Psalm 16:2
O my soul, you have said to the LORD, You are my Lord: my goodness extends not to you;
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(2) Thou hast said.—The text of this passage is exceedingly corrupt. This appears (1) from the actual existence of various readings, (2) by the variations in the ancient versions, both from the Hebrew and each other. It will be best to take Psalm 16:2-3 together first. The consensus of the ancient versions in favour of the first person, “I said,” instead of “thou hast said” (the italicised words O my soul, are a mere gloss from the Chaldee), gives for Psalm 16:2 the plain and intelligible rendering

I said to Jehovah, Thou art my Lord,

I have no good besides thee.

Psalm 16:3 also requires emendation, being quite unintelligible as it stands. The simplest device is to omit the conjunction and recognise one of those changes of person so agreeable to Hebrew, when the verse will run—

“And of the saints who are in the earth,

They are the excellent in whom is all my delight.”

The Authorised Version, in inserting “extendeth,” introduces the fine thought that

“Merit lives from man to man.

And not from man, O God, to Thee;”

but it could not have been the thought of the original, since “my good,” as Psalm 16:5-6 show, equals “happiness,” not “conduct.”

Psalm 16:2-3. O my soul, thou hast said, &c. — The words, O my soul, not being in the original, Houbigant translates the clause, I have said unto the Lord — I have oftentimes avowed and professed it, and still persist so to do. Thou art my Lord — By creation, preservation, and on various other accounts: the king, to whom I am subject, the master whom I serve, the father whom I obey, the husband and portion whom I love, and to whom I cleave. My goodness extendeth not to thee — Whatever piety, or virtue, or goodness may be in me, or be done by me, it does not add any thing to thy felicity, for thou dost not need me nor my service, nor art capable of any advantage from it. Or, is not for thee, as the expression, בל עליךְ, bal gnaleka, is sometimes used; that is, for thy use or benefit. Or, is not upon thee, that is, it lays no obligation upon thee. All which interpretations come to the same thing, and signify that God is all-sufficient and infinitely happy, and the author of all the good that is in, or is done by, any of his creatures; and therefore that good cannot prevent or oblige God any further than he is graciously pleased to oblige himself. Thus he renounces all opinion of merit; and, though he urged his trust in God, as a motive to induce God to preserve him, Psalm 16:1, yet he here declares he did not do it as supposing that God was indebted to him for it. The words, as applied to Christ, mean, that the services which he performed by his ministry, and the benefits which he procured by his sufferings, did not, properly speaking, make any addition of happiness and glory to God; because, being infinitely perfect in himself, his glory cannot be increased by any services which are paid him, nor be diminished by the crimes of his creatures. But to the saints — That is, the faithful, who are sanctified in Christ Jesus. See 1 Corinthians 1:2; John 17. As if he had said, I bear singular respect and love to all saints, for thy sake, whose friends and servants they are, and whose image they bear. This more properly agrees to David than to Christ, whose goodness was principally designed for, and imparted to, sinners, and who did not find men saints, but made them so; nor was it confined to them that lived with him upon the earth, but extended to all believers, of all ages, before and after him. And to the excellent — Hebrew ואדירי, veadiree, the magnificent, or mighty, or honourable, namely, the saints, as he now termed them, whom, because they were mean and despicable in the eyes of the world, he honours with their just titles, and by appropriating these titles to the people of God, he sufficiently intimates that all other men, how great soever, are truly ignoble before God, and vile persons, as he had termed them, Psalm 15:4. In whom is all my delight — That is, whose company and conversation are pleasant and desirable to me. See Psalm 119:63.16:1-11 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.O my soul, thou hast said unto the Lord - The words "O my soul" are not in the original. A literal rendering of the passage would be, "Thou hast said unto the Lord," etc., leaving something to be supplied. De Wette renders it: "To Yahweh I call; thou art my Lord." Luther: "I have said to the Lord." The Latin Vulgate: "Thou, my soul, hast said to the Lord." The Septuagint: "I have said unto the Lord." Dr. Horsley: "I have said unto Jehovah." The speaker evidently is the psalmist; he is describing his feelings toward the Lord, and the idea is equivalent to the expression "I have said unto the Lord." Some word must necessarily be understood, and our translators have probably expressed the true sense by inserting the words, "O my soul." the state of mind indicated is that in which one is carefully looking at himself, his own perils, his own ground of hope, and when he finds in himself a ground of just confidence that he has put his trust in God, and in God alone. We have such a form of appeal in Psalm 42:5, Psalm 42:11; Psalm 43:5, "Why art thou cast down, O my soul?"

