Psalm 16:11
You will show me the path of life: in your presence is fullness of joy; at your right hand there are pleasures for ever more.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(11) There are.—The italics in the Authorised Version spoil the triplet:—

“Thou wilt show me the path of life,

In thy presence fulness and joy,

At thy right hand pleasures for evermore.”

It is another image for the same thought which dominates the psalm—the thought of the happiness of being with God. The fair heritage, the serene happiness, the enduring pleasure always to be found at God’s right hand, are all different modes of expressing the same sense of complete satisfaction and peace given by a deep religious trust touched, ever so faintly, by a ray of a larger hope beginning to triumph over death itself.

Psalms

GOD WITH US, AND WE WITH GOD

Psalm 16:8
, Psalm 16:11.

There are, unquestionably, large tracts of the Old Testament in which the anticipation of immortality does not appear, and there are others in which its presence may be doubtful. But here there can be no hesitation, I think, as to the meaning of these words. If we regard them carefully, we shall not only see clearly the Psalmist’s hope of immortal life, but shall discern the process by which he came to it, and almost his very act of grasping at it; for the first verse of our text is manifestly the foundation of the second; and the facts of the one are the basis of the hopes of the other. That is made plain by the ‘therefore’ which, in one of the intervening verses, links the concluding rapturous anticipations with the previous expressions.

If, then, we observe that here, in these two verses which I have read, there is a very remarkable parallelism, we shall get still more strikingly the connection between the devout life here and the perfecting of the same hereafter. Note how, even in our translation, the latter verse is largely an echo of the former, and how much more distinctly that is the case if we make a little variation in the rendering, which brings it closer to the original. ‘I have set the Lord always before me,’ says the one,-that is the present. ‘In Thy presence is fulness of joy,’ says the other,-that is the consequent future. And the two words, which are rendered in the one case ‘before me’ and in the other case ‘in Thy presence,’ are, though not identical, so precisely synonymous that we may take them as meaning the same thing. So we might render ‘I have set the Lord always before my face’: ‘Before Thy face is fulness of joy.’ The other clause is, to an English reader, more obviously parallel: ‘Because He is at my right hand I shall not be moved’-shall be steadied here. ‘At Thy right hand are pleasures for evermore’-the steadfastness here merges into eternal delights hereafter.

So then, we have two conditions set before us, and the link between them made very plain. And I gather all that I have to say about these words into two statements. First, life here may be God’s presence with us, to make us steadfast. And secondly, if so, life hereafter will be our presence with God to make us glad. That is the Psalmist’s teaching, and I will try to enforce it.

I. First, then, life here may be God’s presence with us, to make us steadfast.

Mark the Psalmist’s language. ‘I have set the Lord always in front of me-before my face.’ Emphasis is placed on ‘set’ and ‘always.’ God is ever by our sides, but we may be very far away from Him, ‘though He be not far off from every one of us,’ and if we are to have Him blazing, clear and unobscured above and beyond all the mists and hubbub of earth, we shall need continual effort in order to keep Him in our sight. ‘I have set the Lord’-He permits me to put out my hand, as it were, and station Him where I want Him, that I may always have Him in my sight, and be able to look at Him and be calm and blessed.

You cannot do that, if you let the world, and wealth, and business, and anxieties, and ambitions, and cares, and sorrows, and duties, and family responsibilities, jostle and hustle Him out of your minds and hearts. You cannot do it if, like John Bunyan’s man with the muckrake, you keep your eyes always down on the straw at your feet, and never lift them to the crown above. How many men in Manchester walk its streets from year’s end to year’s end, and never look up to the sky except to see whether they must take their umbrellas with them or not? And so all the magnificence and beauty of the daily heavens, and the nightly gemming of the empty places with perpetually burning stars, are lost to them! So, God is blazing there in front of us, but unless we set ourselves to it, we shall never see Him. You have to look, by a conscious effort, over and away from the things that are ‘seen and temporal’ if you want to see the things that are ‘unseen and eternal.’

But if you disturb the whole tenor of your being by agitations and distractions and petty cares, or if you defile it by sensual and fleshly lusts, and animal propensities gratified, and poor, miserable, worldly ambitions and longings filling up your souls, then God can no more be visible before your face than the blessed sun can mirror himself in a storm-tossed sea or in a muddy puddle. The heart must be pure, and the heart must be still, and the mind must be detached from earth, and glued to Heaven, and the glasses of the telescope must be sedulously cleansed from dust, if we are to be blessed with the vision of God continuously before our face.

