1. Remembered Anguish (vss.1-4)
  2. Remembered Mercy (vss.5-11)
  3. Fervent Gratitude (vss.12-19)
  1. Psalm 116 is a thanksgiving/Todah hymn.
  2. It is one of the "Egyptian Hallel" psalms sung at Passover along with Pss.113-115,118.
  3. It consists of mainly personal testimony, but direct praise of Yahweh occurs in vss.8,16,17a.
  4. The precise situation of distress envisaged is not given, except it represents a threat to life (vss.3,8) and involves unfaithfulness on the part of the unknown author(vs.6).
  5. The psalmist does not relate what happened to him, but testifies what God has done for him.
  6. So the psalm is a personal tribute of a man who, in reversion recovery, has found a more-than-adequate answer to his entreaty.
  7. He has now come to the place of worship (Temple) to tell the whole assembly what happened (vs.14) and to offer to God what he vowed to Him in his distress.
  8. The psalm is designed to encourage and instruct believers who, through their own reversionism, have gotten themselves into deep water (so to speak).
  9. Remembered Anguish (vss.1-4)

    VERSE 1 I love the LORD, because He hears (yTib.h;a' [ bh;a', love] hw"hy> [pr.n.] [m;v.yI-yK [prep. + Qal.impf.3.m.s. [m;v' , hear])

    My voice and my supplications (yliAq-ta, [dir.obj. + n.m.s.w/1.c.s.sf., lAq qol, voice] `yn"Wnx]T [n.m.p.w/1.c.s.sf. !Wnx]T;, tachanun, supplication, entreaty]).

    VERSE 2 Because He has inclined His ear to me (hJ'hi-yKi [prep. + hj'n" , to stretch out, extend; "inclined"] Anz>a' [n.f.s.w/3.m.s.sf., ozen, ear] yli [prep.w/1.c.s.sf.]),

    Therefore I shall call upon Him as long as I live (ym;y"b.W [conj.w/prep. w/n.m.p.w/1.c.s.sf. ~Ay , yom, day; "and in my days" = "as long as I live"] `ar'q.a, [Qal.impf.1.c.s. ar'q', call]).

    VERSE 3 The cords of death encompassed me (tw<m'-yleb.x, [n.m.p.cstr. lb,x,, cord, rope, + n.m.s., tw<m' death] ynIWpp'a] [ @p;a', to surround]);

    And the terrors of Sheol came upon me (yrec'm.W [conj.w/n.m.p.cstr. rc;me, metsar, straits, distress; "terrors"; 3X: Ps.118:5; Lam.1:3] lAav. [pr.n., underworld] ynIWac'm [ ac'm' , find; "came upon"]);

    I found distress and sorrow (`ac'm.a, [ ac'm', find; "found"] hr'c' [n.f.s., tsarah, straits, distress] !Agy"w> [conj.w/n.m.s. !Agy", yaghon, grief, sorrow, anguish]).

    VERSE 4 Then I called upon the name of the LORD (ar'q.a, [Qal.impf.1.c.s., qara, call] hw"hy>-~veb.W [conj.w/prep.w/n.m.s.cstr., shem, name, + pr.n.]):

    "O LORD, I beseech You, save my life (hN"a' [interj. of entreaty] hw"hy> [pr.n.] hj'L.m [Piel.imper.2.m.s. jl;m' , slip away, deliver, save] `yvip.n: [n.f.s.cstr.w/1.c.s.sf., nephesh, soul, life])!"


