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Psalm 16 - The inner security of one at the right hand of Yahweh

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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.


This is the Track 2 companion Psalm that will be read aloud in unison or sung by a cantor on the third Sunday after Pentecost (Proper 8), Year C, according to the lectionary for the Episcopal Church. If a church has set forth upon the Track 2 course, this Psalm will be sung after a reading from First Kings, where is written: “[Elisha] left the oxen, ran after Elijah, and said, "Let me kiss my father and my mother, and then I will follow you." Then Elijah said to him, "Go back again; for what have I done to you?”’ This pair will then be followed by the Epistle selection from Galatians, where Paul wrote: “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against such things.” All will accompany the Gospel selection from Luke, where we read: “To another [Jesus] said, "Follow me." But [that other] said, "Lord, first let me go and bury my father." But Jesus said to him, "Let the dead bury their own dead; but as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.”’

I have written about Psalm 16 before, back in 2021. At that time it was a possible song to be sung on the twenty-fifth Sunday after Pentecost (Proper 28). That was during Year B, as the Track 2 Old Testament accompaniment. That commentary can be read by clicking on this link: Raising a cup and singing a song in honor of one's coming death. I welcome all readers to visit that opinion, as it offers valuable insight that remains valid now. However, because that selection of Psalm 16 was to accompany a short reading from Daniel, I will now direct the meaning to shine light on its relationship with Elijah anointing Elisha.

Following that reading, where we read of Yahweh telling Elijah to anoint a king over Syria and a king over Israel (who would take those positions well after Elijah ascended), the anointment of Elisha in the same set of orders given must be seen as spiritual Elijah, not physical Elijah. This means David sang as a soul understanding what Elisha experienced, when Elijah threw his mantle upon Elisha. That is the same spiritual anointment that David received from Yahweh, after Samuel anointed his head with physical oil. This spiritual outpouring upon David is then written of by his using the words “el” and “adonay” in his ‘theme’ verses to this psalm.

When David sings [NRSV], “Protect me, el, for I take refuge in you,” the construct translated as “protect me” is “šā·mə·rê·nî,” which is rooted in “shamar,” meaning “to keep, watch, preserve.” More than a prayer for Yahweh to act as his body guard, external to his body of flesh, David prayed to his inner “el,” which is the hand of Yahweh extended into David’s soul. That “el” was poured out into David’s soul when Yahweh anointed him to be king of Israel. Because David would not become king until decades of time had passed, he knew he had an inner “el” that kept watch over his soul. David then sang to that “el,” saying “that I take refuge in you,” where that says he submits totally to that “el” and gives it full permission to lead David’s actions. That is the theme of Elijah’s soul being raised in Elisha’s, where Elisha had to make the decision to “take refuge in Elijah” as his “el.”

In the real verse two, the words stated by David actually say, “you have uttered Yahweh adonay yourself.” This says the “el” is the soul that speaks for Yahweh, as David’s spiritual “lord” and teacher – his “master” – where the plural number says David is not the only Son of man so led. The word “’āt·tāh” translating as “yourself” becomes further divided into “your soul,” where a “self” is a “soul.” This verse being directed in the second person (a personal exchange) is not to Yahweh, as “you have uttered Yahweh” makes that a third entity. When identified as “adonay your soul,” this becomes a definition of the “el,” as the “lord” over David’s soul-body, who teaches his soul, while speaking what Yahweh tells the “el” to speak.

When the real verse two continues to sing: “my goodness is,” this says David following the “watch” of his “el” brings the “goodness” of Yahweh upon him. This is the mantle of goodness that was thrown upon David’s soul, when Yahweh poured out His Spirit on his soul. Elijah likewise did that covering of Yahweh’s “goodness” to Elisha. David then confessed, “nothing apart from you,” where the construct translating as “apart from you” centers on “al,” which means “above, over, upon.” Thus, David’s submission to the influence of his “el” brought him the “goodness of Yahweh,” such that without that spiritual presence from “above,” “nothing” of David’s soul alone could produce that “goodness.”

In verse three, David immediately says this “goodness of Yahweh” brought on by an inner “el” is what a “saint” is made of. The Hebrew word “liq·ḏō·wō·šîm,” from “qadosh,” means David knew that divine presence made him “sacred” and “holy.” This is a state of being that is brought upon one by a Spirit, such that the Spirit cannot be so defined as “sacred” or “holy” itself. It becomes synonymous with the “mantle” of Elijah, as his Spirit place upon the soul of Elisha. The mantle itself was neither “sacred” nor “holy,” as it was metaphor for Spirit. It was the presence upon Elisha that erased all the sins he bore from weaknesses of the flesh. Thus, the soul-flesh receiving the Spirit becomes that which is transformed into one who is “sacred” and “holy.”