Then note, still further, that if thus we have made God present with us, by realising the fact of His presence, when He comes, He comes with His hands full. ‘I have set the Lord always before me,’ says the Psalmist. And then he goes on to say, ‘Because He is at my right hand.’ Not only in front of you, then, David, to be looked at, but at your side! What for? What do we summon some one to come and stand beside us for? In order that from his presence there may come help and succour and courage and confidence. And so God comes to the right hand of the man who honestly endeavours through all the confusions and bustles of life to realise His sweet and calming presence. Where He comes He comes to help; not to be a spectator, but an ally in the warfare; and whoever sets the Lord before him will have the Lord at his right hand.

And then, note, still further, the steadfastness which God brings. I have spoken of the effort which brings God. I speak now of the steadfastness which He brings by His coming. The Psalmist’s anticipation is a singularly modest one. ‘Because He is at my right hand I shall’-What? Be triumphant? No! Escape sorrows? No! Have my life filled with serenity? No! ‘I shall not be moved.’ That is the best I can hope for. To be able to stand on the spot, with steadfast convictions, with steadfast purposes, with steadfast actions-continuously in one direction; ‘having overcome all, to stand’-that is as much as the best of us can desire or expect, in this poor struggling life of ours.

What a profound consciousness of inward weakness and of outward antagonism there breathes in that humble and modest hope, as being the loftiest result of the presence of Omnipotence for our aid: ‘I shall not be moved’! When we think of our inner weakness, when we remember the fluctuations of our feelings and emotions, when we compare the ups and downs of our daily life, or when we think of the larger changes covering years, which affect all our outlooks, our thoughts, our plans; and how

‘We all are changed by still degrees,

All but the basis of the soul,’


it is much to say, ‘I shall not be moved.’ And when we think of the obstacles that surround us, of the storms that dash against us, how we are swept by surges of emotion that wash away everything before their imperious onrush, or swayed by blasts of temptation that break down the strongest defences, or smitten by the shocks of change and sorrow that crush the firmest hearts, it is much to say, in the face of a world pressing upon us with the force of the wind in a cyclone, that our poor, feeble reed shall stand upright and ‘not be moved’ in the fiercest blast. ‘What went ye out for to see?’ ‘A reed shaken with the wind’-that is humanity. ‘Behold! I have made thee an iron pillar and brazen walls, and they shall fight against thee, but they shall not prevail’-that is weak man, stiffened into uprightness, and rooted in steadfastness by the touch of the hand of a present God.

And, brother! there is nothing else that will stay a man’s soul. The holdfast cannot be a part of the chain. It must be fastened to a fixed point. The anchor that is to keep the ship of your life from dragging and finding itself, when the morning breaks, a ghastly wreck upon the reef, must be outside of yourself, and the cable of it must be wrapped round the throne of God. The anchor of the soul, sure and steadfast, which will neither break nor drag, can only be firm when it ‘enters into that within the veil.’ God, and God only, can thus make us strong! So, dear friends, let us see to it that we fasten our aims and purposes, our faith and love, our submission and obedience, upon that mighty Helper who will be with us and make us strong, that we may ‘stand fast in the Lord and in the power of His might.’

II. Now, secondly, notice how, if so, life hereafter will be our presence with God, to make us glad.

I have already pointed out briefly the connection between these two portions of my text, and I need only remark here that the link which holds them together is very obvious. If a man loves God, and trusts Him, and ‘walks with Him,’ after the fashion described in our former verse, then there will spring up, irrepressible and unconquerable, a conviction in that man’s soul that this sweet and strong communion, which makes so much of the blessedness of life, must last after death. Anything is conceivable rather than that a man who walks with God shall cease to be! Rather, when he ‘is not’ any more ‘found’ among men, it is only because ‘God took him.’ Thus the emotions and experiences of a truly devout soul are {apart from the great revelation in Jesus Christ which hath brought ‘life and immortality to light’} the best evidence and confirmation of the anticipation of immortal life. It cannot be, unless our whole intellectual faculties are to be put into utter confusion, that such an experience as that of the man who loves God, and tries to trust Him, and walk before Him, is destined to be brought to nothingness with the mere dissolution of this earthly frame. The greatness and the smallness, the achievements and the failures, of the religious life as we see it here, all bear upon their front the mark of imperfection, and in their imperfection prophesy and proclaim a future completion. Because it is so great in itself, and because, being so great, its developments and influence are so strangely and sadly checked, the faith that knits a man to Christ demands eternity for its duration, and infinitude for its perfection. Thus, he that says ‘I have set the Lord always before me,’ goes on to say, with an undeniable accuracy of inference, ‘Therefore Thou wilt not leave my soul in the under world.’ God is not going to forget the soul that clave to Him, and anything is believable sooner than that.

