Natan’s Commentary on Psalms 16 to 19

Psalm 16

Psalm 16:4, Nor take up their names.Satan, the god of this world, has so woven the names of his demonic underlords into the fabric of our society and language (e.g. the names of our holidays, months, days of the week to name a few) that it’s almost impossible not to say the name of the heathen’s gods on a daily basis. On the other hand, the names of Elohim have become curse words that roll off people’s lips without even a thought. As much as possible, we need to do our best not to mention the names of pagan deities—especially in the context of set-apart (holy) convocations where the saints gather to praise and worship Elohim.

Psalm 16:4–5, Drink offerings of blood.Some Satan worshippers drank blood (human and animal) as part of their worship rituals to their demon gods. This practice still goes on today. Sometimes human and animal sacrifice is involved. Purportedly, the purpose for drinking blood is to empower oneself by taking in the soul-energy of the victim and or to appease the demon spirit’s blood lust. Sometimes the blood drinking coincides with sexual rituals. Some modern blood drinkers do so believing that it promotes health and youthfulness by the reversing aging process. Whatever the case, the Word of Elohim strongly forbids the drinking of blood (Lev 17:10), which is why the saints must insure that blood is removed from meat before eating it. There are other psychological and spiritual reasons for not drinking blood as well, but this gets into the esoteric, so we will leave the discussion here for now.

In verse five, David declares that YHVH is his cup. Perhaps he is alluding to the fact that his life sustenance and blessings come from the Creator, not the created (i.e. by drinking human blood).

Psalm 16:5–6, Lot…lines.The English word lot means “a portion that is assigned to someone” and may refer to the idea of randomly drawing lots as part of a decision making process. Likely, our English word lot as in a piece of land, or a land lot, derives from these concepts. 

In ancient Israel, the tribal land allotments were determined by the casting of lots once the children of Israel came into the Promised Land (Josh 13:6; 14:2). Part of this ancient process of surveying land involved measuring parcels of land with a cord (Manners and Customs of Bible Lands, pp. 245–246, by Fred H. Wight; also Ps 78:55; Amos 7:17). When lots were cast for land allotments, pebbles were placed in a bag with marks on each stone to represent each parcel of property. Pebbles were drawn, and each man received his lot. Each individual soon discovered whether his portion of land was desirable or not. 

David used the analogy of lots as an illustration of Elohim’s goodness to him when he makes the praise declaration in verse 6 that “the lines have fallen to me in pleasant places” (ibid.). No doubt, David is referring to the spiritual inheritance of the righteous, for he proclaims that YHVH is his portion and his inheritance (v. 5).

Psalm 16:7, Reigns/heart/kidneys instruct me.Is this a reference to our “gut feelings” and our need to trust them? Night seasons is a biblical poetic way of saying “difficult time of darkness, confusion, indecision, and uncertainty.” This may be one way the Set-Apart Spirit directs us is through our inner or deep conscience. In reference to the Set-Apart Spirit, Yeshua said that out of our bellies will flow living waters (John 7:37–38). The Hebrew word navi often translated as “prophet” can, according to some lexicologists (e.g. Gesenius), mean “to bubble up” in an almost ecstatic sense, presumably under the influence of the Spirit of Elohim. If this is the true meaning of the word, then perhaps there is some connections between the gut instructing one, living waters flowing from one’s belly, and the word of YHVH bubbling up prophetically out of one’s belly. 

Psalm 16:10, Leave my soul in Sheol. This verse reads, “For thou wilt not leave my soul [nephesh] in hell [sheol]; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy [chaseed or faithful, kind, pious, devout, saint, godly] One to see ­corruption [shakhath or decay of the grave.” (The meanings in brackets are according to The Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament.)

To whom is this verse referring? Who is YHVH’s Holy One? This is obviously not a reference normal humans whose bodies and souls go into the grave at the time of death (so says this verse) to await the resurrection, and where they will decay into dust. Who in Scripture but Messiah Yeshua resurrected after three days before his body could corrupt (start to decay)? According to Jewish thought, bodily decay starts after three days.

