Psalm 16:1
Michtam of David. Preserve me, O God: for in thee do I put my trust.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(1) For in thee.—Better, for I have found refuge in thee (as in Psalm 7:1; Psalm 11:1). The verb is in the preterite.

Psalm 16:1. Preserve me, O God — Hebrew — שׁמרני, shamereeni, keep, support, guard, or defend me — These words are evidently spoken by one in trouble and distress, or in danger, either from his enemies or in some other way. As David was frequently in such circumstances, they were probably primarily spoken by him in his own person, as a member of Christ, and they are words which often suit the case of any believer, who has frequently need to pray for support under troubles and distresses, to be protected against his spiritual enemies, and preserved and kept from the sins to which he is exposed. For in thee do I put my trust — And therefore thou art in honour and by promise obliged not to deceive my confidence. The Hebrew, חסיתי בךְ, chasiti back, properly means, I have fled to thee for protection, the verb חסה, chasah, meaning, “recipere se ad aliquem, sub cujus protectione tutus sit, ut pulli sub alis gallinarum,” to betake one’s self to any one, under whose protection one may be safe, as chickens under the wings of the hens. Thus they who make God their refuge and strength, and by faith commit themselves to his care, shall be safe under the shadow of the Almighty, and shall find him a present help in the time of trouble. Dr. Horne, who considers the whole Psalm as “one continued speech, without change of person,” supposes the contents of this verse, as well as of the rest of the Psalm, to be spoken by Christ, who, he thinks, is here represented as making his supplication to the Father for the deliverance promised to, and expected by, him. Certainly the words are applicable to Christ, for he prayed, Father, save me from this hour, and trusted in God that he would deliver him.

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.Preserve me, O God - Keep me; guard me; save me. This language implies that there was imminent danger of some kind - perhaps, as the subsequent part of the psalm would seem to indicate, danger of death. See Psalm 16:8-10. The idea here is, that God was able to preserve him from the impending danger, and that he might hope he would do it.

For in thee do I put my trust - That is, my hope is in thee. He had no other reliance than God; but he had confidence in him - he felt assured that there was safety there.

PSALM 16

Ps 16:1-11. Michtam, or, by the change of one letter, Michtab—a "writing," such as a poem or song (compare Isa 38:9). Such a change of the letter m for b was not unusual. The position of this word in connection with the author's name, being that usually occupied by some term, such as Psalm or song, denoting the style or matter of the composition, favors this view of its meaning, though we know not why this and Psalms 56-60 should be specially, called "a writing." "A golden (Psalm)," or "a memorial" are explanations proposed by some—neither of which, however applicable here, appears adapted to the other Psalms where the term occurs. According to Peter (Ac 2:25) and Paul (Ac 13:35), this Psalm relates to Christ and expresses the feelings of His human nature, in view of His sufferings and victory over death and the grave, including His subsequent exaltation at the right hand of God. Such was the exposition of the best earlier Christian interpreters. Some moderns have held that the Psalm relates exclusively to David; but this view is expressly contradicted by the apostles; others hold that the language of the Psalm is applicable to David as a type of Christ, capable of the higher sense assigned it in the New Testament. But then the language of Ps 16:10 cannot be used of David in any sense, for "he saw corruption." Others again propose to refer the first part to David, and the last to Christ; but it is evident that no change in the subject of the Psalm is indicated. Indeed, the person who appeals to God for help is evidently the same who rejoices in having found it. In referring the whole Psalm to Christ, it is, however, by no means denied that much of its language is expressive of the feelings of His people, so far as in their humble measure they have the feelings of trust in God expressed by Him, their head and representative. Such use of His language, as recorded in His last prayer (Joh 17:1-26), and even that which He used in Gethsemane, under similar modifications, is equally proper. The propriety of this reference of the Psalm to Christ will appear in the scope and interpretation. In view of the sufferings before Him, the Saviour, with that instinctive dread of death manifested in Gethsemane, calls on God to "preserve" Him; He avows His delight in holiness and abhorrence of the wicked and their wickedness; and for "the joy that was set before Him, despising the shame" [Heb 12:2], encourages Himself; contemplating the glories of the heritage appointed Him. Thus even death and the grave lose their terrors in the assurance of the victory to be attained and "the glory that should follow" [1Pe 1:11].

