Ps 16:1-11. Michtam, or, by the change of
one letter, Michtab—a "writing," such as a poem or song
(compare Isa 38:9).
Such a change of the letter m for b was not unusual. The
position of this word in connection with the author's name, being that
usually occupied by some term, such as Psalm or song, denoting the
style or matter of the composition, favors this view of its meaning,
though we know not why this and Psalms 56-60 should be specially,
called "a writing." "A golden (Psalm)," or "a memorial" are
explanations proposed by some—neither of which, however
applicable here, appears adapted to the other Psalms where the term
occurs. According to Peter (Ac 2:25) and
13:35), this Psalm relates to
Christ and expresses the feelings of His human nature, in view of His
sufferings and victory over death and the grave, including His
subsequent exaltation at the right hand of God. Such was the exposition
of the best earlier Christian interpreters. Some moderns have held that
the Psalm relates exclusively to David; but this view is expressly
contradicted by the apostles; others hold that the language of the
Psalm is applicable to David as a type of Christ, capable of the higher
sense assigned it in the New Testament. But then the language of Ps 16:10 cannot be used of David in any
sense, for "he saw corruption." Others again propose to refer the first
part to David, and the last to Christ; but it is evident that no change
in the subject of the Psalm is indicated. Indeed, the person who
appeals to God for help is evidently the same who rejoices in having
found it. In referring the whole Psalm to Christ, it is, however, by no
means denied that much of its language is expressive of the feelings of
His people, so far as in their humble measure they have the feelings of
trust in God expressed by Him, their head and representative. Such use
of His language, as recorded in His last prayer (Joh 17:1-26), and even that which He used in
Gethsemane, under similar modifications, is equally proper. The
propriety of this reference of the Psalm to Christ will appear in the
scope and interpretation. In view of the sufferings before Him, the
Saviour, with that instinctive dread of death manifested in Gethsemane,
calls on God to "preserve" Him; He avows His delight in holiness and
abhorrence of the wicked and their wickedness; and for "the joy that
was set before Him, despising the shame" [Heb 12:2], encourages Himself; contemplating the
glories of the heritage appointed Him. Thus even death and the grave
lose their terrors in the assurance of the victory to be attained and
"the glory that should follow" [1Pe 1:11].
1. Preserve me, &c.—keep or watch
over my interests.
in thee … I … trust—as one
seeking shelter from pressing danger.
2. my soul—must be supplied; expressed
in similar cases (Ps 42:5, 11).
my goodness … thee—This obscure
passage is variously expounded. Either one of two expositions falls in
with the context. "My goodness" or merit is not on account of
Thee—that is, is not for Thy benefit. Then follows the contrast
16:3 (but is), in respect, or
for the saints, &c.—that is, it enures to them. Or, my
goodness—or happiness is not besides Thee—that
is, without Thee I have no other source of happiness. Then, "to the
saints," &c., means that the same privilege of deriving
happiness from God only is theirs. The first is the most consonant with
the Messianic character of the Psalm, though the latter is not
inconsistent with it.
3. saints—or, persons consecrated to
God, set apart from others to His service.
in the earth—that is, land of
Palestine, the residence of God's chosen people—figuratively for
excellent—or, "nobles," distinguished
for moral excellence.
4. He expresses his abhorrence of those who
seek other sources of happiness or objects of worship, and, by
characterizing their rites by drink offerings of blood, clearly denotes
idolaters. The word for "sorrows" is by some rendered "idols"; but,
though a similar word to that for idols, it is not the same. In
selecting such a term, there may be an allusion, by the author, to the
sorrows produced by idolatrous practices.
5-7. God is the chief good, and supplies all
portion of mine inheritance and of my
cup—may contain an allusion to the daily supply of food, and
also to the inheritance of Levi (De 18:1, 2).
maintainest—or, drawest out my
lot—enlargest it. Ps 16:7
carries out this idea more fully.
7. given me counsel—cared for me.
my reins—the supposed seat of emotion
and thought (Ps 7:9; 26:2).
instruct me—or, excite to acts of
praise (Isa 53:11, 12; Heb 12:2).
8. With God's presence and aid he is sure of
safety (Ps 10:6; 15:5; Joh 12:27, 28; Heb 5:7,
9. glory—as heart (Ps 7:5), for self. In Ac 2:26, after the Septuagint, "my
tongue" as "the glory of the frame"—the instrument for praising
flesh—If taken as opposed to soul
16:10), it may mean the body;
otherwise, the whole person (compare Ps 63:1; 84:2).
rest in hope—(compare
10. soul—or, "self." This use of "soul"
for the person is frequent (Ge 12:5; 46:26; Ps 3:2; 7:2;
11:1), even when the body may
be the part chiefly affected, as in Ps 35:13; 105:18. Some cases are cited, as Le 22:4; Nu 6:6; 9:6, 10; 19:13; Hag 2:13, &c., which seem to justify
assigning the meaning of body, or dead body; but it will be
found that the latter sense is given by some adjunct expressed or
implied. In those cases person is the proper sense.
wilt not leave … hell—abandon to
the power of (Job 39:14; Ps 49:10). Hell as (Ge
42:38; Ps 6:5; Jon 2:2) the
state or region of death, and so frequently—or the grave
itself (Job 14:13; 17:13; Ec 9:10, &c.). So the Greek Hades
(compare Ac 2:27, 31). The context alone can settle whether
the state mentioned is one of suffering and place of the damned
(compare Ps 9:17; Pr 5:5; 7:27).
wilt … suffer—literally, "give"
Holy One—(Ps 4:3), one who is the object of God's favor,
and so a recipient of divine grace which he
to see—or, "experience"—undergo
corruption—Some render the word,
the pit, which is possible, but for the obvious sense which the
apostle's exposition (Ac 2:27; 13:36, 37) gives. The sense of the whole passage
is clearly this: by the use of flesh and soul, the
disembodied state produced by death is indicated; but, on the other
hand, no more than the state of death is intended; for the last
clause of Ps 16:10 is
strictly parallel with the first, and Holy One corresponds to
soul, and corruption to hell. As Holy One,
or David (Ac 13:36, 37), which denotes the person,
including soul and body, is used for body, of which only
corruption can be predicated (compare Ac 2:31); so, on the contrary, soul,
which literally means the immaterial part, is used for the person. The
language may be thus paraphrased, "In death I shall hope for
resurrection; for I shall not be left under its dominion and within its
bounds, or be subject to the corruption which ordinarily ensues."
11. Raised from the dead, he shall die no
more; death hath no more dominion over him.
Thou wilt show me—guide me to
the path of life—or, "lives"—the
plural denoting variety and abundance—immortal blessedness of
every sort—as "life" often denotes.
in thy presence—or, "before Thy
faces." The frequent use of this plural form for "faces" may contain an
allusion to the Trinity (Nu 6:25, 26; Ps 17:15; 31:16).
at thy right hand—to which Christ was
exalted (Ps 110:1; Ac 2:33; Col 3:1; Heb 1:3). In the glories of this state, He shall
see of the travail (Isa 53:10, 11; Php 2:9) of His soul, and be satisfied.