Our texts not only assert this connection and base the confidence of immortality on the present experiences of the spirit that trusts in God, but also give the outline, at least, of the correspondences between the imperfections of the present and the perfectnesses of the future. And I cast this into two or three words before I close.

This is the first of them. If you will turn your faces to God, amidst all the flaunting splendours and vain shows and fleeting possessions of this present, His face will dawn on you yonder. We can say but little of what is meant by such a hope as that. But only this we can say, that there will be, as yet unimaginable, new wealths of revelation of the Father, and to match them, as yet unimaginable new inlets of apprehension and perception upon our parts, so that the sweetest, clearest, closest, most satisfying vision of God that has ever dawned on sad souls here, shall be but ‘as in a glass darkly’ compared with that face to face sight. We live away out on the far-off outskirts of the system where those great planets plough along their slow orbits, and turn their languid rotations at distances that imagination faints in contemplating, and the light and the heat and the life that reach them are infinitesimally small. We shall be shifted into the orb that is nearest the sun; and oh! what a rapture of light and life and heat will come to our amazed spirits: ‘I have set the Lord always before me.’ Twilight though the light has been, I have tried to keep it. I shall be of the sons of light close to the Throne and shall see Thy face. I shall be satisfied when I wake out of this sleep of life into Thy likeness.

Then, again, if you will keep God at your right hand here, He will set you on His hereafter. Keep Him here for your Companion, for your Ally, for your Advocate, to breathe strength into you by the touch of His hand, as some feeble man, leaning upon a stronger arm, may be upheld. If you will do that, then the place where the favoured servants stand will be yours; the place where trusted counsellors stand will be yours; the place where the sheep stand will be yours; the place where the Shepherd sits will be yours; for He to whom it is said, ‘Sit Thou at My right hand till I make Thine enemies Thy footstool,’ says to us, ‘Where I am there shall also My servant be.’ Keep God by your sides, and you will be lifted to Christ’s place at the right hand of the Majesty on high.

Lastly, if we let ourselves be stayed by God amidst the struggle and difficulty, we shall be gladdened by Him with perpetual joys. The emphasis of the last words of my text is rather on the adjectives than on the nouns-full joy, eternal pleasure. And how both characteristics contradict the experiences of earth, even the gladdest, which we fain would make permanent! For I suppose that no earthly joy is either central, reaching the deepest self, or circumferential, embracing the whole being of a man, but that only God can so go into the depths of my soul as that from His throne there He can flood the whole of my nature with felicity and peace. In all other gladnesses there is always in the landscape one bit of sullen shadow somewhere or other, unparticipant of the light, while all around is blazing. And we need that He should come to make us blessed.

Joys here are no more lasting than they are complete. As one who only too sadly proved the truth of his own words, burning out his life before he was six-and-thirty, has said-

‘Pleasures are like poppies spread,

You seize the flower, its bloom is shed!

Or like the snowflake in the river.

A moment white-then gone for ever.’

Oh! my friend, ‘why do ye spend your money for that which is not bread?’ The life of faith on earth is the beginning, and only the beginning, of that life of calm and complete felicity in the heavenly places.

