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The Complete Jewish Bible with Rashi Commentary
   

Tehillim - Psalms - Chapter 16

Tehillim - Psalms - Chapter 16

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Rashi's Commentary:

Chapter 16

1. A michtam of David; O God, guard me for I have taken refuge in You.   א. מִכְתָּם לְדָוִד שָׁמְרֵנִי אֵל כִּי חָסִיתִי בָךְ:
A michtam of David: Our Sages said (Sotah 10b, Mid. Ps. 16:1): Of David, who was poor (מך) and perfect (ותם), whose wound (מכתו) was perfect (תמה), for he was born circumcised. However, the sequence of the verse here does not lend itself to be interpreted according to the Midrash. There are psalms prefaced by the title לדוד מכתם, which may be interpreted: This song is David’s, who was poor and perfect, but here, where it is stated מכתם לדוד, it cannot be interpreted in this manner. I therefore say that it is one of the names of the various types of melodies and the variations in the music. Another explanation: מכתם is an expression of a crown, like כתם, meaning that David was accustomed to say, “O God, guard me for I have taken refuge in You.” And this was to him as a crown, as it is stated (5:13): “You shall crown him with will.”  
2. You should say to the Lord, "You are my Master; my good is not incumbent upon You.   ב. אָמַרְתְּ לַיהֹוָה אֲדֹנָי אָתָּה טוֹבָתִי בַּל עָלֶיךָ:
You should say to the Lord, “You are my Master, etc.”: David addresses the Congregation of Israel. “It is your duty to say to the Lord, ‘You are the Master, and You have the upper hand in all that befalls me.’” Another explanation: You should say to the Lord, “You are my Master.” He [David] was saying this to his soul. Similarly, we find on this order (in II Sam. 13:39): “And David longed,” which means: And the soul of David longed. Here too, “You, my soul, have said to the Lord,” you my soul, should say to the Holy One, blessed be He. (The second interpretation appears in very few early editions.)  
my good is not incumbent upon You.: The benefits that You do for meit is not incumbent upon You to bestow [them] upon me, because You do not benefit me on account of my righteousness.  
3. For the holy ones who are in the earth, and the mighty ones in whom is all my delight.   ג. לִקְדוֹשִׁים אֲשֶׁר בָּאָרֶץ הֵמָּה וְאַדִּירֵי כָּל חֶפְצִי בָם:
For the holy ones who are in the earth: For the sake of the holy ones who are buried in the earth, who walked before You with sincerity.  
and the mighty ones in whom is all my delight: They are the mighty ones in whom is all my delight and for whose sake all my necessities are accomplished.  
4. May the sorrows of those who hasten after another [deity] increase; I will not pour their libations of blood, nor will I take their names upon my lips.   ד. יִרְבּוּ עַצְּבוֹתָם אַחֵר מָהָרוּ בַּל אַסִּיךְ נִסְכֵּיהֶם מִדָּם וּבַל אֶשָּׂא אֶת שְׁמוֹתָם עַל שְׂפָתָי:
May the sorrows… increase: All this you should say to the Lord, “May the sorrows of those who do not believe in You increase,” viz. those who hasten and scurry to idolatry. Another explanation: מהרו is an expression of מֹהַר, dowry, douaire in French.  
I will not pour their libations of blood: I will not be like them, to sprinkle blood for pagan deities, neither will I take up the name of pagan deities upon my lips.  
5. The Lord is my allotted portion and my cup; You guide my destiny.   ה. יְהֹוָה מְנָת חֶלְקִי וְכוֹסִי אַתָּה תּוֹמִיךְ גּוֹרָלִי:
The Lord is my allotted portion and my cup: All my benefit is from Him. Another explanation: כוסי means “my share,” as (in Exod. 12:4): “you shall make your count (תכסו) on the lamb.” This is how Menachem (p. 107) associated it.  
