Psalm 16:6
The lines are fallen to me in pleasant places; yes, I have a goodly heritage.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(6) The lines are fallen unto me.—The allusion is to the “measuring cords” by which allotments of land were measured, and they are said to “fall” possibly because after the measurement the portions were distributed by “lot” (Joshua 17:5; Micah 2:5).

Psalm 16:6. The lines are fallen unto me in pleasant places — In a sweet land, flowing with milk and honey, and, above all, blessed with the presence and knowledge of the true God. The allusion is the same as it was in the preceding verse, lines signifying the lot or tract of land which it was anciently the custom to divide by lines. Those have reason to speak in this language who have God for their portion, for they have a worthy portion, a goodly heritage. What can they have better? What can they desire more? Return unto thy rest, O my soul, and look no farther. “Gracious souls,”

says Henry, “though they still covet more of God, never covet more than God; but, being satisfied they possess his loving-kindness, are satisfied with it, and envy not any their carnal mirth and sensual pleasures and delights, but account themselves truly happy in what they have, and doubt not but to be completely happy in what they hope for. And those whose lot is cast, as David’s was, in a land of light, in a valley of vision, where God is known and worshipped, have, upon that account, reason to say, the lines are fallen to them in pleasant places, much more they that have not only the means but the end not only Immanuel’s land, but Immanuel’s love.”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.The lines - The word used here refers to the "lines" employed in measuring and dividing land, Amos 7:17; 2 Samuel 8:2. Hence, the word comes to denote a portion of land that is "measured out" (or that is "surveyed off") to anyone - his possession or property; and hence, the word refers to the condition in life. The meaning here is, that in running out such a survey, "his" inheritance had been fixed in a pleasant and desirable part of the land.

Are fallen unto me - Referring to the appropriation of the different parts of the land by lot. The idea is, that the land was surveyed into distinct portions, and then that the part which fell to anyone was determined by lot. This was actually the case in distributing the land of Canaan, Numbers 26:55; Numbers 33:54; Numbers 36:2; Joshua 15-19.

In pleasant places - In a pleasant or desirable part of the land.

Yea, I have a goodly heritage - A good, a desirable inheritance. The meaning is, that he regarded it as a desirable heritage that he lived where the true God was known; where he enjoyed his favor and friendship.

5-7. God is the chief good, and supplies all need (De 10:9).

portion of mine inheritance and of my cup—may contain an allusion to the daily supply of food, and also to the inheritance of Levi (De 18:1, 2).

maintainest—or, drawest out my lot—enlargest it. Ps 16:7 carries out this idea more fully.

6 The lines are fallen unto me in pleasant places; yea, I have a goodly heritage.

7 I will bless the Lord, who hath given me counsel: my reins also instruct me in the night seasons.

Jesus found the way of obedience to lead into "pleasant places." Notwithstanding all the sorrows which marred his countenance, he exclaimed, "Lo, I come; in the volume of the book it is written of me, I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart." It may seem strange, but while no other man was ever so thoroughly acquainted with grief, it is our belief that no other man ever experienced so much joy and delight in service, for no other served so faithfully and with such great results in view as his recompense of reward. The joy which was set before him must have sent some of its beams of splendour a-down the rugged places where he endured the cross, despising the shame, and must have made them in some respects pleasant places to the generous heart of the Redeemer. At any rate, we know that Jesus was well content with the blood-bought portion which the lines of electing love marked off as his spoil with the strong and his portion with the great. Therein he solaced himself on earth, and delights himself in heaven; and he asks no more "Goodly Heritage" than that his own beloved may be with him where he is and behold his glory. All the saints can use the language of this verse, and the more thoroughly they can enter into its contented, grateful, joyful spirit the better for themselves, and the more glorious to their God. Our Lord was poorer than we are, for he had not where to lay his head, and yet when he mentioned his poverty he never used a word of murmuring; discontented spirits are as unlike Jesus as the croaking raven is unlike the cooing dove. Martyrs have been happy in dungeons. "From the delectable orchard of the Leonine prison the Italian martyr dated his letter, and the presence of God made the gridiron of Laurence pleasant to him." Mr. Greenham was bold enough to say, "They never felt God's love, or tasted forgiveness of sins, who are discontented." Some divines think that discontent was the first sin, the rock which wrecked our race in paradise; certainly there can be no paradise where this evil spirit has power, its slime will poison all the flowers of the garden.

