Week 3: Psalm 16 (Dorothy)

I have chosen Psalm 16 for this week. Unlike some of the Psalms that say ‘A Psalm of David’, this one says ‘A Michtam of David’. Traditionally this has been interpreted as ‘A Golden Psalm,’ the others being Psalms 56-60. It has also been translated as pertaining to a certain tune or as profound or so precious as to be worthy to be engraved and preserved as a treasure. I pray that the golden Treasure of this Psalm might be opened to all of us this week.

Psalm 16:1 Preserve me, O God, for in You I put my trust (NKJV) This is a Psalm about trust – in life and in death. John L .Mays in his book “Psalms Interpretation A Bible Commentary for Teaching and Preaching” has helped to open this up for me.

Personally, I love every line of this Psalm. I find it beautiful and three lines in particular help to bring the whole Psalm to memory (Not unlike when we say “The Lord is My Shepherd” will bring the whole of Psalm 23 to mind):
1. “My goodness is nothing apart from You” or “I have no good apart from you” (Verse 2) As Christians we see ourselves in the mirror of Christ and know this to be true to the very depths of our souls, to the ‘bottom of our boots’. With contrite hearts, we acknowledge this with gladness and trust in His merciful goodness.
2. “The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places.” (Verse 6a) Verses 5 and 6 speak together of our incredible inheritance in God. I pray back this verse to give thanks, saying, “Yes Lord, you have caused the lines to fall for me in pleasant places. You are so good to us.” I can pray this even though I have experienced some very difficult times; but I can look back and see His goodness to me through those times and I can look forward to the unknown in trust.
3. “My flesh will also rest in hope.” (Verse 10b) There are some beautiful lines in verses 6-11 but this line in particular reminds me this is one of few places in the Old Testament that hints at resurrection (see also Psalm 41:12 and 73:24). We can trust in unbroken relationship in life and in death. Questions abound as to what David really understand about resurrection; much commentary on these verses relating to Christ.
One day we shall all raise our voice in one accord, “Yes, indeed! You have shown us the Path of Life and in Your Presence is fullness of Joy.” (see verse 11) Blessings to you all --- Dorothy Dahli

Cory Howell's picture

Jewish Bible

Thanks for posting the version of this psalm from David Stern's The Complete Jewish Bible. I often find that it's a good experience to break out of the mold of many typical Christian translations, to get the "flavor" of what the Hebrew Scriptures sound like to Jewish ears. I'm not 100% sure Stern's translation is always successful in this regard, but I feel like he gets closer than many of the more common modern translations. With that in mind, though, here is another version of Psalm 16 from an Orthodox Jewish viewpoint (the Stone Tanach):

1 A [song of the] michtam by David. Protect me O God, for I have sought refuge in You. 2 You have said to HASHEM, "You are my Master, I have no claim to Your benefit. 3 For the sake of the holy ones who are [interred] in the earth and for the mighty--all my desires are fulfilled because of them. 4 Their sorrows will multiply, those who rush after other [gods]; I shall not pour their libations of blood; I shall not carry their names upon my lips. 5 HASHEM is my allotted portion and my share, You guide my destiny. 6 Portions have fallen to me in pleasant places, even the inheritance is beautiful to me. 7 I will bless HASHEM Who has advised me, also in the nights my intellect instructs me. 8 I have set HASHEM before me always; because He is at my right hand I shall not falter. 9 For this reason my heart rejoices and my soul is elated; my flesh, too, rests in confidence. 10 Because You will not abandon my soul to the grave, You will not allow Your devout one to witness destruction. 11 You will make known to me the path of life, the fullness of joys in Your Presence, the delights that are in Your right hand for eternity.

Cory Howell
Nashville, TN