And Walk with You to Heaven

Psalm 16

An EasyEnglish Translation with Notes (about 1200 word vocabulary) on Psalm 16

Gordon Churchyard

Words in boxes are from the Bible. Words in brackets, ( ), are not in the Hebrew Bible.


Jesus said, "If anyone leaves their houses, family or land for me, then I will be good to them. I will be good to them in this life. And their inheritance will be life that never finishes". (Matthew 19:29) Matthew was a friend of Jesus. He wrote a book about Jesus. We call it the Gospel of Matthew. Gospel means good news. See in 'The Story of Psalm 16' for what inheritance means.

Psalm 16

v1   (This is) the secret of David.
  Keep me safe, my God, because I come to you for help.

v2   I said to the LORD, You are my Lord.
  All the good things in my life come from you.

v3   I have great pleasure in the saints on earth.
  It is they that do such good things.

v4   But people that run after other (gods) will be sorry.
  They will be more than sorry.
  I will not offer gifts of blood (to other gods) with them.
  I will not even say the names of these (other gods).

v5   You, LORD, chose my part and my cup.
  You make safe what is mine.

v6   The lines fell to me in a pleasing place.
  (Or, You chose a part for me that is very pleasing.)
  Yes. My part is really very beautiful.

v7   I will say how great the LORD is. He is my teacher.
  In the dark nights my feelings also teach me.

v8   I kept the LORD always in front of me.
  With him at my right hand nobody will move me.

v9   My heart is happy. My mouth is always singing.
  My body will be safe when I sleep.

v10   You will not send me to Sheol.
  You will not let your holy one see the Pit.

v11   You will show me the path of life.
  With you I will enjoy myself a lot.
  At your right hand there is pleasure for ever.

Word list

feelings ~ what we feel and think inside us

in front ~ at the front of us

The Story of Psalm 16

Saul was trying to kill David. David ran away to the woods, the hills and the fields. He hid there from Saul. 400 men went with David. Saul had 3000 soldiers. Saul was king of Israel. One night Saul and all his men slept. David came near in the night and took some things from Saul. David did not kill Saul. In the morning David told Saul, "It was easy to kill you but I did not. What have I done wrong? You sent me away from my own country. You told me to find other gods. Why?" It was probably at this time that David wrote Psalm 16. It has two ideas in it:

1  The inheritance of David. Your inheritance is what your parents give you when they die. David says Saul made him go away from his own country. The inheritance of David was there. But David had a better inheritance. The LORD was his inheritance.

2  The God of David. Saul told David to find other gods. But David already had the best God that there was. David had the only God. He had no need to make a change.

What Psalm 16 means

Verses 1 - 4: "Secret" is "miktam" in Hebrew. "Secret" is only one of the things that it may mean. Another is "gold". Some Christians call Psalm 16 the "golden psalm". "Golden" means "like gold". Gold has great value. In Psalm 16 it is the secret that is of great value. It is the secret of living for ever. "For ever" means "with no end". First we live on earth. When we die we live with God in heaven. The secret is to believe in the one true God. David found this secret. It is of more value than gold. David tells us that there are 2 groups of people:

1  the saints on earth. These are the people of the LORD, or the righteous. The righteous are people that God sees as clean. They are not his enemies. Saints is a word that the New Testament uses for Christians. The New Testament is part of the Bible. It tells us about Jesus and the Church.

people that run after other gods. "Run after" is the Hebrew way of saying "go and serve". These are the enemies of God. Christians call them 'unbelievers' because they do not believe in the one true God. Jesus came to show us the one true God. What does "gifts of blood" mean in verse 4? In the time of David they killed animals and sometimes children for their false gods. David called these "gifts of blood".

Verses 5 - 6: "my part" is "my inheritance" in Hebrew. An inheritance is what a father gives (or leaves) to his children when he dies. In the time of David it was probably land or animals. Saul made David go away. So, David had no inheritance. This part of the psalm tells us that David had a better inheritance than land or animals. God himself was David's inheritance. Verses 7-11 tell us what this meant to David. What does "lines" mean in verse 6? The lines measured the land into pieces. People then knew where their piece of land was. In ( ) is another way of translating this part.

Verses 7 - 11: There are 5 parts in the inheritance that David received from the LORD:

1  David will have the LORD for a teacher

2  Nobody will move David away from what he believes

3  David will always be safe and happy

4  David will not go to Sheol

5  David will live with the LORD now and when David dies

Where is the Pit? The Pit is a part of Sheol where very bad people go when they die. This is what the Jews believed. You never came back from the Pit. In Psalm 16:10 we read about "the holy one". Who was the holy one? In the psalm it was David. But for Christians the psalms mean more than they do for the Jews. Saints Peter and Paul thought that it meant Jesus.

Something to do

1. Make sure that you know the secret of David. Do what he did. Tell God that you believe that he is the one true God. Thank God that he sent Jesus to earth. Remember that:

    Jesus showed us what God is like

    Jesus died so that God can forgive us (forgive means that God gives our sins to Jesus who takes them away)

    Jesus went to heaven to prepare a place for us

2. Study Psalm 16 in the New Testament. Bits of it are in Acts 2:22-32 and Acts 13:35. If you do not have a New Testament they are both here:

Acts 2:22-32

v22  Men of Israel. Listen to these words. Jesus of Nazareth was a man that God said was good. God did wonderful things through Jesus. You know this.

v23  God made a plan long ago. The plan was that bad men would kill Jesus.

v24  Then God would raise him up from the dead. It was not possible for death to keep Jesus.

v25  This is what David said about Jesus. "I kept the Lord always in front of me. He was on my right hand side, so that nobody would move me.

v26  So my heart was happy. My mouth was always singing. My body will live in hope

v27  You will not send me to Hades. You will not let your holy one rot.

v28  You showed to me the path of life. With you I will enjoy myself."

v29  Men and brothers. I will speak clearly to you about our father David. He died and they buried him. We can still see his grave.

v30  David knew what God promised. This was because David was a prophet.

