Psalms 16:5 MEANING

Psalm 16:5
(5) The portion.--There is allusion here to the Levitical portion (Numbers 18:20): "I am thy portion and thine inheritance." The poet, whom we must imagine exiled from his actual inheritance in Canaan, consoles, and more than consoles himself, with the sublime thought that this "better part" could not be taken away from him. Perowne quotes Savonarola's fine saying, "What must not he possess who possesses the possessor of all!" and St. Paul's, "All things are yours; for ye are Christ's, and Christ is God's;" which rather recalls Deuteronomy 32:9, where the correlative truth to Numbers 18:20 occurs.

For the figure of the cup, see Psalm 11:6. It had already become a synonym for "condition in life."

Thou maintainest.--The Hebrew word is peculiar, and causes grammatical difficulties; but the sense is clear. God does not only dispose (cast) the lot of the man in covenant relation to Him--He does that even for unbelievers--but holds it fast in His hand. (See this use of the verb, Amos 1:5; Amos 1:8; Proverbs 5:5.) At the same time Hitzig's conjecture (tomid for tomikh), is very plausible, "Thou art ever my lot."

Verse 5. - The Lord is the Portion of mine inheritance. God had said to Aaron, when he gave him no special inheritance in Canaan, "I am thy Part and thine Inherit-ante among the children of Israel" (Numbers 18:20). David claims the same privilege. God is his "Portion," and he needs no other. And of my cup. A man's "cup" is, in Scripture, his lot or condition in life (Psalm 11:6; Psalm 23:5) - that which is given him to drink. David will have God only for his cup. Thou maintainest my lot; i.e. thou makest it firm and sure (comp. Psalm 30:6, "In my prosperity I said, I shall never be moved").

16:1-11 This psalm begins with expressions of devotion, which may be applied to Christ; but ends with such confidence of a resurrection, as must be applied to Christ, and to him only. - David flees to God's protection, with cheerful, believing confidence. Those who have avowed that the Lord is their Lord, should often put themselves in mind of what they have done, take the comfort of it, and live up to it. He devotes himself to the honour of God, in the service of the saints. Saints on earth we must be, or we shall never be saints in heaven. Those renewed by the grace of God, and devoted to the glory of God, are saints on earth. The saints in the earth are excellent ones, yet some of them so poor, that they needed to have David's goodness extended to them. David declares his resolution to have no fellowship with the works of darkness; he repeats the solemn choice he had made of God for his portion and happiness, takes to himself the comfort of the choice, and gives God the glory of it. This is the language of a devout and pious soul. Most take the world for their chief good, and place their happiness in the enjoyments of it; but how poor soever my condition is in this world, let me have the love and favour of God, and be accepted of him; let me have a title by promise to life and happiness in the future state; and I have enough. Heaven is an inheritance; we must take that for our home, our rest, our everlasting good, and look upon this world to be no more ours, than the country through which is our road to our Father's house. Those that have God for their portion, have a goodly heritage. Return unto thy rest, O my soul, and look no further. Gracious persons, though they still covet more of God, never covet more than God; but, being satisfied of his loving-kindness, are abundantly satisfied with it: they envy not any their carnal mirth and delights. But so ignorant and foolish are we, that if left to ourselves, we shall forsake our own mercies for lying vanities. God having given David counsel by his word and Spirit, his own thoughts taught him in the night season, and engaged him by faith to live to God. Verses 8-11, are quoted by St. Peter in his first sermon, after the pouring out of the Spirit on the day of Pentecost, Ac 2:25-31; he declared that David in them speaks concerning Christ, and particularly of his resurrection. And Christ being the Head of the body, the church, these verses may be applied to all Christians, guided and animated by the Spirit of Christ; and we may hence learn, that it is our wisdom and duty to set the Lord always before us. And if our eyes are ever toward God, our hearts and tongues may ever rejoice in him. Death destroys the hope of man, but not the hope of a real Christian. Christ's resurrection is an earnest of the believer's resurrection. In this world sorrow is our lot, but in heaven there is joy, a fulness of joy; our pleasures here are for a moment, but those at God's right hand are pleasures for evermore. Through this thy beloved Son, and our dear Saviour, thou wilt show us, O Lord, the path of life; thou wilt justify our souls now, and raise our bodies by thy power at the last day; when earthly sorrow shall end in heavenly joy, pain in everlasting happiness.The Lord is the portion of mine inheritance and of my cup,.... This is said by Christ as a priest, and in allusion to the Levitical priests, who had no inheritance in the land of Canaan with their brethren, but the Lord was their part and portion, and their inheritance, Numbers 18:20; and it expresses the strong love and affection Christ had for the Lord as his God, the delight and pleasure he had in him, and the satisfaction he had in the enjoyment of him and communion with him, and that it was his meat and drink to serve him, and to do his will; and though his goodness did not extend to him, yet his goodness and happiness as man lay in him: unless the sense should be,

"the Lord is he who gives me the portion of mine inheritance;''

meaning his church and people, all the elect of God, who are Christ's portion and inheritance, given him by the Father; see Deuteronomy 32:9; And assigns to me my cup, as of blessings, so of sorrows and sufferings, which being measured out, filled up, and put into his hand by his Father, he freely took it, John 18:11;

thou maintainest my lot; that is, either his interest in God himself, as his covenant God, which always continued; or the lot of goods, of grace and glory, put into his hands for his people, which always remains; or rather the saints themselves, who, as they are Christ's portion and inheritance, so they are his lot; in allusion to the land of Canaan, which was divided by lot: these Jehovah took hold of, kept, preserved, and upheld, as the word (s) signifies; so that they shall never totally and finally fall and perish; and this sense is countenanced by what follows.

(s) "sustentas", Musculus, Pagninus, Junius & Tremellius, Piscator; so Ainsworth; "sustentans", Montanus, Michaelis; "tenuisti", Cocceius; "tenendo quasi sustentans", Gejerus.

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