I have shown you the ladder’s foot, ‘I have set the Lord always before me.’ The top round reaches the throne of God, and whoever begins at the bottom, and holds fast the beginning of his confidence firm unto the end, for him the great promise of the Master will come true, and Christ’s ‘joy will remain in him and his joy shall be full.’Psalm 16:11. Thou wilt show me the path of life — That is, the way that leadeth to life; not to a temporal and mortal life here, for he is supposed to be dead and buried, (Psalm 16:10,) but to an endless, immortal, and blessed life after death, in the presence of God, as it follows; the way to which is by the resurrection of the body. The sense, therefore, is, Thou wilt raise me from the grave, and conduct me to the place and state of everlasting felicity. In thy presence — Hebrew, את פניךְי, eth panecha, or, before thy face, that is, in that heavenly world where thou art graciously and gloriously present; where thou dost clearly and fully discover thy face, and the light of thy countenance: whereas, in this life thou hidest thy face, and showest us only thy back parts, and we are in a state of comparative absence from thee, and see thee only through a glass darkly, and enjoy thee but in part. Is fulness of joy — Full and perfect joy, and satisfaction, which it is in vain to expect in this life, and which is only to be found in the vision and fruition of thee, Exodus 33:14. See the margin. At thy right hand — Which he mentions as a place of the greatest honour, the place where the saints have their station at the last day, Matthew 25:33, and where Christ himself is said to sit, Psalm 110:1; Matthew 26:64; Colossians 3:1; Hebrews 1:3. There are pleasures for evermore — Everlasting delights in the contemplation and fruition of God. Observe, reader, through the resurrection of Christ, here foretold, every dying believer in him, like his dying Master, may cheerfully put off his body in confident expectation of a blessed immortality. His flesh also shall rest in hope. Our bodies have little rest in this world; but in the grave they shall rest as in their beds, Isaiah 57:2. We have little to hope for from this life, but we may rest in hope of a better life, and put off the body in that hope. Death destroys the hope of man, Job 14:14, but not the hope of a true Christian, Proverbs 14:32. He has hope in his death, “living hopes,” says Henry, “in dying moments; hopes that the body shall not be left for ever in the grave; but though it see corruption for a time, it shall, at the end of time, be raised to immortality; Christ’s resurrection is an earnest of ours, if we be his.” Observe further: “In this world sorrow is our lot, but in heaven there is joy; all our joys here are empty and defective; but, in heaven, there is fulness of joy; our pleasures here are transient and momentary, and such is the nature of them that it is not fit they should last long; but those at God’s right hand are pleasures for evermore; for they are the pleasures of immortal souls in the enjoyment of an eternal God.” 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.Thou wilt show me the path of life - In this connection this means that though he was to die - to descend to the regions of the dead, and to lie down in the dark grave - yet there WAS a path again to the living world, and that that path would be pointed out to him by God. In other words, he would not be suffered to remain among the dead, or to wander away forever with those who were in the under world, but he would be brought back: to the living world. This is language which, in this connection, could be founded only on a belief of the resurrection of the dead. The word "life" here does not necessarily refer to heaven - to eternal life - though the connection shows that this is the ultimate idea. It is life in contradistinction from the condition of the dead. The highest form of life is that which is found in heaven, at the right hand of God; and the connection shows it was that on which the eye of the psalmist was fixed.

In thy presence - literally, "with thy face." Before thy face; or, as the sense is correctly expressed in our version, "in thy presence." The reference is to God's presence in heaven, or where he is supposed to dwell. This is shown by the additional statement that the joy mentioned was to be found at his "right hand" - an expression which properly refers to heaven. It is not merely a return to earth which is anticipated; it is an exaltation to heaven.

Is fulness of joy - Not partial joy; not imperfect joy; not joy intermingled with pain and sorrow; not joy which, though in itself real, does not satisfy the desires of the soul, as is the case with much of the happiness which we experience in this life - but joy, full, satisfying, unalloyed, unclouded, unmingled with anything that would diminish its fulness or its brightness; joy that will not be diminished, as all earthly joys must be, by the feeling that it must soon come to an end.

At thy right hand - The right hand is the place of honor (Notes, Psalm 16:8). Compare Mark 16:19; Hebrews 1:3; Acts 7:56; and it here refers to the place which the saints will occupy in heaven. This language could have been used only by one who believed in the doctrine of the resurrection and of the future state. As applicable to the author of the psalm, it implies that he had a firm belief in the resurrection of the dead, and a confident hope of happiness hereafter; as applicable to the Messiah, it denotes that he would be raised up to exalted honor in heaven; as applicable to believers now, it expresses their firm and assured faith that eternal happiness and exalted honor await them in the future world.

