A Psalm. A Song at the dedication of the house of David.

This is another psalm by God’s chosen king of Israel, David. Notice that this is also a song, the only psalm thus named in this first, Genesis book of Psalms. This song is written at the dedication of the house of David. This is probably not the temple, but rather David’s own house. We read of this house in II Samuel 7:1-2. “Now it came to pass when the king was dwelling in his house, and the LORD had given him rest from all his enemies all around, that the king said to Nathan the prophet, ‘See now, I dwell in a house of cedar, but the ark of God dwells inside tent curtains.’” So we know that David did build a house of cedar, and this psalm, then, is a song written at its dedication.

The establishment of David’s kingly house can be looked on as a fulfillment of the LORD’s promises to David to establish him as king over Israel, and therefore was a most fitting occasion for this song of praise. This physical house being dedicated was, in a way, just a symbol for what was far more significant: that David’s family was being established as the channel through which God would bless Israel, and through which Jesus Christ Himself would be born.

1. I will extol You, O LORD, for You have lifted me up,

David’s praises go out to the LORD on this joyous occasion, as he dedicates his house. This is because of what the LORD has done in delivering him from all troubles, as he says, lifting him up, rescuing him from the many dangers that he had gone through before getting to this day.
And have not let my foes rejoice over me.

The LORD had not only rescued David, but also had brought to nothing the plans of his enemies. Of course, the biggest example of that is the former king, Saul, who constantly was trying to kill David. God’s chosen king had many other enemies as well, but the LORD had delivered him from them all.

2. O LORD my God, I cried out to You,

This is what David had done when he was trapped in the pit that the LORD had lifted him out of, that is, when he was threatened by the enemies who constantly sought his life.

And You healed me.

Here healing is probably put for the comfort, help, and safety the LORD had provided for David in the midst of all the troubles he had faced. Yet it could be that David had recently gone through some troubling illness from which the LORD had delivered him. It is hard to say, since we read of no such thing in the Scriptures.

3. O LORD, You brought my soul up from the grave;

David’s life had been constantly in danger, but the LORD had brought him out of it, as if He was bringing him out of Sheol, the state of death, itself. Yet here this psalm also echoes the future, as so many of these psalms do, when David will be raised from the dead to live again and reign as the Prince over Israel, as is prophesied in Ezekiel 37:25. Then, the LORD will indeed have brought up David’s soul from the grave to establish His house, his family, as rulers once again, and then the rejoicing will be great indeed!
You have kept me alive, that I should not go down to the pit.

This, more literally, is what the LORD had done for David in the past, simply keeping him alive from going down to the pit, which here means a sepulcher. But in the future, he will literally be brought up from his sepulcher to live again in resurrection.

4. Sing praise to the LORD, you saints of His,

These saints here are the favored ones of the LORD, those to whom He has shown grace. David is among this number, and he calls upon all such to sing their praises to the LORD. How wonderful it must have been to sing this song of praise with David at this joyous occasion! And how wonderful will it be for those who will sing it again with him in the Kingdom to come!

And give thanks at the remembrance of His holy name.

David also calls upon these favored or “graced” ones to give thanks at the remembrance of the LORD’s holy name. That is, they are to remember His set apart character, and give thanks because of it. How great indeed is the character of the God Whom we praise! His promises are sure, and the depths of His grace are past searching out!

5.  For His anger is but for a moment,

Now David sets forth the kind of character the LORD has, following his own advice to the favored ones above by giving thanks at the remembrance of it. First, he states that the anger of the LORD is but for a moment. In other words, it is a passing thing, and not something that lasts perpetually. His anger may be terrible, but it does not last forever.

His favor is for life;

The LORD’s favor, on the other hand, His grace, is something that brings life to all upon whom it rests. To those who receive His grace, His favor replaces His wrath, and it is gone as if it had never been. His grace does not so disappear, but lasts for a lifetime, even eonian life!

Weeping may endure for a night,

We could take this literally as a night, for David did indeed have nights of sorrow like this, and yet found the LORD’s joy in the morning. Yet I think this ultimately points to this life, when we live in the dark night of sin and suffering and death. As long as we live in the night of this fallen world, we will never be free of weeping and sorrow.

But joy comes in the morning.

But O, the blessedness of the morning! When the governments of this world become the government of our God, then the morning will dawn upon this earth at last, and the sorrows of night will be over and forgotten. What joy will be ours then, knowing that the morning of the LORD has come!

6.  Now in my prosperity I said,

Now David speaks from his position of rest and prosperity.
”I shall never be moved.”

David’s kingdom was moved and shaken at times in the past, most notably at the revolt of Absalom, which had not happened yet when he was dedicating his house, of course. If David had said this to himself at this event in the past, he would have been deceiving himself, and trusting in this house of cedar, which certainly could be moved. Yet I believe that this is speaking from the “morning” that he spoke of in the previous verse, when David will dwell again upon earth in God’s great Kingdom. Then, he can truly know that the LORD has established his house, and he will not be moved for the outflow.

