Psalm 16 - God, Refuge, Life and Safety




[New International Version] Psalm 16 belongs to Book I of the Book of Psalms. God is declared as the safe haven for those who need help.

The PS 16 belong to Book I of the Book of PS composed of a collection of texts 150 arranged by 5 poetry books. The Book of Psalms, for its wisdom and basic principles of human action , is considered the heart of the Old Testament. Book I encompasses Psalms 1 to 41 . The PS 16 is divided into 11 verses.

The Psalms are poems-prayers addressed to God, being the privileged way to address and speak to Him. These prayers represent human experiences and religious conscience . They portray the common man , with his faults, insecurities, fears and hopes and, even today, we can identify with the Psalmist and draw inspiration from these texts to pray and plead with God when we feel lost and anguished or to express our gratitude for some blessing received.

“There are enemies or friends, there is life or death, health or illness, pain or joy and, most of the time, there are no changes or gradations. Words are like stones and poetry like boulders carved by chisel”; “The Psalms are a bit like mountain paths, simple, especially when walking on snow, but they lead to the peaks; they are paths toward the peaks of meeting the Lord.” - Carlo Maria Martini, Cardinal of Milan

Psalm 16 - God, Refuge and Life

1  Elegy. From David .

Guard me, O God, I take refuge in you.

2  For I said to the Lord, “You are my Lord.
I have no other good above you!”

3  As for the gods that exist in the land,
the mighty ones, to whom they have all their esteem,

4  Let those who come to them multiply their pain.
That I will not present you with blood libations
nor lift your names to my lips.

5  Art thou, Lord, the portion that touched me and my cup;
You keep my luck safe.

6  I received my share of inheritance in a delightful place.
Yes, my inheritance is beautiful!

7  I want to bless the Lord who advises me;
even at night my bowels warn me.

8  I have the Lord always before me;
with Him on my right I will never waver.

9  Therefore my heart rejoices and my being exults
and my body rests in safety.

10  For Thou
shalt not forsake me in the underworld, Thou shalt not let thy faithful experience corruption.

11  You will teach me the way of life,
filling me with joy in your presence
and eternal delights on your right hand.

Meaning and interpretation

The PS 16 designates God by the generic term  El , by which is designated the god that was above all pantheon the Bible and applied to God. This Psalm is an enthusiastic confession of faith in Yahweh (Hebrew: יהוה - YAHWEH, national god of the kingdoms of  Israel  and  Judah ), in contrast to practices of some of his Hebrew contemporaries who worshiped other deities.

The Psalm 16 is an individual trust Psalm is a profession of faith in God as the supreme good, unlike other deities known in the country and sought after by many contemporaries. His confidence not only covers the problems of this life, but also lingers on the enigmas of after death.

Verse 6 - The strings meant luck. Drawing lots using ropes as a method of choice was a way of proceeding with the sharing and distribution of goods (Jos 17:5).

Verse 7 - my kidneys.  Kidneys and heart are, according to the Semitic way of thinking, the seat of feelings, thoughts and decisions (Ps 7,10; 26,2; Jer 11:20, etc.).

Verse 9 -  my liver. According to the anthropology of the Hebrews, the liver is one of the references that serve to represent the whole person, as it happens with the soul.

The last two verses of Psalm 16 clearly express the two paths that present themselves to this world and to life after death: on the one hand  Cheol , the world of the dead, and on the other, eternal life with God (Ps. 17.15; Pr 2.18-19; 15.24).

The Psalms of Praise are hymns addressed, above all, to God. In this sense, the Bible continues the liturgical literature of neighboring and previous religions, where hymns are the most common way for people to address the divinity , especially in contexts of greater solemnity.

These Psalms were of great importance in the lives of biblical heroes. The preaching of the word of the prophets or the teaching of wisdom reflection appears closely linked to the cultural action of the people of Israel. They express, in a solemn and simple way , the believer’s recognition of the efficacious presence of God who saves his people, for he is mercy that lasts forever; it is a refuge from the dangers of life; it is joy and joy; it is prosperity that feeds its people; it is light in times of darkness and salvation on Earth and in eternal life.