Thou art my Lord - Thou hast a right to rule over me; or, I acknowledge thee as my Lord, my sovereign. The word here is not Yahweh, but Adonai - a word of more general signification than Yahweh. The sense is, I have acknowledged Yahweh to be my Lord and my God. I receive him and rest upon him as such.

My goodness extendeth not to thee - This passage has been very variously rendered. Prof. Alexander translates it: "My good (is) not besides thee (or, beyond thee);" meaning, as he supposes: "My happiness is not beside thee, independent of, or separable from thee?" So DeWette: "There is no success (or good fortune) to me out of thee." Others render it: "My goodness is not such as to entitle me to thy regard." And others, "My happiness is not obligatory or incumbent on thee; thou art not bound to provide for it." The Latin Vulgate renders it: "My good is not given unless by thee." Dr. Horsley: "Thou art my good - not besides thee." I think the meaning is: "My good is nowhere except in thee; I have no source of good of any kind - happiness, hope, life, safety, salvation - but in thee. My good is not without thee." This accords with the idea in the other member of the sentence, where he acknowledges Yahweh as his Lord; in other words, he found in Yahweh all that is implied in the idea of an object of worship - all that is properly expressed by the notion of a God. He renounced all other gods, and found his happiness - his all - in Yahweh.

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.

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;


O my soul; which words are fitly understood; for it is manifest he speaks to one person of another. And it is usual with David to turn his speech to his soul, as Psalm 42:6 43:5.

Thou hast said; thou hast ofttimes avowed and professed it, and dost still persist to do so.

Thou art my Lord, by creation, and preservation, and otherwise; to whom I owe all service and obedience upon that account.

My goodness; whatsoever piety, or virtue, or good. ness is in me, or is done by me.

Extendeth not to thee, i.e. doth not add any thing to thy felicity; for thou dost not need me nor my service, nor art capable of any advantage from it. Or, is not for thee, as this word is used, Genesis 16:5 2 Samuel 1:26, i.e. for thy use or benefit. Or, is not upon thee, i.e. it lays no obligation upon thee, as this very word is taken, Judges 19:20 Psalm 56:12 Ezekiel 45:17. All comes to the same thing. The sense is, God is all-sufficient and infinitely happy, and the author of all the good that is in or is done by any of his creatures; and therefore cannot prevent nor oblige God any further than he is graciously pleased to oblige himself. Thus he renounceth all opinion of merit; and though he urged his trust in God, as a motive to persuade God to preserve him, Psalm 16:1, yet he here declares that he did not do it, as thinking that God was indebted to him for it. 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.

O my soul, thou hast said unto the LORD, Thou art my Lord: my {b} goodness extendeth not to thee;

(b) Though we cannot enrich God, yet we must bestow God's gifts for the use of his children.

