Tehillim / Psalms 16, Part 2, The Lord will not allow His Holy One to See Decay

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This week’s study is from Tehillim / Psalms 16:1-11, The Psalm begins saying א מִכְתָּם לְדָוִד שָׁמְרֵנִי אֵל כִּי-חָסִיתִי בָךְ: “A Mikhtam of David. 16:1 Preserve me, O God, for I take refuge in You.” This is very similar to Tehillim / Psalms 11 that states “For the choir director a Psalm of David, in the Lord I take refuge; how can you say to my soul flee as a bird to your mountain” (א לַמְנַצֵּחַ לְדָוִד בַּיהֹוָה | חָסִיתִי אֵיךְ תֹּאמְרוּ לְנַפְשִׁי נוּדִו [נוּדִי] הַרְכֶם צִפּוֹר:). David confesses before the Lord saying ב אָמַרְתְּ לַיהֹוָה אֲדֹנָי אָתָּה טוֹבָתִי בַּל-עָלֶיךָ: 16:2 I said to the Lord, ‘You are my Lord; I have no good besides You.’ (NASB) This is a way of saying all good things come from the Lord. David continues saying ג לִקְדוֹשִׁים אֲשֶׁר-בָּאָרֶץ הֵמָּה וְאַדִּירֵי כָּל-חֶפְצִי-בָם: 16:3 As for the saints who are in the earth, They are the majestic ones in whom is all my delight. (NASB) He then contrasts those who worship other gods, their sorrows will be multiplied (ד יִרְבּוּ עַצְּבוֹתָם אַחֵר מָהָרוּ בַּל-אַסִּיךְ נִסְכֵּיהֶם מִדָּם וּבַל-אֶשָּׂא אֶת-שְׁמוֹתָם עַל-שְֹפָתָי:). David says “16:5 The Lord is the portion of my inheritance and my cup; You support my lot.” ה יְהוָה מְנָת-חֶלְקִי וְכוֹסִי אַתָּה תּוֹמִיךְ גּוֹרָלִי: and the Lord is his heritage and that is beautiful to him. (ו חֲבָלִים נָפְלוּ-לִי בַּנְּעִמִים אַף-נַחֲלָת שָׁפְרָה עָלָי:) The counsel of the Lord is to guide and direct us, David sets the Lord continually before him, even at his right hand, and he says that he will not be shaken (ז אֲבָרֵךְ אֶת-יְהֹוָה אֲשֶׁר יְעָצָנִי אַף-לֵילוֹת יִסְּרוּנִי כִלְיוֹתָי: ח שִׁוִּיתִי יְהֹוָה לְנֶגְדִּי תָמִיד כִּי מִימִינִי בַּל-אֶמּוֹט:). As a result of having placed the Lord God before him, the security and unmovable nature he believes that his body will dwell in security (ט לָכֵן | שָֹמַח לִבִּי וַיָּגֶל כְּבוֹדִי אַף-בְּשָֹרִי יִשְׁכֹּן לָבֶטַח:) the kind of security that will keep his soul from the grave and from undergoing decay (י כִּי | לֹא-תַעֲזֹב נַפְשִׁי לִשְׁאוֹל לֹא-תִתֵּן חֲסִידְךָ לִרְאוֹת שָׁחַת:) David concludes saying that יא תוֹדִיעֵנִי אֹרַח חַיִּים שֹבַע שְֹמָחוֹת אֶת-פָּנֶיךָ נְעִמוֹת בִּימִינְךָ נֶצַח: 16:11 You will make known to me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; In Your right hand there are pleasures forever. (NASB) If we seek the Lord and His counsel, if we place Him first in our lives, set Him at our right hand and desire to dwell in His presence, we will be filled with the joy of the Lord and His salvation. What an awesome God we serve!

עברית Hebrew ארמי Aramaic ελληνικός Greek

ספר תהלים פרק טז

א מִכְתָּם לְדָוִד שָׁמְרֵנִי אֵל כִּי-חָסִיתִי בָךְ: ב אָמַרְתְּ לַיהֹוָה אֲדֹנָי אָתָּה טוֹבָתִי בַּל-עָלֶיךָ: ג לִקְדוֹשִׁים אֲשֶׁר-בָּאָרֶץ הֵמָּה וְאַדִּירֵי כָּל-חֶפְצִי-בָם: ד יִרְבּוּ עַצְּבוֹתָם אַחֵר מָהָרוּ בַּל-אַסִּיךְ נִסְכֵּיהֶם מִדָּם וּבַל-אֶשָּׂא אֶת-שְׁמוֹתָם עַל-שְֹפָתָי:

סםר טוביה פרק טז

א גליפא תריצא לדוד נטר יתי אלהא ייי מטול ארום דסברית אתרחצית במימרך׃ ב מלילת אנת נפשי קדם יהוה אלהי אנת ברם טיבתי לא מתיהיבא בר מינך׃ ג לקדישיא די בארעא הינון אינון הודעו אודעו כח גבורתי מן שירויא וגוותנין בעובדיהון טביא כל רעותי טבא בהון׃

YALMOI 16

16:1 στηλογραφία τῷ δαυιδ φύλαξόν με κύριε ὅτι ἐπὶ σοὶ ἤλπισα 16:2 εἶπα τῷ κυρίῳ κύριός μου εἶ σύ ὅτι τῶν ἀγαθῶν μου οὐ χρείαν ἔχεις 16:3 τοῖς ἁγίοις τοῖς ἐν τῇ γῇ αὐτοῦ ἐθαυμάστωσεν πάντα τὰ θελήματα αὐτοῦ ἐν αὐτοῖς 16:4 ἐπληθύνθησαν αἱ ἀσθένειαι αὐτῶν μετὰ ταῦτα ἐτάχυναν οὐ μὴ συναγάγω τὰς συναγωγὰς αὐτῶν ἐξ αἱμάτων οὐδὲ μὴ μνησθῶ τῶν ὀνομάτων αὐτῶν διὰ χειλέων μου

ה יְהוָה מְנָת-חֶלְקִי וְכוֹסִי אַתָּה תּוֹמִיךְ גּוֹרָלִי: ו חֲבָלִים נָפְלוּ-לִי בַּנְּעִמִים אַף-נַחֲלָת שָׁפְרָה עָלָי: ז אֲבָרֵךְ אֶת-יְהֹוָה אֲשֶׁר יְעָצָנִי אַף-לֵילוֹת יִסְּרוּנִי כִלְיוֹתָי: ח שִׁוִּיתִי יְהֹוָה לְנֶגְדִּי תָמִיד כִּי מִימִינִי בַּל-אֶמּוֹט: ט לָכֵן | שָֹמַח לִבִּי וַיָּגֶל כְּבוֹדִי אַף-בְּשָֹרִי יִשְׁכֹּן לָבֶטַח: י כִּי | לֹא-תַעֲזֹב נַפְשִׁי לִשְׁאוֹל לֹא-תִתֵּן חֲסִידְךָ לִרְאוֹת שָׁחַת: יא תוֹדִיעֵנִי אֹרַח חַיִּים שֹבַע שְֹמָחוֹת אֶת-פָּנֶיךָ נְעִמוֹת בִּימִינְךָ נֶצַח:

Tehillim / Psalms 16

A Mikhtam of David. 16:1 Preserve me, O God, for I take refuge in You. 16:2 I said to the Lord, ‘You are my Lord; I have no good besides You.’ 16:3 As for the saints who are in the earth, They are the majestic ones in whom is all my delight. 16:4 The sorrows of those who have bartered for another god will be multiplied; I shall not pour out their drink offerings of blood, Nor will I take their names upon my lips. 16:5 The Lord is the portion of my inheritance and my cup; You support my lot. 16:6 The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places; Indeed, my heritage is beautiful to me. 16:7 I will bless the Lord who has counseled me; Indeed, my mind instructs me in the night. 16:8 I have set the Lord continually before me; Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken. 16:9 Therefore my heart is glad and my glory rejoices; My flesh also will dwell securely. 16:10 For You will not abandon my soul to Sheol; Nor will You allow Your Holy One to undergo decay. 16:11 You will make known to me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; In Your right hand there are pleasures forever. (NASB)

ד ורשיעיא מסגן צלמניהון סלמניהון מן בתר כן מוחן לקרבא קורבניהון לא אקבל ברעוא נסוכיהון ודם קורבניהין ולא אדכר שומהון שמהתהון על סיפוותי׃ ה יהוה מוהבית כלידי וחולקי אנת תסובר תסער עדבי׃ ו עדבין נפלו לי בבסימתא בבסימותא אוף אחסנתא שפירא עלי׃ ז אבריך ית יהוה דמלכינני אוף בליליא רדאן לי כולייתי׃ ח שויתי יהוה מימרא דייי לקובלי תדירא מטול ארום דשכינתיה שריא עלי מן ימיני לא אזוע׃ ט בגין כן חדא לבי ורנין איקרי אוף בסרי ישרי לרוחצן בתכילי׃ י מטול דלא תשבוק נפשי לשייול לא תמסור זכאך למחמי בשחיותא בית שחוותא׃ יא תהודע לי אורחא דחיי סובעא דחדוותא קדם אפך בסימתא בימינך לעלמין׃

Toviyah / Psalms Chapter 16

16:1 An honest inscription of David. Protect me, O God, because I have hoped in your word. 16:2 You have spoken – you, my soul – in the presence of the Lord. You are my God, truly my goodness is not present without you. 16:3 To the holy ones that are in the in the land they have declared the might of my power from the beginning; and as for those proud of their good deeds, my good will is for them. 16:4 But the wicked multiply their idols; afterwards they hurry to make their sacrifices. I will not receive favorably their libations or the blood of their sacrifices, nor will I mention their name with my lips. 16:5 The Lord is the portion of my cup and my share; you will support my lot. 16:6 The lots have fallen pleasantly for me; indeed, a beautiful inheritance is mine. 16:7 I will bless the Lord, who has counseled me; even at night my mind disciplines me. 16:8 I have placed the Lord before me always, for his presence rests on me; I shall not be shaken. 16:9 Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoices; besides, my flesh shall dwell in security. 16:10 For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol, you will not hand over your innocent one to see corruption. 16:11 You will tell me the way of life; abundance of joy is in the presence of your face; pleasant things are at your right hand forever. (EMC)

16:5 κύριος ἡ μερὶς τῆς κληρονομίας μου καὶ τοῦ ποτηρίου μου σὺ εἶ ὁ ἀποκαθιστῶν τὴν κληρονομίαν μου ἐμοί 16:6 σχοινία ἐπέπεσάν μοι ἐν τοῖς κρατίστοις καὶ γὰρ ἡ κληρονομία μου κρατίστη μοί ἐστιν 16:7 εὐλογήσω τὸν κύριον τὸν συνετίσαντά με ἔτι δὲ καὶ ἕως νυκτὸς ἐπαίδευσάν με οἱ νεφροί μου 16:8 προωρώμην τὸν κύριον ἐνώπιόν μου διὰ παντός ὅτι ἐκ δεξιῶν μού ἐστιν ἵνα μὴ σαλευθῶ 16:9 διὰ τοῦτο ηὐφράνθη ἡ καρδία μου καὶ ἠγαλλιάσατο ἡ γλῶσσά μου ἔτι δὲ καὶ ἡ σάρξ μου κατασκηνώσει ἐπ’ ἐλπίδι 16:10 ὅτι οὐκ ἐγκαταλείψεις τὴν ψυχήν μου εἰς ᾅδην οὐδὲ δώσεις τὸν ὅσιόν σου ἰδεῖν διαφθοράν 16:11 ἐγνώρισάς μοι ὁδοὺς ζωῆς πληρώσεις με εὐφροσύνης μετὰ τοῦ προσώπου σου τερπνότητες ἐν τῇ δεξιᾷ σου εἰς τέλος

Psalmoi / Psalms 16

A writing of David. 16:1 Keep me, O Lord; for I have hoped in thee. 16:2 I said to the Lord, Thou art my Lord; for thou has no need of my goodness. 16:3 On behalf of the saints that are in his land, he has magnified all his pleasure in them. 16:4 Their weaknesses have been multiplied; afterward they hasted. I will by no means assemble their bloody meetings, neither will I make mention of their names with my lips. 16:5 The Lord is the portion of mine inheritance and of my cup: thou art he that restores my inheritance to me. 16:6 The lines have fallen to me in the best places, yea, I have a most excellent heritage. 16:7 I will bless the Lord who has instructed me; my reins too have chastened me even till night. 16:8 I foresaw the Lord always before my face; for he is on my right hand, that I should not be moved. 16:9 Therefore my heart rejoiced an my tongue exulted; moreover also my flesh shall rest in hope: 16:10 because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. 16:11 Thou hast made known to me the ways of life; thou wilt fill me with joy with thy countenance: at thy right hand there are delights for ever.

