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The Jewish Study Bible Contextualizes the Hebrew Bible with accompanying scholarly text on Jewish traditions and history.

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Commentary on Psalms

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Ps. 30 :

The superscription reinterprets the hymn, perhaps originally a thanksgiving hymn upon recovering from illness, as a prayer about the sickness of the community—i.e., national calamity—and its recovery, the restoration from exile and the rebuilding of the Temple (in 515 BCE; cf. Ezra 6.15–18 ). An older view sees the occasion as the rededication of the Temple in 164 BCE, following the victory of Judah Maccabee (cf. 1 Macc. 4.36–59 ). Following tractate Soferim, this psalm is read on Hanukkah. It is also part of the introductory liturgy for the daily, Sabbath, and festival morning service.

1 :

The translation inverts the words, which in Heb are “A psalm, a song of dedication of the House; of David.” The mention of David in connection with the dedication of the Temple is anachronistic, since it occurred under Solomon (1 Kings 8; 2 Chron. 5–7 ); see Ps. 3.1 n. For that reason, some scholars think that the “house” is David's royal residence (2 Sam. 5.11; 7.1–2 ).

2 :

Lifted me up, lit. “drew me up” (like water from a well); it complements the idea of being raised from the Pit (v. 4 ).

4 :

God brought the psalmist back from a near‐death state, from imminent death; he did not let the psalmist actually die. Here, as in Mesopotamian literature, the image of being brought up from death (Sheol and the Pit; 28.1 n. ) reflects recovery from serious illness, and not resurrection from death.

5–6 :

The ritual of thanksgiving in the Temple, involving family and friends celebrating the psalmist's reintegration into the community. God is angry only momentarily (cf. Isa. 54.7–8 ); His (normal) favor is life‐sustaining. An alternative meaning: God is angry for but a moment; His favor lasts a lifetime.

7 :

The psalmist was apparently in God's favor for a long time, as evidenced by his good health; he expected to remain so indefinitely. He was terrified when God hid His face, was no longer accessible.

9–11 :

The psalmist quotes his earlier appeal for divine help.

10 :

Dust, the dead, who have returned to dust. On the inability of the dead to praise God, see 6.5–6; 88.4–6, 11–13; 115.7; 118.17; Isa. 38.18–19 . For this reason, argues the psalmist, God should keep him alive; so he can continue to fulfill the main purpose of human life—praising God (cf. v. 13 ).

12 :

God replaces the psalmist's lament (mourning) with dancing, and his sackcloth with a festal robe, signifying that God has brought him back from near‐death into God's presence. Dancing is a form of praising God ( 149.3; 150.4 ).

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