There are pleasures for evermore - Happiness that will be eternal. It is not enjoyment such as we have on earth, which we feel is soon to terminate; it is joy which can have no end. Here, in respect to any felicity which we enjoy, we cannot but feel that it is soon to cease. No matter how secure the sources of our joy may seem to be, we know that happiness here cannot last long, for life cannot long continue; and even though life should be lengthened out for many years, we have no certainty that our happiness will be commensurate even with our existence on earth. The dearest friend that we have may soon leave us to return no more; health, the source of so many comforts, and essential to the enjoyment of any comfort here, may soon fail; property, however firmly it may be secured, may "take to itself wings and fly away." Soon, at any rate, if these things do not leave us, we shall leave them; and in respect to happiness from them, we shall be as though they had not been. Not so will it be at the right hand of God. Happiness there, whatever may be its nature, will be eternal. Losses, disappointment, bereavement, sickness, can never occur there; nor can the anticipation of death, though at the most distant period, and after countless million of ages, ever mar our joys. How different in all these things will heaven be from earth! How desirable to leave the earth, and to enter on those eternal joys!

11. Raised from the dead, he shall die no more; death hath no more dominion over him.

Thou wilt show me—guide me to attain.

the path of life—or, "lives"—the plural denoting variety and abundance—immortal blessedness of every sort—as "life" often denotes.

in thy presence—or, "before Thy faces." The frequent use of this plural form for "faces" may contain an allusion to the Trinity (Nu 6:25, 26; Ps 17:15; 31:16).

at thy right hand—to which Christ was exalted (Ps 110:1; Ac 2:33; Col 3:1; Heb 1:3). In the glories of this state, He shall see of the travail (Isa 53:10, 11; Php 2:9) of His soul, and be satisfied.

Thou wilt show me, i.e. give me an exact and experimental knowledge of it, for my own comfort, and the benefit of my people.

The path of life, i.e. the way that leadeth to life; not to a temporal and mortal life here, for he is supposed to be dead and buried, Psalm 16:10; but to an endless, and immortal, and blessed life after death in the presence of God, as it followeth; the way to which is by the resurrection of the body. So the sense is, Thou wilt raise me from the grave, and conduct me to the place and state of everlasting felicity.

In thy presence, Heb. with or before thy face, i.e. in that heavenly paradise, where thou art graciously and gloriously present, where thou dost clearly and fully discover thy face, and the light of thy countenance; whereas in this life thou hidest thy face, and shewest us only thy back parts, and we are in a state of absence from thee, and see thee only through a glass darkly, and enjoy thee but in part.

Fulness of joy, i.e. full and perfect joy and satisfaction, which it is in vain to expect in this life, and is only to be found in the sight of thee. See Exodus 33:14 Psalm 17:5 Matthew 5:8 1Jo 3:2.

At thy right hand; which he mentions as a place of greatest honour, as this was, Genesis 48:13, &c.; 1 Kings 2:19 Psalm 45:9, and the place where the elect and saints are placed at the last day, Matthew 25:33, &c.; and lastly, at the place where Christ himself is said to sit, Psalm 110:1 Matthew 26:64 Colossians 3:1 Hebrews 1:3.

Pleasures for evermore; everlasting delights in the contemplation and fruition of God. Thou wilt show me the path of life,.... Not the way of life and salvation for lost sinners, which is Christ himself; but the resurrection of the dead, which is a passing from death to life; and was shown to Christ, not doctrinally, or by illuminating his mind, and leading him into the doctrine of it, for so he himself has brought it to light by the Gospel; practically and experimentally, by raising him the dead, or by causing him to pass from death to life; and he was the first to whom the path of life was shown in this sense, or the that who ever trod in it, and so has led the way for others: hence he is called the that fruits of them that slept, the firstborn and first begotten from the dead; for though others were raised before, yet not to an immortal life, never to die more, as he was; now the view, the faith, and hope of this, of not being left in the grave so long as to see corruption, and of being raised from the dead to an immortal life, caused joy and gladness in Christ, at the time of his sufferings and death, as well as what follows;