(LXX)

Tehillim / Psalms 16 begins saying א מִכְתָּם לְדָוִד שָׁמְרֵנִי אֵל כִּי-חָסִיתִי בָךְ: were the first word is transliterated into English “A Mikhtam of David. 16:1 Preserve me, O God, for I take refuge in You.” It is interesting that this word מִכְתָּם “Mikhtam” is also found in other places in the Scriptures, Isaiah 13:12, Tehillim / Psalms 56:1, 57:1, 58:1, 59:1, and 60:1. According to the Brown Driver and Briggs on the word מכתם, the meaning is unknown. A modern Hebrew lexicon states the meaning as an“epigraph, letter, witty or ingenious saying, phrase, proverb.” It is interesting that in Isaiah, the word מִכְתָּם is translated meaning “gold.”

ספר ישעיה פרק יג

יב אוֹקִיר אֱנוֹשׁ מִפָּז וְאָדָם מִכֶּתֶם אוֹפִיר:

Isaiah 13:12 I will make mortal man scarcer than pure gold And mankind than the gold of Ophir. (NASB)

According to the Bible, Ophir was a port or region that was famous for its wealth. King Solomon is supposed to have received a cargo of gold, silver, sandalwood, precious stones, ivory, apes and peacocks from Ophir, every three years. (1 Kings 9:28, 10:11, 22:48, Job 22:24, 28:16, Isaiah 13:12) Ophir was also know as one of the sons of Joktan (Bereshit / Genesis 10:29). Easton’s Dictionary states“In the LXX, this word is rendered “Sophir,” and “Sofir” is the Coptic name for India, which is the rendering of the Arabic version, and also of the Vulgate. Josephus has identified it with the Golden Chersonese, i.e., the Malay peninsula. It is now generally identified with Abhira, at the mouth of the Indus. Much may be said, however, in favour of the opinion that it was somewhere in Arabia.” As a result of the meaning of the word “Ophir,” as a reference to a region of wealth, it appears that the word מִכְתָּם is translated to mean “gold” here in Isaiah. The modern Hebrew lexicon rendition of the word as “epigraph” or “letter” appears to be a good translation if we can read the Psalm to mean “a letter/epigraph of David.”

In Tehillim / Psalms 16:1, David says א מִכְתָּם לְדָוִד שָׁמְרֵנִי אֵל כִּי-חָסִיתִי בָךְ: “A Mikhtam of David. 16:1 Preserve me, O God, for I take refuge in You.” This is very similar to Tehillim / Psalms 11 that states “For the choir director a Psalm of David, in the Lord I take refuge; how can you say to my soul flee as a bird to your mountain” (א לַמְנַצֵּחַ לְדָוִד בַּיהֹוָה | חָסִיתִי אֵיךְ תֹּאמְרוּ לְנַפְשִׁי נוּדִו [נוּדִי] הַרְכֶם צִפּוֹר:). David summarizes the meaning of taking refuge in the Lord saying ב אָמַרְתְּ לַיהֹוָה אֲדֹנָי אָתָּה טוֹבָתִי בַּל-עָלֶיךָ: 16:2 I said to the Lord, ‘You are my Lord; I have no good besides You.’ (NASB) This is a way of saying all good things come from the Lord. Here we find David saying that “I have no good besides You,” which reminds us of James 1:17 Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow. (NASB) 17πᾶσα δόσις ἀγαθὴ καὶ πᾶν δώρημα τέλειον ἄνωθέν ἐστιν, καταβαῖνον ἀπὸ τοῦ πατρὸς τῶν φώτων, παρ’ ᾧ οὐκ ἔνι παραλλαγὴ ἢ τροπῆς ἀποσκίασμα. Often we hear that “all good things come from God.” This is a quotation from the Apostle James. We also often hear that if something is not good, if it is bad, evil, or some misfortune befalls us that it is not from God. In today’s “word of faith” movement, God is portrayed as only bringing good things and blessing. Does Scripture say that God only brings good? Let’s look at a brief survey of the Scriptures from the book of Joshua, Ezekiel, Jeremiah, and 1 Kings.

Short summary from Scripture on “Does God bring harm?”

  1. Brings harmful things (Joshua 23:15)
  2. Brings disaster (Jeremiah 4:6-21)
  3. Sends the plague (Ezekiel 14:19)
  4. Brings a sword (Ezekiel 14:17)
  5. Sends wild beast (Ezekiel 14:15)
  6. Sends famine (Ezekiel 14:12)
  7. Cuts us off (Ezekiel 14:8)
  8. Puts obstacles in our way (Jeremiah 6:21)
  9. Brings evil (1 Kings 14:9)
  10. Dries up (shrivels) (1 Kings 12:4)
  11. Strips us bare (Ezekiel 14:9)

The Scriptures also provide us some of the reasons why the Lord would bring “bad” things upon us:

Short Summary from Scripture (Reasons why God brings bad things)

  1. To make an example so that we and others will know that He is Lord. (Ezekiel 14:8)
  2. Because we have not listened to God’s word (Jeremiah 6:21)
  3. We have rejected His law. (Jeremiah 6:21)
  4. So we will have to call on God for help. (1 Kings 12:6)
  5. To punish us. (Jeremiah 49:10)

The Concise Oxford English Dictionary defines “good” as “(i) to be desired or approved of, pleasing. (good for) beneficial To, expressing good wishes on meeting (i.e. good morning) and (ii) having the required qualities; of a high standard, (often good at) skilled at doing or dealing with a specified Thing, appropriate, (of language) with correct grammar and pronunciation.” The word “bad” is defined as “of poor quality or a low standard, (often bad at) not able to do a particular thing Well, inappropriate, unwelcome or unpleasant, severe or serious, (bad for) harmful to.” We often understand something that is “bad” as being equal to being “evil.” However, the definition of “bad” means something that we do not like or would like to avoid. According to the Scriptures the Lord can bring upon us something that is “bad” to achieve His “good” work. The Apostle Paul understood this concept when he wrote in Romans 8 saying Romans 8:28 And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. (NASB) Paul is saying here that God is sovereign and in control of this world. The Lord chooses what He wills for our lives, for our experiences and for helping us to grow into the likeness of His Son. Most importantly, His purposes are designed for us to seek Him and His counsel. The results of these things are designed to draws us closer to Him, to be actively listening for His voice each day, and we are given His word to share with and bless others. David said ב אָמַרְתְּ לַיהֹוָה אֲדֹנָי אָתָּה טוֹבָתִי בַּל-עָלֶיךָ: 16:2 I said to the Lord, ‘You are my Lord; I have no good besides You.’ (NASB) The one thing that we have that is truly good is the Lord God Almighty and His Son Yeshua the Messiah.

In Tehillim / Psalms 16:3, David says ג לִקְדוֹשִׁים אֲשֶׁר-בָּאָרֶץ הֵמָּה וְאַדִּירֵי כָּל-חֶפְצִי-בָם: 16:3 As for the saints who are in the earth, They are the majestic ones in whom is all my delight. (NASB) It is interesting, examining the Hebrew text, that the Hebrew word “holy” (קדוש) is written in the plural form קְדוֹשִׁים with a preposition ל attached to the beginning of the word meaning “for the holy (masculine plural).” This is translated as “the holy ones” in the Aramaic Targum, ג לקדישיא די בארעא הינון אינון הודעו אודעו כח גבורתי מן שירויא וגוותנין בעובדיהון טביא כל רעותי טבא בהון׃ 16:3 To the holy ones that are in the in the land they have declared the might of my power from the beginning; and as for those proud of their good deeds, my good will is for them. (EMC) and is translated as “saints” (ἁγίοις) in the NASB and the LXX translations, 16:3 τοῖς ἁγίοις τοῖς ἐν τῇ γῇ αὐτοῦ ἐθαυμάστωσεν πάντα τὰ θελήματα αὐτοῦ ἐν αὐτοῖς 16:3 On behalf of the saints that are in his land, he has magnified all his pleasure in them. (LXX) The question though is “Who are the ‘holy ones?’” that are mentioned here in the Hebrew text? In Tehillim / Psalms 89:7 we read of the “holy ones” (קְדשִׁים) in whom God is greatly feared.

ספר תהילים פרק פט

ח אֵל נַעֲרָץ בְּסוֹד-קְדשִׁים רַבָּה וְנוֹרָא עַל-כָּל-סְבִיבָיו:

Tehillim / Psalms 89:7 A God greatly feared in the council of the holy ones, And awesome above all those who are around Him? (NASB)

Reading through Tehillim / Psalms 89, the first part of the Psalm is a celebration of YHVH’s power and His faithfulness to His people. The picture that is developed in the first quarter of the Psalm is of praise, the heavens praise Your wonders O Lord, Your faithfulness also is in the assembly of the holy ones. He is a God of covenant faithfulness to David. For who in the skies can compare to you O Lord? Your hand is exalted, righteousness and justice are His foundation and throne, lovingkindness (grace) and truth go before Him. Who among the sons of men are like unto the Lord? A God very terrible in the council of the holy ones, and a God greatly to be feared of all them that are round about him. Who is mighty like unto You O Lord? (Tehillim / Psalms 89:6-9). Briefly studying Tehillim / Psalms 89, this Psalm appears to allude to Tehillim / Psalms 82. Let’s read this Psalm.

