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Bible Commentaries

Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments

Psalms 16

Verses 1-11

REFLECTIONS. This is called by the Jews the Michtam or golden psalm, which David composed during his exile, or while he reigned in Hebron. It opens with a prayer that God would preserve him; for he trusted in him, and not in man. In his troubles his soul clave to the Lord, and he was humbled by the consideration of his unprofitableness, and the insufficiency of his own righteousness. “My goodness extendeth not unto thee.”

David’s piety was distinguished by alms to the saints, and by delight in the excellent of the earth, two sure marks of a regenerate soul; and where they are wanting, a man has great reason to suspect his own heart.

David’s piety was farther distinguished by abhorrence of those Jews who apostatized to a partial idolatry. Their sacrifices were stained with human blood; sorrows awaited them; and he would not even pronounce their name in company. Come then to this school, all ye lukewarm, ye degenerate souls, who trim between the world and the church. It is of small moment to you to protract the hour of return from market, or with whom you take the cheerful glass. Take care what you do: you may go a step too far. These are the men that David abhorred; these are the men the Lord will despise.

In prosperity David’s piety was distinguished by gratitude and love. The Lord was his portion, his cup, and his lot. Hence, alluding to the division of the land by Joshua, he says, the lines are fallen to me in pleasant places. Oh it is good to spiritualize the gifts of God, and to review the vast train of his mercies, till the soul shall be lost in astonishment and praise.

While David’s reins or thoughts were thus instructing him, his soul imperceptibly launched forth into the more gracious views of the Messiah and his glory. Celestial visions of futurity were disclosed, and brought him into contact with his Redeemer, whose language he seems to personate. He foresaw the Lord always before him; therefore his heart was glad, as the wise men when they saw the star. His flesh should rest in hope, for God would neither leave his soul hovering on earth, nor suffer his Holy One to see corruption. This passage both St. Peter and St. Paul apply in a most convincing manner to the Lord Jesus. Acts 2:31; Acts 13:35. The Lord of glory having expiated sin by his oblation on the cross, it was not proper that his body should sustain any farther humiliation and abasement. Nor was it proper on our account, for he is the resurrection and the life, the hope and the model of all his saints. Therefore he says, Thou wilt show me the path of life; that is, thou wilt open to me the gates of righteousness, and admit me to the glory I had with thee before the world was.

Heaven is viewed not only as a retreat from pain, and sin, and death; but as the consummation of eternal felicity. In this world our joys are transient and precarious; but in heaven there is fullness of joy, and at God’s right hand, where Christ reigns, are pleasures for evermore. The vast capacity of the soul is filled with the emanations of God. His perfections, shining in all the radiance of the divine nature, overshadow and delight the soul; and the unfolding of his eternal providence and grace shall be a source of pleasure always pure, always new, and grateful to the high circles of celestial society. What then were David’s trials, and what are all ours; if God shall count us worthy to behold his face in righteousness?

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Bibliographical Information
Sutcliffe, Joseph. "Commentary on Psalms 16". Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments. 1835.