1. Preserve me, &c.—keep or watch over my interests.

in thee … I … trust—as one seeking shelter from pressing danger.

1 Preserve me, O God: for in thee do I put my trust.

"Preserve me," keep, or save me, or as Horsley thinks, "guard me," even as bodyguards surround their monarch, or as shepherds protect their flocks. Tempted in all points like as we are, the manhood of Jesus needed to be preserved from the power of evil; and though in itself pure, the Lord Jesus did not confide in that purity of nature, but as an example to his followers, looked to the Lord, his God, for preservation. One of the great names of God is "the Preserver of men," (Job 7:20), and this gracious office the Father exercised towards our Mediator and Representative. It had been promised to the Lord Jesus in express words, that he should be preserved, Isaiah 49:7, Isaiah 49:8. "Thus saith the Lord, the Redeemer of Israel and his Holy One, to him whom man despiseth, to him whom the nation abhorreth, I will preserve thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people." This promise was to the letter fulfilled, both by providential deliverance and sustaining power, in the case of our Lord. Being preserved himself, he is able to restore the preserved of Israel, for we are "preserved in Christ Jesus and called." As one with him, the elect were preserved in his preservation, and we may view this mediatorial supplication as the petition of the Great High Priest for all those who are in him. The intercession recorded in John 17 is but an amplification of this cry, "Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are." When he says "preserve me," he means his members, his mystical body, himself, and all in him. But while we rejoice in the fact that the Lord Jesus used this prayer for his members, we must not forget that he employed it most surely for himself; he had so emptied himself, and so truly taken upon him the form of a servant, that as man he needed divine keeping even as we do, and often cried unto the strong for strength. Frequently on the mountaintop he breathed forth this desire, and on one occasion in almost the same words, he publicly prayed, "Father, save me from this hour." (John 12:27.) If Jesus looked out of himself for protection, how much more must we, his erring followers, do so!

"O God." The word for God here used is El אל, by which name the Lord Jesus, when under a sense of great weakness, as for instance when upon the cross, was wont to address the Mighty God, the Omnipotent Helper of his people. We, too, may turn to El, the Omnipotent One, in all hours of peril, with the confidence that he who heard the strong cryings and tears of our faithful High Priest, is both able and willing to bless us in him. It is well to study the name and character of God, so that in our straits we may know how and by what title to address our Father who is in heaven.

"For in thee do I put my trust," or, I have taken shelter in thee. As chickens run beneath the hen, so do I betake myself to thee. Thou art my great overshadowing Protector, and I have taken refuge beneath thy strength. This is a potent argument in pleading, and our Lord knew not only how to use it with God, but how to yield to its power when wielded by others upon himself. "According to thy faith be it done unto thee," is a great rule of heaven in dispensing favour, and when we can sincerely declare that we exercise faith in the Mighty God with regard to the mercy which we seek, we may rest assured that our plea will prevail. Faith, like the sword of Saul, never returns empty; it overcomes heaven when held in the hand of prayer. As the Saviour prayed, so let us pray, and as he became more than a conqueror, so shall we also through him; let us when buffeted by storms right bravely cry to the Lord as he did, "in thee do I put my trust." Divers render this word Michtam, a golden Psalm, because of the preciousness and excellency of the matter of it; for it treats of Christ’s death and resurrection. But because this title is prefixed to Psalm 56:1 57:1 58:1 59:1 60:1, wherein there is no such peculiar excellency, it may seem rather to be a title belonging to the music or the song, which, with the rest, is now lost and unknown. It is a great question among expositors, in whose name and person he speaketh this Psalm, whether his own or Christ’s. It seems hard to exclude David’s person, to whom almost the whole Psalm properly and literally belongs, and to whom some parts of it do more conveniently belong than to Christ. And some parts of it do peculiarly belong to Christ, of whom it is expounded by the two great apostles, Peter and Paul, Acts 2:25 13:35. And yet it seems probable by the contexture of the Psalm, and the coherence of the several verses together, that the whole Psalm speaks of one and the same person. But because David was a mixed person, being both a member and an eminent type of Christ, he may without any inconvenience be thought to speak of himself sometimes in the one and sometimes in the other capacity, to pass from the one to the other. And therefore having spoken of himself as a believer or member of Christ in the former part of the Psalm, he proceeds to consider himself as a type of Christ; and having Christ in his eye, and being inspired by the Holy Ghost with the knowledge and contemplation of Christ’s passion and resurrection, towards the close of the Psalm he speaks such things, as though they might be accommodated to himself in a very imperfect, obscure, and improper sense, yet could not truly, literally, and properly, fully and completely, belong to any but to Christ, to whom therefore they are justly appropriated in the New Testament.