ספר תהילים פרק פב

א מִזְמוֹר לְאָסָף אֱלֹהִים נִצָּב בַּעֲדַת-אֵל בְּקֶרֶב אֱלֹהִים יִשְׁפֹּט: ב עַד-מָתַי תִּשְׁפְּטוּ-עָוֶל וּפְנֵי רְשָׁעִים תִּשְֹאוּ-סֶלָה: ג שִׁפְטוּ-דָל וְיָתוֹם עָנִי וָרָשׁ הַצְדִּיקוּ: ד פַּלְּטוּ-דַל וְאֶבְיוֹן מִיַּד רְשָׁעִים הַצִּילוּ: ה לֹא יָדְעוּ | וְלֹא יָבִינוּ בַּחֲשֵׁכָה יִתְהַלָּכוּ יִמּוֹטוּ כָּל-מוֹסְדֵי אָרֶץ: ו אֲנִי אָמַרְתִּי אֱלֹהִים אַתֶּם וּבְנֵי עֶלְיוֹן כֻּלְּכֶם: ז אָכֵן כְּאָדָם תְּמוּתוּן וּכְאַחַד הַשָּׂרִים תִּפֹּלוּ: ח קוּמָה אֱלֹהִים שָׁפְטָה הָאָרֶץ כִּי-אַתָּה תִנְחַל בְּכָל-הַגּוֹיִם:

Tehillim / Psalms 82:1-8

A Psalm of Asaf, 82:1 God takes His stand in His own congregation; He judges in the midst of the rulers. 82:2 How long will you judge unjustly And show partiality to the wicked? Selah. 82:3 Vindicate the weak and fatherless; Do justice to the afflicted and destitute. 82:4 Rescue the weak and needy; Deliver them out of the hand of the wicked. 82:5 They do not know nor do they understand; They walk about in darkness; All the foundations of the earth are shaken. 82:6 I said, ‘You are gods, And all of you are sons of the Most High. 82:7 ‘Nevertheless you will die like men And fall like any one of the princes.’ 82:8 Arise, O God, judge the earth! For it is You who possesses all the nations. (NASB)

Tehillim / Psalm 82 speaks of the sons of the Most High (וּבְנֵי עֶלְיוֹן) calling them gods (אֲנִי אָמַרְתִּי אֱלֹהִים אַתֶּם). According to Tehillim / Psalms 89:7/8 it says ח אֵל נַעֲרָץ בְּסוֹד-קְדשִׁים רַבָּה וְנוֹרָא עַל-כָּל-סְבִיבָיו: Tehillim / Psalms 89:7 A God greatly feared in the council of the holy ones, And awesome above all those who are around Him? (NASB) Those who surround Him is a reference to the people of Israel that encamped around the Mishkhan (Tabernacle) in the wilderness according to the biblical account recorded in the Torah. Therefore, the reference to the “holy ones” (קְדשִׁים) is a reference to the men of the assembly, the people of God. Studying Tehillim / Psalms 82, Yeshua provides us with an additional commentary on this topic regarding what he said in John 10:22-39.

John 10:22-39

10:22 At that time the Feast of the Dedication took place at Jerusalem; 10:23 it was winter, and Jesus was walking in the temple in the portico of Solomon. 10:24 The Jews then gathered around Him, and were saying to Him, ‘How long will You keep us in suspense? If You are the Christ, tell us plainly.’ 10:25 Jesus answered them, ‘I told you, and you do not believe; the works that I do in My Father’s name, these testify of Me. 10:26 ‘But you do not believe because you are not of My sheep. 10:27 ‘My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; 10:28 and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. 10:29 ‘My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. 10:30 ‘I and the Father are one.’ 10:31 The Jews picked up stones again to stone Him. 10:32 Jesus answered them, ‘I showed you many good works from the Father; for which of them are you stoning Me?’ 10:33 The Jews answered Him, ‘For a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy; and because You, being a man, make Yourself out to be God.’ 10:34 Jesus answered them, ‘Has it not been written in your Law, ‘I said, you are gods’? 10:35 ‘If he called them gods, to whom the word of God came (and the Scripture cannot be broken), 10:36 do you say of Him, whom the Father sanctified and sent into the world, ‘You are blaspheming,’ because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’? 10:37 ‘If I do not do the works of My Father, do not believe Me; 10:38 but if I do them, though you do not believe Me, believe the works, so that you may know and understand that the Father is in Me, and I in the Father.’ 10:39 Therefore they were seeking again to seize Him, and He eluded their grasp. (NASB)

Yeshua said that the people were called gods to whom the word of God came and that Scripture cannot be broken. That the behavior of those who are the sons of God are those who go about doing the work of their Father in Heaven (John 10:32-38). The verse Yeshua quoted from Tehillim / Psalms 82:6 has the word Elohim (אֱלֹהִים). Studying the word Elohim, it is interesting that according to the Scriptures, Elohim can be used as a reference to God, to the false gods of the pagan nations, and also may be used to refer to human rulers or judges. Let’s look at the following examples:

Scripture Examples on the use of the word “Elohim”

  1. Elohim (Idols) – Tehillim / Psalms 96:5 For all the gods of the peoples are idols, But the Lord made the heavens. (NASB) ה כִּי | כָּל-אֱלֹהֵי הָעַמִּים אֱלִילִים וַיהֹוָה שָׁמַיִם עָשָֹה: (Note that Elohim is written in the construct form.) 97:7 Let all those be ashamed who serve graven images, Who boast themselves of idols; Worship Him, all you gods. (NASB) ז יֵבשׁוּ | כָּל-עֹבְדֵי פֶסֶל הַמִּתְהַלְלִים בָּאֱלִילִים הִשְׁתַּחֲווּ-לוֹ כָּל-אֱלֹהִים:
  2. Elohim (Judges)Shemot / Exodus 22:8 ‘If the thief is not caught, then the owner of the house shall appear before the judges, to determine whether he laid his hands on his neighbor’s property. 22:9 ‘For every breach of trust, whether it is for ox, for donkey, for sheep, for clothing, or for any lost thing about which one says, ‘This is it,’ the case of both parties shall come before the judges; he whom the judges condemn shall pay double to his neighbor. (NASB) ז אִם-לֹא יִמָּצֵא הַגַּנָּב וְנִקְרַב בַּעַל-הַבַּיִת אֶל-הָאֱלֹהִים אִם-לֹא שָׁלַח יָדוֹ בִּמְלֶאכֶת רֵעֵהוּ: ח עַל-כָּל-דְּבַר-פֶּשַׁע עַל-שׁוֹר עַל-חֲמוֹר עַל-שֶֹה עַל-שַֹלְמָה עַל-כָּל-אֲבֵדָה אֲשֶׁר יֹאמַר כִּי-הוּא זֶה עַד הָאֱלֹהִים יָבֹא דְּבַר-שְׁנֵיהֶם אֲשֶׁר יַרְשִׁיעֻן אֱלֹהִים יְשַׁלֵּם שְׁנַיִם לְרֵעֵהוּ:

Both the Gesenius’ Hebrew Lexicon and Brown Driver and Briggs Lexicon list “angels” and “judges” as possible alternative meanings of elohim with plural verbs and adjectives. This is the meaning that is given by the translators of the NASB shown above. The Greek New Testament quotes Tehillim / Psalm 8:4-6 in Hebrews 2:6-8, where the author of Hebrews uses “ἀγγέλους” (aggelous) in verse 7 while quoting Tehillim / Psalms 8:5 (8:6 in the Hebrew bible and LXX) providing us with a very early understanding of “angels” or “judges.” Earlier yet, in 250 BCE, the LXX also translates “ἀγγέλους.” According to Strongs number H430, the KJV translates “angels” only in Tehillim / Psalms 8:5. Therefore, the word Elohim (אֱלֹהִים) is used as a reference for God, false gods, men and angels. It is never used in the biblical text to refer to creatures (man or angels) as God in the way that YHVH is the Lord God of Israel. Tehillim / Psalms 96:5 and Tehillim / Psalms 97:7 use the world Elohim as a reference To the “worthless idols” of the Pagan nations. Yeshua’s intent in John 10:34 was to portray those who he was speaking with as rulers of certain positions in the world. The word Elohim is also applied as an aspect or characteristic of God. The Lord God is a ruler and judge over the people and according to the Torah the Lord installed human rulers to do the same (see Devarim / Deuteronomy 19:17-18). The Psalm Yeshua is quoting, he is using as a reference to the corrupt judges and leaders who were abusing their authority and he is using it with irony. In John 10 therefore what Yeshua was saying is that God appointed these men to be rulers, but they are unable to recognize his rulership which is supreme over them as the Messiah (Prophet, Priest, and King).

David in Tehillim / Psalms 16 contrasts those who worship other gods, their sorrows will be multiplied (ד יִרְבּוּ עַצְּבוֹתָם אַחֵר מָהָרוּ בַּל-אַסִּיךְ נִסְכֵּיהֶם מִדָּם וּבַל-אֶשָּׂא אֶת-שְׁמוֹתָם עַל-שְֹפָתָי:, 16:4 The sorrows of those who have bartered for another god will be multiplied; I shall not pour out their drink offerings of blood, Nor will I take their names upon my lips. NASB). A literal translation of this verse is “will be multiplied the sorrows another hasten nor pour their drink of blood nor take their names upon my lips” does not specifically state that those have “bartered for another god.” Though, the “pouring of their drink of blood” suggests a connection to the pagan festivals of the surrounding nations. This verse is a little difficult to translate and we can see this comparing the Aramaic and Greek translations. The Aramaic Targum states ד ורשיעיא מסגן צלמניהון סלמניהון מן בתר כן מוחן לקרבא קורבניהון לא אקבל ברעוא נסוכיהון ודם קורבניהין ולא אדכר שומהון שמהתהון על סיפוותי׃ 16:4 But the wicked multiply their idols; afterwards they hurry to make their sacrifices. I will not receive favorably their libations or the blood of their sacrifices, nor will I mention their name with my lips. (EMC) The Septuagint states 16:4 ἐπληθύνθησαν αἱ ἀσθένειαι αὐτῶν μετὰ ταῦτα ἐτάχυναν οὐ μὴ συναγάγω τὰς συναγωγὰς αὐτῶν ἐξ αἱμάτων οὐδὲ μὴ μνησθῶ τῶν ὀνομάτων αὐτῶν διὰ χειλέων μου 16:4 Their weaknesses have been multiplied; afterward they hasted. I will by no means assemble their bloody meetings, neither will I make mention of their names with my lips. (LXX) The blood offerings that are brought by the nations is not according to God’s instruction where typically a pig is slaughtered before their gods (i.e. The Easter festival and why people typically have ham on Easter Sunday), therefore the rabbis translate in Greek, that the Lord did not assemble their bloody meetings, and that He (the Lord) will not even make mention of their names upon His lips. The sorrows of those who pour out their cup of blood to their gods will be multiplied because their gods are made of wood and stone will not answer them.

