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Bible Commentaries

Peake's Commentary on the Bible

Psalms 16

Verses 1-11

XVI. God, the Supreme Good.

Psalms 16:1-3 . The Psalmist’ s devotion to God and His saints.

Psalms 16:2 b, Psalms 16:3 . The text is corrupt; RV requires a slight emendation or we may supply, “ I have said,” from Psalms 16:2. “ And I have said of the holy ones that are in the land: they are the excellent ones in whom is all my delight.” But the LXX had a very different text. Some ancient authorities omit Psalms 16:2 b or read, “ because thou hast no need of my goods.” In LXX 3 reads, “ For the holy ones that are in the earth, he hath made all his good pleasure marvellous.” Many attempts have been made to restore the original text by conjecture or with the help of the LXX. Such are, “ He dealeth nobly with the holy ones who are in the earth: all his good pleasure is in them” ; “ I have no bliss apart from thee and from the noble ones; all his good pleasure is in them.” “ I have no bliss apart from thee and from the noble ones in whom is all my delight.”

Psalms 16:4-6 . The Psalmist will have nothing to do with idols: God is his portion.

Psalms 16:4 . The meaning is again obscured by textual corruption. The following renderings have been given, e.g. “ They shall multiply their sins who hurry backwards,” i.e. by apostasy: “ Many praise those who multiply their idols.” In reality their drink offerings are no better than sacrifices of blood, i.e. of murder ( cf. Isaiah 66:3), and the Psalmist will not pollute his lips with the names of foreign gods.

Psalms 16:7-11 . The contrasted lot of the righteous. Yahweh maintains him in the land he has inherited and fills his cup with joy. His reins, a chief seat of emotion, suggest to him in the lonely night the steps he shall take. He is secure in body and soul. RV renders rightly “ Thou shalt not leave his soul to Sheol” ; AV “ in Hell” (Hades) is quite misleading. The Jewish saint does not expect to live after death. For the present at least he is not to die at all. Sheol will not lay hold of him: he will not see the pit ( mg.) , which is a synonym for Sheol. The rendering “ corruption” is false. What is meant by exemption from death? It is tempting to regard the promise as one made to the ideal Israel. The nation once purified would endure for ever. But nothing in the context suggests this interpretation. Probably the poet is thinking merely of long life, the reward of the pious ( cf. Psalms 63). To sum up, ( Psalms 16:11) Yahweh instructs the good man in the way of righteousness. He rewards him with length of days and is ready to confer the fullness of joy, spiritual and material.

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Bibliographical Information
Peake, Arthur. "Commentary on Psalms 16". "Peake's Commentary on the Bible ". 1919.