"I will bless the Lord, who hath given me counsel." Praise as well as prayer was presented to the Father by our Lord Jesus, and we are not truly his followers unless our resolve be, "I will bless the Lord." Jesus is called Wonderful, Counsellor, but as man he spake not of himself, but as his Father had taught him. Read in confirmation of this, John 7:16; John 8:28; and John 12:49, John 12:50; and the prophecy concerning him in Isaiah 11:2, Isaiah 11:3. It was our Redeemer's wont to repair to his Father for direction, and having received it, he blessed him for giving him counsel. It would be well for us if we would follow his example of lowliness, cease from trusting in our own understanding, and seek to be guided by the Spirit of God. "My reins also instruct me in the night seasons." By the reins understand the inner man, the affections and feelings. The communion of the soul with God brings to it an inner spiritual wisdom which in still seasons is revealed to itself. Our Redeemer spent many nights alone upon the mountain, and we may readily conceive that together with his fellowship with heaven, he carried on a profitable commerce with himself; reviewing his experience, forecasting his work, and considering his position. Great generals fight their battles in their own mind long before the trumpet sounds, and so did our Lord win our battle on his knees before he gained it on the cross. It is a gracious habit after taking counsel from above to take counsel within. Wise men see more with their eyes shut by night than fools can see by day with their eyes open. He who learns from God and so gets the seed, will soon find wisdom within himself growing in the garden of his soul; "Thine ears shall hear a voice behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand and when ye turn to the left." The night season which the sinner chooses for his sins is the hallowed hour of quiet when believers hear the soft still voices of heaven, and of the heavenly life within themselves.

The lines, i.e. my portion, which was measured with lines. Compare Joshua 17:5 Deu 32:9.

In pleasant places; in a sweet land flowing with milk and honey, and, above all, blessed with the presence, and knowledge, and service of the true God. The lines are fallen unto me in pleasant places,.... The allusion is to the measuring of land by lines, and appropriating each part to the proper owners; and lines design the land that is measured out by them, and here the church and people of God, the chosen ones who are given to Christ, as his portion and inheritance; and the sense is, that Christ's portion lies among or in pleasant persons; such as were so to him, as he saw them in his Father's purposes and decrees; and as they are clothed in his righteousness, and washed in his blood; and as they are adorned with the graces of his Spirit; and as they will be as a bride adorned for him in the New Jerusalem state, for rather persons than places are here meant: though as the bounds of the saints' habitations are set, and they are known to Christ, so they were pleasant to him, and he took delight and rejoiced in the very spots of ground where he knew they would dwell, Proverbs 8:31; and the word "places" is supplied by Aben Ezra and Kimchi: but the former sense seems best, and agrees with what follows;

yea, I have a goodly heritage: so the Lord's people are called, 1 Peter 5:3; these are Christ's heritage, his peculiar treasure, his jewels, with whom he is greatly delighted and well pleased; more than men are with their gold and silver, houses and land, and their greatest wealth and substance: these persons are the inheritance with which he is contented and fully satisfied.

The {e} lines are fallen unto me in pleasant places; yea, I have a goodly heritage.

(e) With which my portion is measured.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
6. The lines &c.] Portions of land measured by line and distributed by lot. The language is still figurative. Jehovah is to him as the choicest of possessions in the goodly land. (Psalm 16:11; Psalm 27:4; Psalm 90:17; Proverbs 3:17; Jeremiah 3:19.)

Yea &c.] The peculiar phrase in the original expresses his conscious sense of the beauty of his heritage.Verse 6. - The lines are fallen unto me in pleasant places. The "lines" which marked out the place of his abode (comp. Deuteronomy 32:9; Joshua 17:5). These had fallen to him "in pleasant places" - in Jerusalem and its near vicinity. Yea, I have a goodly heritage. Some explain "heritage" here by the "inheritance" of ver. 5. But the word used is different; and it is most natural to understand David's earthly heritage, or lot in life. This, he says, is "pleasing" or "delightsome" to him. The distich which contains the question and that containing the general answer are now followed by three tristichs, which work the answer out in detail. The description is continued in independent clauses, which, however, have logically the value of relative clauses. The perff. have the signification of abstract presents, for they are the expression of tried qualities, of the habitual mode of action, of that which the man, who is the subject of the question, never did and what consequently it is not his wont to do. רגל means to go about, whether in order to spie out (which is its usual meaning), or to gossip and slander (here, and the Piel in 2 Samuel 19:28; cf. רכל, רכיל). Instead בּלשׁנו we have על־לּשׁנו (with Dag. in the second ל, in order that it may be read with emphasis and not slurred over),

(Note: Vid., the rule for this orthophonic Dag. in the Luther. Zeitschrift, 1863, S. 413.)

because a word lies upon the tongue ere it is uttered, the speaker brings it up as it were from within on to his tongue or lips, Psalm 16:4; Psalm 50:16; Ezekiel 36:3. The assonance of לרעהוּ רעה is well conceived. To do evil to him who is bound to us by the ties of kindred and friendship, is a sin which will bring its own punishment. קרוב is also the parallel word to רע in Exodus 32:27. Both are here intended to refer not merely to persons of the same nation; for whatever is sinful in itself and under any circumstances whatever, is also sinful in relation to every man according to the morality of the Old Testament. The assertion of Hupfeld and others that נשׂא in conjunction with חרפּה means efferre equals effari, is opposed by its combination with על and its use elsewhere in the phrase נשׁא חרפה "to bear reproach" (Psalm 69:8). It means (since נשׁא is just as much tollere as ferre) to bring reproach on any one, or load any one with reproach. Reproach is a burden which is more easily put on than cast off; audacter calumniare, semper aliquid haeret.

