Psalms 116

1 Alleluia. I loved the Lord; for the Lord shall hear the voice of my prayer. (Alleluia. I love the Lord; for the Lord hath heard the words of my prayer.)
2 For he bowed down his ear to me; and I shall inwardly call him in my days (and I shall call to him in all my days).
3 The sorrows of death (en)compassed me; and the perils of hell found me. I found tribulation and sorrow; (The sorrows of death surrounded me; and the perils of Sheol, or the land of the dead, took hold of me. And I found myself in trouble and in sorrow;)
4 and I called inwardly the name of the Lord. Thou, Lord, deliver my soul; (and I called on the name of the Lord, saying, O Lord, save my soul!/O Lord, save me!)
5 the Lord is merciful, and just (the Lord is merciful, and he is good); and our God doeth mercy.
6 And the Lord keepeth little children; I was meeked, and he delivered me. (And the Lord keepeth safe the simple-hearted; yea, I was brought down low, but he saved me.)
7 My soul, turn thou (again) into thy rest; for the Lord hath done well to thee. (My soul, return to thy rest; for the Lord hath been good to thee.)
8 For he hath delivered my soul from death; mine eyes from weepings, and my feet from falling down. (For he hath saved me from death; yea, he stopped my eyes from weeping, and my feet from slipping, or stumbling.)
9 I shall please the Lord; in the country of them that live. (I shall walk before the Lord; in the land of the living.)
10 I believed, for which thing I spake; forsooth I was made low full much. (And I continued to believe; even when I was brought down so very low.)
11 I said in my passing; Each man is a liar. (And I said in my panic/And I said when I was afraid, Every person is a liar.)
12 What shall I yield to the Lord; for all things which he hath yielded to me? (But what can I give back to the Lord; for all that he hath given to me?)
13 I shall take the cup of health; and I shall inwardly call the name of the Lord. (I shall take the cup of salvation, or of deliverance; and I shall call on the name of the Lord.)
14 I shall yield my vows to the Lord before all his people; (I shall pay my vows to the Lord; in the sight of all his people.)
15 the death of saints of the Lord is precious in his sight. (The Lord is deeply moved by the death of any of his saints.)
16 O! Lord, for I am thy servant; I am thy servant, and the son of thine handmaid (I am thy servant, and the son of thy servantess). Thou hast broken my bonds,
17 to thee I shall offer a sacrifice of praising; and I shall inwardly call the name of the Lord. (and so I shall offer a sacrifice of praise to thee; and I shall call on the name of the Lord.)
18 I shall yield my vows to the Lord, in the sight of all his people; (I shall pay my vows to the Lord, before all his people;)
19 in the foreyards of the house of the Lord, in the midst of thee, Jerusalem. (in the courtyards of the House of the Lord, in the midst of thee, O Jerusalem.)

Images for Psalms 116

Psalms 116 Commentary

Chapter 116

The psalmist declares his love to the Lord. (1-9) His desire to be thankful. (10-19)

Verses 1-9 We have many reasons for loving the Lord, but are most affected by his loving-kindness when relieved out of deep distress. When a poor sinner is awakened to a sense of his state, and fears that he must soon sink under the just wrath of God, then he finds trouble and sorrow. But let all such call upon the Lord to deliver their souls, and they will find him gracious and true to his promise. Neither ignorance nor guilt will hinder their salvation, when they put their trust in the Lord. Let us all speak of God as we have found him; and have we ever found him otherwise than just and good? It is of his mercies that we are not consumed. Let those who labour and are heavy laden come to him, that they may find rest to their souls; and if at all drawn from their rest, let them haste to return, remembering how bountifully the Lord has dealt with them. We should deem ourselves bound to walk as in his presence. It is a great mercy to be kept from being swallowed up with over-much sorrow. It is a great mercy for God to hold us by the right hand, so that we are not overcome and overthrown by a temptation. But when we enter the heavenly rest, deliverance from sin and sorrow will be complete; we shall behold the glory of the Lord, and walk in his presence with delight we cannot now conceive.

Verses 10-19 When troubled, we do best to hold our peace, for we are apt to speak unadvisedly. Yet there may be true faith where there are workings of unbelief; but then faith will prevail; and being humbled for our distrust of God's word, we shall experience his faithfulness to it. What can the pardoned sinner, or what can those who have been delivered from trouble or distress, render to the Lord for his benefits? We cannot in any way profit him. Our best is unworthy of his acceptance; yet we ought to devote ourselves and all we have to his service. I will take the cup of salvation; I will offer the drink-offerings appointed by the law, in token of thankfulness to God, and rejoice in God's goodness to me. I will receive the cup of affliction; that cup, that bitter cup, which is sanctified to the saints, so that to them it is a cup of salvation; it is a means of spiritual health. The cup of consolation; I will receive the benefits God bestows upon me, as from his hand, and taste his love in them, as the portion not only of mine inheritance in the other world, but of my cup in this. Let others serve what masters they will, truly I am thy servant. Two ways men came to be servants. By birth. Lord, I was born in thy house; I am the son of thine handmaid, and therefore thine. It is a great mercy to be children of godly parents. By redemption. Lord, thou hast loosed my bonds, thou hast discharged me from them, therefore I am thy servant. The bonds thou hast loosed shall tie me faster unto thee. Doing good is sacrifice, with which God is well pleased; and this must accompany giving thanks to his name. Why should we offer that to the Lord which cost us nothing? The psalmist will pay his vows now; he will not delay the payment: publicly, not to make a boast, but to show he is not ashamed of God's service, and to invite others to join him. Such are true saints of God, in whose lives and deaths he will be glorified.

Chapter Summary


Theodoret applies this psalm to the distresses of the Jews in the times of the Maccabees under Antiochus Epiphanes; and R. Obadiah interprets some passages in it of the Grecians of those times; but it rather seems to have been written by David on account of some troubles of his, out of which he was delivered; and refers either to the times of Saul, and the persecutions he endured from him, particularly when he was beset round about by him and his men in the wilderness of Maon, 1Sa 23:26, to which he may have respect Ps 116:3. The inscription of the psalm in the Syriac version is,

``the progress of the new people returning to the Christian worship, as a child to understanding: and as to the letter, it was said when Saul stayed at the door of the cave where David lay hid with his men;''

see 1Sa 24:4. But since mention is made of Jerusalem, Ps 116:19, where the psalmist would praise the Lord for his deliverance, which as yet was not in his hands nor in the hands of the Israelites, but of the Jebusites; some have thought it was written on account of the conspiracy of Absalom against him, and who, hearing that Ahithophel was among the conspirators, said the words related in Ps 116:11, it is very probable it was composed after the death of Saul, and when he was settled in the kingdom, as Jarchi observes, and was delivered out of the hands of all his enemies; and very likely much about the same time as the eighteenth psalm was, which begins in the same manner, and has some expressions in it like to what are in this. David was a type of Christ, and some apply this psalm to him.

Psalms 116 Commentaries

Copyright © 2001 by Terence P. Noble. For personal use only.