Our Common Prayerbook 16 – 1

This psalm (read the whole after the jump) begins with a plea based on a theological commitment: Protect me because I trust in You. Just what it means to trust in God is then spelled out in v. 2:

I say to the Lord, “You are the Lord,

my only source of well-being [or, “good”].”

To trust in YHWH is to see God as the sole source of God — blessing and material provision and spiritual sustenance and life-giving graces.

We have to assume the psalmist is experiencing a threat to his security. It appears that vv. 3-4 clarify why there is a threat to security: the holy ones in the land and the leaders are seen as over against some idolaters. (So John Goldingay’s commentary Psalms, Vol. 1: Psalms 1-41 (Baker Commentary on the Old Testament Wisdom and Psalms). The people and its leaders are threatened by idolaters.

And here (v. 4) the psalmist makes clear what separates the people of God from the idolaters: they are in pains, they pour out blood libations, and they worship and use the names of deities the psalmist will not even pronounce (probably in prayer and petition for protection).

A prayer of David.

16:1 Protect me, O God, for I have taken shelter in you.

16:2 I say to the Lord, “You are the Lord,

my only source of well-being.”

16:3 As for God’s chosen people who are in the land,

and the leading officials I admired so much –

16:4 their troubles multiply,

they desire other gods.

I will not pour out drink offerings of blood to their gods,

nor will I make vows in the name of their gods.

16:5 Lord, you give me stability and prosperity;

you make my future secure.

16:6 It is as if I have been given fertile fields

or received a beautiful tract of land.

16:7 I will praise the Lord who guides me;

yes, during the night I reflect and learn.

16:8 I constantly trust in the Lord;

because he is at my right hand, I will not be upended.

16:9 So my heart rejoices

and I am happy;

My life is safe.

16:10 You will not abandon me to Sheol;

you will not allow your faithful follower to see the Pit.

16:11 You lead me in the path of life;

I experience absolute joy in your presence;

you always give me sheer delight.

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  • Bruce G White

    Interesting – and challenging – translation of v. 11. I experience many things through my relationship with the Lord, ranging from guilt and conviction to encouragement, peace, comfort and assurance. I have, at times, felt deep and abiding joy in God’s presence…but I cannot say with the psalmist, “you always give me sheer delight.” I’m not sure I even know what “sheer delight” in the Lord looks like or feels like, so I certainly could not describe this as an “always” part of my relationship with him.