Will dust praise you?

A bit of psalm 30 with some commentary:

To you, O LORD, I cry,
and to the Lord I plead for mercy:
“What profit is there in my death,
if I go down to the pit?
Will the dust praise you?
Will it tell of your faithfulness?
(Psalm 30:8-9 ESV)

The language of his appeal to God takes us right back to the thematic foreground of language: there is no point in God’s allowing him to die, because lifeless dust cannot praise Him, cannot report to others His “truth” or “faithful performance”, one instance of which would be now to save the supplicant.[!]

It is through language that God must be approached, must be reminded that since His greatness needs language in order to be made known to men, He cannot dispense with the living user of language for the consummation of that end.

The essential condition of active articulation [of words] that distinguishes all of us above the Pit from those who have gone down into it.

-Robert Alter, The Art of Biblical Poetry, p.135

This may explain why ghosts (if they are indeed real in any sort of non-demonic sense) seem to virtually never be able to speak, outside of literary fiction. At best they can just bump around. They may even be seen to some degree, but they cannot articulate language.

In other news though, “Will dust praise you?” The psalmist thinks not and implores God not to let him be turned to dust. But Jesus offers some interesting push back to this:

As he was drawing near—already on the way down the Mount of Olives—the whole multitude of his disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen, saying, “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” And some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples.” He answered, “I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out.”
(Luke 19:37-40 ESV)

Will dust praise you? Dust is just finely crushed up rocks. Same thing. Will the rocks praise God? Dang right they will! It’s better for man to do so, but if he doesn’t, even the dust knows that Jesus is walking by. Even the realm of death is swallowed up by Him.