  10. The people had gathered for a festival.
  11. Amidst the communal worship in the Temple courts (vs.19), there were services in which individuals had opportunity to bring thank offerings and to accompany their sacrificial worship with words of testimony and praise for answered prayer.
  12. This psalm expresses the joy and gratitude of a person delivered from an overwhelming crisis that had threatened his life.
  13. This man's experience was commemorated in a song that was composed for recitation on such happy occasions.
  14. He publicly declares his love for Yahweh based on God's hearing of His previous complaint (vs.1).
  15. His prayer arose from a sincere and repentant heart.
  16. The psalmist is recalling a recent event when God listened to his voice and supplications.
  17. Where there is recognition of STA activity and a willingness to line up with the will of God, there is the assurance that God will listen to calls for deliverance and restoration.
  18. In vs.2 he states his resolve to trust God exclusively for the duration of his Ph2.
  19. He has experiential evidence of the very highest kind that God answers prayer, as he was in a situation that was the result of his own making.
  20. His newfound love and commitment is based on the fact that God made positive response to his prayers.
  21. In vss.3,4 he rehearses his near brush with an untimely and unhappy death.
  22. We call this the sin unto death.
  23. Believers who die at odds with the directive will of God die the SUD.
  24. Such believers fail to finish their course.
  25. His brush with physical death is expressed in terms borrowed from Ps.18:4,5 (cp. 2Sam.22:6).
  26. The life-threatening situation of which David speaks is different in that he was under undeserved suffering.
  27. Both men had viable prayer ground, as both prayed in fellowship.
  28. He was in a humanly hopeless situation, as the expression cords of death indicates.
  29. The word "terrors" carries the idea of constriction (as in the word "straits").
  30. He was a man who was already caught and held; he had no other options.
  31. Short of supernatural intervention, he was as good as dead.
  32. Sheol is the principal OT expression for the realm of the dead.
  33. It is located in the center of the earth (hence the expression or its equivalent, "descend into Sheol").
  34. Sheol consisted of a compartment for unbelievers (Sheol-Hades; cp. Deut.32:22) and one for believers (Sheol-Paradise; cp. Gen.42:38).
  35. On those occasions when David prayed for deliverance from Sheol, it was because his course was not finished, not because he was afraid to die when it was God's time.
  36. In his reversionistic quest, he found distress and sorrow (vs.3b).
  37. 28. His fling with reversionism was a wounding and disillusioning experience.

    29. We are not told what was threatening his life, disease or something else.

    30. He arrived at a point where he called upon the name of "Yahweh".

    31. His prayer was a simple plea to save his life.

    32. Against the onslaught of DD brought on by Yahweh, He sought refuge in the name of "Yahweh".

    Remembered Mercy (vss.5-11)

    VERSE 5 Gracious is the LORD, and righteous (!WNx; [adj.m.s., chanun, gracious] hw"hoy> [pr.n.] qyDIc;w> [conj.w/adj.m.s. qyDic; , tsdiq, righteous]);

    Yes, our God is compassionate (Wnyhel{awE [conj.w/n.m.p.w/1.c.p.sf., Elohim], `~xer;m. [ , ~x;r' , racham, be compassionate]).

    VERSE 6 The LORD preserves the simple (hA'hy> [pr.n.] rmevo [ rm;v', shamar, guard] ~yIat'P. [n.m.p. ytiP., pethi, simple, naive, stupid]);

    I was brought low, and He saved me (ytiALD; [ ll;D', dalal, be low, languish] yliw> [conj.w/prep.w/1.c.s.sf., "me"] `[;yviAhy> [ [v;y']).

    VERSE 7 Return to your rest, O my soul (ybiWv [Qal.imper.2.f.s. bWV, shubh, return, turn back] ykiy>x' [prep.w/n.m.p.cstr.w/2.f.s.sf. x;Anm', manoach, resting place, state or condition of rest; cp. Gen.8:9; Deut.28:65] yvip.n: [n.f.s.w/1.c.s.sf., nephesh, soul]),

    For the LORD has dealt bountifully with you (hw"hy>-yKi [prep. + pr.n.] lm;G" [, gamal, deal fully with, repay; "dealt bountifully"] `ykiy>l'[' [prep.w/2.f.s.sf., "with you"]).

    VERSE 8 For You have rescued my soul from death (yKi [prep.] T'c.L;xi [ 2.m.s. chalats, rescue] yvip.n: [n.f.s.w/1.c.s.sf.] tw<M'mi [prep.w/n.m.s., maweth, death]),

    My eyes from tears (ynIy[e-ta, [dir.obj. + n.f.s.w/1.c.s.sf. ayin, eye] h['m.DI-!m [prep. + n.f.s., dime-ah, tears]),

    My feet from stumbling (ylig>r;-ta, [dir.obj. + n.f.s.w/1.c.s.sf. reghel, foot] `yxiD,mi [prep.w/n.m.s. dechi, a fall]).

