Psalm 116:16
O LORD, truly I am thy servant; I am thy servant, and the son of thine handmaid: thou hast loosed my bonds.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(16) Thy servant, and the son of Thine handmaid.—Comp. Psalm 86:16. Not only himself but his family were in the covenant, and, as very commonly in the East, the mother is selected for mention instead of the father.

Psalm 116:16. O Lord, truly I am thy servant — This is a thankful acknowledgment of his great obligations to God, whereby he was in duty bound to be his perpetual servant. The son of thy handmaid — The son of a mother who was devoted, and did devote me to thy service. Thou hast loosed my bonds — Thou hast rescued me from my enemies, whose captive and vassal I was, and therefore hast a just right to me and to my service.

116:10-19 When troubled, we do best to hold our peace, for we are apt to speak unadvisedly. Yet there may be true faith where there are workings of unbelief; but then faith will prevail; and being humbled for our distrust of God's word, we shall experience his faithfulness to it. What can the pardoned sinner, or what can those who have been delivered from trouble or distress, render to the Lord for his benefits? We cannot in any way profit him. Our best is unworthy of his acceptance; yet we ought to devote ourselves and all we have to his service. I will take the cup of salvation; I will offer the drink-offerings appointed by the law, in token of thankfulness to God, and rejoice in God's goodness to me. I will receive the cup of affliction; that cup, that bitter cup, which is sanctified to the saints, so that to them it is a cup of salvation; it is a means of spiritual health. The cup of consolation; I will receive the benefits God bestows upon me, as from his hand, and taste his love in them, as the portion not only of mine inheritance in the other world, but of my cup in this. Let others serve what masters they will, truly I am thy servant. Two ways men came to be servants. By birth. Lord, I was born in thy house; I am the son of thine handmaid, and therefore thine. It is a great mercy to be children of godly parents. By redemption. Lord, thou hast loosed my bonds, thou hast discharged me from them, therefore I am thy servant. The bonds thou hast loosed shall tie me faster unto thee. Doing good is sacrifice, with which God is well pleased; and this must accompany giving thanks to his name. Why should we offer that to the Lord which cost us nothing? The psalmist will pay his vows now; he will not delay the payment: publicly, not to make a boast, but to show he is not ashamed of God's service, and to invite others to join him. Such are true saints of God, in whose lives and deaths he will be glorified.O Lord, truly I am thy servant - In view of thy mercy in delivering me from death, I feel the obligation to give myself to thee. I see in the fact that thou hast thus delivered me, evidence that I am thy servant - that I am so regarded by thee; and I recognize the obligation to live as becomes one who has had this proof of favor and mercy.

The son of thine handmaid - Of a pious mother. I see now the result of my training. I call to my recollection the piety of a mother. I rememberer how she served thee; how she trained me up for thee; I see now the evidence that her prayers were heard, and that her efforts were blessed in endeavoring to train me up for thee. The psalmist saw now that, under God, he owed all this to the pious efforts of a mother, and that God had been pleased to bless those efforts in making him his child, and in so guiding him that it was not improper for him to speak. of himself as possessing and carrying out the principles of a sainted mother. It is not uncommon - and in such cases it is proper - that all the evidence which we may have that we are pious - that we are living as we ought to live, that we are receiving special favors from God - recalls to our minds the instructions of early years, the counsels and prayers of a holy father or mother.

Thou hast loosed my bonds - The bonds of disease; the fetters which seemed to have made me a prisoner to Death. I am now free again. I walk at large. I am no longer the captive - the prisoner - of disease and pain.

15, 16. By the plea of being a homeborn servant, he intimates his claim on God's covenant love to His people. I am thy servant: this is either,

1. An argument used in prayer, It becometh thee to protect and save thy own servants, as every good master doth; or rather,

2. A thankful acknowledgment of his great obligations to God, whereby he was in duty bound to be the Lord’s faithful and perpetual servant. For this suits best with the context.

The son of thine handmaid; either,

1. The son of a mother who was devoted and did devote me to thy service. Or,

2. Like one born in thy house of one of thy servants, and so thine by a most strict and double obligation.

Thou hast loosed my bonds; thou hast rescued me from mine enemies, whose captive and vassal I was, and therefore hast a just right and title to me and to my service.

