Psalm 16:8
I have set the LORD always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(8) At my right hand.—Comp. Psalm 109:31; Psalm 110:5; Psalm 121:5. The image seems to be a military one: the shield of the right-hand comrade is a protection to the man beside him.

Psalms

ONE SAYING FROM THREE MEN

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 16:8. I have set the Lord always before me — I have always presented him to my mind as my witness and judge, as my patron and protector, in the discharge of my office, and in all my actions. Hitherto David seems to have spoken chiefly in his own person, and with special regard to himself, but now he appears to be transported by the Spirit of prophecy, to be carried above himself, and to have an eye to the man Christ Jesus only, who is, and was, the end of the law, and the great subject and scope of all the prophecies. In other words, having hitherto spoken of himself as a member, he now begins to speak of himself as a type of Christ, in whom this, and the following verses, were truly and fully accomplished. Christ, as man, did always set his Father’s will and glory before him, as he himself often declares: see John 10:18; John 14:31. He is at my right hand — To strengthen, protect, assist, and comfort me. And this assistance of God was necessary to Christ as man. I shall not be moved — Either from the discharge of my duty, or from the attainment of that glory and happiness which are prepared for me. Though archers shoot grievously at me, and both men and devils seek my destruction, and God sets himself against me as an enemy; yet I am assured, he will deliver me from all my distresses.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.I have set the Lord always before me - By night as well as by day; in my private meditations as well as in my public professions. I have regarded myself always as in the presence of God; I have endeavored always to feel that, his eye was upon me. This, too, is one of the certain characteristics of piety, that we always feel that we are in the presence of God, and that we always act as if his eye were upon us. Compare the notes at Acts 2:25.

Because he is at my right hand - The right hand was regarded as the post of honor and dignity, but it is also mentioned as a position of defense or protection. To have one at our right hand is to have one near us who can defend us. Thus, in Psalm 109:31, "He shall stand at the right hand of the poor, to save him," etc. So Psalm 110:5, "The Lord at thy right hand shall strike through kings in the day of his wrath." Psalm 121:5, "the Lord is thy Keeper; the Lord is thy shade upon thy right hand." The idea is, that as we use the right hand in our "own" defense, we seem to have an additional and a needed helper when one is at our right hand. The sense here is, that the psalmist felt that God, as his Protector, was always near him; always ready to interpose for his defense. We have a somewhat similar expression when we say of anyone that he is "at hand;" that is, he is near us.

I shall not be moved - I shall be safe; I shall not be disturbed by fear; I shall be protected from my enemies. See Psalm 10:6; Psalm 15:5. Compare Psalm 46:5. The language here is that of one who has confidence in God in time of great calamities, and who feels that he is safe under the divine favor and protection.

8. With God's presence and aid he is sure of safety (Ps 10:6; 15:5; Joh 12:27, 28; Heb 5:7, 8).8 I have set the Lord always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.

9 Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth: my flesh also shall rest in hope.

10 For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.

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

The fear of death at one time cast its dark shadow over the soul of the Redeemer, and we read that "he was heard in that he feared." There appeared unto him an angel, strengthening him; perhaps the heavenly messenger reassured him of his glorious resurrection as his people's surety, and of the eternal joy into which he should admit the flock redeemed by blood. Then hope shone full upon our Lord's soul, and, as recorded in these verses, he surveyed the future with holy confidence because he had a continued eye to Jehovah, and enjoyed his perpetual presence. He felt that thus sustained, he could never be driven from his life's grand design; nor was he, for he stayed not his hand till he could say, "It is finished." What an infinite mercy was this for us! In this immoveableness, caused by simple faith in the divine help, Jesus is to be viewed as our exemplar; to recognize the presence of the Lord is the duty of every believer; "I have set the Lord always before me;" and to trust the Lord as our champion and guard is the privilege of every saint; "because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved." The apostle translates this passage, "I foresaw the Lord always before my face;" Acts 2:25; the eye of Jesus' faith could discern beforehand the continuance of divine support to his suffering Son, in such a degree that he should never be moved from the accomplishment of his purpose of redeeming his people. By the power of God at his right hand he foresaw that he should smite through all who rose up against him, and on that power he placed the firmest reliance. He clearly foresaw that he must die, for he speaks of his flesh resting, and of his soul in the abode of separate spirits; death was full before his face, or he would not have mentioned corruption; but such was his devout reliance upon his God, that he sang over the tomb, and rejoiced in vision of the sepulchre. He knew that the visit of his soul to Sheol, or the invisible world of disembodied spirits, would be a very short one, and that his body in a very brief space would leave the grave, uninjured by its sojourn there; all this made him say, "my heart is glad," and moved his tongue, the glory of his frame, to rejoice in God, the strength of his salvation. Oh for such holy faith in the prospect of trial and of death! It is the work of faith, not merely to create a peace which passeth all understanding, but to fill the heart full of gladness until the tongue, which, as the organ of an intelligent creature, is our glory, bursts forth in notes of harmonious praise. Faith gives us living joy, and bestows dying rest. "My flesh also shall rest in hope."

