Psalm 16 Bible Commentary

John Wesley’s Explanatory Notes

(Read all of Psalm 16)

Verse 2

[2] O my soul, thou hast said unto the LORD, Thou art my Lord: my goodness extendeth not to thee;

To thee — Thou dost not need me or my service, nor art capable of any advantage from it.

Verse 3

[3] But to the saints that are in the earth, and to the excellent, in whom is all my delight.

But — I bear a 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.

Verse 4

[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.

Sorrows — Having shewed his affection to the servants of the true God, he now declares what an abhorrency he has for those that worship idols.

Offerings — In which the Gentiles used sometimes to drink part of the blood of their sacrifices.

Names — Of those other gods mentioned before.

Verse 5

[5] The LORD is the portion of mine inheritance and of my cup: thou maintainest my lot.

The Lord — I rejoice in God as my portion, and desire no better, no other felicity.

Cup — The portion which is put into my cup, as the ancient manner was in feasts, where each had his portion of meat, and of wine allotted to him.

Lot — My inheritance divided to me by lot, as the custom then was.

Verse 6

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

Lines — My portion, which was measured with lines.

Are fallen — In a land flowing with milk and honey, and above all, blessed with the presence and knowledge of God.

Verse 7

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

The Lord — Hath inspired that wisdom into me, by which I have chosen the Lord for my portion, and am so fully satisfied with him.

Reins — My inward thoughts and affections, being inspired and moved by the holy spirit.

Instruct — Direct me how to please God, and put my whole trust in him.

Night — Even when others are asleep, my mind is working upon God, and improving the silence and solitude of holy meditations.

Verse 8

[8] I have set the LORD always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.

I have set — I have always presented him to my mind, as my witness and judge, as my patron and protector. Hitherto David seems to have spoken with respect to himself, but now he is transported by the spirit of prophecy, and carried above himself, to speak as a type of Christ, in whom this and the following verses were truly accomplished. Christ as man did always set his father's will and glory before him.

Right-hand — To strengthen, protect, assist, and comfort me: as this assistance of God was necessary to Christ as man.

Moved — Though the 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 out of all my distresses.

Verse 9

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

My glory — My tongue, which is a man's glory and privilege, above all other living creatures.

Rejoiceth — Declares my inward joy. For this word signifies not so much eternal joy, as the outward demonstrations of it.

My flesh — My body shall quietly rest in the grave.

Shall rest — in confident assurance of its incorruption there, and of its resurrection to an immortal life: the flesh or body is in itself, but a dead lump of clay; yet hope is here ascribed to it figuratively, as it is to the brute creatures, Romans 8:19.

Verse 10

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

Hell — In the state of the dead.

Holy one — Me thy holy son, whom thou hast sanctified and sent into the world. It is peculiar to Christ, to be called the holy one of God.

To see — To be corrupted or putrefied in the grave, as the bodies of others are.

Verse 11

[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.

Life — Thou wilt raise me from the grave, and conduct me to the place and state of everlasting felicity.

Presence — In that heavenly paradise, where thou art gloriously present, where thou dost clearly and fully discover the light of thy countenance; whereas in this life thou hidest thy face and shewest us only thy back-parts.

Right-hand — Which he mentions as a place of the greatest honour, the place where the saints are placed at the last day, and where Christ himself is said to sit, Psalms 110:1.

Pleasures — All our joys are empty and defective: But in heaven there is fulness of joy. Our pleasures here are transient and momentary; 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.