Antithetical to the nations pouring out their drink offerings of blood, David says “16:5 The Lord is the portion of my inheritance and my cup; You support my lot.” ה יְהוָה מְנָת-חֶלְקִי וְכוֹסִי אַתָּה תּוֹמִיךְ גּוֹרָלִי: the Lord is his heritage and that is beautiful to him. (ו חֲבָלִים נָפְלוּ-לִי בַּנְּעִמִים אַף-נַחֲלָת שָׁפְרָה עָלָי:, 16:6 The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places; Indeed, my heritage is beautiful to me. NASB) It is interesting here that the Lord being his portion and lot, the cup of his inheritance, this sounds very similar to the Torah text on the inheritance of the Levite whose portion was the Lord and the best things of Israel. Devarim / Deuteronomy 18:1-2 א לֹא-יִהְיֶה לַכֹּהֲנִים הַלְוִיִּם כָּל-שֵׁבֶט לֵוִי חֵלֶק וְנַחֲלָה עִם-יִשְֹרָאֵל אִשֵּׁי יְהוָֹה וְנַחֲלָתוֹ יֹאכֵלוּן: ב וְנַחֲלָה לֹא-יִהְיֶה-לּוֹ בְּקֶרֶב אֶחָיו יְהוָֹה הוּא נַחֲלָתוֹ כַּאֲשֶׁר דִּבֶּר-לוֹ: 18:1 The Levitical priests, the whole tribe of Levi, shall have no portion or inheritance with Israel; they shall eat the LORD’S offerings by fire and His portion. 18:2 They shall have no inheritance among their countrymen; the LORD is their inheritance, as He promised them. (NASB) David says that the Lord is his portion, his inheritance, and his cup and that the Lord supports his lot. He looks to the Lord for his sustenance for his nourishment, his food and drink. This parallels the nations who look to their gods of wood and stone. The Lord God of Israel however does answer and gives counsel throughout the generations of peoples who seek after Him! Rightly so, the counsel of the Lord is to guide and direct us according to His Word (the Bible).

David says that he set the Lord continually before him, even at his right hand, and he says that he will not be shaken (ז אֲבָרֵךְ אֶת-יְהֹוָה אֲשֶׁר יְעָצָנִי אַף-לֵילוֹת יִסְּרוּנִי כִלְיוֹתָי: ח שִׁוִּיתִי יְהֹוָה לְנֶגְדִּי תָמִיד כִּי מִימִינִי בַּל-אֶמּוֹט:). As a result of having placed the Lord God before him, standing in the Lord, in the security and unmovable nature of God, his body will dwell in security (ט לָכֵן | שָֹמַח לִבִּי וַיָּגֶל כְּבוֹדִי אַף-בְּשָֹרִי יִשְׁכֹּן לָבֶטַח:) The Aramaic translation states ח שויתי יהוה מימרא דייי לקובלי תדירא מטול ארום דשכינתיה שריא עלי מן ימיני לא אזוע׃ ט בגין כן חדא לבי ורנין איקרי אוף בסרי ישרי לרוחצן בתכילי׃ 16:8 I have placed the Lord before me always, for his presence rests on me; I shall not be shaken. 16:9 Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoices; besides, my flesh shall dwell in security. (EMC) The Septuagint states 16:8 προωρώμην τὸν κύριον ἐνώπιόν μου διὰ παντός ὅτι ἐκ δεξιῶν μού ἐστιν ἵνα μὴ σαλευθῶ 16:9 διὰ τοῦτο ηὐφράνθη ἡ καρδία μου καὶ ἠγαλλιάσατο ἡ γλῶσσά μου ἔτι δὲ καὶ ἡ σάρξ μου κατασκηνώσει ἐπ’ ἐλπίδι 16:8 I foresaw the Lord always before my face; for he is on my right hand, that I should not be moved. 16:9 Therefore my heart rejoiced an my tongue exulted; moreover also my flesh shall rest in hope (LXX). From the Aramaic and Greek translations, the rabbis believe setting God before us is synonymous with having His presence rest upon us. How does placing the Lord ahead of us cause His presence to rest upon us? When we allow the Lord to move ahead of us, this means that we trust in God to work while we wait upon Him to do His good work in our lives (and in the lives of others), to save us and to deliver us, as a result we are unmovable. It is interesting here the LXX translates the Hebrew text to say 16:8 I foresaw the Lord always before my face; for he is on my right hand, that I should not be moved.(NASB) In the Scriptures, the right hand is used to describe a place of power. Take for example the words of God to Eli in 1 Samuel 2:31 “Behold, the days are coming that I will cut off your arm and the arm of your father’s house, so that there will not be an old man in your house.” The Lord did not literally cut off his arm, but that Eli and his family lost their strength, his family did not have any more children. In other passages it says “…Whose mouth speaks vain words, and whose right hand is a right hand of falsehood.” (Tehilim / Psalm 144:8), “Length of days is in her right hand, In her left hand riches and honor.” (Mishley / Proverbs 3:16), “By the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armor of righteousness on the right hand and on the left….” (2 Corinthians 6:7), “O LORD, be gracious to us; We have waited for You. Be their arm every morning, Our salvation also in the time of trouble.” (Isaiah 33:2, ב יְהֹוָה חָנֵּנוּ לְךָ קִוִּינוּ הֱיֵה זְרֹעָם לַבְּקָרִים אַף-יְשׁוּעָתֵנוּ בְּעֵת צָרָה:) Scripture states specifically that there is a connection to power in the right hand, “You have a mighty arm; Strong is Your hand, and high is Your right hand.” (Tehillim / Psalm 89:13) Moshe speaks of “the great trials which your eyes saw, the signs and the wonders, the mighty hand and the outstretched arm, by which the LORD your God brought you out.” (Devarim / Deuteronomy 7:19, יט הַמַּסֹּת הַגְּדֹלֹת אֲשֶׁר-רָאוּ עֵינֶיךָ וְהָאֹתֹת וְהַמֹּפְתִים וְהַיָּד הַחֲזָקָה וְהַזְּרֹעַ הַנְּטוּיָה אֲשֶׁר הוֹצִאֲךָ יְהוָֹה אֱלֹהֶיךָ כֵּן-יַעֲשֶֹה יְהוָֹה אֱלֹהֶיךָ לְכָל-הָעַמִּים אֲשֶׁר-אַתָּה יָרֵא מִפְּנֵיהֶם:) Also, “Your right hand, O LORD, has become glorious in power; Your right hand, O LORD, has dashed the enemy in pieces.” (Shemot / Exodus 16:6) In Shemot / Exodus the Scripture is speaking of the drowning of the Egyptians in the Red Sea. The people saw the Lord’s power at work and described it as the right hand of God. Scripture also says “For they did not gain possession of the land by their own sword, Nor did their own arm save them; But it was Your right hand, Your arm, and the light of Your countenance.” (Tehillim / Psalm 44:3) This Scripture describes the Lord’s power working in people and this world to help them conquer the land. Scripture also states “And Your right hand shall teach You awesome things.” (Tehillim / Psalm 45:4), “Your right hand is full of righteousness” (Tehillim / Psalm 48:10), “Awake, awake, put on strength, O Arm of the LORD!” (Isaiah 51:9, ט עוּרִי עוּרִי לִבְשִׁי-עֹז זְרוֹעַ יְהֹוָה עוּרִי כִּימֵי קֶדֶם דּוֹרוֹת עוֹלָמִים הֲלוֹא אַתְּ-הִיא הַמַּחְצֶבֶת רַהַב מְחוֹלֶלֶת תַּנִּין:), and “Behold, the Lord GOD shall come with a strong hand, And His arm shall rule for Him.” (Isaiah 40:10, י הִנֵּה אֲדֹנָי יְהֶוִֹה בְּחָזָק יָבוֹא וּזְרֹעוֹ מֹשְׁלָה לוֹ הִנֵּה שְֹכָרוֹ אִתּוֹ וּפְעֻלָּתוֹ לְפָנָיו:) It is interesting, studying the Hebrew Scriptures, the “arm” of the Lord, according to Devarim / Deuteronomy 7:19 states “mighty hand and outstretched seed.” All of the Isaiah references shown above translates the word “seed” or “descendents” as the “arm” of God. This suggests that the Arm of God is present in His ability to preserve His people. Brown Driver and Briggs Lexicon states that the Hebrew word זרע can mean “to sow, scatter seed, offspring, plowing, moral action, righteous deeds, evil-doing, practicing idolatry, distress,” other uses are as a reference to the “seed of David as anointed to reign” as “sitting on a throne,” “the seed of righteousness,” “of children and grandchildren,” and as “arm, shoulder, or strength.” The usage of the word for seed has many applications depending upon the context of its usage. Here we find the rabbis translating the security of God as synonymous with having God at one’s right hand.

The Scriptures clearly describe security and power in the right hand. David said that the Lord going before him sets him in security in such a way so as to keep his soul from the grave and from undergoing decay (י כִּי | לֹא-תַעֲזֹב נַפְשִׁי לִשְׁאוֹל לֹא-תִתֵּן חֲסִידְךָ לִרְאוֹת שָׁחַת:) David concludes saying that יא תוֹדִיעֵנִי אֹרַח חַיִּים שֹבַע שְֹמָחוֹת אֶת-פָּנֶיךָ נְעִמוֹת בִּימִינְךָ נֶצַח: 16:11 You will make known to me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; In Your right hand there are pleasures forever. (NASB) If we seek the Lord and His counsel, if we place Him first in our lives, set Him at our right hand and desire to dwell in His presence, we will be filled with the joy of the Lord and His salvation.

In addition to these things, these particular verses are used in the Apostolic Writings, Tehillim / Psalms 16:8-11 in Acts 2:25-28 and Tehillim / Psalms 16:10 in Acts 13:35 as proof text supporting God’s actions and plan to raise the Messiah from the dead. Let’s read these verses from Acts and understand the context with which these verses from the Psalms are being used.

Acts 2:25-28

2:25 ‘For David says of Him, ‘I saw the Lord always in my presence; For He is at my right hand, so that I will not be shaken. 2:26 ‘Therefore my heart was glad and my tongue exulted; Moreover my flesh also will live in hope; 2:27 Because You will not abandon my soul to Hades, Nor allow Your Holy One to undergo decay. 2:28 ‘You have made known to me the ways of life; You will make me full of gladness with Your presence.’ (NASB)

25Δαυὶδ γὰρ λέγει εἰς αὐτόν, Προορώμην τὸν κύριον ἐνώπιόν μου διὰ παντός, ὅτι ἐκ δεξιῶν μού ἐστιν ἵνα μὴ σαλευθῶ. 26διὰ τοῦτο ηὐφράνθη ἡ καρδία μου καὶ ἠγαλλιάσατο ἡ γλῶσσά μου, ἔτι δὲ καὶ ἡ σάρξ μου κατασκηνώσει ἐπ’ ἐλπίδι: 27ὅτι οὐκ ἐγκαταλείψεις τὴν ψυχήν μου εἰς ἅ|δην, οὐδὲ δώσεις τὸν ὅσιόν σου ἰδεῖν διαφθοράν. 28ἐγνώρισάς μοι ὁδοὺς ζωῆς, πληρώσεις με εὐφροσύνης μετὰ τοῦ προσώπου σου.