The texts of the Book of Psalms oscillate between shout and praise, supplication and joy. Perhaps its authors understood that Man can only express his supplications, laments or thirst for revenge before God, if he is immersed in the spirit of praise that sings life stronger than death . Perhaps, beyond the scream, the lament or the anger, they realized that what moves these words is nothing but that life force that explodes in praise when it comes out of violence or when it goes through death.

These hymns narrate, thus, the greatness or improvements and the thanks that flow from it. Examples of this are Ps 8; 19; 28; 33; 47; 65-66; 93; 96-100; 104-105; 111; 113; 117; 135; 146; 148-150. Hymns can also be addressed to the king , focusing especially on the ceremony of royal enthronement, with every expectation of divine intervention for the well-being of the people and the just ordering of the world . In this case, the Psalms were performed at court parties, in the presence of the king, in celebrations for victory over enemies, among others. Some examples are Psalm 2; 18; 20; 21; 27; 51; 60; 61.

With the end of the monarchy, these Psalms were accentuating the messianic connotations , which already had implicit. This is the case of Psalm 2; 18; 20-21; 45; 72; 89; 101; 110; 132; 144. The Psalms celebrating Jerusalem, which with the temple have a special connection to God, are also considered hymns. These are Ps 46; 48; 76; 84; 87; 122.

The Book of Psalms

The Joy and Happiness of the Righteous in Communion with God

The Psalms are prayer-poems addressed to God, being the privileged way to address and speak with Him. Depicting the common man , with his failures, insecurities, fears and hopes, we can still identify with the Psalmist and be inspired today in Psalms to make prayers and supplications to God in times of trouble or express our gratitude for some blessing received.

The Psalms, despite being written in Antiquity, still move , sensitize , awaken feelings , inspire and enchant . In them, we can identify anguish and joy , deeply human feelings, praises, supplications, teachings of reflection on spiritual wisdom and prophetic words.

Written for different situations , some Psalms are intimate, revealing the author’s personal relationship with God; others provide guidelines and advice for life, others are compositions for specific liturgical events such as rituals and pilgrimages.

The Book of Psalms is composed of a collection of 150 poetic texts and is divided into five parts, called Psalm Books or Booklets. Each Book closes with short hymns of praise to God . The division into five parts was considered to correspond to the five books of Moses and it is assumed that each passage in the Pentateuch (first five books of the Bible, called Torah by the Jews) was read in parallel with the corresponding Psalm. Its main forms are lamentation , supplication , praise and gratitude .

The Power of Prayer in Dialogue with the Divine

The Psalms elevate our thoughts to the Divine and prayer is the power of the word . Prayer is the language of faith. Any thought, word or image addressed to God is called prayer . It is through it that we come into contact with our God within and, therefore, it is so powerful in transforming life . Prayer can produce miracles , turn dreams into reality, give us hope for change , harmony and peace with ourselves and the world.

Each Psalm has an intention that helps us meditate and walk with our God . For many theologians, the Book of Psalms has a prophetic or messianic tone as its verses refer to the coming of Christ into the world of men to guide them through the uncertainty and doubts of Human existence.

The prayer has the power to call the Spiritual Universe full mode, honest, sincere, conscious, for the purpose of spiritual self-protection, family protection and those who are dear to us, to have peace of mind, spiritual and physical, for prosperity and success, to protect health and relationships, to ward off negative energies and, above all, to connect us to something bigger than ourselves. From this peace , well-being, hope and goodness in front of everyone and everything result.

The faith can change our lives. It gives us tranquility and spiritual strength to face challenges. It helps us to meditate on our mission in life and to create a balanced and healthy environment for ourselves and those we love. When you pray, fill your heart with love and determination . The Psalms will guide you on a path of peace and communion with the higher energy .