David, disttusting his own merit, and hating idolatry, fleeth to God for preservation, Psalm 16:1-4. He showeth the hope in life and death, Psalm 16:5-9, of the resurrection and everlasting life Psalm 16:10,11.

Preserve me from all mine enemies.

In thee do I put my trust; therefore thou art in honour and by promise obliged not to deceive my trust.

Preserve me, O God,.... Prayer is proper to Christ as man; he offered up many prayers and supplications to Cost, even his Father, and his God, and as the strong and mighty God, as the word (i) here used is commonly rendered by interpreters; with whom, all things are possible, and who is able to save; see Hebrews 5:7; and this petition for preservation was suitable to him and his case, and was heard and answered by God; he was very remarkably preserved in his infancy from the rage and fury of Herod; and very wonderfully was his body preserved and supported in the wilderness under a fast of forty days and forty nights together, and from being torn to pieces by the wild beasts among which he was, and from the temptations of Satan, with which he was there assaulted; and throughout the whole of his ministry he was preserved from being hindered in the execution of his office, either by the flatteries, or menaces, or false charges of his enemies; and though his life was often attempted they could not take it away before his time: and whereas Christ is in this psalm represented as in the view of death and the grave, this petition may be of the same kind with those in John 12:27; and put up with the same submission to the will of God; and at least may intend divine help and support in his sufferings and death, preservation from corruption in the grave, and the resurrection of him from the dead; and it may also include his concern for the preservation of his church, his other self, and the members of it, his apostles, disciples, and all that did or should believe in his name, for whom he prayed after this manner a little before his death; see Luke 22:31;

for in thee do I put my trust: or "have hoped" (k); the graces of faith and hope were implanted in the heart of Christ, as man, who had the gifts and graces of the Spirit without measure bestowed on him, and these very early appeared in him, and showed themselves in a very lively exercise, Psalm 22:7; and were in a very eminent manner exercised by him a little before his death, in the view of it, and when he was under his sufferings, and hung upon the cross, Isaiah 1:6, Matthew 27:46; and this his trust and confidence in God alone, and not in any other, is used as a reason or argument for his preservation and safety.

(i) "Deus fortis seu potens", Muis; "Deus omnipotens", Cocceius, Michaelis. (k) "speravi in te", V. L. Pagninus, Montanus.

<> Preserve me, O God: for in thee do I put my {a} trust.

(a) He shows that we cannot call on God unless we trust in him.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
1. Preserve me] Not that he is at the moment in special danger; but only in God’s keeping (Psalm 12:7; Psalm 17:8) can soul and body be safe.

God] El, as in Psalm 5:4; Psalm 17:6.

for in thee &c.] For in thee have I taken refuge. God is responsible for protecting His liegeman. See note on Psalm 7:1, and cp. Psalm 17:7.

1, 2. The Psalmist’s prayer and profession of faith.

Verse 1. - Preserve me, O God; i.e. keep me, guard me - protect me both in body and soul. It does not appear that the writer is threatened by any special danger. He simply calls upon God to continue his protecting care. For in thee do I put my trust. In thee, and in thee only. Therefore to thee only do I look for protection and preservation. Psalm 16:1The Psalm begins with a prayer that is based upon faith, the special meaning of which becomes clear from Psalm 16:10 : May God preserve him (which He is able to do as being אל, the Almighty, able to do all things), who has no other refuge in which he has hidden and will hide but Him. This short introit is excepted from the parallelism; so far therefore it is monostichic, - a sigh expressing everything in few words. And the emphatic pronunciation שׁמרני shāmereni harmonises with it; for it is to be read thus, just as in Psalm 86:2; Psalm 119:167 shāmerah (cf. on Isaiah 38:14 עשׁקה), according to the express testimony of the Masora.