O Lord, truly I am thy servant, I am thy servant,.... Not merely by creation, and as obliged by providential favours; but by the grace of God, which made him a willing one: and he was so, not nominally only, but in reality; not as those who say Lord, Lord, but do not the will of God; whereas he served the Lord cheerfully and willingly, in righteousness and true holiness: and this he repeats for the confirmation of it, and to show his heartiness in the Lord's service, and his zealous attachment to him; and which he mentions, not as though he thought his service meritorious of anything at the hand of God; but that his being in this character was an obligation upon him to serve the Lord, and him only, and might expect his protection in it;

and the son of thy handmaid; his mother was also a servant of the Lord; and had trained him up in his infancy in the nurture and admonition of the Lord; so that he was inured to it early, and could not easily depart from it;

thou hast loosed my bonds; the bonds of affliction and death in which he was held; these were loosed, being delivered from them, Psalm 116:3; and the bonds of sin, and Satan, and the law, in whose service he had been, which was no other than a bondage; but now was freed from the servitude and dominion of sin, from the captivity of Satan, and the bondage of the law; and therefore, though a servant, yet the Lord's free man.

O LORD, truly I am thy servant; I am thy servant, and the son of thine handmaid: thou hast loosed my bonds.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
16. Lit. I beseech thee, Jehovah, for I am thy servant. The precative interjection would naturally be followed by an imperative, as in Psalm 116:4 b, hear me, or the like; but the Psalmist breaks off into thanksgiving.

thy servant, [omit and] the son of thy handmaid] So Psalm 86:16. ‘The son of thy handmaid’ is a synonym for ‘thy servant,’ but denoting a closer relationship, for servants ‘born in the house’ (Genesis 14:14) were the most trusted dependents. Cp. ‘of the household of God,’ Ephesians 2:19. It is hardly, as Delitzsch thinks, an allusion to the piety of the Psalmist’s mother.

loosed my bonds] He had been like a prisoner condemned to death, Psalm 116:3. Cp. Psalm 107:10; Psalm 107:14.

Verse 16. - O Lord, truly I am thy servant; rather, even so, O Lord, for I am thy servant. Entitled, therefore, to thy care and consideration. I am thy servant, and the son of thine handmaid (comp. Psalm 86:16). "Thine handmaid" - the Church; or, if the writer is Hezekiah, "thy handmaid, Abiyah, the daughter of Zechariah," who "had under standing in the vision of God" (2 Chronicles 26:5; 2 Chronicles 29:1). Thou hast loosed my bonds. The "cords of death" (ver. 3) are probably intended. Psalm 116:16From what he has experienced the poet infers that the saints of Jahve are under His most especial providence. Instead of המּות the poet, who is fond of such embellishments, chooses the pathetic form המּותה, and consequently, instead of the genitival construct state (מות), the construction with the Lamed of "belonging to." It ought properly to be "soul" or "blood," as in the primary passage Psalm 72:14. But the observation of Grotius: quae pretiosa sunt, non facile largimur, applies also to the expression "death." The death of His saints is no trifling matter with God; He does not lightly suffer it to come about; He does not suffer His own to be torn away from Him by death.

(Note: The Apostolic Constitutions (vi. 30) commend the singing of these and other words of the Psalms at the funerals of those who have departed in the faith (cf. Augusti, Denkwrdigkeiten, ix. 563). In the reign of the Emperor Decius, Babylas Bishop of Antioch, full of blessed hope, met death singing these words.)

After this the poet goes on beseechingly: ānnáh Adonaj. The prayer itself is not contained in פּתּחתּ למוסרי - for he is already rescued, and the perfect as a precative is limited to such utterances spoken in the tone of an exclamation as we find in Job 21:16 - but remains unexpressed; it lies wrapped up as it were in this heartfelt ānnáh: Oh remain still so gracious to me as Thou hast already proved Thyself to me. The poet rejoices in and is proud of the fact that he may call himself the servant of God. With אמתך he is mindful of his pious mother (cf. Psalm 86:16). The Hebrew does not form a feminine, עבדּה; Arab. amata signifies a maid, who is not, as such, also Arab. ‛abdat, a slave. The dative of the object, למוסרי (from מוסרים for the more usual מוסרות), is used with פתחת instead of the accusative after the Aramaic manner, but it does also occur in the older Hebrew (e.g., Job 19:3; Isaiah 53:11). The purpose of publicly giving thanks to the Gracious One is now more full-toned here at the close. Since such emphasis is laid on the Temple and the congregation, what is meant is literal thank-offerings in payment of vows. In בּתוככי (as in Psalm 135:9) we have in the suffix the ancient and Aramaic i((cf. Psalm 116:7) for the third time. With אנּה the poet clings to Jahve, with נגדּה־נּא to the congregation, and with בּתוככי to the holy city. The one thought that fills his whole soul, and in which the song which breathes forth his soul dies away, is Hallelujah.

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