2. The Massoretic Text reads thou (fem.) hast said, assuming that the poet holds colloquy with himself, and addresses his soul, as in Psalm 42:5; Lamentations 3:24 (a passage evidently based on this psalm). So the Targum. But an ellipse of O my soul cannot be grammatically justified; and R.V. is certainly right in reading I have said, with LXX, Vulg., Syr., Jer. Cp. Psalm 31:14; Psalm 91:2; Psalm 140:6.

my Lord] The confession of Jehovah’s servant (cp. Psalm 35:23), in contrast to the self-asserting independence of Psalm 12:4. R.V. marg. the Lord is possible, but less satisfactory.

my goodness extendeth not to thee] Render with R.V., I have no good beyond thee. “Not merely is God the source of all his weal, but everything which he recognises as a true good, God actually contains within Himself” (Robertson Smith). Cp. Psalm 73:25. The P.B.V. my goods are nothing unto thee (cp. Psalm 50:9 ff.) follows LXX and Vulg., τῶν ἀγαθῶν μου οὐ χρείαν ἔχεις: bonorum meorum non eges.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.) That which is expanded in the tristichic portion of the Psalm, is all contained in this distichic portion in nuce. The address to God is not merely a favourite form (Hupfeld), but the question is really, as its words imply, directed to God. The answer, however, is not therefore to be taken as a direct answer from God, as it might be in a prophetical connection: the psalmist addresses himself to God in prayer, he as it were reads the heart of God, and answers to himself the question just asked, in accordance with the mind of God. גּוּר and שׁכן which are usually distinguished from each other like παροικεῖν and κατοικεῖν in Hellenistic Greek, are alike in meaning in this instance. It is not a merely temporary גּוּר (Psalm 61:5), but for ever, that is intended. The only difference between the two interchangeable notions is this, the one denotes the finding of an abiding place of rest starting from the idea of a wandering life, the other the possession of an abiding place of rest starting from the idea of settled family life.

(Note: In the Arabic jâm ‛lllh is "one under the protection of God, dwelling as it were in the fortress of God" vid., Fleischer's Samachschari, S. 1, Anm. 1.)

The holy tabernacle and the holy mountain are here thought of in their spiritual character as the places of the divine presence and of the church of God assembled round the symbol of it; and accordingly the sojourning and dwelling there is not to be understood literally, but in a spiritual sense. This spiritual depth of view, first of all with local limitations, is also to be found in Psalm 27:4-5; Psalm 61:5. This is present even where the idea of earnestness and regularity in attending the sanctuary rises in intensity to that of constantly dwelling therein, Psalm 65:5; Psalm 84:4-5; while elsewhere, as in Psalm 24:3, the outward materiality of the Old Testament is not exceeded. Thus we see the idea of the sanctuary at one time contracting itself within the Old Testament limits, and at another expanding more in accordance with the spirit of the New Testament; since in this matter, as in the matter of sacrifice, the spirit of the New Testament already shows signs of life, and works powerfully through its cosmical veil, without that veil being as yet rent. The answer to the question, so like the spirit of the New Testament in its intention, is also itself no less New Testament in its character: Not every one who saith Lord, Lord, but they who do the will of God, shall enjoy the rights of friendship with Him. But His will concerns the very substance of the Law, viz., our duties towards all men, and the inward state of the heart towards God.

In the expression הולך תמים (here and in Proverbs 28:18), תמים is either a closer definition of the subject: one walking as an upright man, like הולך רכיל one going about as a slanderer, cf. היּשׂר הולך Micah 2:7 "the upright as one walking;" or it is an accusative of the object, as in הולך צדקות Isaiah 33:15 : one who walks uprightness, i.e., one who makes uprightness his way, his mode of action; since תמים may mean integrum equals integritas, and this is strongly favoured by הלכים בּתמים, which is used interchangeably with it in Psalm 84:12 (those who walk in uprightness). Instead of עשׂה צדקה we have the poetical form of expression פּעל צדק. The characterising of the outward walk and action is followed in Psalm 15:2 by the characterising of the inward nature: speaking truth in his heart, not: with his heart (not merely with his mouth); for in the phrase אמר בּלב, בּ is always the Beth of the place, not of the instrument-the meaning therefore is: it is not falsehood and deceit that he thinks and plans inwardly, but truth (Hitz.). We have three characteristics here: a spotless walk, conduct ordered according to God's will, and a truth-loving mode of thought.

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