|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
16:1-11 This psalm begins with expressions of devotion, which may be applied to Christ; but ends with such confidence of a resurrection, as must be applied to Christ, and to him only. - David flees to God's protection, with cheerful, believing confidence. Those who have avowed that the Lord is their Lord, should often put themselves in mind of what they have done, take the comfort of it, and live up to it. He devotes himself to the honour of God, in the service of the saints. Saints on earth we must be, or we shall never be saints in heaven. Those renewed by the grace of God, and devoted to the glory of God, are saints on earth. The saints in the earth are excellent ones, yet some of them so poor, that they needed to have David's goodness extended to them. David declares his resolution to have no fellowship with the works of darkness; he repeats the solemn choice he had made of God for his portion and happiness, takes to himself the comfort of the choice, and gives God the glory of it. This is the language of a devout and pious soul. Most take the world for their chief good, and place their happiness in the enjoyments of it; but how poor soever my condition is in this world, let me have the love and favour of God, and be accepted of him; let me have a title by promise to life and happiness in the future state; and I have enough. Heaven is an inheritance; we must take that for our home, our rest, our everlasting good, and look upon this world to be no more ours, than the country through which is our road to our Father's house. Those that have God for their portion, have a goodly heritage. Return unto thy rest, O my soul, and look no further. Gracious persons, though they still covet more of God, never covet more than God; but, being satisfied of his loving-kindness, are abundantly satisfied with it: they envy not any their carnal mirth and delights. But so ignorant and foolish are we, that if left to ourselves, we shall forsake our own mercies for lying vanities. God having given David counsel by his word and Spirit, his own thoughts taught him in the night season, and engaged him by faith to live to God. Verses 8-11, are quoted by St. Peter in his first sermon, after the pouring out of the Spirit on the day of Pentecost, Ac 2:25-31; he declared that David in them speaks concerning Christ, and particularly of his resurrection. And Christ being the Head of the body, the church, these verses may be applied to all Christians, guided and animated by the Spirit of Christ; and we may hence learn, that it is our wisdom and duty to set the Lord always before us. And if our eyes are ever toward God, our hearts and tongues may ever rejoice in him. Death destroys the hope of man, but not the hope of a real Christian. Christ's resurrection is an earnest of the believer's resurrection. In this world sorrow is our lot, but in heaven there is joy, a fulness of joy; our pleasures here are for a moment, but those at God's right hand are pleasures for evermore. Through this thy beloved Son, and our dear Saviour, thou wilt show us, O Lord, the path of life; thou wilt justify our souls now, and raise our bodies by thy power at the last day; when earthly sorrow shall end in heavenly joy, pain in everlasting happiness.
Verse 2. - O my soul, thou hast said unto the Lord. The ordinary Hebrew text, אָמַרְתְּ, "thou hast said," requires the insertion of "O my soul," or something similar. But if we read אמרתי with a large number of manuscripts, with the LXX., the Vulgate, the Syriac, and most other versions, no insertion will be necessary. The meaning will then be, I have said to Jehovah. Thou art my Lord; Hebrew, adonai - "my Lord and Master." My goodness extendeth not to thee. This meaning cannot be elicited from the Hebrew words. Tobah is not "goodness," but "prosperity" or "happiness" (comp. Psalm 106:5); and 'aleyka is best explained as "beside thee," "beyond thee." The psalmist means to say that he has no happiness beside (or apart from) God. (So Ewald, Hengstenberg, Cheyne, the 'Speaker's Commentary,' and the Revised Version.)
