Lectionary Year A
April 7, 2002
Psalm 16

Step V: Distillation

A. Summary of Salient Features

(JFC) The "theological center of gravity in this text" seems to be the God whom the Psalmist wants protection and in whom he takes refuge, the God in whose presence is found the fullness of joy and pleasantries forevermore. Further major concerns in Psalm 16 are the choosing of this God to be one's portion and one's Counselor, the joy and gladness from God and the praises for God. The minor concerns seem to include the holy ones in the land, those who elect to worship/follow other gods, make sacrifices of blood offerings and get sorrows and Sheol and the pit where God will not leave the Psalmist.

B. Smoother Translation

(JFC) 1 Keep/watch/preserve me (O) God for I seek refuge in You. 2 I say to Yahweh my God, "You are my good, hardly anything notwithstanding." 3 The holy ones who are in the land are the great/heroes all in whom I delight. 4 Sorrow will be theirs if/when they hastened after other gods to pour out libations as their drink offerings of blood. And never will I lift up or even whisper their very names. 5 Yahweh is my portion of possessions and my cup. You, O God, ever hold my lot/portion.
6 The measuring lines/cords always fall to me in pleasantries/beauties also/indeed the heritage is pleasing unto me. 7 I bless Yahweh who gave me counsel, also/furthermore in the nights He guides me in the seats of my emotions/affections. 8 I set/place Yahweh before me continuously for out of/on account of me He remains at my right side, so I shall not be moved/shaken.
9 Therefore, my heart rejoices and my glory exults, also/yea my flesh shall dwell/lodge in security/safety. 10 For not will You leave/forsake my soul in Sheol. Nor will you make the faithful/godly/holy one ever to see "the pits". 11 You will cause me to know the path of lives which brings fullness of joys in Your presence as such true God-given pleasantries are in Your right hand everlastingly.

C. Hermeneutical Bridge

(JFC) In her The Journey, U. S. author, Lillian Smith (1897-1966) wrote, "To find the point where hypothesis and fact meet; the delicate equilibrium between dream and reality; the place where fantasy and earthly things are metamorphosed into a work of art; the hour when faith in the future becomes knowledge of the past; to lay down one's power for others in need; to shake off the old ordeal and get ready for the new; to question, knowing that never can the full answer be found; to accept uncertainties quietly, even our incomplete knowledge of God; this is what man's journey is about, I think." Perhaps we can contemplate these possibilities and find some solace if/when we add the element of faith into the mix. Psalm 16 might assist us in doing just that exercise.

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