his effort to elicit a positive divine response, the psalmist reminds God that he will receive no praise or glory if he allows the psalmist to die. Dead men do not praise God!

7 tn Heb “be a helper to me.”

8 sn Covered me with joy. “Joy” probably stands metonymically for festive attire here.

9 tn Heb “so that”; or “in order that.”

10 tn Heb “glory.” Some view כָבוֹד (khavod, “glory”) here as a metonymy for man’s inner being (see BDB 459 s.v. II כָּבוֹד 5), but it is preferable to emend the form to כְּבֵדִי (kÿvediy, “my liver”). Like the heart, the liver is viewed as the seat of one’s emotions. See also Pss 16:9; 57:9; 108:1, as well as H. W. Wolff, Anthropology of the Old Testament, 64, and M. Dahood, Psalms (AB), 1:90. For an Ugaritic example of the heart/liver as the source of joy, see G. R. Driver, Canaanite Myths and Legends, 47-48: “her [Anat’s] liver swelled with laughter, her heart was filled with joy, the liver of Anat with triumph.” “Heart” is used in the translation above for the sake of English idiom; the expression “my liver sings” would seem odd indeed to the modern reader.

11 tn Or “forever.”



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