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
O my soul, thou hast said unto the Lord,.... Some take these to be the words of David speaking to the church, who had owned the Lord to be her Lord, and had declared what follows; others think they are the words of God the Father to his Son, suggesting to him what he had said; but they are rather an apostrophe, or an address of Christ to his own soul; and the phrase, "O my soul", though not in the original text, is rightly supplied by our translators, and which is confirmed by the Targum, and by the Jewish commentators, Jarchi, Aben Ezra, and Kimchi;
thou art my Lord; Christ, as man, is a creature made by God; his human nature is the true tabernacle which God pitched and not man, and on this consideration he is his Lord, being his Creator; and as Mediator Christ is his servant, and was made under the law to him, obeyed him, and submitted to his will in all things; so that he not only in words said he was his Lord, but by deeds declared him to be so;
my goodness extendeth not to thee; such who suppose that David here speaks in his own person, or in the person of other believers, or that the church here speaks, differently interpret these words: some render them, "my goodness is not above thee" (l); it is far inferior to thine, it is not to be mentioned with it, it is nothing in comparison of it; all my goodness, happiness, and felicity lies, in thee, Psalm 73:25; others, "I have no goodness without thee": the sense is the same as if it was "I have said", as read the Greek, Vulgate Latin, and Oriental versions, and so Apollinarius; I have none but what comes from thee; what I have is given me by thee, which is the sense of the Targum; see James 1:17; others, "my goodness is not upon thee" (m); does not lie upon thee, or thou art not obliged to bestow the blessings of goodness on me; they are not due to me, they spring from thy free grace and favour; to this sense incline Jarchi, Aben Ezra, and Kimchi; see Luke 17:10; others, "thou hast no need of my goodness"; nor wilt it profit thee, so R. Joseph Kimchi; see Job 22:2; or the words may be rendered, "O my goodness", or "thou art my good, nothing is above thee" (n); no goodness in any superior to God. But they are the words of Christ, and to be understood of his goodness; not of his essential goodness as God, nor of his providential goodness, the same with his Father's; but of his special goodness, and the effect of it to his church and people; and denotes his love, grace, and good will towards them, shown in his incarnation, sufferings, and death; and the blessings of goodness which come thereby; such as a justifying righteousness, forgiveness of sin, peace, and reconciliation, redemption, salvation, and eternal life. Now though God is glorified by Christ in his incarnation, sufferings, and death, and in the work of man's redemption, yet he stood in no need of the obedience and sufferings of his Son; he could have glorified his justice another way, as he did in not sparing the angels that sinned, in drowning the old world, and in burning Sodom and Gomorrah, and in other instances of his vengeance; though there is glory to God in the highest in the affair of salvation by Christ, yet the good will is to men; though the debt of obedience and sufferings was paid to the justice of God, whereby that is satisfied and glorified, yet the kindness in paying the debt was not to God but to men, described in Psalm 16:8.
(l) "bonum meum non est supra te", Gejerus. (m) "Bonum meum non est super te", Montanus, Cocceius. (n) So Gussetius, p. 299.
The Treasury of David
2 O my soul, thou hast said unto the Lord, Thou art my Lord: my goodness extendeth not to thee:
3 But to the saints that are in the earth, and to the excellent, in whom is all my delight.
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.
5 The Lord is the portion of mine inheritance and of my cup: thou maintainest my lot.
"O my soul, thou hast said unto the Lord, Thou art my Lord." In his inmost heart the Lord Jesus bowed himself to do service to his Heavenly Father, and before the throne of Jehovah his soul vowed allegiance to the Lord for our sakes. We are like him when our soul, truly and constantly in the presence of the heart-searching God, declares her full consent to the rule and government of the Infinite Jehovah, saying, "Thou art my Lord." To avow this with the lip is little, but for the soul to say it, especially in times of trial, is a gracious evidence of spiritual health; to profess it before men is a small matter, but to declare it before Jehovah himself is of far more consequence. This sentence may also be viewed as the utterance of appropriating faith, laying hold upon the Lord by personal covenant and enjoyment; in this sense may it be our daily song in the house of our pilgrimage.
"My goodness extendeth not to thee." The work of our Lord Jesus was not needful on account of any necessity in the Divine Being. Jehovah would have been inconceivably glorious had the human race perished, and had no atonement been offered. Although the life-work and death-agony of the Son did reflect unparalleled lustre upon every attribute of God, yet the Most Blessed and Infinitely Happy God stood in no need of the obedience and death of his Son; it was for our sakes that the work of redemption was undertaken, and not because of any lack or want on the part of the Most High. How modestly does the Savior here estimate his own goodness! What overwhelming reasons have we for imitating his humility! "If thou be righteous, what givest thou him? or what receiveth he of thine hand?" (Job 35:7.)
"But to the saints that are in the earth." These sanctified ones, although still upon the earth, partake of the results of Jesus' mediatorial work, and by his goodness are made what they are. The peculiar people, zealous for good works, and hallowed to sacred service, are arrayed in the Saviour's righteousness and washed in his blood, and so receive of the goodness treasured up in him; these are the persons who are profited by the work of the man Christ Jesus; but that work added nothing to the nature, virtue, or happiness of God, who is blessed for evermore. How much more forcibly is this true of us, poor unworthy servants, not fit to be mentioned in comparison with the faithful Son of God! Our hope must ever be that haply some poor child of God may be served by us, for the Great Father can never need our aid. Well may we sing the verses of Dr. Watts:
"Oft have my heart and tongue confess'd
How empty and how poor Iam;
My praise can never make thee blest,
Nor add new glories to thy name.
Yet, Lord, thy saints on earth may reap
Some profit by the good we do;
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
2. my soul—must be supplied; expressed in similar cases (Ps 42:5, 11).
my goodness … thee—This obscure passage is variously expounded. Either one of two expositions falls in with the context. "My goodness" or merit is not on account of Thee—that is, is not for Thy benefit. Then follows the contrast of Ps 16:3 (but is), in respect, or for the saints, &c.—that is, it enures to them. Or, my goodness—or happiness is not besides Thee—that is, without Thee I have no other source of happiness. Then, "to the saints," &c., means that the same privilege of deriving happiness from God only is theirs. The first is the most consonant with the Messianic character of the Psalm, though the latter is not inconsistent with it.
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