in thy presence is fulness of joy: Christ, being raised from the dead, ascended to heaven, and was received up into glory into his Father's presence, and is glorified with his own self, with his glorious presence, for which he prayed, John 17:5; and which fills his human nature with fulness of joy, with a joy unspeakable and full of glory; see Acts 2:28; and as it is with the head it will be with the members in some measure; now the presence of God puts more joy and gladness into them than anything else can do; but as yet their joy is not full; but it will be when they shall enter into the joy of their Lord, into the presence of God in the other world then everlasting joy will be upon their heads;

at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore; Christ being entered into heaven is set down at the right hand of God in human nature, an honour which is not conferred on any of the angels, Hebrews 1:13; where the man Christ Jesus is infinitely delighted with the presence of God, the never fading joys of heaven, the company of angels and glorified saints; here he sits and sees of the travail of his soul; he prolongs his days and sees his seed, souls called by grace, and brought to glory one after another, until they are all brought in, in whom is all his delight; and which was the joy set before him at the time of his sufferings and death: or the words may be rendered "in thy right are pleasant things for ever" (y), and may design those gifts and graces, which Christ, being exalted at the right hand of God, received from thence and gives to men, for the use and service, of his church and people, in the several successive ages of time; and so Aben Ezra takes the words to be an allusion to a man's giving pleasant gifts to his friend with his right hand.

(y) "amoenorum quae sunt in dextera tua perpetuo", Cocceius; "delectationes in dextera tua usque in seculum", Musculas.

Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy {k} presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.

(k) Where God favours there is perfect happiness.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
11. Thou wilt shew me &c.] Lit. Thou wilt cause me to know (Psalm 143:8) the path of life: not only preserve me from death, but lead me onward in that fellowship with Thee which alone is worthy to be called life. See Proverbs 10:17; Proverbs 15:24; Matthew 7:14; John 17:3. ‘The path of life’ is not merely a path which leads to life, but one in which life is to be found. It is ‘the path of righteousness’ (Proverbs 12:28). ‘The way of life’ is frequently contrasted in the Book of Proverbs with ways that lead to Sheol and death. Cp. too Deuteronomy 30:15. It leads onward in the light of God’s Presence; and in that Presence is satisfying fulness of joys. Cp. Psalm 17:15; Psalm 21:6; Psalm 4:6-7; Proverbs 19:23.

at thy right hand] R.V. rightly, in thy right hand, as the sole Dispenser of all lasting good. Cp. Proverbs 3:16. The world’s joys fade; God’s joys alone are eternal.

Comp. Hooker’s noble words (Eccl. Pol. i. ii. 2): “Then are we happy when fully we enjoy God, as an object wherein the powers of our souls are satisfied even with everlasting delight; so that although we be men, yet by being unto God united we live as it were the life of God.”

Psalm 16:8-11 were quoted by St Peter on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:25-28), and Psalm 16:10 b by St Paul at Antioch in Pisidia (Acts 13:35), as a prophecy of Christ’s resurrection. The quotation is made from the LXX., which is a free rendering of the Hebrew. St Peter shews that David’s glowing words of faith and hope (the argument will be the same if the psalm was the work of some other writer) were not fully realised in himself. He did not finally escape from death. Were his words then a mere idle dream? No! Guided by the Holy Ghost he ‘looked forward’ to Christ. Over Him Whose fellowship with God was perfect and unbroken by sin, death could have no dominion (Acts 2:24). In His Resurrection the words first found their adequate realisation, their fulfilment. But their prophetic character does not exclude their primary reference to the Psalmist’s own faith and hope.

But the question must be asked, What was the meaning which the Psalmist’s words had for himself? Does he speak of fellowship with God in this life only, or does he pierce the veil, and realise not only the possibility but the certainty of a continued life of conscious fellowship with God hereafter, and even of the resurrection of the body?

It is difficult to divest the words of the associations which have gathered round them, and impartially to weigh their original meaning. On the one hand, however, it is unquestionable that similar language is used elsewhere of deliverance from temporal death, and enjoyment of fellowship with God in this life; while in other psalms we find the gloomiest anticipations of death, and the dreariest pictures of the state of the departed. On the other hand it is clear that the words admit of reference to an unending life of fellowship with God.

The truth may be (as will be seen more clearly in Psalms 17) that the antithesis is not between life here and life hereafter, but between life with and life without God; and for the moment, in the overpowering sense of the blessedness of fellowship with God, death fades entirely from the Psalmist’s view.

