I’ve been studying Psalm 16 lately. It is one of the only places where the idea of someone being rescued from Sheol occurs:
You will not abandon me to Sheol;
you will not allow your faithful follower to see the Pit.
Psalm 16:10, NET (See 49:15 for the other)
But today I was struck by the very different renderings of Psalm 16:2-4
Here’s the KJV:
2 O my soul, thou hast said unto the Lord, Thou art my Lord: my goodness extendeth not to thee; 3 But to the saints that are in the earth, and to the excellent, in whom is all my delight. 4 Their sorrows shall be multiplied that hasten after another god: their drink offerings of blood will I not offer, nor take up their names into my lips.
What’s really interesting here is the connection between “the saints” in verse 3 and those that “hasten after another God” in verse 4. Are they the same people or different?
If they are different, then the people in verse 3 are the good guys. And those mentioned in verse 4 are the bad guys. Translations that take this interpretation include NIV, NLT and ESV.
If they are the same, then the people in verses 3 are “bad guys,” that is they are going after another god. Translations that take this interpretation include NET, WBTC and KJV.
This is one of those fabulously difficult passages to interpret in the Old Testament. I don’t think the phrase level grammar can actually help you out here. Poetic form might give us some clues. Bob had a look at it here: Psalm 16 – the pleasure and the right hand. Maybe John would like to give it a try at Ancient Hebrew Poetry.
What’s your take?