Psalms 16

Listen to Psalms 16
1 Preserve me, O God, for in you I 1take refuge.
2 I say to the LORD, "You are my Lord; 2I have no good apart from you."
3 As for 3the saints in the land, they are the excellent ones, in whom is all my delight.[a]
4 The sorrows of those who run after[b] another god shall multiply; their drink offerings of blood I will not pour out or 4take their names on my lips.
5 The LORD is 5my chosen portion and my 6cup; you hold my 7lot.
6 8The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance.
7 I bless the LORD who 9gives me counsel; in 10the night also my 11heart instructs me.[c]
8 12I have 13set the LORD always before me; because he is at my 14right hand, I shall not be 15shaken.
9 Therefore my heart is glad, and my 16whole being[d] rejoices; my flesh also dwells secure.
10 For you will not abandon my soul to 17Sheol, 18or let your 19holy one see 20corruption.[e]
11 You make known to me 21the path of life; in your presence there is 22fullness of joy; at your right hand are 23pleasures forevermore.

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Psalms 16 Commentary

Chapter 16

This psalm begins with expressions of devotion, which may be applied to Christ; but ends with such confidence of a resurrection, as must be applied to Christ, and to him only.

- David flees to God's protection, with cheerful, believing confidence. Those who have avowed that the Lord is their Lord, should often put themselves in mind of what they have done, take the comfort of it, and live up to it. He devotes himself to the honour of God, in the service of the saints. Saints on earth we must be, or we shall never be saints in heaven. Those renewed by the grace of God, and devoted to the glory of God, are saints on earth. The saints in the earth are excellent ones, yet some of them so poor, that they needed to have David's goodness extended to them. David declares his resolution to have no fellowship with the works of darkness; he repeats the solemn choice he had made of God for his portion and happiness, takes to himself the comfort of the choice, and gives God the glory of it. This is the language of a devout and pious soul. Most take the world for their chief good, and place their happiness in the enjoyments of it; but how poor soever my condition is in this world, let me have the love and favour of God, and be accepted of him; let me have a title by promise to life and happiness in the future state; and I have enough. Heaven is an inheritance; we must take that for our home, our rest, our everlasting good, and look upon this world to be no more ours, than the country through which is our road to our Father's house. Those that have God for their portion, have a goodly heritage. Return unto thy rest, O my soul, and look no further. Gracious persons, though they still covet more of God, never covet more than God; but, being satisfied of his loving-kindness, are abundantly satisfied with it: they envy not any their carnal mirth and delights. But so ignorant and foolish are we, that if left to ourselves, we shall forsake our own mercies for lying vanities. God having given David counsel by his word and Spirit, his own thoughts taught him in the night season, and engaged him by faith to live to God. Verses ( 8-11 ) , are quoted by St. Peter in his first sermon, after the pouring out of the Spirit on the day of Pentecost, Ac. 2:25-31 ; he declared that David in them speaks concerning Christ, and particularly of his resurrection. And Christ being the Head of the body, the church, these verses may be applied to all Christians, guided and animated by the Spirit of Christ; and we may hence learn, that it is our wisdom and duty to set the Lord always before us. And if our eyes are ever toward God, our hearts and tongues may ever rejoice in him. Death destroys the hope of man, but not the hope of a real Christian. Christ's resurrection is an earnest of the believer's resurrection. In this world sorrow is our lot, but in heaven there is joy, a fulness of joy; our pleasures here are for a moment, but those at God's right hand are pleasures for evermore. Through this thy beloved Son, and our dear Saviour, thou wilt show us, O Lord, the path of life; thou wilt justify our souls now, and raise our bodies by thy power at the last day; when earthly sorrow shall end in heavenly joy, pain in everlasting happiness.

Cross References 23

  • 1. See Psalms 11:1
  • 2. [Psalms 73:25]
  • 3. [Exodus 19:6; Deuteronomy 7:6; 1 Peter 2:9]
  • 4. Exodus 23:13; Joshua 23:7
  • 5. Psalms 73:26; Psalms 119:57; Psalms 142:5; Numbers 18:20; Lamentations 3:24; [Deuteronomy 32:9; Jeremiah 10:16; Jeremiah 51:19]
  • 6. Psalms 23:5; Psalms 116:13
  • 7. Psalms 125:3
  • 8. Micah 2:5
  • 9. See 1 Samuel 23:9-12; 2 Samuel 5:18, 19
  • 10. Psalms 17:3; See Psalms 42:8
  • 11. Psalms 7:9
  • 12. Cited Acts 2:25-28
  • 13. Psalms 119:30
  • 14. Psalms 109:31; Psalms 110:5; Psalms 121:5
  • 15. Psalms 10:6; Psalms 15:5
  • 16. Psalms 30:12; Psalms 57:8; Psalms 108:1; Genesis 49:6
  • 17. See Job 21:13
  • 18. Cited Acts 13:35
  • 19. Psalms 89:18; [Mark 1:24]
  • 20. Psalms 49:9; Psalms 103:4
  • 21. Matthew 7:14
  • 22. [Psalms 21:6]
  • 23. Psalms 36:8

Footnotes 5

  • [a]. Or To the saints in the land, the excellent in whom is all my delight, I say:
  • [b]. Or who acquire
  • [c]. Hebrew my kidneys instruct me
  • [d]. Hebrew my glory
  • [e]. Or see the pit

Chapter Summary

Michtam of David. This is a new title, not met with before, though it afterwards is prefixed to "five" psalms running, the fifty sixth, the fifty seventh, the fifty eighth, the fifty ninth, and the sixtieth psalms. Some take the word "michtam" to be the name of a musical instrument, as Kimchi on Psalm 4:1; others the name of one of the tunes, as Jarchi; and others the tune of a song which began with this word, as Aben Ezra observes, to which this psalm was sung; the Septuagint translate it "stelography," or an inscription upon a pillar; such an one as is erected by conquerors, as Theodoret observes, having writing on it declaring the victory obtained; suggesting that the psalm, or the subject of it, the death and resurrection of Christ, was worthy to be inscribed on a pillar of marble; and the Targum renders it, "a right engraving," that deserves to be engraven in a monument of brass: but what seems to be the best sense of the word is, that it signifies a work of gold, and may be rendered, "a golden [psalm] of David"; so called, either because it was a dear and favourite song of his; or from the subject matter, which is more valuable and precious than the most fine gold: the title of it in the Syriac and Arabic versions is, "concerning the election of the church, and the resurrection of Christ;" and certain it is from Psalm 16:10, the resurrection of Christ is spoken of in it, as is clear from the testimonies of two apostles, Peter and Paul, who cite it in proof of it, Acts 2:25; and since there is but one person speaking throughout the psalm, and Christ is he that speaks in Psalm 16:10, and which cannot be understood of David, nor of any other person but Christ, the whole of the psalm must be interpreted of him.

Psalms 16 Commentaries

The English Standard Version is published with the permission of Good News Publishers.