    VERSE 9 I shall walk before the LORD (%Leh;t.a, [Hithpael.impf.1.c.s. walk] [prep.w/n.m.p.cstr. face/faces, presence] hw"hy> [pr.n.])

    In the land of the living (tAcr>a;B. [prep.w/n.f.p.cstr. erets, land] `~yYIx;h; [ living, alive]).

    VERSE 10 I believed when I said (yTin>m;a/h, [ believe] yKi [prep., "when"] rBed;a] [Piel.impf.1.c.s. diber, speak; "said"]),

    "I am greatly afflicted (ynIa] [] `daom [adv., greatly] ytiynI[' [ afflict, be bowed down])."

    VERSE 11 I said in my alarm (ynIa] [] yTir>m;a' [, amar, say] yzIp.x'b. [prep.w/Qal.infin.cstr.w/1.c.s.sf. to hurry, to be in a hurry, be alarmed]),

    "All men are liars (~d'a'h'-lK' [n.m.s.cstr.w/, adham, man] `bzEKo [ b, to lie])."


  38. In the presence of his people, the psalmist affirms that our God is gracious and righteous and compassionate.
  39. The designation gracious signifies someone who is kind to inferiors.
  40. Yet God's dealings with the psalmist have not been at the expense of +R.
  41. Yes (or "And", vs.5) our God is compassionate affirms that God was sympathetic to the psalmist's plight and his prayers for deliverance.
  42. Where there is genuine repentance, God is understanding and gracious to the offending party.
  43. In vs.6 is his revealing and honest appraisal of what he was while in reversionism.
  44. The plural noun simple has no trace of merit in the OT
  45. "The stupid" is the preferred translation here and in Proverbs.
  46. The fact that he identifies himself with those who are gullible and feckless (incompetent) and driven by their STAs is evidence of his recovery.
  47. The statement I was brought low once again draws our attention to the hopeless, rock-bottom circumstances that his stupidity brought upon him.
  48. Next come the simple but dramatic words, but (waw adversative) He saved me.
  49. In vs.7 he pauses to exhort himself.
  50. Return to your rest, O my soul is his way of telling himself to put the anxieties of the past behind and to walk in the ways of the Lord.
  51. There, the soul finds its rest.
  52. In reversionism he found himself in turmoil and under extreme fear as he came near to the SUD.
  53. In spite of the trauma that he has recently left behind, he can enjoy rest, knowing that the LORD has dealt bountifully with his soul.
  54. Standing there before the assembly, he is living proof that God is for him.
  55. In vs.8 he addresses God directly, acknowledging just how bountifully God has dealt with his soul.
  56. He summarizes his crisis by drawing attention to three things from which God rescued him.
  57. He was rescued from the SUD by the intervention of God's ability to do what no one else could.
  58. The tears that were evidence of the psychological trauma of his discipline and repentance were dried up.
  59. The third item has to do with his Ph2 walk.
  60. "My feet from stumbling" refers to his reversionistic life style.
  61. It includes his bad decision making and the sorry consequences of those STA choices.
  62. Verses 8 and 9 are borrowed from Ps.56:13, with the exception of the phrase My eyes from tears.
  63. He now associates with the right people, assembles in the duly appointed place of worship, and applies/walks in the light of BD.
  64. All who live outside the directive will of God are constantly stumbling with respect to the Angelic Conflict.
  65. Being under the influence of evil, mankind is like a drunk who cannot walk without staggering/stumbling.
  66. In vs.9 he addresses the assembly with a statement of fresh resolve.
  67. He resolves to walk before the LORD in the land of the living.
  68. To walk before the LORD is both demanding and reassuring.
  69. It requires a commitment and concentration.
  70. One must be willing to follow God's lead and not make decisions based on personal self-interest.
  71. To walk before the LORD is to leave one fully exposed but fully supported.
  72. As Jesus said, you have to be willing to hate your life and deny self.
  73. In the long run, this will be in your best self-interest.
  74. We must be willing at all times to place the claims of the POG over all other interests when those interests conflict with duty (Lk.9:59-62).
  75. In vs.10 the psalmist testifies that it was his faith (i.e., positive volition) that kept his head above the water at his deepest point of despair.
  76. I believed means "I kept my faith".
  77. Paul quotes this phrase from the LXX in 2Cor.4:13.
  78. Though greatly oppressed, Paul's outlook is one of hope; therefore, he does not give up (cp. vs.16).
  79. So here the psalmist, though greatly afflicted, does not give up on God.
  80. In vs.11 he recounts his disillusionment with men.
  81. I said in my alarm/consternation, "All men are liars" refers to his abandonment by his reversionistic friends and associates.
  82. Like David, in his hour of severe crisis he had no comforters, but all men abandoned him.
  83. Ironically, the One whom the psalmist abandoned when he went astray is the One who was there for him when all others had left him for dead.
  84. So he makes a point that to feel great pain (vs.10b) and be disillusioned (vs.11) and to say so, even in tones of panic (my alarm), is not proof that positive volition (faith) is dead.
  85. Fervent Gratitude (vss.12-19)