Our Lord Jesus was not disappointed in his hope. He declared his Father's faithfulness in the words, "thou wilt not leave my soul in hell," and that faithfulness was proven on the resurrection morning. Among the departed and disembodied Jesus was not left; he had believed in the resurrection, and he received it on the third day, when his body rose in glorious life, according as he had said in joyous confidence, "neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption." Into the outer prison of the grave his body might go, but into the inner prison of corruption he could not enter. He who in soul and body was pre-eminently God's "Holy One," was loosed from the pains of death, because it was not possible that he should be holden of it. This is noble encouragement to all the saints; die they must, but rise they shall, and though in their case they shall see corruption, yet they shall rise to everlasting life. Christ's resurrection is the cause, the earnest, the guarantee, and the emblem of the rising of all his people. Let them, therefore, go to their graves as to their beds, resting their flesh among the clods as they now do upon their couches.

"Since Jesus is mine, I'll not fear undressing,

But gladly put off these garments of clay;

To die in the Lord is a covenant blessing,

Since Jesus to glory through death led the way."

Wretched will that man be who, when the Philistines of death invade his soul, shall find that, like Saul, he is forsaken of God; but blessed is he who has the Lord at his right hand, for he shall fear no ill, but shall look forward to an eternity of bliss.

Psalm 16:11

"Thou wilt shew me the path of life." To Jesus first this way was shown, for he is the first-begotten from the dead, the first-born of every creature. He himself opened up the way through his own flesh, and then trod it as the forerunner of his own redeemed. The thought of being made the path of life to his people, gladdened the soul of Jesus. "In thy presence is fullness of joy." Christ being raised from the dead ascended into glory, to dwell in constant nearness to God, where joy is at its full for ever: the foresight of this urged him onward in his glorious but grievous toil. To bring his chosen to eternal happiness was the high ambition which inspired him, and made him wade through a sea of blood. O God, when the worldling's mirth has all expired, for ever with Jesus may we dwell "at thy right hand," where "there are pleasures for evermore;" and meanwhile, may we have an earnest by tasting thy love below. Trapp's note on the heavenly verse which closes the Psalm is a sweet morsel, which may serve for a contemplation, and yield a foretaste of our inheritance. He writes, "Here is as much said as can be, but words are too weak to utter it. For quality there is in heaven joy and pleasures; for quantity, a fulness, a torrent whereat they drink without let or loathing; for constancy, it is at God's right hand, who is stronger than all, neither can any take us out of his hand; it is a constant happiness without intermission: and for perpetuity it is for evermore. Heaven's joys are without measure, mixture, or end."

i.e. I have always presented him to my mind as my rule and scope, as my witness and judge, as my patron and protector, in the discharge of my office, and in all my actions. Hitherto David seems to have spoken in his own person, and with special respect to himself; but now he seems to have been transported by a higher, inspiration of the Spirit of prophecy, and to be carried above himself, and to have an eye to the man Christ Jesus, who is and was the end of the law, and the great scope of all the prophets, and to speak of himself only as a type of Christ, and with more special respect unto Christ, in whom this and the following verses were much more truly and fully accomplished than in himself. Christ as man did always set his Father’s will and glory before him, as he himself oft declareth, especially in St. John’s Gospel.

He is at my right hand, to wit, to strengthen me, (for the right hand is the chief seat of a man’s strength, and, instrument of action,) to protect, assist, and comfort me, as this phrase signifies, Psalm 119:31 90:5. And this assistance of God was necessary to Christ as man.

I shall not be moved, or, removed, either from the discharge of my duty, or from the attainment of that glory and happiness which is prepared for me. Though the archers shoot grievously at me, and both men and devils seek my destruction, and God sets himself against me as an enemy, withdrawing his favour from me, and filling me with deadly sorrows, through the sense of his anger; yet I do not despair, but am assured that God will deliver me out of all my distresses. I have set the Lord always before me, Not his fear only, or the book of the law, as Jarchi interprets it, but the Lord himself; or, "I foresaw the Lord always before my face", Acts 2:26; as Christ is set before men in the Gospel, to look unto as the object of faith and hope, to trust in and depend upon for life and salvation; so Jehovah the Father is the object which Christ set before him, and looked unto in the whole course of his life here on earth; he had always an eye to his glory, as the ultimate end of all his actions; and to his will, his orders, and commands, as the rule of them; and to his purposes, and counsel, and covenant, to accomplish them; and to his power, truth, and faithfulness, to assist, support, and encourage him in all his difficulties and most distressed circumstances;

because he is at my right hand: to counsel and instruct, to help, protect, and defend: the phrase is expressive of the nearness of God to Christ, his presence with him, and readiness to assist and stand by him against all his enemies; see Psalm 109:31; so the Targum paraphrases it, "because his Shechinah rests upon me";

I shall not be moved: as he was not from his place and nation, from the duty of his office, and the execution of it, by all the threats and menaces of men; nor from the fear, worship, and service of God, by all the temptations of Satan; nor from the cause of his people he had espoused, by all the terrors of death, the flaming sword of justice, and the wrath of God; but, in the midst and view of all, stood unshaken and unmoved; see Isaiah 42:4.

I have set the LORD always before me: because he is at my right hand, I {g} shall not be moved.

(g) The faithful are sure to persevere to the end.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
8. The true ‘practice of the Presence of God’ (Psalm 119:30; Psalm 18:22). The LXX has, I beheld the Lord always before my face.

at my right hand] As advocate (Psalm 109:31), or champion (Psalm 110:5; Psalm 121:5). A warrior defending another person would naturally stand on his right.Verse 8. - I have set the Lord always before me. I have brought myself, that is, to realize the continual presence of God, alike in happiness and in trouble. I feel him to be ever with me. Because he is at my right hand (i.e. close to me, ready to protect and save), therefore I shall not be moved. Nothing will shake me or disturb me from my trust and confidence. The 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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