Psalms – Chapter 16

Shivisi Hashem L'Negdi Samid

By Rabbi Jack Abramowitz

This Psalm is called a “michtam.” Among the suggested meanings for this obscure word is a reference to the musical arrangement of the Psalm, as in many other of David’s introductory comments.

David asks G-d to protect him, as he has sought refuge in G-d alone. The Jews acknowledge that G-d is the Master and a Master has no obligation to do favors for His servants. David enjoys good things in the merit of his righteous ancestors, who preceded him. Conversely, he anticipates bad things for those who pursue false “gods.” It is self-destructive to serve these falsehoods; David won’t even speak their names!

G-d is David’s inheritance and he couldn’t ask for a finer portion! He blesses G-d, Who guides him by day and night. G-d is before him always. (This verse, quoted in the title of this synopsis, sometimes appears in synagogues, above the Ark.) With G-d by his side, David is sure he cannot fail. He is confident and calm, secure that he will not sink to the depths in death, nor be utterly destroyed. Instead, G-d reveals the path to life in His Presence, to rejoice by His side forever.

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