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Bible Commentaries

Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures

Psalms 16

Verses 1-11

Psalms 16:0

Psalms 16:1 (Michtam of David.) Preserve me, O God: for in thee do I put my trust.

Psalms 16:1 “Michtam of David” Word Study on “Michtam” - Strong says the Hebrew word “michtam” ( מִכְתָּם ) (H4387) literally means, “an engraving,” and as a technical term, “a poem.” He says this word comes from a Hebrew root word ( כָּתַם ) (H3799), which means “to carve, or engrave.” Therefore, some translations prefer to use a poetic term ( NLT, Rotherham), while others prefer a more literal translation ( DRC, LXX, VgClem).

NLT, “A psalm of David”

Rotherham, “A Precious Psalm of David”

DRC, “The inscription of a title to David himself”

LXX, “ Στηλογραφία τῷ Δαυιδ

VgClem, “Tituli inscriptio, ipsi David”

Comments - A similar Hebrew word ( כֶּתֶם ) (3800) means, “something carved out, i.e. ore; hence, gold.” Peter Craigie tells us that some scholars translate the title “A Golden Psalm” from “early rabbinical interpretations.” [20] Therefore, we get a variety of translations that carry the idea of treasure or gold.

[20] Peter C. Craigie, Psalms 1-50, in Word Biblical Commentary: 58 Volumes on CD-Rom, vol. 19, eds. Bruce M. Metzger, David A. Hubbard and Glenn W. Barker (Dallas: Word Inc., 2002), in Libronix Digital Library System, v. 2.1c [CD-ROM] (Bellingham, WA: Libronix Corp., 2000-2004), 154.

LITV, YLT, “A Secret Treasure of David”

Luther, “Ein gülden Kleinod David”

There are six so called “Michtam Psalms” (16, 56, 57, 58, 59, 60), which open with the phrase “Michtam of David.” A similar title “the writing of Hezekiah” is used as the title for the psalm of Hezekiah in Isaiah 38:9-20, which uses a similar Hebrew word ( מִכְתָּב ) (H4385), means “a writing, the characters of something written, or a document such as a letter, a copy, an edict, or a poem.”

Psalms 16:1 “Preserve me, O God” Comments - The Hebrew word “preserve” is ( שָׁמַר ) (H8104).

Psalms 16:1 “for in thee do I put my trust” Comments - The Hebrew word “I put my trust” is ( חָסָה ) (H2620).

Psalms 16:2 O my soul, thou hast said unto the LORD, Thou art my Lord: my goodness extendeth not to thee;

Psalms 16:2 “my goodness extendeth not to thee” Comments - Note various modern English translations:

NIV, “Apart from you I have no good thing.”

NASB and AmpBible, “I have no good besides thee.”

NLT, “I have no other help besides yours.”

Jesus refers to the Father’s goodness in Luke 18:19, “And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? none is good, save one, that is, God.” There are many references to the goodness of God (James 1:17).

James 1:17, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.”

Psalms 16:2 Comments - The Hebrew text literally reads, “you said unto YHWH, ‘My Lord (art) thou. My goodness (kindness) not unto you.’”

Psalms 16:3 But to the saints that are in the earth, and to the excellent, in whom is all my delight.

Psalms 16:4 Their sorrows shall be multiplied that hasten after another god: their drink offerings of blood will I not offer, nor take up their names into my lips.

Psalms 16:4 Comments - We also should be careful not to utter the names of gods of other religions in vain.

Psalms 16:5-6 The Lots and Lines of Our Inheritance - The words “lot” and “lines” refer to the inheritance of the Promised Land that was given out to the twelve tribes by the casting of the lot. David is saying that God's eternal inheritance is of more value than his earthly inheritance. We see this same idea in Hebrews 11:8, where Abraham is said to have looked forward by faith to a heavenly city built by God.

Hebrews 11:8, “By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went. By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise: For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.”

Psalms 16:5 The LORD is the portion of mine inheritance and of my cup: thou maintainest my lot.

Psalms 16:5 “thou maintainest my lot” Comments - You preserve, or make secure, my place given as an inheritance.

Psalms 16:6 The lines are fallen unto me in pleasant places; yea, I have a goodly heritage.

Psalms 16:6 “The lines are fallen unto me in pleasant places” - Comments - That is, boundary lines. A lot is cast; therefore it has to first fall.

Psalms 16:7 I will bless the LORD, who hath given me counsel: my reins also instruct me in the night seasons.

Psalms 16:7 Word Study on “reins” Strong says the Hebrew word “reins” ( כִּלְיָה ) (H3629) literally refers to “the kidneys,” and is a figurative reference to “the mind.”

Psalms 16:8 I have set the LORD always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.

Psalms 16:9 Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth: my flesh also shall rest in hope.

Psalms 16:9 Word Study on “glory” Strong says the Hebrew word “glory” ( כָּבוֹד ) (H3519) literally means “weight,” but it carries a figurative meaning of “spender, glory, or honor.” He says this word comes from a Hebrew root word ( כָּבַד ) (H3513), which means “to be heavy,” or figuratively, “to be numerous, rich, or honorable.”

The LXX translated this word as “tongue,” ( η γλωσσα μου ). Therefore, the New Testament quote of this passage in Acts 2:25-32 renders this word as “tongue” as well.

Acts 2:26, “Therefore did my heart rejoice, and my tongue was glad; moreover also my flesh shall rest in hope:”

Psalms 16:9 Comments - We see the spirit, soul and body referred to in Psalms 16:9.

Psalms 16:10 For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.

Psalms 16:11 Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.

Psalms 16:8-11 Comments The Resurrection of Jesus Christ - Psalms 16:8-11 is quoted by the apostle Peter on the day of Pentecost as a fulfilled prophecy of the resurrection of Jesus Christ (Acts 2:25-32).

Acts 2:25-28, “For David speaketh concerning him, I foresaw the Lord always before my face, for he is on my right hand, that I should not be moved: Therefore did my heart rejoice, and my tongue was glad; moreover also my flesh shall rest in hope: Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. Thou hast made known to me the ways of life; thou shalt make me full of joy with thy countenance.”

On his first missionary journey, Paul the apostle argued with the Jews of Antioch in Pisidia in their synagogue regarding the resurrection of Jesus Christ by quoting from Psalms 16:10.

Acts 13:35, “Wherefore he saith also in another psalm, Thou shalt not suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.”

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Bibliographical Information
Everett, Gary H. "Commentary on Psalms 16". Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures. 2013.