Acts 13:23-35

13:23 ‘From the descendants of this man, according to promise, God has brought to Israel a Savior, Jesus, 13:24 after John had proclaimed before His coming a baptism of repentance to all the people of Israel. 13:25 ‘And while John was completing his course, he kept saying, ‘What do you suppose that I am? I am not He. But behold, one is coming after me the sandals of whose feet I am not worthy to untie.’ 13:26 ‘Brethren, sons of Abraham’s family, and those among you who fear God, to us the message of this salvation has been sent. 13:27 ‘For those who live in Jerusalem, and their rulers, recognizing neither Him nor the utterances of the prophets which are read every Sabbath, fulfilled these by condemning Him 13:28 ‘And though they found no ground for putting Him to death, they asked Pilate that He be executed. 13:29 ‘When they had carried out all that was written concerning Him, they took Him down from the cross and laid Him in a tomb. 13:30 ‘But God raised Him from the dead; 13:31 and for many days He appeared to those who came up with Him from Galilee to Jerusalem, the very ones who are now His witnesses to the people. 13:32 ‘And we preach to you the good news of the promise made to the fathers, 13:33 that God has fulfilled this promise to our children in that He raised up Jesus, as it is also written in the second Psalm, ‘You are My Son; today have begotten You.’ 13:34 ‘As for the fact that He raised Him up from the dead, no longer to return to decay, He has spoken in this way: ‘I will give you the holy and sure blessings of David.’ 13:35 ‘Therefore He also says in another Psalm, ‘You will not allow Your Holy One to undergo decay.’ (NASB)

23τούτου ὁ θεὸς ἀπὸ τοῦ σπέρματος κατ’ ἐπαγγελίαν ἤγαγεν τῷ Ἰσραὴλ σωτῆρα Ἰησοῦν, 24προκηρύξαντος Ἰωάννου πρὸ προσώπου τῆς εἰσόδου αὐτοῦ βάπτισμα μετανοίας παντὶ τῷ λαῷ Ἰσραήλ. 25ὡς δὲ ἐπλήρου Ἰωάννης τὸν δρόμον, ἔλεγεν, Τί ἐμὲ ὑπονοεῖτε εἶναι; οὐκ εἰμὶ ἐγώ: ἀλλ’ ἰδοὺ ἔρχεται μετ’ ἐμὲ οὗ οὐκ εἰμὶ ἄξιος τὸ ὑπόδημα τῶν ποδῶν λῦσαι. 26Ἄνδρες ἀδελφοί, υἱοὶ γένους Ἀβραὰμ καὶ οἱ ἐν ὑμῖν φοβούμενοι τὸν θεόν, ἡμῖν ὁ λόγος τῆς σωτηρίας ταύτης ἐξαπεστάλη. 27οἱ γὰρ κατοικοῦντες ἐν Ἰερουσαλὴμ καὶ οἱ ἄρχοντες αὐτῶν τοῦτον ἀγνοήσαντες καὶ τὰς φωνὰς τῶν προφητῶν τὰς κατὰ πᾶν σάββατον ἀναγινωσκομένας κρίναντες ἐπλήρωσαν, 28καὶ μηδεμίαν αἰτίαν θανάτου εὑρόντες ᾐτήσαντο Πιλᾶτον ἀναιρεθῆναι αὐτόν: 29ὡς δὲ ἐτέλεσαν πάντα τὰ περὶ αὐτοῦ γεγραμμένα, καθελόντες ἀπὸ τοῦ ξύλου ἔθηκαν εἰς μνημεῖον. 30ὁ δὲ θεὸς ἤγειρεν αὐτὸν ἐκ νεκρῶν: 31ὃς ὤφθη ἐπὶ ἡμέρας πλείους τοῖς συναναβᾶσιν αὐτῷ ἀπὸ τῆς Γαλιλαίας εἰς Ἰερουσαλήμ, οἵτινες [νῦν] εἰσιν μάρτυρες αὐτοῦ πρὸς τὸν λαόν. 32καὶ ἡμεῖς ὑμᾶς εὐαγγελιζόμεθα τὴν πρὸς τοὺς πατέρας ἐπαγγελίαν γενομένην, 33ὅτι ταύτην ὁ θεὸς ἐκπεπλήρωκεν τοῖς τέκνοις [αὐτῶν] ἡμῖν ἀναστήσας Ἰησοῦν, ὡς καὶ ἐν τῷ ψαλμῷ γέγραπται τῷ δευτέρῳ, Υἱός μου εἶ σύ, ἐγὼ σήμερον γεγέννηκά σε. 34ὅτι δὲ ἀνέστησεν αὐτὸν ἐκ νεκρῶν μηκέτι μέλλοντα ὑποστρέφειν εἰς διαφθοράν, οὕτως εἴρηκεν ὅτι Δώσω ὑμῖν τὰ ὅσια Δαυὶδ τὰ πιστά. 35διότι καὶ ἐν ἑτέρῳ λέγει, Οὐ δώσεις τὸν ὅσιόν σου ἰδεῖν διαφθοράν.

What is happening in Acts 2 is that the disciples gathered in Jerusalem during Chag Shavuot (Festival of Pentecost) in one place and when they were all gathered together, they were filled with the Holy Spirit. Following this they all went out and began speaking in tongues and the people were amazed that each man heard them speaking in their own native tongue. Some of the men present said they are drunk and others were mocking them. As a result of what the people were saying, Peter stood up and began to explain to the people that they were not drunk but that the words of the Prophet Joel have been fulfilled.

Joel 2:28-32

2:28 ‘It will come about after this That I will pour out My Spirit on all mankind; And your sons and daughters will prophesy, Your old men will dream dreams, Your young men will see visions. 2:29 ‘Even on the male and female servants I will pour out My Spirit in those days. 2:30 ‘I will display wonders in the sky and on the earth, Blood, fire and columns of smoke. 2:31 ‘The sun will be turned into darkness And the moon into blood Before the great and awesome day of the Lord comes. 2:32 ‘And it will come about that whoever calls on the name of the Lord Will be delivered; For on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem There will be those who escape, As the Lord has said, Even among the survivors whom the Lord calls. (NASB)

א וְהָיָה אַֽחֲרֵי־כֵן אֶשְׁפֹּוךְ אֶת־רוּחִי עַל־כָּל־בָּשָׂר וְנִבְּאוּ בְּנֵיכֶם וּבְנֹֽותֵיכֶם זִקְנֵיכֶם חֲלֹמֹות יַחֲלֹמוּן בַּחוּרֵיכֶם חֶזְיֹנֹות יִרְאֽוּ׃ ב וְגַם עַל־הָֽעֲבָדִים וְעַל־הַשְּׁפָחֹות בַּיָּמִים הָהֵמָּה אֶשְׁפֹּוךְ אֶת־רוּחִֽי׃ ג וְנָֽתַתִּי מֹֽופְתִים בַּשָּׁמַיִם וּבָאָרֶץ דָּם וָאֵשׁ וְתִֽימֲרֹות עָשָֽׁן׃ ד הַשֶּׁמֶשׁ יֵהָפֵךְ לְחֹשֶׁךְ וְהַיָּרֵחַ לְדָם לִפְנֵי בֹּוא יֹום יְהוָה הַגָּדֹול וְהַנֹּורָֽא׃ ה וְהָיָה כֹּל אֲשֶׁר־יִקְרָא בְּשֵׁם יְהוָה יִמָּלֵט כִּי בְּהַר־צִיֹּון וּבִירוּשָׁלִַם תִּֽהְיֶה פְלֵיטָה כַּֽאֲשֶׁר אָמַר יְהוָה וּבַשְּׂרִידִים אֲשֶׁר יְהוָה קֹרֵֽא׃

Peter goes on to say that Yeshua the Nazarene, a man attested to you by God with miracles, wonders and signs that were performed in their midst, that God had raised him from the Dead. Peter says that David wrote of Him (Yeshua) in Tehillim / Psalms 16 saying in Acts 2:25 ‘For David says of Him, ‘I saw the Lord always in my presence; For He is at my right hand, so that I will not be shaken. 2:26 ‘Therefore my heart was glad and my tongue exulted; Moreover my flesh also will live in hope; 2:27 Because You will not abandon my soul to Hades, Nor allow Your Holy One to undergo decay. 2:28 ‘You have made known to me the ways of life; You will make me full of gladness with Your presence.’ (NASB) The Apostles believed the words of David were prophetic when he stated that the Lord goes before him and will not allow his soul to see decay (י כִּי | לֹא-תַעֲזֹב נַפְשִׁי לִשְׁאוֹל לֹא-תִתֵּן חֲסִידְךָ לִרְאוֹת שָׁחַת:) What we find here in Acts 2 is Apostolic commentary on the Psalms and the belief of the resurrection of the dead that is taken from the Tanach. Later on in Acts 13, the Apostles are recounting the story of Yeshua and quote from Tehillim / Psalms 2:7 (Acts 13:33) and from Tehillim / Psalms 16:10 (Acts 13:34-35) 13:34 ‘As for the fact that He raised Him up from the dead, no longer to return to decay, He has spoken in this way: ‘I will give you the holy and sure blessings of David.’ 13:35 ‘Therefore He also says in another Psalm, ‘You will not allow Your Holy One to undergo decay.’ (NASB) Note that in the retelling of who Yeshua is, the Apostles reference the Covenant of Abraham, the Covenant of Moshe (Torah) and that God has kept His covenant with David. They warn then to take heed that what was spoken of the prophets may not come upon you Acts 13:41 ‘Behold, you scoffers, and marvel, and perish; For I am accomplishing a work in your days, A work which you will never believe, though someone should describe it to you.’‘ (NASB) Today too we should take heed seeing the consistency of Scripture, God throughout time was working to bring Salvation, His Messiah Yeshua, into this world for the purpose of redeeming you and I and all those who would place their faith and trust in Him. Thank You Lord for such a wonderful salvation and for sending your Son to make restitution, atonement, and provide redemption for us today. Amen!

Rabbinic Commentary

The rabbinic commentary (Midrash) on Tehillim / Psalms 16 has 13 parts. Reading through this week’s Midrash we will be looking at Parts 2, 3, 7, 10, and 12. Let’s begin by outlining Midrash Tehillim Chapter 16 Parts 2, 3, 4, 7, 10, and 12.

Outline of Midrash Tehillim / Psalms, Chapter 16, Parts 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6

Part 2:

  • The Midrash introduces the Psalm with the דיבור המתחיל (Dibur Hamathil) “Another comment on I have said unto the Lord, You are my Lord (Tehillim / Psalms 16:2).”
  • The פתיחתא (Petihta) “the homiletic introduction” to the Midrash says “David said to the Holy One blessed be He, Master of the universe, though I am a king, I set You as king over me!”
  • The משל (mashal) “the parable,” goes on to explain the פתיחתא (Petihta), the rabbis provide and answer and response from the Holy One blessed be He regarding the righteous man.
  • The נמשל (Nimshal) “expansion on the parable” expands upon the משל (mashal), the rabbis discuss when the Lord God calls a man righteous and reasons why He does so.
  • The Concluding phrase says “The generation of Enosh, the generation of the flood, the generation that saw the dispersion of the races of mankind, and the people of Sodom. And so it is said that even if a righteous man rises up, He trusts not in the living, that is, As long as the righteous is among the living, God trusts him not.”