Psalm 17

Psalm 17:3, In the night. That is, in times of trials, afflictions and difficulties. During times of adversity, YHVH tests us by viewing our reactions to difficulties to determine the true state and contents of our heart. The true mettle of a person, that is, the contents of their heart is revealed only during times of duress and when things are not going well. The question is this: When tested, will we walk in the Spirit of Elohim and manifest the fruit of the Spirit or react carnally and manifest the works of the flesh (Gal 5:16–26)? The times of darkness and testing that befall each of us from time to time is often referred to colloquially as “the dark night of the soul.” Such times either make or break us. Jacob encountered such a time when he wrestled with the Messenger of Elohim in Genesis 32 and came out a changed man with a new spiritual identity. Yeshua went through a similar experience in the Garden of Gethsemane just prior to his crucifixion. Will the similar fires of adversity that you will experience destroy the wood, hay and stubble in your life, while, at the same time, refine gold, silver and precious stones therein? (Read and ponder on 1 Cor 3:11–15.)

Psalm 17:4, The destroyer. This can be a reference to Satan who comes to kill, steal and destroy. The Hebrew word for destroyer is pereets and taken in context with its verbal root means “one who destroys by dividing violently and then robbing, that is, one who divides and conquers.” The tactics of this enemy and his human minions have never changed from then until now.

Psalm 17:8, Apple of your eye. In Hebrew, this verse literally reads “Guard [Heb. shamar] me like the little man or the pupil daughter [Heb. bat] of the eye.” Apple is the Hebrew word ‘ıyshôn literally meaning “little man of the eye [according to Gesenius and The Artscroll Tanach Series Tehilim/Psalms Commentary] or pupil.” This is because when one looks at another person, the image of a little person is visible on the pupil like a reflection in a mirror. Eye is the generic Hebrew word ayin. The idea of the little man in the eye is beautiful and poetic imagery that captures the desires of the psalmist that the Creator would keep his image in his eye (i.e. the Big “Man” or Elohim is keeping the little man or the saint in is eyesight) continually or that Elohim would guard him as he goes through life as a father does his own daughter. 

The expression “the apple of his eye” is now an English idiom meaning “to view a person favorably, to care deeply for them and to cherish them in one’s heart.” 

This same expression is also found in Deuteronomy 32:10 where YHVH views the people of Israel as the apple of his eye. Although Elohim loves the whole world in a generic sense (John 3:16), and desires that every person be saved (1 Tim 2:4; 2 Pet 3:9), he refers to no other people but Israel as the apple of his eye. 

It can also be presumed (as Matthew Henry notes) that Elohim will tenderly keep or protect those as the apple of his eye who keep or guard his commandments as the apple of their eye (Prov 7:2). That is to say, when we obey YHVH’s commandments, we automatically put ourselves under his protection or under the shadow of his wings as Psalm 17:8 suggests (see also Ps 91:4 and Matt 23:37).

Psalm 17:14–15, Men of the world…When I awake. Here the psalmist juxtaposes those who make material achievements their chief goal in life as opposed to those who seek first the kingdom of Elohim and his righteousness. The former have their reward in the physical life, while the latter have a greater reward to come in the next life when they awaken from death in the likeness of Elohim as possessors of immortality.

Belly…hidden treasure. The belly here is a reference to the womb, and hidden treasure literally means “that which is hidden, covered over or protected.” This is a clear reference to babies in the womb, which are a treasured gift that heaven gives to both the wicked and to the righteous alike. Those who murder their children through abortion or neglect or abandon these little divinely granted treasures are literally spurning or rejecting Elohim’s gift to them—a grave affront to the Almighty and his generosity to be sure!