In Psalm 15:4 the interpretation "he is little in his own eyes, despised," of which Hupfeld, rejecting it, says that Hitzig has picked it up out of the dust, is to be retained. Even the Targ., Saad., Aben-Ezra, Kimchi, Urbino (in his Grammar, אהל מועד) take נבזה בעיניו together, even though explaining it differently, and it is accordingly accented by Baer נמאס נבזה בּע יניו (Mahpach, Asla Legarme, Rebia magnum).

(Note: The usual accentuation בּעיניו נמאס נבזה forcibly separates בעיניו from נבזה to which according to its position it belongs. And Heidenheim's accentuation נבזה בעיניו נמאס is to be rejected on accentuological grounds, because of two like distinctives the second has always a less distinctive value than the first. We are consequently only left to the one given above. The MSS vary.)

God exalts him who is קטן בּעיניו, 1 Samuel 15:17. David, when he brought up the ark of his God, could not sufficiently degrade himself (נקל), and appeared שׁפל בּעניו, 2 Samuel 6:22. This lowliness, which David also confesses in Psalm 131:1-3, is noted here and throughout the whole of the Old Testament, e.g., Isaiah 57:15, as a condition of being well-pleasing before God; just as it is in reality the chief of all virtues. On the other hand, it is mostly translated either, according to the usual accentuation, with which the Beth of בעיניו is dageshed: the reprobate is despised in his eyes (Rashi, Hupf.), or in accordance with the above accentuation: despised in his eyes is the reprobate (Maurer, Hengst., Olsh., Luzzatto); but this would say but little, and be badly expressed. For the placing together of two participles without an article, and moreover of similar meaning, with the design of the one being taken as subject and the other as predicate, is to be repudiated simply on the ground of style; and the difference among expositors shows how equivocal the expression is.

On the other hand, when we translate it: "despicable is he in his own eyes, worthy to be despised" (Ges. 134, 1), we can appeal to Psalm 14:1, where השׁהיתוּ is intensified just in the same way by התעיבוּ, as נבזה is here by נמאס; cf. also Genesis 30:31; Job 31:23; Isaiah 43:4. The antithesis of Psalm 15:4 to Psalm 15:4 is also thus fully met: he himself seems to himself unworthy of any respect, whereas he constantly shows respect to others; and the standard by which he judges is the fear of God. His own fear of Jahve is manifest from the self-denying strictness with which he performs his vows. This sense of נשׁבּע להרע is entirely misapprehended when it is rendered: he swears to his neighbour (רע equals רע), which ought to be לרענוּ, or: he swears to the wicked (and keeps to what he has thus solemnly promised), which ought to be לרע; for to what purpose would be the omission of the elision of the article, which is extremely rarely (Psalm 36:6) not attended to in the classic style of the period before the Exile? The words have reference to Leviticus 5:4 : if any one swear, thoughtlessly pronouncing להרע או להיטיב, to do evil or to do good, etc. The subject spoken of is oaths which are forgotten, and the forgetting of which must be atoned for by an asham, whether the nature of the oath be something unpleasant and injurious, or agreeable and profitable, to the person making the vow. The retrospective reference of להרע to the subject is self-evident; for to injure another is indeed a sin, the vowing and performance of which, not its omission, would require to be expiated. On להרע equals להרע vid., Ges. 67, rem. 6. The hypothetical antecedent (cf. e.g., 2 Kings 5:13) is followed by ולא ימר is an apodosis. The verb המיר is native to the law of vows, which, if any one has vowed an animal in sacrifice, forbids both changing it for its money value (החליף) and exchanging it for another, be it טוב ברע או־רע בּטוב, Leviticus 27:10, Leviticus 27:33. The psalmist of course does not use these words in the technical sense in which they are used in the Law. Swearing includes making a vow, and לא ימר disavows not merely any exchanging of that which was solemnly promised, but also any alteration of that which was sworn: he does not misuse the name of God in anywise, לשּׁוא.

In Psalm 15:5 the psalmist also has a passage of the Tra before his mind, viz., Leviticus 25:37, cf. Exodus 22:24; Deuteronomy 23:20; Ezekiel 18:8. נתן בּנשׁך signifies to give a thing away in order to take usury (נשׁך( yrusu ekat ot r from נשׁך to bite, δάκνειν) for it. The receiver or demander of interest is משּׁיך, the one who pays interest נשׁוּך, the interest itself נשׁך. The trait of character described in Psalm 15:5 also recalls the language of the Mosaic law: שׁחד לא לקח, the prohibition Exodus 23:8; Deuteronomy 16:19; and על־נקי, the curse Deuteronomy 27:25 : on account of the innocent, i.e., against him, to condemn him. Whether it be as a loan or as a gift, he gives without conditions, and if he attain the dignity of a judge he is proof against bribery, especially with reference to the destruction of the innocent. And now instead of closing in conformity with the description of character already given: such a man shall dwell, etc., the concluding sentence takes a different form, moulded in accordance with the spiritual meaning of the opening question: he who doeth these things shall never be moved (ימּוט fut. Niph.), he stands fast, being upheld by Jahve, hidden in His fellowship; nothing from without, no misfortune, can cause his overthrow.

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