308 – Psalm 16 – Two Important Words
I’m quoting from the Lexham English Bible today because they transliterate the Divine name to “Yahweh” instead of substituting the word “lord” like most other translations. When I quote from the New King James I try to put Yahweh in brackets [Yahweh] so the reader can see that the Divine name is actually being used in the original Hebrew. I am among the few who believe that not only is “lord” a poor substitute for the actual name of the one true God, but it should be proclaimed. This is important to have clear in our minds as we approach the text in the Lexham English Bible because they use both the name “Yaweh” and the word “Lord”.
Let’s take a peek at Psalm 16:2.
Psalm 16:2 (LEB)
2 Oh my soul you have said to Yahweh, “You are my Lord.
I have no good apart from you.”
We’ll talk about Yahweh/Lord in a minute, but first let’s discuss the first part of verse two. Before we talk about what’s in the verse, we need to talk about what is not in the verse, namely the words, “Oh my soul you have”. The Hebrew actually starts with the word “said”. A more exact rendering would be, “said to Yahweh, ‘You are my Lord. I have no good apart from you’”. So what’s going on here? Why are they adding words?
The text is clear, something or someone has said to Yahweh something. Without the translators supplying words in English, “Oh my soul you”, we wouldn’t know who. But if the words aren’t in the original language of the text can we have any confidence that the translators got it right? Is it indeed the Psalmist’s soul that has said something? I think the translators are correct in assuming it was David’s soul, or innermost being implicit in the text because no other possible speaker has been introduced as yet in the passage. What about the word have, it’s not in the text either? True, but consulting a lexicon we find the word translated “said” is identified as “Verb, Qal, Qatal (perfect), second person, feminine, singular”. Also, there is a translator’s note on this word which reads, “reading a feminine singular verb, some Hebrew manuscripts and translations read ‘I said'”.
As we’ve just seen, the first part of verse two is solid. The Psalmist’s soul has proclaimed two things to Yahweh, “You are my Lord”, and, “I have no good apart from you”. What is David saying when He tells Yahweh, “You are my Lord”? To answer that question we need to understand the meaning of the Hebrew word. Adona the singular form of the familiar “Adonai” is in the emphatic form and is Hebrew for master. Sarah called Abraham master, and here David is calling Yahweh master. Whatever additional nuances may surround the use of the word master it most certainly communicates that the one being called master is in authority over the individual. Sarah acknowledged this of her husband, and David acknowledged this of Yahweh.
The last thing David declares to Yahweh is he has no or is in possession of nothing good apart from Yahweh Himself. Think about both King David and ourselves. What accomplishment, certificate, trophy, good deed, what “good” could we present to Yahweh in our own strength? Any good we may do in His service which is acceptable in His sight is only possible because of His provision and giftings in our lives. David had a correct perspective of both himself and of Yahweh as He penned this Hebrew poem.
Yahweh truly is worthy of all praise, worship, and adoration? Why do we hold back?