I'm meditating in the prayer of Psalm 30:9-10:

9 “What is gained if I am silenced,
if I go down to the pit?
Will the dust praise you?
Will it proclaim your faithfulness?
10 Hear, Lord, and be merciful to me;
Lord, be my help.”

The Psalmist prays in a similar way in 6:4-5. In that passage, he appeals to the mercy of the Lord and argues that if he dies, he will no longer be able to praise the Lord. But in 30:9, he doesn't appeal to the mercy of the Lord and goes further in his argumentation adding the acknowledgment of His faithfulness. I'm confused in the sense that it seems that the psalmist is trying to manipulate the Lord with these arguments, instead of only praying for help as he does in verse 10.

What is the correct interpretation of verse 9?

Any help is appreciated.

1 Answer 1


There are a number of people who tried to "bargain" with God - it displays their humanity.

  • Neh 13:14 - Remember me for this, O my God, and do not blot out my deeds of loving devotion for the house of my God and for its services.
  • Neh 13:22 - Then I instructed the Levites to purify themselves and guard the gates in order to keep the Sabbath day holy. Remember me for this as well, O my God, and show me mercy according to Your abundant loving devotion.

Ps 30:9, 10 reads almost in the same vein - David asks what his death would accomplish, so why should God allow him to die - in the grave he cannot praise God.

There are many times when David and the other authors of Psalms expressed very human and imperfect ideas - they were never rebuked for arguing with God, for getting angry with God and even questioning God's actions. They could not understand the divine wisdom but had to accept it by faith.

In Ps 30, David correctly concludes this with (V11, 12)

You turned my mourning into dancing; You peeled off my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, that my heart may sing Your praises and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give thanks forever.

That is, despite all the trouble, David still gives thanks. This is similar to Job's declaration in Job 13:15 -

Though He slay me, I will hope in Him. I will still defend my ways to His face.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.