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Bible Commentaries

Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary

Psalms 16

Verse 1


This blessed Psalm is so directly applied, under the influence of God the Holy Ghost, by the apostles Peter and Paul, to the person and work of the Lord Jesus, that we must wholly overlook David the writer of it, (except considering him as a prophet,) so as not to lose the great object intended by it, in supposing that ought of David is meant by what this Psalm contains. Here Christ, and his faith in covenant engagements, are beautifully set forth.

Michtam of David.

Psalms 16:1

This is the first time we have met with the word Michtam by way of title since we opened the book of Psalms. Various have been the translations of this word; but all agree, that it is meant to imply somewhat very important. Some have rendered it, precious; others, golden; and others, precious jewel. And as the Holy Ghost, by the apostles Peter and Paul, hath shown, that it is all about the Lord Jesus Christ, what is here said of him is precious, is golden, is a jewel indeed. Lord! I would say for myself and Reader, as we enter upon its perusal, 'Make it by the sweet savour of his name, precious indeed as ointment poured forth.' The very first opening of it, in those words of Jesus, which David here marked down by the spirit of prophecy, plainly proves to whom it belongs, by the parallel passage in Jesus's life. See John 12:27 .

Verses 2-3

This is a most precious portion, in which we find Christ claiming the privilege of covenant relation, and, at the same time, disclaiming all pretensions to merit, from any supposed good Jehovah could derive from the Mediator's righteousness. It is most evident, that Jehovah is not benefited by man's redemption, though it is to the praise of the glory of his grace. But it is the seed of Christ, the excellent of the earth, in whom Christ, as the wisdom-man set up from everlasting, always delighted, Proverbs 8:31 . For their sakes Christ sanctified himself. John 17:19 . But, secondarily, and subordinately, this precious portion, as referring to the seed of Christ, and their safety and happiness in him, becomes very delightful also. For then it is as if a child of God in Christ should say, O my soul, thou hast said unto Jehovah, thou art my Adonai, my helper, my strength, my salvation: thus taking confidence in Jesus, and delight in his people.

Verse 4

It is easy to perceive to what those expressions have reference. No sacrifices could atone for sin, neither satisfy the guilty conscience. If the sacrifices under the law were offered by Israel, with an eye of faith to Jesus, then they were sweetly satisfying and consolatory. But, void of this, it was not possible that the blood of bulls, and of goats, should take away sin. Hebrews 10:4 . It is remarkable, and very conclusive on this subject, that Christ never, in all his ministry, spake of the law sacrifices but with an eye to the sacrifice of himself. Matthew 20:28 .

Verses 5-7

These are very blessed things spoken of, both as they relate to Christ, and to his people in him. Jesus in his human nature, uniformly made Jehovah his portion, and looked unto him to maintain his cause, and carry him safely through his vast undertaking. He not only considered it his meat and his drink to do his Father's will, but his redeemed he considered a goodly heritage. And what is it to his people but the same? They who have chosen God for their portion, find that portion to be a goodly one, and are fully satisfied with Jesus, for they need no other.

Verses 8-10

How peculiarly this belongs to the Lord Jesus Christ, hath been already observed; and if the Reader desires (as he ought to do) to enter into the clearest apprehension of this most precious prophecy, I refer him to Acts 2:25-36 and Acts 13:35-39 . And if we add to these what the Apostle, under the Holy Ghost, declared to be the whole scope and tendency of the prophets ministry, when the Spirit of Christ, which, was in them, did signify of the sufferings of Christ, and the glory which should follow, we shall have yet a clearer light thrown upon this important scripture. 1 Peter 1:11 . When we have paid all due attention to this glorious scripture, as referring to the great Head of his Church, we may then, with lively faith, consider also the interest his body, the church, have in the same. If the grave could not hold Jesus, neither can it forever make any of his members prisoners. The resurrection of Jesus Christ is a sure pledge and earnest of his people's. He arose in a public capacity, and thereby became the first fruits of them that slept. Precious Lord! thou art gone before; and, as thou saidst, only to prepare a place for thy people to follow thee. Hence their flesh shall rest in hope. And they can and do say, in the consciousness of being part of Jesus, that though, after their skin, worms destroy this body, yet in the flesh they shall see God. Oh! thou that art the resurrection and the life, be thou the joy, the hope, the portion, and the sure resurrection of thy people in grace here, and glory hereafter. Job 19:25-27 .

Verse 11


GRANT, most blessed Jesus that as oft as I read this blessed Psalm I may read it as the Michtam of David, because it treats wholly of thee. I would forget David, and all the excellent of the earth, to contemplate thee, and thy matchless love, as here beautifully set forth. And, dearest Lord, as thou wert looking to Jehovah, so would I look to thee. Surely thou art my Adonai, my Lord, my Holy One, my righteousness! O for grace to set thee always before me. I know thee indeed to be on thy right hand, I shall not be moved. And oh, for grace to rejoice in the blessed hope. My flesh shall rest in hope, for thou hast redeemed me, O Lord, thou God of truth! As thy holy body saw no corruption, so thy members, though seeing corruption, must partake in thy triumphs over death and the grave. Living or dying, all thy redeemed are thine; so that they die, whenever their hour comes, in union with thee. And sweetly their bodies slumber, waiting thy call in the morn of the general resurrection. Thou wilt then call, and thy redeemed will answer, for thou wilt have respect to the work of thine hands. For, if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so all them that sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. Hail, Almighty Lord! thou art indeed the resurrection and the life. Thou art gone before; thou wilt come again to take all thy redeemed to thyself, that where thou art, there they may be also. Thou wilt show us the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy, and at thy right hand there is pleasure forevermore.

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Bibliographical Information
Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Psalms 16". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". 1828.