You guide my destiny: It is You Who placed my hand on the good share, as it is stated (in Deut. 30:19): “I have set life and death before you… Choose life… ” as a man who loves one of his sons and lays his hand on the better share, saying, “Choose this one for yourself.”  
guide: Heb. תומיך. You lowered my hand onto the portion, an expression of (Ecc. 10:18): “the rafter sinks (ימך) ,” is lowered. In this manner it is expounded upon in Sifrei (Deut. 11:26, 27). It can also be interpreted as an expression of support, according to the Midrash Aggadah, as (in Gen. 48:17) “he supported (ויתמך) his father’s hand.”  
6. Portions have fallen to me in pleasant places; even the inheritance pleases me."   ו. חֲבָלִים נָפְלוּ לִי בַּנְּעִמִים אַף נַחֲלָת שָׁפְרָה עָלָי:
Portions have fallen to me in pleasant places: When the lot fell to me to be in Your portion, it is a pleasant portion. Also, such an inheritance is pleasing to me.  
7. I will bless the Lord, Who counseled me; even at night my conscience instructs me.   ז. אֲבָרֵךְ אֶת יְהֹוָה אֲשֶׁר יְעָצָנִי אַף לֵילוֹת יִסְּרוּנִי כִלְיוֹתָי:
I will bless the Lord: Until here, David prophesied concerning the Congregation of Israel, that she would say this, and now he says, “I, too, will bless the Lord, Who counseled me to choose life and to go in His ways.”  
even at night my conscience instructs me: to fear Him and to love Him. Our Sages though, (Mid. Ps. 16:7) explained it as referring to our father Abraham, who learned Torah by himself before the Torah was given, but we must reconcile the verses according to their sequence.  
8. I have placed the Lord before me constantly; because [He is] at my right hand, I will not falter.   ח. שִׁוִּיתִי יְהֹוָה לְנֶגְדִּי תָמִיד כִּי מִימִינִי בַּל אֶמּוֹט:
I have placed the Lord before me constantly: In all my deeds, I have placed His fear before my eyes. Why? Because He is always at my right hand to help me so that I should not falter. Another explanation: I have placed the Lord before me constantly. [This alludes to] the sefer Torah [that] was with him [for him] to read all the days of his life [as in Deut. 17:19]. This is what he states: “from my right hand I will not falter,” meaning that because of the Torah in which I am engaged, which was given with His right hand, I will not falter. (This interpretation does not appear in any manuscript. It does, however, appear in several early printed editions.) Rashi to Sanhedrin explains that the “right hand” alludes to the Torah scroll that the king would carry suspended from his arm. David is confident that in the merit of that scroll, he will not falter.  
9. Therefore, my heart rejoiced, and my soul was glad; even my flesh shall dwell in safety.   ט. לָכֵן | שָׂמַח לִבִּי וַיָּגֶל כְּבוֹדִי אַף בְּשָׂרִי יִשְׁכֹּן לָבֶטַח:
Therefore, my heart rejoiced, etc.: because I am confident that You will not forsake my soul to the grave. Since, concerning the iniquity of a grave transgression which I committed, You sent me the tidings (in II Sam. 12:13): “Also the Lord has removed your sin,” certainly from now on You will not forsake me [to cause me] to turn away from You.  
10. For You shall not forsake my soul to the grave; You shall not allow Your pious one to see the pit.   י. כִּי | לֹא תַעֲזֹב נַפְשִׁי לִשְׁאוֹל לֹא תִתֵּן חֲסִידְךָ לִרְאוֹת שָׁחַת:
11. You shall let me know the way of life, the fullness of joys in Your presence. There is pleasantness in Your right hand forever.   יא. תּוֹדִיעֵנִי אֹרַח חַיִּים שׂבַע שְׂמָחוֹת אֶת פָּנֶיךָ נְעִמוֹת בִּימִינְךָ נֶצַח:
You shall let me know the way of life: This is the future tense, not an expression of prayer.  
the fullness of joys: Endless joy. That is the joy of the future. (Found only in certain manuscripts.)  
in Your presence: Joys that are before You, in a company that is near You.  
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