(Note: The Masora observes גרשין בספרא ב, i.e., twice in the Psalter שׁמרה is in the imperative, the o being displaced by Gaja (Metheg) and changed into aa, vid., Baer, Torath Emeth p. 22f. In spite of this the grammarians are not agreed as to the pronunciation of the imperative and infinitive forms when so pointed. Luzzatto, like Lonzano, reads it shŏmereni.)

The text of the next two verses (so it appears) needs to be improved in two respects. The reading אמרתּ as addressed to the soul (Targ.), cf. Lamentations 3:24., is opposed by the absence of any mention of the thing addressed. It rests upon a misconception of the defective form of writing, אמרתּ (Ges. 44, rem. 4). Hitzig and Ewald (190, d) suppose that in such cases a rejection of the final vowel, which really occurs in the language of the people, after the manner of the Aramaic (אמרת or אמרת), lies at the bottom of the form. And it does really seem as though the frequent occurrence of this defective form (ידעת equals ידעתי Psalm 140:13; Job 42:2, בנית equals בניתי 1 Kings 8:48, עשׂית equals עשׂיתי Ezekiel 16:59, cf. 2 Kings 18:20, אמרת now pointed אמרת, with Isaiah 36:5) has its occasion at least in some such cutting away of the i, peculiar to the language of the common people; although, if David wrote it so, אמרת is not intended to be read otherwise than it is in Psalm 31:15; Psalm 140:7.

(Note: Pinsker's view (Einleit. S. 100-102), who considers פּעלתּ to have sprung from פּללת as the primary form of the 1 pers. sing., from which then came פּלתּי and later still פּלתּי, is untenable according to the history of the language.)

First of all David gives expression to his confession of Jahve, to whom he submits himself unconditionally, and whom he sets above everything else without exception. Since the suffix of אדני (properly domini mei equals domine mi, Genesis 18:3, cf. Psalm 19:2), which has become mostly lost sight of in the usage of the language, now and then retains its original meaning, as it does indisputably in Psalm 35:23, it is certainly to be rendered also here: "Thou art my Lord" and not "Thou art the Lord." The emphasis lies expressly on the "my." It is the unreserved and joyous feeling of dependence (more that of the little child, than of the servant), which is expressed in this first confession. For, as the second clause of the confession says: Jahve, who is his Lord, is also his benefactor, yea even his highest good. The preposition על frequently introduces that which extends beyond something else, Genesis 48:22 (cf. Psalm 89:8; Psalm 95:3), and to this passage may be added Genesis 31:50; Genesis 32:12; Exodus 35:22; Numbers 31:8; Deuteronomy 19:9; Deuteronomy 22:6, the one thing being above, or co-ordinate with, the other. So also here: "my good, i.e., whatever makes me truly happy, is not above Thee," i.e., in addition to Thee, beside Thee; according to the sense it is equivalent to out of Thee or without Thee (as the Targ., Symm., and Jerome render it), Thou alone, without exception, art my good. In connection with this rendering of the על, the בּל (poetic, and contracted from בּלי), which is unknown to the literature before David's time, presents no difficulty. As in Proverbs 23:7 it is short for בּל־תּהיה. Hengstenberg remarks, "Just as Thou art the Lord! is the response of the soul to the words I am the Lord thy God (Exodus 20:2), so Thou only art my salvation! is the response to Thou shalt have no other gods beside Me (על־פּני)." The psalmist knows no fountain of true happiness but Jahve, in Him he possesses all, his treasure is in Heaven.

