by Rabbi Jeffrey A. Adler
King David opens the 16th Psalm with a fervent plea: “Shomreni El ki-chasiti v’ka”; “Keep me safe, O God, for in You I have found shelter.” Here, David uses the imperative mood of “shamar”, a verb typically used in the Hebrew text to relate watchful care. Isaiah 62:6 refers to Adonai’s placement of “shomrim”, “watchmen”, on Jerusalem’s walls, who will never relax their duties. The use of the imperative, strong as it is, shows the king’s sense of urgency. “Chasiti”, the first person, perfect tense of “chasah”, to take refuge or shelter, gives a sense of the exclusive nature of David’s resort to God’s Presence- he relies on Elohim and Him alone for real security.
The next 2 verses continue in this vein: “Amart’ l’Adonai, Adonai Attah tovati bal-aleka”; “I said Adonai, You are my Lord- I have no good apart from You.” “Amart’” actually occurs in the 2nd person feminine, (you). Apparently, David is talking to and through his soul, which he does from time to time in the Psalms. Despite all of the blessings, accomplishments, and possessions of David, he found the Lord his chief treasure. That delight extends to Adonai’s people. “As for the kedoshim (holy ones) who are in the land, they are noble- in them is all my delight. As for those who run after another god, may their sorrows multiply. I will not pour out their drink offerings of blood, nor lift up their names with my lips.” So committed to Adonai is David that he has no time for pagan gods, their people, or their practices.
David now moves on to discuss what he has in the Lord.
Verse 5: “Adonai is my portion and my cup. You cast my lot.” Here, the writer refers to the Provider being more precious than the provision, the Giver than the gift. He has what he has because the Lord is Who and What He is. He would have none of it without the generosity of Adonai.
Verse 6: “My boundary lines fall in pleasant places- surely my heritage is beautiful.” “Shaphrah” means “pleasant” or “beautiful”. God didn’t scrimp when he tended to David. Not only does God “provide his every need”, but does it “according to His riches in Glory through Messiah Yeshua” (Philippians 4:19).
Verses 7,8: “Evarek et-Adonai asher y’atzani; aph-laylot yissaruni kilyotay.” “I will bless Adonai Who counsels me. Even at night my heart instructs me.” Shivuti Adonai l’negdi tamid ki mimini bal-amot.” “I have set Adonai always before me. Since He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.” “Evarek” is the imperfect tense of “barak”, “bless”. The root meaning is to “bend the knee”, submit. The occurrence of the imperfect tense signifies continuous action; thus, David will habitually submit to the One Who is so generous to him, granting him unparalleled security and abundance. Even at night, he is safe because Adonai rides shotgun over his life.
David continues to relate that the goodies continue. Verse 9: “Laken samach libbivayyagal k’vodi aph-b’sari yishkon l’vetach. Verse 10: Ki lo-taazav naphshi lish’ol: lo-titten chasidka lirot shachat.” So my heart is glad and my soul (or glory) rejoices. My body also rests secure. For You will not abandon my soul to Sheol nor let Your faithful one to see the Pit.” Not only does Adonai have a plan for this life, but, for eternity. This of course also carries through to the Messiah, the One Who opens the door to all these provisions. Ultimately, this is crowned by eternity in Heaven, as stated in verse 11: “You make known to me the path of life. Abundance of joys are in Your Presence, eternal pleasures at Your right hand.
What a deal!
Rabbi Jeffrey Adler is president of the Board of HaShomer and also Rabbi of Sha’arey Yeshua in Indianapolis, IN.