The doctrine of a future life is however involved in the Psalmist’s faith. He grounds his hope of deliverance on his relation to Jehovah; and such a relation could not be interrupted by death (Matthew 22:32). But this truth could only be apprehended gradually and through long struggles, and only fully realised when Christ “annulled death, and brought life and incorrupt ion to light through the Gospel.” (2 Timothy 1:10.)

For ourselves the words must bear the fuller meaning with which Christ’s resurrection has illuminated them. To us they must speak of that ‘eternal life’ which is begun here, and is to be consummated hereafter (John 6:47; John 6:54; John 14:19).Verse 11. - Thou wilt show me the path of life; i.e. the path which leads to the Source and Centre of all life, even God himself - the way to heaven, in contrast with corruption and Sheol. In thy presence is fulness of joy; literally, satiety of joy - enough, and more than enough, to satisfy the extremest cravings of the human heart. At thy right hand; rather, in thy right hand - ready for bestowal on thy saints. Are pleasures for evermore. An inexhaustible store, which may be drawn upon for ever.



As he loves the saints so, on the other hand, he abhors the apostates and their idols. אהר מהרוּ is to be construed as an appositional relative clause to the preceding: multi sunt cruciatus (cf. Psalm 32:10) eorum, eorum scil. qui alium permutant. The expression would flow on more smoothly if it were ירבּוּ: they multiply, or increase their pains, who..., so that אחר מהרו would be the subject, for instance like אהבו ה (he whom Jahve loves), Isaiah 48:14. This Psalm 16:4 forms a perfect antithesis to Psalm 16:3. In David's eyes the saints are already the glorified, in whom his delight centres; while, as he knows, a future full of anguish is in store for the idolatrous, and their worship, yea, their very names are an abomination to him. The suffixes of נסכּיהם and שׁמותם might be referred to the idols according to Exodus 23:13; Hosea 2:19, if אהר be taken collectively as equivalent to אחר ם, as in Job 8:19. But it is more natural to assign the same reference to them as to the suffix of עצּבותם, which does not signify "their idols" (for idols are עצבּים), but their torments, pains (from עצּבת derived from עצּב), Psalm 147:3; Job 9:28. The thought is similar to 1 Timothy 6:10, ἑαυτοὺς περιέπειραν ὀδύναις ποικίλαις. אהר is a general designation of the broadest kind for everything that is not God, but which man makes his idol beside God and in opposition to God (cf. Isaiah 42:8; Isaiah 48:11). מהרוּ cannot mean festinant, for in this signification it is only found in Piel מהר, and that once with a local, but not a personal, accusative of the direction, Nahum 2:6. It is therefore to be rendered (and the perf. is also better adapted to this meaning): they have taken in exchange that which is not God (מהר like המיר, Psalm 106:20; Jeremiah 2:11). Perhaps (cf. the phrase זנה אהרי) the secondary meaning of wooing and fondling is connected with it; for מהר is the proper word for acquiring a wife by paying down the price asked by her father, Exodus 22:15. With such persons, who may seem to be אדּירים in the eyes of the world, but for whom a future full of anguish is in store, David has nothing whatever to do: he will not pour out drink-offerings as they pour them out. נסכּיהם has the Dag. lene, as it always has. They are not called מדּם as actually consisting of blood, or of wine actually mingled with blood; but consisting as it were of blood, because they are offered with blood-stained hands and blood-guilty consciences. מן is the min of derivation; in this instance (as in Amos 4:5, cf. Hosea 6:8) of the material, and is used in other instances also for similar virtually adjectival expressions. Psalm 10:18; Psalm 17:14; Psalm 80:14.

