Psalm 16 – “Affirmation of Confidence”

Hebrew-English Text
I. Summary
The psalmist puts his trust in god.

II. Photo
The psalmist gives thanks: “Delightful country has fallen to my lot; lovely indeed is my estate.” (v. 6)

III. Select Verses    
2: I say to the LORD, “You are my Lord, my benefactor; there is none above You.”
7-8: I bless the LORD who has guided me; my conscience admonishes me at night. I am ever mindful of the LORD’s presence; He is at my right hand; I shall never be shaken.
9-10: So my heart rejoices, my whole being exults, and my body rests secure.  For You will not abandon me to Sheol, or let Your faithful one see the Pit.
11: You will teach me the path of life. In Your presence is perfect joy; delights are ever in Your right hand.

IV. Outline
1a. Superscription
1b. Invocation, initial plea
2. Affirmation of confidence
3-4. Denunciation (?) [Note: the text is difficult]
5-11. Affirmations of confidence, blessings, and rationale

V. Comment
Like the psalm before it, Psalm 16 is very difficult to understand. Craigie summarizes the situation as follows: “Psalm 16 may be classified in the most general terms as a psalm of confidence (cf Pss 4, 5, and 11), but beyond such a descriptive statement, it is difficult to be precise. The difficulty of precise analysis and interpretation follows from the problems in translating the psalm (especially vv 2–4a). There are numerous different interpretations as to its type and initial life setting, and the differences stem largely from the various alternative translations and interpretations of the opening verses. The data giving rise to the classification of the passage as a psalm of confidence are seen clearly in vv 5–11; what is not certain is whether the psalmist expresses confidence in the midst of crisis, or as a result of deliverance from a crisis.” (155-156)

VI. Works Used
(see “Commentaries” page)
Collins, John J. “Introduction to the Hebrew Bible,” (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2004).
Craigie, Peter C. “Psalms 1-50” Word Biblical Commentary vol. 19 (Waco, Texas: Wordbooks, 1983).
Gerstenberger, Erhard S. “Psalms Part 1 with an Introduction to Cultic Poetry” Forms of Old Testament Literature (Michigan: Eerdmans, 1988).
Photo taken from