7.  LORD, by Your favor You have made my mountain stand strong;

David had recently taken mount Zion from the Jebusites, so this would have been fresh in his mind. Yet I believe that this was ultimately a reference to David’s government, for mountains are often used as the symbol of a government in the Scriptures and throughout the Psalms. It was the LORD’s grace that made David’s government strong. Without the LORD, David knew he never would have made it to the point of strength and establishment that he had now reached.

You hid Your face, and I was troubled.

Now, David looks back to his times of trouble again, when it seemed that the LORD was hiding His face from him. This could be another reference to an illness that David had recently gone through, or he could be remembering any one of the many times of trouble that he had endured to come to this place of safety and rejoicing.

8.  I cried out to You, O LORD;

In this time of trouble that he was remembering, David had cried out to the LORD. He always knew Whom to look to for help in times of trouble!

And to the LORD I made supplication:

David repeats the thought that he had cried to the LORD and made supplication to him to emphasize that fact that it was He to Whom he had looked for help in this time of trouble. Though it seemed the LORD was hiding His face, it was still to Him that David ever looked for aid and comfort.

9.  “What profit is there in my blood,

David pleads with the LORD for his life. He asks Him what profit He will get from his blood? Of course, the answer is no profit. The LORD would gain nothing by David’s death.

The Hebrew word here translated blood is actually nephesh, the word for soul. The LORD would have no profit if He took David’s soul in death.

When I go down to the pit?

“The pit” here speaks of destruction or corruption. When David comes to this, the LORD will gain nothing from it. So, the question David implies then is, will not the LORD gain much more by sparing David’s life and keeping him alive?

Will the dust praise You?

In Genesis 3:19, the LORD declared to Adam, “In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread Till you return to the ground, For out of it you were taken; For dust you are, And to dust you shall return.” David knows that when he dies, he will become dust. And so he asks the LORD, “Will the dust praise You?” Of course, the answer is no. Dust cannot praise the LORD. So once David returns to dust, all the praise he could offer to the LORD will cease.

Will it declare Your truth?

Again, he asks if the dust will declare the LORD’s truth. And the answer is no, dust will not declare the truth. David while he was alive was one who declared God’s truth. But he knew that if he were to die now, all his work to declare the truth would come to an end, for the dust cannot declare the truth like the living can.

10. Hear, O LORD, and have mercy on me;

Having made his case, that no profit will come to the LORD by allowing him to die, but instead all his praising the LORD and declaring His truth would cease, David now calls upon the LORD to instead hear his prayer, and have mercy upon him. He needs the LORD’s grace to continue living, and then he can continue to serve Him, as he has done in the past.

LORD, be my helper!”

Again, David calls upon the LORD to be his helper. There is no one else he turns to, yes, even could turn to to spare him from the time of trouble that he is facing.

11.  You have turned for me my mourning into dancing;

Now, David returns from the sad memory of his time of trouble in which he pleaded with the LORD for help to the glorious present, when the LORD had helped him and had established his house. Now the LORD had turned for him that time of mourning into dancing. Dancing was the great symbol of joy and gladness, as mourning was for sadness and trouble. David could now rejoice and dance before the LORD, for He had become his Helper and had mercy upon him.

You have put off my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness,

The LORD had put off David’s sackcloth, the traditional garb of someone who was in sorrow and suffering, and replaced it with clothing symbolic for gladness. No doubt David was wearing some magnificent clothing to celebrate this day of rejoicing when his house was being dedicated. He credits the LORD for this change of apparel. He knows that without the LORD’s aid, he never would have been able to exchange his clothes of mourning for the celebratory clothing he is now wearing.

12.  To the end that my glory may sing praise to You and not be silent.

This seems a rather strange statement to us, for what did David mean that his glory would sing praise to the LORD? We need to recognize in this the figure of speech that is called “Metonomy” or “Change of Noun” by the Companion Bible. In this figure, “one name or noun is used instead of another, to which it stands in a certain relation.” In this case it is Metonomy of Effect, where the effect is put for the cause producing it. In other words, David was really talking about his mouth or tongue, which was going to sing the LORD’s praise and thus give God the glory. That is the end for which the LORD exchanged his mourning for dancing and his sackcloth for gladness. The LORD wanted David to praise Him, and David was not going to disappoint Him. This psalm was the result, as David wrote it to praise the LORD for His deliverance, and for bringing him to this place of establishment and stability.

O LORD my God, I will give thanks to You forever.

David promises to praise the LORD, not just in this life, but for the olam, or the future flow of God that is called the Kingdom or Government of God. David knows that his house has been established, not just in the physical house that had been built, but in the mind of the LORD, for He had promised David a place in that great Kingdom to come. Thus David knows that he will be able to praise the LORD, not just in this life, but also forever. What a privilege it will be to be able to praise the LORD in that life to come!

To the Chief Musician.

This song is dedicated to the Chief Musician for public worship. Even though it had to do with a certain special occasion, this psalm could also be appropriate for any public dedication. And now we too can learn from this psalm today!