    VERSE 12 What shall I render to the LORD (byvia'-hm' [interrog. + Hiphil.impf.1.c.s. to turn back, return; give in payment; "render"] hw"hyl; [prep.w/pr.n.])

    For all His benefits toward me (yhiAlWmg>T;-lK' [n.m.s.cstr. + n.m.p.w/3.m.s.sf. taghemul, benefit, grace benefit; Hapax] `yl'[' [prep.w/1.c.s.sf., "toward me"])?

    VERSE 13 I shall lift up the cup of salvation (aF'a, [Qal.impf.1.c.s., lift] tA[Wvy>-sAK [n.f.s., kos, cup, + n.f.p., yeshu-ah, salvation, deliverance]),

    And call upon the name of the LORD (~veb.W [conj.w/prep.w/n.m.s.cstr., name] `ar'q.a [Qal.impf.1.c.s., call] hw"hy> [pr.n.]).

    VERSE 14 I shall pay my vows to the LORD (~Lev;a] [Piel.impf.1.c.s., shalam, be at peace; pay] yr;d'n> [n.m.p.w/1.c.s.sf., nedher, vow] hw"hyl; [prep.w/pr.n.]),

    Oh may it be in the presence of all His people (aN"-hd'g>n< [prep. of location, neghedh, what is conspicuous, "in the presence", + prep. of entreaty, na, "Oh"] `AM[;-lk'l. [prep.w/n.m.s.cstr. + n.m.s.w/3.m.s.sf., am, people]).

    VERSE 15 Precious in the sight of the LORD (rq'y" [adj.m.s., yaqar, prized] ynEy[eB. [prep.w/n.m.dual.cstr., ayin, eye; "sight"] hw"hy> [pr.n.])

    Is the death of His godly ones (ht'w>M'h; [ t, death] `wyd'ysix]l; [prep.w/adj.m.p.w/3.m.s.sf., chasidh, loyal]).

    VERSE 16 O LORD, surely I am Your servant (hw"hy> [pr.n.] hN"a' [interj., surely] ynIa]-yKi [prep. +] ^D,b.[; [n.m.s.w/2.m.s.sf., ebhedh, servant]),

    I am Your servant, the son of Your handmaid (^D>b.[;-ynIa] [ + n.m.s.w/2.m.s.sf.] ^t,m'a]-!B, [n.m.s.cstr., son, + n.f.s.w/2.m.s.sf., maid, handmaid, female servant]),

    You have loosed my bonds (T'x.T;Pi [, pathach, open, loosen] `yr'seAml. [prep.w/n.m.p.cstr.w/1.c.s.sf., moser, bond]).

    VERSE 17 To You I shall offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving (xB;z>a,-^l. [prep. w/2.m.s.sf. + Qal.impf.1.c.s., zabach, to sacrifice; "to offer"] xb;z< [n.m.s., sacrifice] hd'AT [n.f.s., todhah, thanksgiving]),

    And call upon the name of the LORD (`ar'q.a, [Qal.impf.1.c.s., call] ~veb.W [conj.w/prep.w/n.m.s.cstr., shem, name] hw"hy [pr.n.]).

