Psalm 16 - Raising a cup and singing a song in honor of one's coming death

Updated: May 16

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1 Protect me, el, for I take refuge in you; *

[2] I have said to Yahweh, "You are adonay,

my good above all other."

2 [3] All my delight is upon the godly that are in the land, *

upon those who are noble among the people.

3 [4] But those who run after others *

shall have their troubles multiplied.

4 [4] Their libations of blood I will not offer, *

nor take the names of their gods upon my lips.

5 Yahweh, you are my portion and my cup; *

it is you who uphold my lot.

6 My boundaries enclose a pleasant land; *

indeed, I have a goodly heritage.

7 I will bless Yahweh who gives me counsel; *

my heart teaches me, night after night.

8 I have set Yahweh always before me; *

because he is at my right hand I shall not fall.

9 My heart, therefore, is glad, and my spirit rejoices; *

my body also shall rest in hope.

10 For you will not abandon me to the grave, *

nor let your holy one see the Pit.

11 You will show me the path of life; *

in your presence there is fullness of joy,

and in your right hand are pleasures for evermore.


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This is the accompanying Psalm to be read aloud in unison or sung by a cantor on the twenty-fifth Sunday after Pentecost [Proper 28], Year B, according to the lectionary for the Episcopal Church. If an individual church is set upon the Track 2 path for Year B, this will be sung after a reading from Daniel 12, where it is written: “Those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the sky, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever.” That set will precede a reading from Hebrews, where Paul wrote, “Where there is forgiveness of these [sanctified by Yahweh], there is no longer any offering for sin.” All will accompany the Gospel reading from Mark, where Jesus told his disciples, “Many will come in my name and say, ‘I am he!’”


In the above translation into English, derived from the NRSV, you will note that the Episcopal Church has slightly altered the verse numbering, making verse two be shown as part of verse one, which changes verse three into verse two; and, the first half of verse four is transformed into verse three, with the second half of verse four remaining verse four. I have restored the verse numbers but placing bold type numbers within brackets, indicating the true numbering. This matches what the NRSV presents. Additionally, I have placed in italic type words that have erroneously been translated as “God” [changing a plural word to the singular number] or are misleading as referring to “God,” when that is not the intent. David knew the name of his divine Husband, which I have restored in bold type as “Yahweh.” These four uses of the proper name have been translated as “Lord,” in some way. Because David knew the difference between Yahweh [a name that needs no title lessening that name applied to Him] and a “god” or “lords.” I will explain these as each verse is interpreted.


Omitted from the translation is the announcement in verse one that this song is a “miktam,” a word whose meaning is unknown. There are six “miktam” Psalms. It is believed this means the songs are more memorial poems, as epigrams, with some saying it has similar connection to the Babylonian word “nakamu,” which means a “lid, a cover to a vessel.” When one realizes the elders of the Church who arranged this Psalm to accompany a short reading from Daniel 12, which is seen as prophetic of times still to come, to see this song as a “lid to a ceremonial container for ashes,” one can see this leans the meaning of David’s words to prophecy the most typical of end times – one’s own death. Thus, for those who say a “miktam” can be satirical, David is singing praise to Yahweh at his soul’s release, well in advance of that release coming to be. As a funeral poem of celebration, this song can be sung by all whose souls have married Yahweh.


In verse one, the word that says “preserve me” [“šā·mə·rê·nî”] leads to the word “el,” which means “god” in the lower case. It is then David referring to “me” as a “god,” which means David’s soul has married Yahweh and become one of His elohim, as one “el.” Rather than see David asking for Yahweh’s protection or preservation [keeping or watching], David is making the statement that he is “preserved” as an extension of Yahweh on earth, through divine marriage.


Following a comma mark, that statement is then explained by David singing, “I put my trust in you.” In that, the translation of “my refuge” is most accurate to translate, as David knew his soul had been “preserved” because it did not attempt to stand alone, seeking Yahweh as his helper. Instead, David submitted his soul to Yahweh fully, allowing Yahweh to envelop his soul, placing his soul within that divine “refuge” or place of safety.


Verse two then sings, “has said Yahweh “lords you” , my goodness is not apart from you .” In this, the word “adonay,” which is Hebrew stating the plural number of “lords,” not a statement in the singular, as Yahweh calling Himself a Lord. It is a word stated by Yahweh, relative to David and all souls like him, who were “lords you,” meaning as extension of Yahweh in the flesh, they could become good shepherds of the flock of Israelites, which was Yahweh’s. Therefore, the truth of that arrangement says Yahweh’s “goodness, pleasantness, agreeableness” is one with their souls. This is the creation of an aura of righteousness that emits from a Saint to those seeking Yahweh for their souls, so a commitment to His Covenant is welcomed.


Verse three then sings, “as for the sacred ones who on earth they ; the excellent ones , all whom delight of mine .” This takes the statement of verse two, as those who are “lords” of Yahweh projecting to seekers the ease of marrying their souls to Him are now “sacred ones” or “saints.” Those like David walk the earth in flesh, as those who are elevated above all others, due to the ‘halo effect.’ As a “saint” of Yahweh, all are His possessions, as His wives [the “elohim”], whose souls take great delight in that presence.