The remainder of verse three sings, “[of saints] that on earth they ; and majestic ones , all my delight in them .” Here, “earth” is metaphor for “flesh,” as only “those of earth” can be considered “saints.” The plural pronouns – “they,” “ones,” and “them” – become the people of a true Israel, who like David received the same Spirit and also became “Those Retaining and el.” This transfer of Yahweh’s Spirit was done by the inner presence of David’s “el,” in a “majestic” way. The mantle of David was thrown over “those” he led. This meant David was surrounded by saintly people, who became the “delight” of the kingdom he led. The people all served Yahweh as His saints; and, that was the original intent and purpose of Moses leading the freed slaves of Egypt to become “sacred” priests in His name. Likewise, Yahweh told Elijah’s soul to anoint kings who would lead like David had led, returning the people away from evil and back to righteousness.

In the real verse four, where the NRSV translates “nor take the names of their gods upon my lips,” there is nothing directly written that states “gods.” Such a word could only be “elohim,” which is written and translated (when the urge strikes a translator of Hebrew into English) as “gods,” meaning lesser “gods” or false idols. The literal translation of this verse is as such:

“they will be many them in pain another they hastened not I will pour out them drink offerings of blood ; not will lift even their names , above my speech .

In this, the plural pronouns of verse three remain the focus. This can be seen as the enemies of true Israel, which included those who followed Saul as their king. To sing, “they will be many in pain,” that says those who David will lead will have been in the same predicament, prior to receiving his Spirit as their own. To then sing, “another they hasten,” says they serve self, which always leaves the weak falling into submission to a stronger “other.” When David then sang of those, “not will I pour out them drink offerings of blood,” this refers to the ‘blood of Christ,’ which was the truth of the “el” possessing David’s soul. Instead of receiving the spiritual “blood” of self-sacrifice – becoming truly Israel – the people were happy offering the “blood” of animals, refusing to make the “drink offering” of themselves to Yahweh. When David then sang, “not will lift even their names,” those “names” were given to human bodies of flesh, so their souls served the lesser “el” of their own soul. Only “the name” of Israel (or Jesus) says one’s soul has been ”lifted” up in sacrifice to Yahweh. The “speech” of David was only that of his “el,” thus from “above,” which came from his lips, through divine possession of his soul in his flesh. While this can project onto enemies (such as the Philistines), the true focus of David’s Psalms was to those soul inhabiting bodies of flesh, who called their bloodline their claim to fame (so to speak). To live up to that ‘bloodline,’ each individual must become the soul sacrificed to Yahweh, to become His “blood” – His Son resurrected.

The depth of this verse should then be heard singing out the reason why Yahweh transformed the prophet Elijah into His Son reborn, for the purpose of leading the wayward back to subservience. It was their kings who were their external ‘gods,’ but those ‘gods’ were far from eternal as wayward souls in bodies of flesh. Those whose souls were anointed by the soul of Elijah-Jesus would rise to take the places of the evil kings, who cause pain and injury to the people, leading their souls away from a commitment to Yahweh. Even the Gentile peoples of Syria needed a king who could sense the power of Yahweh in his own soul; so, knowing that divinity would cease the wars between Syria and the Northern Kingdom. David knew it only took one soul possessed by Yahweh, transfigured into His Son, to defeat all the lesser kings who served only self (a false god).

Verse five then presents “Yahweh” as the masculine noun that is followed by the feminine singular saying “portion” and “and my cup,” with the masculine construct linking “my inheritance” to “portion.” The masculine and the feminine combined needs to be seen as a marriage to “Yahweh,” where David’s soul-body was one “portion” of His soul-wives. As a masculine “inheritance,” this is the presence of his ”el,” which is the soul of Adam-Jesus – the Son of Yahweh. The “cup” becomes a feminine indication of a receptacle or vessel, where the out-poured seed of Yahweh has filled his empty soul with the Son. This is then separately stated by David to be “you,” where the Father and the Son are extensions of the same. In the Son in David was the presence of Yahweh, the Husband AND Father. Thus, the “lot” of David was “grasped” by that spiritual presence, holding it firmly, so it could not be taken away.

Verse six then sings, “cords they have fallen to me with delights ; yes possession , brought plenty above .” The plural form of “chebel,” meaning “cords, territories, or bands,” should be seen as an indication of marriage, where “bands” and “cords” are shared connections between two. For them to have “fallen,” with “plenty” having come from “above,” the “cords” connect the soul of David to Yahweh spiritually. In the middle, where he sings, “yes possession,” this sings of his soul’s complete sacrifice to Yahweh (as His soul-wife), so Yahweh has become his Husband in the more holy of matrimonies. The union is one that brings much joy to David’s soul, which is a sign of Yahweh’s love. His love comes in the presence of His “elohim.”

