An Exegesis of Psalm 16:10 -- By: Gregory V. Trull

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 161:643 (Jul 2004)
Article: An Exegesis of Psalm 16:10
Author: Gregory V. Trull


An Exegesis of Psalm 16:10a

Gregory V. Trull

Gregory V. Trull is Associate Professor of Biblical Studies, Western Baptist College, Salem, Oregon, and Senior Pastor, Valley Baptist Church, Perrydale, Oregon.

The first article in this series surveyed the range of explanations for Peter’s interpretation of Psalm 16 in Acts 2.1 Some hold that Psalm 16:10 (“For You will not abandon my soul to Sheol; nor will You allow Your Holy One to undergo decay”) was the psalmist’s plea for preservation for himself from crisis, but later that preservation came to refer to the Messiah’s own resurrection. Others hold that the psalmist spoke instead of his resurrection and in some way referred to Messiah. This article develops the interpretation of that key verse of Psalm 16 in its original context.

The Authorship of Psalm 16

A strong case exists that the superscription לְדָוִד designates Davidic authorship. Though the lamed preposition has a variety of usages, when linked with a specific person in superscriptions it designates that person as the author. This usage is confirmed outside the Psalter in Isaiah 38:9 and Habakkuk 3:1. It is also demonstrated in the parallel superscriptions of 2 Samuel 22:1 and Psalm 18:1. This usage fits with David’s reputation as a prolific poet and his role as Israel’s worship leader. Davidic authorship was accepted by ancient sources, such as Ben Sirach (47:8–10). Also the Dead Sea Scrolls used lamed to indicate authorship.2

Evidence within the Book of Psalms also supports the Davidic authorship of Psalm 16. This psalm shares the title מִכְתָּם with Psalms 56–60, and each of these psalms bears the title לְדָוִד. Psalms 56, 57, 59, and 60 carry additional notes in the superscriptions that relate those four psalms to specific events in David’s life. Also Delitzsch and Hengs...

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