Such is his confession to Jahve. But he also has those on earth to whom he makes confession. Transposing the w we read:

ולקדושׁים אשׁר בּארץ

המּה אדּירי כל־חפצי־בם׃

While Diestel's alteration: "to the saints, who are in his land, he makes himself glorious, and all his delight is in them," is altogether strange to this verse: the above transfer of the Waw

(Note: Approved by Kamphausen and by the critic in the Liter. Blatt of the Allgem. Kirchen-Zeitung 1864 S. 107.)

suffices to remove its difficulties, and that in a way quite in accordance with the connection. Now it is clear, that לקדושׁים, as has been supposed by some, is the dative governed by אמרתּי, the influence of which is thus carried forward; it is clear what is meant by the addition אשׁר בארץ, which distinguishes the object of his affection here below from the One above, who is incomparably the highest; it is clear, as to what המּה defines, whereas otherwise this purely descriptive relative clause אשׁר בּארץ המּה (which von Ortenberg transposes into אשׁר ארצה בהמּה) appears to be useless and surprises one both on account of its redundancy (since המה is superfluous, cf. e.g., 2 Samuel 7:9; 2 Samuel 2:18) and on account of its arrangement of the words (an arrangement, which is usual in connection with a negative construction, Deuteronomy 20:15; 2 Chronicles 8:7, cf. Genesis 9:3; Ezekiel 12:10); it is clear, in what sense אדירי alternates with קדושׁים, since it is not those who are accounted by the world as אדיריס on account of their worldly power and possessions (Psalm 136:18, 2 Chronicles 23:20), but the holy, prized by him as being also glorious, partakers of higher glory and worthy of higher honour; and moreover, this corrected arrangement of the verse harmonises with the Michtam character of the Psalm. The thought thus obtained, is the thought one expected (love to God and love to His saints), and the one which one is also obliged to wring from the text as we have it, either by translating with De Welte, Maurer, Dietrich and others: "the saints who are in the land, they are the excellent in whom I have all my delight," - a Waw apodoseos, with which one could only be satisfied if it were והמּה (cf. 2 Samuel 15:34) - or: "the saints who are in the land and the glorious-all my delight is in them." By both these interpretations, ל would be the exponent of the nom. absol. which is elsewhere detached and placed at the beginning of a sentence, and this l of reference (Ew. 310, a) is really common to every style (Numbers 18:8; Isaiah 32:1; Ecclesiastes 9:4); whereas the ל understood of the fellowship in which he stands when thus making confession to Jahve: associating myself with the saints (Hengst.), with (von Lengerke), among the saints (Hupf., Thenius), would be a preposition most liable to be misapprehended, and makes Psalm 16:3 a cumbersome appendage of Psalm 16:2. But if l be taken as the Lamed of reference then the elliptical construct ואדּירי, to which הארץ ought to be supplied, remains a stumbling-block not to be easily set aside. For such an isolation of the connecting form from its genitive cannot be shown to be syntactically possible in Hebrew (vid., on 2 Kings 9:17, Thenius, and Keil); nor are we compelled to suppose in this instance what cannot be proved elsewhere, since כל־חפצי־בם is, without any harshness, subordinate to ואדירי as a genitival notion (Ges. 116, 3). And still in connection with the reading ואדירי, both the formation of the sentence which, beginning with ל, leads one to expect an apodosis, and the relation of Psalm 16:3 to Psalm 16:2, according to which the central point of the declaration must lie just within כל־חפצי־בם, are opposed to this rendering of the words ואדירי כל־חפצי־כם.

Thus, therefore, we come back to the above easy improvement of the text. קושׁים are those in whom the will of Jahve concerning Israel, that it should be a holy nation (Exodus 19:6; Deuteronomy 7:6), has been fulfilled, viz., the living members of the ecclesia sanctorum in this world (for there is also one in the other world, Psalm 89:6). Glory, δόξα, is the outward manifestation of holiness. It is ordained of God for the sanctified (cf. Romans 8:30), whose moral nobility is now for the present veiled under the menial form of the עני; and in the eyes of David they already possess it. His spiritual vision pierces through the outward form of the servant. His verdict is like the verdict of God, who is his all in all. The saints, and they only, are the excellent to him. His whole delight is centred in them, all his respect and affection is given to them. The congregation of the saints is his Chephzibah, Isaiah 62:4 (cf. 2 Kings 21:1).

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