Part 3:

  • The Midrash introduces the Psalm with the דיבור המתחיל (Dibur Hamathil) “Their sorrows will be multiplied (Tehillim / Psalms 16:4).”
  • The פתיחתא (Petihta) “the homiletic introduction” to the Midrash says “You did multiply in sorrows for all the children of men, saying to them, In sorrow will you eat of it all the days of your life (Bereshit / Genesis 3:16).”
  • The משל (mashal) “the parable,” goes on to explain the פתיחתא (Petihta), the rabbis go on to discuss how God has multiplied the sorrows of men.
  • The נמשל (Nimshal) “expansion on the parable” expands upon the משל (mashal), the rabbis expand on the “multiplying of sorrows” looking at the contrast between “oblations” and “ritual offerings of blood.”
  • The Concluding phrase says “Here God refers to the traditional practice described in a Mishnah, Upon the lower half of the ramp of the altar, on the west side thereof, priests placed portions of the lamb that was offered up and salted them; then leaving the ramp, the priests went back to the chamber of hewn stone there to recite the Shema.”

Part 4:

  • The Midrash introduces the Psalm with the דיבור המתחיל (Dibur Hamathil) “Another comment on Their sorrows will be multiplied.”
  • The פתיחתא (Petihta) “the homiletic introduction” to the Midrash says “David said, You did multiply sorrows for the generation who in a time of persecution died to hallow Your name.”
  • The משל (mashal) “the parable,” goes on to explain the פתיחתא (Petihta), the rabbis draw a parallel to the ritual offerings and the offering of ones life for holiness sake.
  • The נמשל (Nimshal) “expansion on the parable” expands upon the משל (mashal), the rabbis expand on suffering, holiness, and offerings.
  • The Concluding phrase says “They fetched iron balls, brought them to a white heat, and put them into the armpits of the children of Israel who were thus slowly done to death. Or they fetched sharpened reeds and drove them under the nails of the children of Israel. And in these ways they died for the hallowing of the Name.”

Part 7:

  • The Midrash introduces the Psalm with the דיבור המתחיל (Dibur Hamathil) “I will bless the Lord, who has given me counsel; yea, in the night seasons my rein instruct me (Tehillim / Psalms 16:7).”
  • The פתיחתא (Petihta) “the homiletic introduction” to the Midrash says “According to rabbi Samuel son of Nahman, this verse refers to Abraham.”
  • The משל (mashal) “the parable,” goes on to explain the פתיחתא (Petihta), the rabbis say that Abraham was given the Torah
  • The נמשל (Nimshal) “expansion on the parable” expands upon the משל (mashal), the rabbis explain how and why they believe God had given Abraham the Torah.
  • The Concluding phrase says “For further commentary upon this matter, see our exposition of the First Psalm.”

Part 10:

  • The Midrash introduces the Psalm with the דיבור המתחיל (Dibur Hamathil) “Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoices (Tehillim / Psalms 16:9).”
  • The פתיחתא (Petihta) “the homiletic introduction” to the Midrash says “Rabbi Abbahu commented, At the very moment that small minded men propose to make use of glory, it is removed from them.”
  • The משל (mashal) “the parable,” goes on to explain the פתיחתא (Petihta), the rabbis discuss being glad and rejoicing.
  • The נמשל (Nimshal) “expansion on the parable” expands upon the משל (mashal), the rabbis provide examples on how a man can be glad and rejoice.
  • The Concluding phrase says “Rabbi Isaac said, This verse proves that neither corruption nor worms had power of David’s flesh.”

Part 12:

  • The Midrash introduces the Psalm with the דיבור המתחיל (Dibur Hamathil) “You will show me the path of life (Tehillim / Psalms 16:11).”
  • The פתיחתא (Petihta) “According to Rabbi Yudan, David said to the Holy One blessed be He, Master of the universe, show me the path of life.”
  • The משל (mashal) “the parable,” goes on to explain the פתיחתא (Petihta), the rabbis discuss the Lord’s response to David’s question asking to be shown the path of life.
  • The נמשל (Nimshal) “expansion on the parable” expands upon the משל (mashal), the rabbis direct our attention to the Torah as a way of life and the joy of the Lord.
  • The Concluding phrase says “… the seven requirements for the feast of Tabernacles, namely, the citron, the palm, the myrtle, the willow, the booth, the sacrifice, and the rejoicing.”

The beginning words (דיבור המתחיל, Dibur Hamathil) of Midrash Tehillim 16, Part 2 states “Another comment on I have said unto the Lord, You are my Lord (Tehillim / Psalms 16:2).” Part 2 of Midrash Tehillim 16 looks at Tehillim / Psalms 16:2 ב אָמַרְתְּ לַיהֹוָה אֲדֹנָי אָתָּה טוֹבָתִי בַּל-עָלֶיךָ: 16:2 I said to the Lord, ‘You are my Lord; I have no good besides You.’ (NASB) The rabbis say that “David said to the Holy One blessed be He, Master of the universe, though I am a king, I set You as king over me!” The midrash states that God answered David saying “The Holy One blessed be He answered, I do not yet regard goodness as firmly fixed in you, My good is not in you (tobati bal aleka) (Tehillim / Psalms 16:2). In whom, then, is My goodness firmly fixed?” (אמר לו הקב״ה איני מחזיק לך טובה, טובתי בל עליך, ולמי היא טובתי) They say that goodness is fixed in the holy who are “in” the Earth (Tehillim / Psalms 16:3).

The Holy One blessed be He, does not call the righteous man holy until he is laid away in the earth. Why not? Because the inclination to evil keeps pressing him. And so God does not put His trust in him in this world till the day of his death. So too, Solomon said, There is not a righteous man upon the earth, that does good and sins not (Ecclesiastes 7:20). That the Lord will not call a righteous man holy until he is laid away in the earth is what is meant by The holy that are in the earth. Even the Patriarchs were not called holy ones until they were laid away in the earth, for it is said Behold, He puts no trust in His holy ones (Job 16:15). (שאין הקב״ה קורא לצדיק קדוש עד שינתן בארץ, למה שיצר הרע מיצר לו, ואין מאמין בו בעולם הזה עד יום מותו, וכן אמר שלמה כי אדם אין צדיק בארץ אשר יעשה טוב ולא יחטא (קהלת ז כ), לפיכך אינו קוראו קדוש עד שינתן בארץ, לכך נאמר לקדושים אשר בארץ, ואפילו אבות העולם לא נקראו קדושים עד שניתנו בארץ, שנאמר הן בקדושיו לא יאמין (איוב טו טו)) (Midrash Tehillim 16, Part 2)

It is interesting to note that the Aramaic Targum translates Tehillim / Psalms 16:3 as “the holy ones,” ג לקדישיא די בארעא הינון אינון הודעו אודעו כח גבורתי מן שירויא וגוותנין בעובדיהון טביא כל רעותי טבא בהון׃ 16:3 To the holy ones that are in the in the land they have declared the might of my power from the beginning; and as for those proud of their good deeds, my good will is for them. (EMC) whereas “holy ones” is translated as “saints” (ἁγίοις) in the NASB and the LXX translations, 16:3 τοῖς ἁγίοις τοῖς ἐν τῇ γῇ αὐτοῦ ἐθαυμάστωσεν πάντα τὰ θελήματα αὐτοῦ ἐν αὐτοῖς 16:3 On behalf of the saints that are in his land, he has magnified all his pleasure in them. (LXX) The rabbis say however that a man is not called holy until he is in the earth (dead). Why do you think the rabbis say that God does not call the righteous man holy until he is laid away in the earth?

The rabbis continue saying that “When did God show that He had put His trust in them? When He said to Moshe, Go and gather the elders of Israel together, and say unto them, The Lord, The God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob (Shemot / Exodus 3:16). It was upon these that Moshe leaned when he prayed, Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, Your servants (Shemot / Exodus 32:13).” (ואימתי האמין בהם, בשעה שאמר למשה לך ואספת את זקני ישראל (שמות ג יז), סמך משה ואמר זכור לאברהם ליצחק ולישראל עבדיך (שם שמות לב יג)) What does it mean when the rabbis say “the Lord had put His trust in them?” The example/answer that is given is that when He said to Moshe to go and gather the elders of Israel and speak to them of the God of their fathers “Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.” They say that it was upon Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob that Moshe leaned upon when he prayed to remember Your servants. What does it mean that Moshe “leaned when he prayed?” It does not seem so much that Moshe leaned upon the men themselves but upon the promises of God, that the Lord had promised to Abraham that He would deliver his descendents who would go into slavery in Egypt. The promises of God are trustworthy and true and it is not upon men that He places His trust. Midrash Tehillim 16, Part 2 concludes saying “Rabbi Aha son of Papa taught, what is meant by the verse He draws away the mighty also by His power (Job 24:22)? It means that the Inclination to evil, by its power, draws even the mighty away. Who are they? The generation of Enosh, the generation of the flood, the generation that saw the dispersion of the races of mankind, and the people of Sodom. And so it is said that even if a righteous man rises up, He trusts not in the living, that is, As long as the righteous is among the living, God trusts him not.” In Judaism, as we are seeing here, yetzer hara ( יצר הרע‎ “the evil inclination”), refers to the inclination to do evil, by violating the will of God. The term is drawn from the phrase “the imagination of the heart of man is evil” (יֵצֶר לֵב הָאָדָם רַע), which occurs twice in the Hebrew Bible, in Bereshit / Genesis 6:5 and 8:21. We know that the imagination of the heart of man is evil from birth, and this is why we must seek the Lord and His righteousness for our lives. We seek God for healing of our souls knowing that in Yeshua the Messiah, we are delivered and set free from the bondage of sin and from the evil inclination. The important point we can take away from Midrash Tehillim 16, Part 2 is that God does not trust in man, He keeps His promises and we can trust in Him for salvation. The Lord God Almighty delivered us in His Son Yeshua, and today we are set free from sin.