Verse seven then literally sings, “I will kneel , to Yahweh who has given counsel ; yes nights he has disciplined me inwardly .” Here, the English translation tendency is to take “’ă·ḇā·rêḵ” and artificially make that say, “I will bless.” There is absolutely no soul alone in flesh that has any powers of “blessing” anything. The Hebrew “barak” equally means “to kneel.” This is a function possible by the first person I, which is a reflection of one’s lone soul. To “kneel” means to prostrate one’s soul in total submission. Following the comma mark, this submission is said to be “to Yahweh.” Any “blessing” is done my “Yahweh,” as He ”who has given counsel.” David then sang, “yes nights,” where “night” must always be read as the darkness that comes from an absence of Yahweh’s light. The metaphor of “night” is death. As such, “to kneel” also means the “death” of self-sacrifice (on the altar of marriage). To then be “disciplined,” one has become the servant (or slave) to a higher Will. One’s own desires will be quelled. This is a suppression, willingly accepted in divine union, that is on one’s soul – “inwardly” kept from reacting uncontrollably to external influences.

Verse eight then literally sings, “I have agreed with Yahweh before me always ; for me a right hand , not I will slip .” In the first construct – “šiw·wî·ṯî” – the root word points to “agreement.” This must be seen as the marriage vows that are the Covenant. There must be total “agreement” for a soul to divinely merge with Yahweh’s Spirit. This “agreement” says one’s soul willingly accepts “Yahweh before me,” which says “me” is sacrificed, along with all self-will and ego. In return for this pledge of service, one become the “right hand” of “Yahweh.” As that – a minister of Yahweh sent into the world – nothing can “shake” that extension away from a saint.

Verse nine then sings, “thus it rejoiced my inner man and it will rejoice my splendor ; yes my flesh , it will dwell in security .” Here, the word usually translated as “heart” is shown as “inner man.” This can also state the “mind,” but the important thing to grasp is this is David singing of the wonderful experience that comes from knowing the presence of an “el” within. The word translated as “splendor” is often translated as “glory,” which is difficult to grasp that meaning. I see “splendor” and “glory” as the Yahweh elohim (the soul of Adam-Jesus), which represents the love of Yahweh. When this inner love is present (the only way to know the meaning of Spiritual love), that leads to a soul rejoicing greatly. The soul is within “the flesh,” so the “flesh” will “also” rejoice. This is the source of inner praise leading to the body likewise joining in with praise. The “splendor will dwell” within one’s being, resurrected within one’s soul, so both “abide” as one. The ”el” is one’s “adonay” or “lord,” to whom the soul surrenders. That submission is done with complete truth, knowing the soul is “secured” and ascension to Yahweh after death of the body is promised.

Verse ten then sings, “that ׀ not will you forsake my soul to underworld ; not will you put your pious , in to see pit .” In this verse is a vertical bar that signals a place to pause momentarily and reflect on that said prior. The word “that” becomes a statement about that sung in verse nine. To have an “el” “dwell within one’s soul” will never be “forsaken.” The “underworld” – “Sheol” – is actually the material realm, which is “under” the spiritual realm. To reject eternal salvation would me reincarnation (or worse). To further state that no “soul will you forsake,” where the second person “you” is the “el,” means the presence of the Son of Yahweh (the resurrection of the soul of Adam-Jesus in one’s soul) would never come in the first place, if one’s soul had not been made “pious,” by Yahweh’s Spirit. That is the Baptism that cleanses a soul, once it is poured out upon a soul. That having taken place prior means Yahweh will “not place His Son’s soul” into a filthy, sinful soul. This says the presence of an “el” within means one has become “sacred” by Yahweh first. Yahweh will not send His Son into a soul headed to the “pit” of destruction.

Verse eleven then sings, “you will know me the path living ones abundance of joy in your presence ; delights in your right hand everlasting .” Here, the first construct centers on the Hebrew word “yada,” which says “to know.” As the second-person imperfect, David sang “you will know me,” where the ‘Biblical meaning of “to know”’ implies penetration (for the purpose of reproduction). This “knowledge” is then the oneness that sets one’s soul on “the path” of those “alive” with the promise of eternal salvation. It is that promise from a divine presence that brings forth tremendous “joy” from that “presence.” This “joy” is increased by the “delights” that come from ministry; and, one is able to personally see the works of Yahweh, through His Son resurrected. It is these works of faith that assure a soul “everlasting life.”

As the accompanying Psalm to the Old Testament reading that tells of Yahweh’s orders to the Yahweh elohim that possessed Elijah, one sees that David was another like Elijah. This is the praise of an “el” that is an “adonay” for many others. This is the only way a soul in a body of flesh can truly enter ministry and not be destroyed by the world. The world is made to test the strength of a true priest; and, when a true priest is the rebirth of the soul of Adam-Jesus, then the world will be taught about true salvation.

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