The Treasury of David

Psalm 16

Title. Michtam Of David. This is usually understood to mean The Golden Psalm, and such a title is most appropriate, for the matter is as the most fine gold. Ainsworth calls it “David’s jewel, or notable song.” Dr. Hawker, who is always alive to passages full of savour, devoutly cries, “Some have rendered it precious, others golden, and others, precious jewel; and as the Holy Ghost, by the apostles Peter and Paul, hath shown us that it is all about the Lord Jesus Christ, what is here said of him is precious, is golden, is a jewel indeed!” We have not met with the term Michtam before, but if spared to write upon Psalms 56:1-60:12, we shall see it again, and shall observe that like the present these psalms, although they begin with prayer, and imply trouble, abound in holy confidence and close with songs of assurance as to ultimate safety and joy. Dr. Alexander, whose notes are peculiarly valuable, thinks that the word is most probably a simple derivative of a word signifying to hide, and signifies a secret or mystery, and indicates the depth of doctrinal and spiritual import in these sacred compositions. If this be the true interpretation it well accords with the other, and when the two are put together, they make up a name which every reader will remember, and which will bring the precious subject at once to mind. The Psalm Of The Precious Secret.

Subject. We are not left to human interpreters for the key to this golden mystery, for, speaking by the Holy Ghost, Peter tells us, “David speaketh concerning Him.” (Acts 2:25) Further on in his memorable sermon he said, “Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day. Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne; he seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption.” (Acts 2:29-31) Nor is this our only guide, for the apostle Paul, led by the same infallible inspiration, quotes from this psalm, and testifies that David wrote of the man through whom is preached unto us the forgiveness of sins. (Acts 13:35-38) It has been the usual plan of commentators to apply the psalm both to David, to the saints, and to the Lord Jesus, but we will venture to believe that in it “Christ is all; “since in the ninth and tenth verses, like the apostles on the mount, we can see “no man but Jesus only.”

Division. The whole is so compact that it is difficult to draw sharp lines of division. It may suffice to note our Lord’s prayer of faith, Psalms 16:1, avowal of faith in Jehovah alone, Psalms 16:2-5, the contentment of his faith in the present, Psalms 16:6-7, and the joyous confidence of his faith for the future (Psalms 16:8, 11).
The Treasury of David.

Singing Psalms 16

Psalm 16:9


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.

Explanatory Notes and Quaint Sayings

My heart is glad. Men may for a time be hearers of the gospel, men may for order’s sake pray, sing, receive the sacraments; but if it be without joy, will not that hypocrisy in time break out? Will they not begin to be weary? Nay, will they not be as ready to hear any other doctrine? Good things cannot long find entertainment in our corruptions, unless the Holy Ghost hath changed us from our old delights to conceive pleasure in these things. Richard Greenham.

My heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth. His inward joy was not able to contain itself. We testify our pleasure on lower occasions, even at the gratification of our senses; when our ear is filled with harmonious melody, when our eye is fixed upon admirable and beauteous objects, when our smell is recreated with agreeable odours, and our taste also by the delicacy and rareness of provisions; and much more will our soul show its delight, when its faculties, that are of a more exquisite constitution, meet with things that are in all respects agreeable and pleasant to them; and in God they meet with all those: with his light our understanding is refreshed, and so is our will with his goodness and his love.—Timothy Rogers.

Therefore my heart is glad, etc. That is, I am all over in very good plight, as well as heart can wish, or require; I do over abound exceedingly with joy; “God forgive me mine unthankfulness and unworthiness of so great glory” (as that martyr said): “In all the days of my life I was never so merry as now I am in this dark dungeon,” etc. Wicked men rejoice in appearance, and not in heart (2 Corinthians 5:12); their joy is but skin deep, their mirth frothy and flashy, such as wetteth the mouth, but warmeth not the heart. But David is totus totus, quantus quantus exultabundus; his heart, glory, flesh, (answerable, as some think to that of the apostle, 1 Thessalonians 5:23; spirit, soul, and body) were all overjoyed. John Trapp.

My flesh shall rest in hope. If a Jew pawned his bed clothes, God provided mercifully that it should be restored before night: “For, “saith he, “that is his covering: wherein shall he sleep?” Exodus 22:27. Truly, hope is the saint’s covering, wherein he wraps himself, when he lays his body down to sleep in the grave: “My flesh, “saith David, “shall rest in hope.” O Christian, bestir thyself to redeem thy hope before this sun of thy temporal life goes down upon thee, or else thou art sure to lie down in sorrow. A sad going to the bed of the grave he hath who hath no hope of a resurrection to life. William Gurnall.

My flesh shall rest in hope. That hope which is grounded on the word, gives rest to the soul; It is an anchor to keep it steady. Hebrews 6:13. Which shows the unmovableness of that which our anchor is fastened to. The promise sustains our faith, and our faith is that which supports us. He that hopes in the Word as David did (Psalms 119:81), lays a mighty stress upon it; as Samson did when he leaned upon the pillars of the house, so as to pull it down upon the Philistines. A believer throws the whole weight of all his affairs and concerns, temporal, spiritual, and eternal, upon the promises of God, like a man resolved to stand or fall with them. He ventures himself, and all that belongs to him, entirely upon this bottom, which is in effect to say, if they will not bear me up, I am content to sink; I know that there shall be a performance of those things which have been told me from the Lord, and therefore I will incessantly look for it. Timothy Cruso.

Hints to the Village Preacher

Ver. 8-9. A sense of the divine presence our best support. It yields,

  1. Good confidence concerning things without. I shall not be moved.
  2. Good cheer within. My heart is glad.
  3. Good music for the living tongue. My glory rejoiceth.
  4. Good hope for the dying body. My flesh also, etc.

(last clause).

  1. The saint’s Sabbath (rest).
  2. His sarcophagus (in hope).
  3. His salvation (for which he hopes).

Ver. 9-10. Jesus cheered in prospect of death by the safety of his soul and body; our consolation in him as to the same.
The Treasury of David.

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