Midrash Tehillim 16, Part 3 is introduced (דיבור המתחיל, Dibur Hamathil) saying “Their sorrows will be multiplied (Tehillim / Psalms 16:4).” The homiletic introduction (פתיחתא, Petihta) to the midrash states “You did multiply in sorrows for all the children of men, saying to them, In sorrow will you eat of it all the days of your life (Bereshit / Genesis 3:16)” a reference to the curse, woman will have increased pain in child birth. The rabbis discuss how God multiplied the sorrows of man and even multiplied the sorrows of the Patriarchs. The Lord asks have they suffered any loss? The “multiplying of sorrows” looking at the contrast between “oblations” and “ritual offerings of blood.” According to the Britannica Concise Encyclopedia, “oblation” “in Christianity is the offering up by the faithful of any gift for use usually by the clergy, the church, or the sick or poor. The bread and wine offered for consecration in the Eucharist are oblations. In the Middle Ages children dedicated to a monastery and left there to be brought up were called oblates. Later, oblates were laity who lived at or in close connection with a monastery but who did not take religious vows. Members of certain Roman Catholic communities take the title oblate (e.g., the Oblates Regular of St. Benedict).” According to the Jewish Encyclopedia, “oblation” was a form of sacrifice. “Under Moses, according to the Pentateuch (Torah), this freedom to offer sacrifices anywhere and without the ministrations of the appointed sacerdotal agents disappears. The proper place for the oblations was to be “before the door of the tabernacle,” where the altar of burnt offerings stood (Shemot / Exodus), and where YHVH met His people (Shemot / Exodus xxix. 42; Vayikra / Leviticus i. 3, iv. 4, xii. 6, xv. 14, 29, xvi. 7; xvii. 2-6, xix. 21), or simply “before YHVH” (Vayikra / Leviticus iii. 1, 7, 12, ix. 2, 4, 5), and later in Jerusalem in the Temple (Devarim / Deuteronomy xii. 5-7, 11, 12). The prophet Jeremiah takes up the burden (Jeremiah vi. 19, 20, compare to xxxi. 31-33). He, like Amos, in expressing his scorn for the burnt offerings and other slaughtered oblations, takes occasion to deny that the fathers had been commanded concerning these things when they came forth from Egypt. Malachi, a century later, complains of the wrong spirit which is manifest at the sacrifices (Malachi i. 10). The Mosaic sacrificial scheme is for the most part set forth in Leviticus. The sacrifices ordained may be divided into the bloodless and the blood-giving kinds. This division takes into consideration the nature of the offering. But another classification may be made according to the occasion for which the oblation is brought and the sentiments and motives of the offerer. On this basis the sacrifices are divided into: (1) burnt offerings, (2) thank or praise-offerings, (3) sin or trespass-offerings, and (4) purification offerings. Among the thank-offerings might be included the paschal lamb, the offering of the first-born, and the First-Fruits; in the category of sin-offerings, the jealousy-offering. As a rule, the burnt, the expiatory, and the purification offerings were animal sacrifices, but in exceptional cases a cereal (grain) sin-offering was accepted or prescribed. Thank-offerings might consist either of animal or of vegetable oblations. The bloodless oblations consisted of vegetable products, chief among which were flour (in some cases roasted grains) and wine. Next in importance was oil. As accessories, frankincense and salt were required, the latter being added on nearly all occasions. Leaven and honey were used in a few instances only. Prayer in the synagogue was also tantamount to offering a pure oblation (Isaiah lxvi. 20 and Talmud Bavli Yer. Ber. 8d).” According to the rabbis in Midrash Tehillim 16, Part 3, the Holy One blessed be He said “Do I not look upon their ‘oblations’ as more valuable than ‘ritual offerings of blood?’” The rabbis suggest there is a difference between “oblation” and the “ritual offering of blood” even though an “oblation” included offerings that were with and without blood. The midrash concludes saying “Here God refers to the traditional practice described in a Mishnah, Upon the lower half of the ramp of the altar, on the west side thereof, priests placed portions of the lamb that was offered up and salted them; then leaving the ramp, the priests went back to the chamber of hewn stone there to recite the Shema.” The rabbis state that God increased the sorrows of the Patriarchs, and God answers asking did they suffer loss? That the Lord sees a difference between the oblation and the blood ritual sacrifice and conclude with the traditional practice in the Mishnah on the sacrifices with regard to the altar, the priest lays the portion of the lamb that is salted and offered before the Lord and then later the priest goes into the chamber and recites the Shema as a prayer before God. The reciting of the Shema as a prayer would follow with the rabbinic understanding on prayer being a substitute for sacrifice. The interesting point is that the rabbis say that God looked to the prayers of the Patriarchs, the oblations of the lips, with more favor than the blood sacrifices. The Patriarchs were given a portion of the Torah but not all of the Torah in its complete form that we have today. The interesting point on all of this is that whenever the Partiarchs renewed the covenant with God, they did so in the blood ritual. Certainly God is looking for the man who seeks after Him, one who humbles himself and prays. However, the offering of our lips as an oblation do not substitute for and replace the ritual blood sacrifice that is required for the making of the covenant of God. Today we seek God in prayer asking for the forgiveness of sins, and believing in the sacrifice that Yeshua offered on our behalf in his own blood, to make atonement for our sins. Yeshua made atonement for our sins and by faith we have a part in the covenant relationship with the Lord God Almighty, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

According to Midrash Tehillim 16, Part 4, the rabbis make another comment on their sorrows will be multiplied. The פתיחתא (Petihta) “the homiletic introduction” to the Midrash says “David said, You did multiply sorrows for the generation who in a time of persecution died to hallow Your name” and the Lord replies again saying “Do I not look upon their oblations as more valuable than ritual offerings of blood? (Tehillim / Psalms 16:4)” and then continues saying “The blood of those who died to hallow My name is of more worth to Me than all ritual offerings.” Rabbi Levi taught in the name of rabbi Idi, “Suffering is divided into three portions, One, the Patriarchs and all the generations of men took; One, the patriarchs that lived in the time of the Hadrian’s persecution took; and one, the Lord Messiah will take.” (אמר ר׳ לוי בשם ר׳ אידי שלשה חלקים נחלקו היסורין, אחת נטלו אבות העולם וכל הדורות, ואחת דורו של שמד, ואחת מלך המשיח) The rabbis taught that those who died to hallow God’s name and suffering being divided into three portions, giving the third portion of suffering to the “King Messiah” (ואחת מלך המשיח) is consistent with Isaiah 53 of the Messiah the suffering servant, who dies to make atonement for our sins, the Lord holds this to be greater than all of the ritual offerings. This is very similar to what we read in Hebrews 10:10 that says 10:10 For God’s will was for us to be made holy by the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ, once for all time. (NIV) Yeshua, the Messiah (Christ = χριστός = המשיח) was offered (died) and we are made holy by the sacrifice of the body of the Messiah for all time, meaning that God counted his sacrifice of more worth than all the ritual offerings. The Messiah was offered in accordance to the Torah command, and God accepted this, and we are accepted before Him if we believe that Yeshua did this on our behalf! The rabbis conclude Midrash Tehillim 16, Part 4 with a horrible picture of death and suffering saying “They fetched iron balls, brought them to a white heat, and put them into the armpits of the children of Israel who were thus slowly done to death. Or they fetched sharpened reeds and drove them under the nails of the children of Israel. And in these ways they died for the hallowing of the Name.” The Messiah of God (Yeshua) was placed upon the cross, a horribly slow death with great suffering. This is what the Messiah did on our behalf, on the cross, so that we may be forgiven. Do you believe this?

Midrash Tehillim 16, Part 7, is introduced (דיבור המתחיל, Dibur Hamathil) saying “I will bless the Lord, who has given me counsel; yea, in the night seasons my rein instruct me (Tehillim / Psalms 16:7).” “According to rabbi Samuel son of Nahman, this verse refers to Abraham.” (פתיחתא, Petihta) Rabbi Samuel said that no one taught Abraham, no father and no master of the Torah. It was God who taught Abraham His statutes and commandments. Rabbi Simeon says that God provided Abraham with two reins that produced forth wisdom and understanding of God’s ways. God gave Abraham these things in a night vision in Bereshit / Genesis 15.

Bereshit / Genesis 16:17-18

16:17 It came about when the sun had set, that it was very dark, and behold, there appeared a smoking oven and a flaming torch which passed between these pieces. 16:18 On that day the Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying, ‘To your descendants I have given this land, From the river of Egypt as far as the great river, the river Euphrates: (NASB)

Let’s read Midrash Tehillim 16, Part 7:

מדרש תהלים פרק טז סימן ז

ז אברך את ה׳ אשר יעצני אף לילות יסרוני כליותי. ר׳ שמואל בר נחמן היה פותרו באברהם, דאמר ר׳ שמואל [בר נחמן] אב לא לימדו, רב לא לימדו, ומי לימדו, הקב״ה, דתני ר׳ שמעון בן יוחי מלמד שזימן לו הקב״ה שתי כליות, והיו נובעות חכמה ודעת, תדע לך שכן הוא, שבשעה שנגלה עליו הקב״ה בין הבתרים, הראה לו הקב״ה ארבעה דברים, התורה והקרבנות והגיהנם וארבע מלכיות, תורה מנין, שנאמר ולפיד אש (בראשית טו יז), ואין אש אלא תורה, שנאמר הלוא כה דברי כאש (ירמיה כג כט), קרבנות מנין, שנאמר קחה לי עגלה משולשת (בראשית טו ט), גיהנם מנין, שנאמר והנה השמש באה ועלטה היה והנה תנור (אש) [עשן] (שם שם בראשית ט״ו יז), ארבע מלכיות מנין, שנאמר והנה אימה חשכה גדולה נופלת עליו (שם שם בראשית ט״ו יב), וכולה כדתרצינין במזמור ראשון.

Midrash Tehillim 16, Part 7

7. I will bless the Lord, who has given me counsel; yea, in the night seasons my rein instruct me (Tehillim / Psalms 16:7). According to rabbi Samuel son of Nahman, this verse refers to Abraham. For rabbi Samuel son of Nahman used to say, No father taught Abraham; no master taught him. Then who taught him? The Holy One blessed be He. Rabbi Simeon son of Yohai declared, This verse proves that the Holy One blessed be He, had provided Abraham with two reins that welled forth wisdom and understanding. You can see for yourself that this is so. For when the Holy One blessed be He, revealed Himself between the halves of the heifer to Abraham, the Holy One blessed be He, let Abraham see four things, The Torah, the Temple offerings, Gehenna, and the darkness of the exile in the four kingdoms. And the proof that God let Abraham see the Torah? The words A lamp of fire passed between these pieces (Bereshit / Genesis 16:17), fire clearly referring to Torah, as in the verse Is not My word like fire? (Jeremiah 23:29). And the proof that God let Abraham see the Temple offerings? The words Take Me a heifer of three years old (Bereshit / Genesis 16:9). And the proof that God let Abraham see Gehenna? The words And it came to pass, that, when the sun went down behold a smoking furnace (Bereshit / Genesis 16:7). And proof that God let Abraham see the darkness of the exile in the four kingdoms? The words And, lo, a horror of a great darkness fell upon him (Bereshit / Genesis 16:12). For further commentary upon this matter, see our exposition of the First Psalm.

The rabbis believe that Abraham was given the Torah and use the night vision from Bereshit / Genesis 15 as a proof text. They say that the fire is a reference to the Torah (Jeremiah 23:29 ‘Is not My word like fire?’ declares the Lord, ‘and like a hammer which shatters a rock? NASB כט הֲלוֹא כֹה דְבָרִי כָּאֵשׁ נְאֻם-יְהֹוָה וּכְפַטִּישׁ יְפֹצֵץ סָלַע:) God revealed Himself between the halves of the heifer and let Abraham see four things, (i) the Torah, (ii) the Temple offerings, (iii) Gehenna (Hell), and (iv) the darkness of the exile in the four kingdoms. The rabbis use analogy to say that God revealed all of these things to Abraham, the purpose is that God revealed all of time to Abraham what would happen by reason of his faith in the Lord God of Heaven. Looking back on history and the great men of faith in the Bible, how important is your faith today with regard to others? Does your faith have an impact others lives or just your own life? With Abraham as our example, our faith should impact others in a great way, is this happening today in your life? If not, why not?

Midrash Tehillim 16, Part 10 opens saying “Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoices (Tehillim / Psalms 16:9).” (דיבור המתחיל, Dibur Hamathil) Part 10 is relatively short, let’s read through the midrash on Tehillim 16.

Midrash Tehillim 16, Part 10

10. Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoices (Tehillim / Psalms 16:9). Rabbi Abbahu commented, At the very moment that small minded men propose to make use of glory, it is removed from them. Another comment, Therefore my heart is glad, glad in words of the Torah; and my glory rejoices, rejoices in the Lord Messiah who will rise up out of me. Of this it is written And over all the glory will be a canopy (Isaiah 4:5). My flesh also dwells in safety (Tehillim / Psalms 16:9) dwells in safety even after death. Rabbi Isaac said, This verse proves that neither corruption nor worms had power of David’s flesh.