    VERSE 18 I shall pay my vows to the LORD (~Lev;a] [Piel.impf.1.c.s., shalam, be at peace; "pay"] yr;d'n> [n.m.p.cstr.w/1.c.s.sf., neder, vow] hw"hyl; [prep.w/pr.n.]),

    Oh may it be in the presence of all His people (aN"-hd'g>n< [prep., what is conspicuous, + prep. of entreaty, "Oh"] `AM[;-lk'l. [prep.w/n.m.s.cstr. + n.m.s.w/3.m.s.sf., am, people]),

    VERSE 19 In the courts of the LORD's house (tArc.x;B. [prep.w/n.f.p.cstr., chatser, court, enclosure] tyBe [n.m.s.cstr., house] hw"hy> [pr.n.]),

    In the midst of you, O Jerusalem (ykikeAtB. [prep.w/n.m.s.w/2.f.s.sf., tawekh, midst] ~l'iv'Wry> [pr.n.]).

    Praise the LORD (`Hy"-Wll.h; [Piel.imper.2.m.p., halel, praise + pr.n.])!


  86. The song's final section earns it the designation of a psalm of thanksgiving.
  87. The opening question has the meaning: "How shall I repay the LORD for all His benefits to me?".
  88. So indebted does he feel that he despairs of responding adequately to God's grace benefits toward him.
  89. The particular word benefits occurs only here in the OT
  90. But the unpayable nature of the debt does not absolve him from making a token of his appreciation.
  91. He made certain vows to the LORD that must be paid (vss.14a,18a).
  92. The appropriate offering within the Levitical code is a sub category of the peace offerings. It is a sacrifice of thanksgiving (vs.17a; cp. Lev.7:11-13).
  93. I shall lift up the cup of salvation is that aspect of the ceremony in which he comes forward and presents a libation of wine as a part of the ritual of the thank/peace offering (vs.13a).
  94. He would at that time call upon the name of the LORD, thanking God publicly for His grace benefits and asking God to accept his token of appreciation (vss.13b,17b).
  95. It was a testimony to divine deliverance from the SUD for all present to see (cf. vss.14b,18b), accompanied by a vocal testimony to God's grace.
  96. His testimony is further preserved in this psalm.
  97. He thus publicly fulfilled the vows to bring a thank offering(s), which he made in his time of extreme distress (vss.14a,18a).
  98. The psalmist has come to appreciate his fresh opportunity to "walk before the LORD in the land of the living" (vs.9), and the fact that future death, whenever it comes, can now glorify God, hence the reason for the observation of vs.15.
  99. Since he has been reconstituted as one of the Lord's godly (loyal) ones, he can look forward to death as a blessing and not a curse.
  100. Precious means, "highly valued".
  101. Godly ones refers to those believers who die with honor, having finished their Ph2 course in accordance with the rules (cp. 2Tim.2:5).
  102. Such believers come under dying grace.
  103. Having averted the loss and shame associated with a premature death, he has before him the prospect of entering the afterlife under special soulish blessing.
  104. In vs.16b he looks back to the start of his life on earth when God blessed his mother (Your handmaid) with a successful pregnancy (cp. Ps.86:16).
  105. He rejoices in the fact that God delivered him from the womb and made him a living soul with the opportunity to become His servant.
  106. Because he was given the opportunity to live and serve God, even though he jeopardized his life, he will celebrate by paying his vows that he made when in the bonds of death.
  107. God delivered him from the prison of the womb and the prison of Sheol to be His servant, and the least he can do is offer the appropriate sacrifices, they being the ritual offerings and the fruit of the lips.
  108. Proof positive that he is God's servant is the fact that God loosed his bonds.
  109. In this psalm he addresses his people, his soul, his God, and his city (vs.19b).
  110. The psalm ends with a universal call to Praise "Yah"!
JUNE, 1997
© Copyright 1998, Maranatha Church, Inc.