In Psalm 16:4 the expression of his abhorrence attains its climax: even their names, i.e., the names of their false gods, which they call out, he shuns taking upon his lips, just as is actually forbidden in the Tra, Exodus 23:13 (cf. Const. Apost. V. 10 εἴδωλον μνημονεύειν ὀνόματα δαιμονικά).; He takes the side of Jahve. Whatever he may wish for, he possesses in Him; and whatever he has in Him, is always secured to him by Him. חלקי does not here mean food (Bttch.), for in this sense חלק (Leviticus 6:10) and מגה (1 Samuel 1:4) are identical; and parallel passages like Psalm 142:6 show what חלקי means when applied to Jahve. According to Psalm 11:6, כוסי is also a genitive just like חלקי; מנת חלק is the share of landed property assigned to any one; מנת כּוס the share of the cup according to paternal apportionment. The tribe of Levi received no territory in the distribution of the country, from which they might have maintained themselves; Jahve was to be their חלק, Numbers 18:20, and the gifts consecrated to Jahve were to be their food, Deuteronomy 10:9; Deuteronomy 18:1. But nevertheless all Israel is βασίλειον ἱεράτευμα, Exodus 19:6, towards which even קדושׁים and אדרים in Psalm 16:3 pointed; so that, therefore, the very thing represented by the tribe of Levi in outward relation to the nation, holds good, in all its deep spiritual significance, of every believer. It is not anything earthly, visible, created, and material, that is allotted to him as his possession and his sustenance, but Jahve and Him only; but in Him is perfect contentment. In Psalm 16:5, תּומיך, as it stands, looks at first sight as though it were the Hiph. of a verb ימך (ומך). But such a verb is not to be found anywhere else, we must therefore seek some other explanation of the word. It cannot be a substantive in the signification of possession (Maurer, Ewald), for such a substantival form does not exist. It might more readily be explained as a participle equals תּומך, somewhat like יוסיף, Isaiah 29:4; Isaiah 38:5; Ecclesiastes 1:18, equals יוסף, - a comparison which has been made by Aben-Ezra (Sefath Jether No. 421) and Kimchi (Michlol 11a), - a form of the participle to which, in writing at least, סוכיב, 2 Kings 8:21, forms a transition; but there is good reason to doubt the existence of such a form. Had the poet intended to use the part. of תמך, it is more probable he would have written אתה תּומכי גורלי, just as the lxx translators might have had it before them, taking the Chirek compaginis as a suffix: σὺ εἶ ὁ ἀποκαθιστῶν τὴν κληρονομίαν μου ἐμοί (Bttcher). For the conjecture of Olshausen and Thenius, תּוסיף in the sense: "thou art continually my portion" halts both in thought and expression. Hitzig's conjecture תּוּמּיך "thou, thy Tummm are my lot," is more successful and tempting. But the fact that the תּמּים are never found (not even in Deuteronomy 33:8) without the אוּרים, is against it. Nevertheless, we should prefer this conjecture to the other explanations, if the word would not admit of being explained as Hiph. from ימך (ומך), which is the most natural explanation. Schultens has compared the Arabic wamika, to be broad, from which there is a Hiphil form Arab. awmaka, to make broad, in Syro-Arabic, that is in use even in the present day among the common people.

(Note: The Arabic Lexicographers are only acquainted with a noun wamka, breadth (amplitudo), but not with the verb. And even the noun does not belong to the universal and classical language. But at the present day Arab. 'l-wamk (pronounced wumk), breadth, and wamik are in common use in Damascus; and it is only the verb that is shunned in the better conversational style. - Wetzstein.)

And since we must at any rate come down to the supposition of something unusual about this תומיך, it is surely not too bold to regard it as a ἅπαξ γεγραμμ.: Thou makest broad my lot, i.e., ensurest for me a spacious habitation, a broad place, as the possession that falleth to me,

(Note: It is scarcely possible for two words to be more nearly identical than גּורל and κλῆρος. The latter, usually derived from κλάω (a piece broken off), is derived from κέλεσθαι (a determining of the divine will) in Dderlein's Homer. Glossar, iii. 124. But perhaps it is one word with גורל. Moreover κλῆρος signifies 1) the sign by which anything whatever falls to one among a number of persons in conformity with the decision of chance or of the divine will, a pebble, potsherd, or the like. So in Homer, Il. iii. 316, vii. 175, xxiii. 351, Od. x. 206, where casting lots is described with the expression κλῆρος. 2) The object that falls to any one by lot, patrimonium, e.g., Od. xiv. 64, Il. xv. 498, οἶκος καὶ κλῆρος, especially of lands. 3) an inheritance without the notion of the lot, and even without any thought of inheriting, absolutely: a settled, landed property. It is the regular expression for the allotments of land assigned to colonists (κληροῦχοι).)

- a thought, that is expanded in Psalm 16:6.

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