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What is the context of Psalm 30?

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asked Jul 11, 2017 in Psalms by plainplow (1,440 points)

What does it mean that Psalm 30 - according to its superscription - is "A Psalm and Song at the dedication of the house of David." What house is it that's being dedicated?

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answered Jul 11, 2017 by bible-answers (3,520 points)

The occasion that we’re given in the superscription of Psalm 30 leads us to think of a time where David would be especially inclined to praise the Lord.

Now, there are a few different possibilities as to what David is speaking of here.

First, to be clear, David wrote this psalm. In fact, the phrase “of David” could be attached to the word house – as in the house is somehow related to David. Or that phrase of David could be associated with the phrase A Psalm and Song and mean that the entire psalm is written by David.

The House

But what is the house that’s referred to here?

David’s Home

I suppose that this could be speaking of David’s literal home. So, this psalm would be one that David wrote when he built his palace in Jerusalem.

And this is possible, but I think not likely.

Solomon’s Temple

Some have thought that this is Solomon’s Temple. If that were the case, then David is writing this in anticipation of the Temple being dedicated under Solomon’s leadership. David would never have seen it.

And this is a possibility. But I think there’s a better option.


Now, sometimes the word house is used to describe the Tabernacle. And that Tabernacle was in Shiloh for a while.

But you remember that David transferred the Ark of the Covenant from Shiloh eventually to Jerusalem. And when the ark came to Jerusalem it didn’t come to the Temple. No, it was stored in a tent that David made.

And I think this is most likely the case – that this psalm was written for the time when the tabernacle of David in Jerusalem – which temporarily housed the ark – was dedicated for its purpose of housing that ark.

If this is the case, then David is recounting in this psalm the trouble he encountered while trying to get the ark to its place in Jerusalem – to the house of David. Trouble like Uzza putting his hand out to stabilize the ark and being killed. The trouble that ensued as David tried to figure out where he went wrong with that situation. And then the trouble of his own wife mocking his jubilant enthusiasm as he brought the ark into the city and into this house commissioned by David.