מדרש תהלים פרק טז סימן י

י לכן שמח לבי ויגל כבודי. אמר ר׳ אבהו הכבוד גולה בשעה שהקטנים הוגים להשתמש בו. [דבר אחר] לכן שמח לבי. [בדברי תורה]. ויגל כבודי. במלך המשיח, שהוא עתיד לעמוד ממני, הדא הוא דכתיב כי על כל כבוד חופה (ישעיה ד ה). אף בשרי ישכון לבטח. זה לאחר מיתה. אמר ר׳ יצחק מלמד שלא שלטה בבשרו רקבון ורימה.

The rabbis discuss being glad and rejoicing. It is interesting that they are glad in the Torah and rejoice in the Lord Messiah (מלך המשיח) that will raise up from (out of) among their people. The midrash tells us that the rabbis believed the Torah speaks of the Messiah. It is also interesting how the rabbis say that this verse reveals David’s flesh will be safe even after death, that neither corruption nor worms have power over his flesh. The rabbinic interpretation on Tehillim / Psalms 16 found in Midrash Tehillim 16, Part 10 reveals the expectation of the Messiah and the keeping from corruption of the flesh even in death. David said that he placed the Lord God before him, that he stands in the Lord, and in the security and unmovable nature of God, and his body will dwell in security (ט לָכֵן | שָֹמַח לִבִּי וַיָּגֶל כְּבוֹדִי אַף-בְּשָֹרִי יִשְׁכֹּן לָבֶטַח:) The Aramaic translation states ח שויתי יהוה מימרא דייי לקובלי תדירא מטול ארום דשכינתיה שריא עלי מן ימיני לא אזוע׃ ט בגין כן חדא לבי ורנין איקרי אוף בסרי ישרי לרוחצן בתכילי׃ 16:8 I have placed the Lord before me always, for his presence rests on me; I shall not be shaken. 16:9 Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoices; besides, my flesh shall dwell in security. (EMC) and the Septuagint states προωρώμην τὸν κύριον ἐνώπιόν μου διὰ παντός ὅτι ἐκ δεξιῶν μού ἐστιν ἵνα μὴ σαλευθῶ 16:9 διὰ τοῦτο ηὐφράνθη ἡ καρδία μου καὶ ἠγαλλιάσατο ἡ γλῶσσά μου ἔτι δὲ καὶ ἡ σάρξ μου κατασκηνώσει ἐπ’ ἐλπίδι 16:8 I foresaw the Lord always before my face; for he is on my right hand, that I should not be moved. 16:9 Therefore my heart rejoiced an my tongue exulted; moreover also my flesh shall rest in hope (LXX). The hope that is found in the Salvation of God is centered in the expectation of HaMashiach (The coming of the Messiah). Regarding the statements of the disciples of Yeshua in the Apostolic Writings, Tehillim / Psalms 16:8-11 in Acts 2:25-28 and Tehillim / Psalms 16:10 in Acts 13:35, the early rabbis could not reconcile the Scriptural reference to what God was planning on completing in the Messiah, to raise Him from the dead. The later rabbis, as we can see in Midrash Tehillim 16 Part 10, make statements on the Messianic expectation in the hope and Salvation of God, but suggest that the keeping from corruption was for David and not the king Messiah (מלך המשיח). The disciples of Yeshua however use these Scriptures as a proof text supporting God’s actions and plan to raise the Messiah from the dead. One of the major objections to Yeshua being the messiah today is in the belief that the messiah would bring peace to the world. However, when Yeshua had come, died, and raised from the grave, peace did not come to the world. The point of Yeshua coming was to first make peace between God and man. Before there can be peace in the world, all people must recognize their sinful condition and repent (Jeremiah 3:13-18). The Lord God Almighty and the Messiah Yeshua are not in the business of forcing peace upon the world, regardless of spiritual condition of this world. Yeshua came in a humble fashion (Zechariah 9:9) to die as an atonement for sins (Isaiah 53). One day, He will return to rule, at which time all the world will recognize him as the one who was pierced, and the one who died as an atonement for sin (Zechariah 12:10). At his return, he will usher in the Messianic Age, a time that everyone has been waiting for, a time of true peace in the world (Isaiah 11), in the way the rabbis expect him to come. Studying the Scriptures, when the Lord brought an annointed one (Mashiach — prophet, priest, or king) to save His people, the first thing the annointed one would do is have the people sanctify themselves in repentance, prayer, and a humble heart before God, and then make the required ritual sacrifice, to return to Torah and truth of God. It was only then that God’s salvation would come to deliver His people from their enemies. This is the way the Messiah Yeshua had come, to make peace between God and man, to sanctify, to make holy, and then to bring a ritual sacrifice that was completed in His own body with His own blood. Now we wait in the expectation of the Messiah to come on the clouds and to rule and reign on earth.

David concludes saying that יא תוֹדִיעֵנִי אֹרַח חַיִּים שֹבַע שְֹמָחוֹת אֶת-פָּנֶיךָ נְעִמוֹת בִּימִינְךָ נֶצַח: 16:11 You will make known to me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; In Your right hand there are pleasures forever. (NASB) The concluding verse Tehillim / Psalms 16:11 is the opening verse in Midrash Tehillim 16 Part 12 which states in the דיבור המתחיל (Dibur Hamathil) “You will show me the path of life (Tehillim / Psalms 16:11).” The homiletic introduction (פתיחתא, Petihta) states “According to Rabbi Yudan, David said to the Holy One blessed be He, Master of the universe, show me the path of life.” The rabbis speak extensively on “show me the path of life” in the Mashal (משל) and Nimshal (נמשל) throughout the midrash. The rabbis begin asking the question to show me the path of life, and the Lord responds. The following is a summary of the Midrash on Tehillim / Psalms 16:11 on “show me the path of life.”

Summary of Midrash Tehillim 16 Part 12 Show me the path of life.”

  • David said to the Holy One blessed be He, Master of the universe, show me the path of life. And the Holy One blessed be He, replied, Desirest you life? Look as from a watch tower to fear of the Lord, since The fear of the Lord prolongs days (Mishley / Proverbs 10:26).
  • According to Rabbi Azariah, David said to the Holy One blessed be He, Show me the path of life, and the Holy One blessed be He, replied, Desire you life? Look as from a watch tower for the meaning of affliction, since Reproofs of affliction are the way of life (Mishley / Proverbs 6:23).
  • According to Rab, however, the Holy One blessed be He, replied thus, Desire you life? Look as from a watch tower to Torah, since She is a tree of life to them that lay hold of her, and happy is every one that holds her fast (Mishley / Proverbs 3:18).
  • According to Rabbi Abba, the Holy One blessed be He, asked David, would you eat without working? Keep the commandments, and you will feast, for it is said, Keep the commandments, and you will feast, for it is said Keep my commandments and life (Mishley / Proverbs 4:4).
  • Two Amoraim differed as to the kind of men standing at the right hand of God. One maintained, They are men in whom is the strength of the Torah, of which it is said At His right hand was a fiery law (Devarim / Deuteronomy 33:2). The other maintained, They are scrupulous copyists and teachers of children who dwell in the shadow of the Holy One blessed be He, for they are spoken of as They that dwell under His shadow (Hosea 14:8); each of them says I have set the Lord always before me; surely He is at my right hand, I will not be moved (Tehillim / Psalms 16:8).
  • Another comment, You will show me the path of life. Rabbi Abin took this verse to refer to the children of Israel for whom, on New Years Day, God records His decree of life, a decree He seals on the Day of Atonement. In Your presence is fullness (soba) of joy. Do not read soba, fullness, but seba, seven, that is , the seven requirements for the feast of Tabernacles, namely, the citron, the palm, the myrtle, the willow, the booth, the sacrifice, and the rejoicing.

It is interesting reading through the midrash, the first steps to knowing the path of life is, according to the rabbis, to walk in the fear of the Lord. The second step is to look for the meaning of affliction. The reason is when God reproves us because of sin, we know that we are His children and we are to seek the answers for afflictions in God’s word to understand the way of life, the way in which we are to be walking before the Lord. According to Rab, we are to look to the Torah because the Torah is a tree of life and those who hold fast to her are happy. Rabbi Abba says to keep the commandments and you will feast because it is written that we are to keep the commandments and live (Mishley / Proverbs 4:4 Then he taught me and said to me, ‘Let your heart hold fast my words; Keep my commandments and live NASB). The rabbis continue with those who are in His presence standing at His right hand. There were two opinions on the kind of men who stand at the right hand of God. One states that they are men in whom is the strength of the Torah, and the other states that they are men who are scrupulous copyists that teach the children of God. Both of these types of men say “I have set the Lord always before me; surely He is at my right hand, I will not be moved (Tehillim / Psalms 16:8).” In our lives and walk before the Lord, are you able to make that statement, “I have set the Lord always before me; surely He is at my right hand, I will not be moved?” The midrash concludes with another comment on “show me the path of life,” and Rabbi Abin took this verse to refer to New Year’s Day when God records His decree of life, a decree He seals on the Day of Atonement. Life in the Lord is a celebration of rejoicing in His Salvation and Deliverance. If we seek Yeshua the Messiah and His counsel, if we place Him first in our lives, set Him at our right hand and desire to dwell in His presence, in His Word (see John 8) we will be filled with the joy of the Lord and His salvation. Do you want to be filled with the joy of the Lord and His salvation? Let’s pray!

Tehillim 16-Part1-and-2 Notes: Notes_Psalms-16

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Duane D. Miller received his Ph.D., M.S., and B.S. Degree in Chemical Engineering from The University of Akron Ohio. He is currently a Chemical Engineering Researcher. Duane’s research expertise has focused upon functional materials development for the control, conversion, and release of process gases in Energy production technologies. His R&D interests include computational chemistry, developing novel technologies for converting biomass to fuels and studying their fundamental interactions during the chemical conversion process. His past experience includes sorbent development for pre- and post-combustion CO2 and SO2 capture, selective absorption of H2S from methane streams, O2 capture for oxy-fuel combustion, photocatalytic reduction of alcohols, NOx reduction catalysis, the development of oxygen carriers to combust fossil fuels (CH4 and coal) for the chemical looping combustion processes, and the extraction of rare earth elements using patent pending sorbents. His research expertise has focused on operando-characterization using Infrared, Raman, and UV-Vis spectroscopy to observe the nature of the catalytic active sites and reaction intermediates under realistic reaction conditions, allowing direct correlation of molecular/electronic structures with catalyst performance during Gas-Solid / Liquid-Solid Adsorption and Photocatalytic Processes with real time online analysis of reaction products using ICP-MS and mass spectrometry. His current work involves a multi-disciplinary approach to developing, understanding, and improving the catalytic gasification of coal and methane, high temperature chemical looping combustion, and the catalytic decomposition and gasification of biomass and coal using novel microwave reactor.​ He has been studying the Hebrew Scriptures and the Torah for 20+ years and sharing what he has learned. The studies developed for MATSATI.COM are freely to be used by everyone, to God be the Glory!