Psalm 17:15, When I awake. This is one of the most notable passages in the Tanakh proving the validity of the concept of the resurrection of the righteous dead. Here David expresses his faith in the hope of the dead saints to eternal glory in the Presence of YHVH’s in his eternal kingdom. Corollary scriptures to this include Ps 16:10–11 and 1 John 3:1–3.

Psalm 18

Psalm 18:20, 24, Reward me according to my righteousness. The Bible not only teaches that there is a righteousness that is imputed to the saints, that is, the righteousness of Yeshua, but that there is also a works-based righteousness that is a result of the good works of the saints himself that will form the basis for his eternal rewards. Yeshua alludes to this in Matt 5:19–20 as does John in Rev 19:8 (see also Matt 16:27; Rom 2:6; 2 Cor 5:10; EWph 6:6; 1 Pet 1:17; Rev 2:23; 19:12 22:12).

Psalm 18:25–27, With the merciful. To one degree or another, Elohim responds to humans in the same manner they respond to him both positively and negatively. Our relationship with him has a cause and effect component to it—we reap what we sow. This is a form of heaven’s reality discipline upon humans to ultimately bring them to Elohim.

Psalm 19

Overview of Psalm 19

This psalm contains three sections that shows a wonderful and logical progression from the greater (Elohim) to the lesser (man), from the macro downward to the micro. At first appearance, these three sections may seem unrelated, but upon second glance, each section actually flows logically to the next revealing some deep mysterious truths about YHVH Elohim’s plan of redemption for humans.

Section one (vv. 1–6) describes the creation of Elohim, which points to the glory of Elohim, the Creator. It concludes by describing the sun, which is the physical light of the world, which is like a bridegroom in his full glory emerging from his private chambers about to marry his bride. Moreover, the physical universe is governed by physical laws, which keep it functioning in an orderly manner.

Section two (vv. 7–11) describes the glorious attributes of the Torah-law of Elohim, which reveals the character of the Creator, and it shows man what his response should be to the Almighty upon viewing the glories of his creation. Man is to worship the Creator, not the creation. When followed, the Torah helps to keep man’s life structured in a way that brings order, blessing and causes his life to function smoothly, even as the universe is structured and ordered by Elohim’s and functions smoothly because of his physical laws. A Torah lifestyle is also how the saint of Elohim is a spiritual light to the world (Deut 4:6).

Moreover, as the sun’s light pierces the physical darkness of the world, the light of the Torah brings the spiritual light of Elohim into the world along with many benefits for a blessed life.

Section three (vv. 12–14) explains what happens when the light of Elohim’s Torah shines into the darkness of a one’s life; it exposes the hidden dark areas of sin in one’s life. It also shows man how to walk blamelessly before and in a right relationship with Elohim. 

This psalm then ends by stating that YHVH is man’s strength and redeemer. This is another way of saying that man is morally and spiritually weak and needs redemption from the consequences and the power of sin. 

Thankfully, YHVH has the answer to this problem: he is man’s strength and Redeemer. Yeshua the Messiah is man’s Redeemer and as the sun is the physical light of the world, Messiah is the spiritual light of the world (John 1:6–9; 8:12). Elsewhere, Scripture even calls Yeshua the Sun of Righteousness (Mal 4:2), and, in his glorified state, his face shines like the sun in its full strength (Rev 1:16). When a person follows the Torah through a relationship with Yeshua the Redeemer, one will eventually be raised to glory and shine like the stars in heaven (Dan 12:3; Matt 12:43), for they will be like Yeshua (1 John 3:2). HalleluYah!

Psalm 19:7–9, The Torah of YHVH. Listed here are the seven attributes of the Torah and the corresponding blessings for Torah-obedience.

Psalm 19:13, Great [much] transgression. Is this to be contrasted with “small or little transgression”?


2 thoughts on “Natan’s Commentary on Psalms 16 to 19

  1. and evening and morning were day one-He takes us out of the darkness and into the light-and He does it every single day.:)

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