Verse four then sings, “shall be greater their pains another who hasten not I will offer their drink offerings of blood ; nor take up their names , on my lips .” In this, the Hebrew word “acher” [transliterated “’a·ḥêr”] means “another,” with the assumption being “another” means “another deity.” This should be seen as anyone whose soul seeks “another” to serve in marriage by their souls, which makes anything less than Yahweh be “another,” with no need to specify that as a “god.” The element of “hasten” means a soul [also called a “heart”] does not rapidly beat in desire [love] of Yahweh, because their lusts are in material desires. It is those desires that those souls “drink,” which offers their “blood” to a lesser idol. Thus, those who celebrate marriage to “another” will not be “taken up” and those will not receive the “name” of Yahweh [“Israelite” – “He Who Retains Yahweh as His elohim”]. Those souls will not know the “kiss” of marriage, as Yahweh will not face them.


Verse five then sings, “Yahweh part my inheritance and my cup ; you , support my destiny .” Here, “Yahweh part” must be seen as a statement that one’s soul is “part” or a “portion” of His greatness, as one of His elohim. Because that comes from self-sacrifice in divine union, one’s “inheritance” is returning to be one with Yahweh after death. The “cup” is the shared blood of marriage, which is celebrated by the cup two drink from in marriage. The one-word statement that says “you” means a soul has totally submitted to Yahweh, so there is no “me” or “we.” Only Yahweh matters. In return for that complete commitment of marriage, Yahweh will then “support the destiny of one’s soul,” which means Salvation.


Verse six then sings, “the lines have fallen in me pleasantly ; yes possession , plenty abounds .“ In this, the Hebrew word translated as “lines” can also mean “bands” or “cords,” with “bands” being the physical things worn by a prophet. This then means the difficulty in communicating with Yahweh have “fallen” or gone away. Speaking with Yahweh becomes a “pleasant” ability. The use of “yes possessions” should be seen as a soul saying “I do” in the submission of oneself to Yahweh. He is then the owner of one’s soul, which places a wife soul in His name, as His wife. In that marital arrangement, there is nothing that cannot be accomplished by a soul-wife of Yahweh in ministry. All of His power can be used, when He sees fit.


Verse seven then sings, “I will kneel to Yahweh who has given me counsel ; also in the night , he disciplines my heart .”The use of “kneel” is another symbol of submission to Yahweh, as the altar of marriage. It also denotes a position of prayerful subservience, through which Yahweh leads one through life. The use of “night” reflects upon the darkness of a world that offers no light of truth, meaning Yahweh shines light in those dark times of need. One is taught to have faith in inner guidance, where one’s soul has great love of Yahweh.


Verse eight then sings, “I have set Yahweh before me always ; for at my right hand , not I shall be moved .” In the first word’s translation as “I have set,” this is less about what one’s soul has determined to be best, but that which has been set, which one allows. Where the translation is “Yahweh before,” this must be seen as oneself wearing the face of Yahweh, which is maintenance of the First Commandment. This then says a soul married to Yahweh will “continuously” wear the face of Yahweh as one’s own. Rather than see Yahweh as one’s right hand, the meaning is one becomes the right hand of Yahweh, becoming His arm reaching out to the world. One become a hand for the right, as a wife of Yahweh. Once this commitment has been made, there will be no changing back, as no divorce is desired, nor sought.


Verse nine then sings, “thus is glad my heart and rejoices my glory ; yes my flesh will abide in hope .” Here, the use of the Hebrew word “leb” means “inner man, mind, and will,” which is deeper than simply “heart.” This is the delight a soul feels merged with Yahweh’s Spirit. The presence brings forth “rejoicing” and projects the “glory” of Yahweh for others to sense also. When Yahweh is one with one’s soul, the body of “flesh” is then the projecting presence of “hope” that seekers will find.


Verse ten then sings, “when not you will leave my soul in Sheol ; not you will place your pious , to see the pit .” Here is where David sings of death known to come to all mortals. The first word then sings of ‘when,” adding that the guarantee of the Covenant says no divorce will leave a soul alone at the time of judgment [“Sheol”]. That judgement will “not” have a negative effect on where a soul will be “placed,” as all who have been made “sacred” will join Yahweh in His realm. Never again will those souls be returned to earth, or thrown into the pit of corruption.


Verse eleven then sings, ‘you will show me the path of life abundant with joy in your presence ; pleasures at your right hand forevermore .” This sings of the Salvation promised to come after service as Yahweh’s wife and Saint on earth. The “path of life” means eternal “life,” which is “abundant with joy in Yahweh’s presence.” This is the meaning of being seated at the right hand of Yahweh, as one’s soul will have become an angel of Yahweh, to be used forever as He sees fit.


As a companion Psalm to the Daniel reading that raises the name Michael, which asks the question, “Who Is Like God?” this sings all Yahweh’s elohim will pass that call when one’s end time comes. Being sung on the twenty-fifth Sunday after Pentecost, when one’s own personal ministry for Yahweh should already be well underway, the lesson here is to realize this is a song of thanksgiving, sang by all souls who have been assured of Salvation after their mortal lives end and their eternal life go one. Verse four is the warning to all who will fear “End Times,” not once thinking they will die, making that the only ‘end time’ of significance. One must sacrifice self in submission to Yahweh and be transformed into His blood, as His servant. Ministry is only meaningful when one’s soul has married Yahweh and one does as He commands.

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