  This is what God promised. One of the descendants of David would be king of Israel.

v31  David saw what would happen. He spoke of the resurrection of Christ. Christ would not stay in Hades. His body would not rot.

v32  God raised up Jesus. We all saw it happen.

Word list

Hades ~ another name for Sheol

rot ~ when plants and animals change back into dirt

prophet ~ someone that speaks for God, and says what will happen

descendants ~ members of your family that live many years after you

resurrection ~ when God raises people from the dead

Special note

Acts 2:25-28 is a bit different from Psalm 16:8-11. This is because the Jews had two translations of the Bible. One was in Hebrew and the other was in Greek. God speaks to us through each of them.

The Story and Meaning of Acts 2:22-32.

This is part of the story of the start of the Church. After Jesus went back to heaven, he sent the Holy Spirit to his friends on earth. The Holy Spirit is the name that we use for God working in the world. He lives in Christians. He also gives them help to become more like Jesus. He came on a day that we call Pentecost. Pentecost means 50 days after Easter. Easter was the day that God raised Jesus from the dead.

A lot of people listened to what Peter said at Pentecost. Acts 2:22-32 is a part of what Peter said. Peter was a special friend of Jesus.

Peter said that the Jews killed Jesus. This was part of God's plan. God raised Jesus from the dead. Peter said that David said this would happen in Psalm 16. How did Peter know? Because Jesus explained the Bible to his friends after God raised Jesus from the dead. So Peter repeated Psalm 16:8-11 in Acts 2:25-28. It says above why they are a bit different. This is good because it gives us more ideas.

The big difference is in Psalm 16:10. The Hebrew word translated "pit" also means "rot". The Greek Old Testament used the second word "rot". Rot means that things change. What was good changes into something that is bad. For example, dead bodies change into dirt. So when we die, our bodies rot. Only our bones remain. Peter said that this did not happen to Jesus. God raised up Jesus from the dead. After 40 days Jesus went up into heaven. He is there now with God. 10 days later Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to the Church.

Here is what happened to David and Jesus when they died:

David died and his spirit went to live with God in heaven. He did not go to Sheol. His body rotted in the earth. Jesus died and his body (as well as his spirit) went to live with God. His body did not rot in the earth. His spirit went for a short visit to Sheol after he died.

The big change when Jesus came to earth was this. Before he came, people did not think clearly about resurrection. After God raised Jesus from the dead, Christians believed in the resurrection. Christians now believe that:

    God raised Jesus from the dead

    at the end of the world God will raise all Christians

Acts 13:33-35

v33  God did what he promised to us, the children of the Jews. He raised up Jesus from the dead. The promise is in Psalm 2. It says, 'You are my son. Today I became your father'.

v34  Because God raised Jesus from the dead, the body of Jesus will not rot. This is what God said, 'I will do what I promised to David'. (Isaiah 55:3)

v35  Also, in another psalm, God said. 'You will not let your Holy One rot'.

The Story and meaning of Acts 13:33-35

Paul became a Christian a few years after Jesus died. Paul was a Jew. He did not like Christians. He even put them in prison. But one day Paul saw a very bright light. He heard Jesus speaking to him. Jesus told Paul to change his life. From now on Paul must tell everyone about Jesus. Paul must tell Jews and people that were not Jews about Jesus.

So Paul travelled hundreds of miles. As he went, he told people about Jesus. Acts 13:33-35 is part of what Paul said at a place that they called Antioch. It was in a country that they called Pisidia. Today we call it Turkey. It was not the Antioch in Syria.

In Acts 13:33-35 Paul repeated bits from Psalm 2, Psalm 16 and Isaiah 55. Paul says that God kept his promise. It was a promise that God made to David. Where do we read that promise? In Psalm 2:7 and in Psalm 16:10. By itself Psalm 2:7 is not easy to understand. We must read Psalm 2:8-9 as well. Then we learn that Jesus is king of all the world. This happened after God raised him from the dead. This is what Paul thought. Why did Paul think this? Because Jesus explained everything to Paul. Paul was not a Christian when Jesus rose from the dead. So, Paul missed what Jesus said to the first Christians. But when Paul became a Christian, Jesus met him. Jesus taught Paul everything that he needed. Paul repeated Psalm 16:10 from the Greek Old Testament. This was because the people in Pisidia spoke Greek.

The 'holy one' in the psalm was David, or one of the kings that came after him. The 'Holy One' in Acts 13:35 is not David. It is Jesus. He is not only the king of the Jews; Jesus is the king of the whole world. We learnt this in Psalm 2:7. So, 'you will not let your Holy One rot' means 'God will raise Jesus from the dead'.

The Resurrection

This is the name that Christians give to a very special time. That time was when God raised Jesus from the dead. Jesus is not the only person in the Bible that somebody raised from the dead. Elijah raised a boy from the dead. Jesus raised another boy and a little girl and Lazarus. Later Peter raised Dorcas and Paul raised Eutychus from the dead. But Lazarus, Dorcas and Eutychus, as well as the 3 children, all died again later. The resurrection of Jesus is different. Jesus did not die again later. He is alive and he will never die.

Some people do not believe this. They say, "Prove it to me". (Prove means "show me that it is true".) Nobody can prove that it is true. BUT NOBODY CAN PROVE THAT IT IS NOT TRUE. Thomas did not believe that God raised Jesus from the dead. He said , I will not believe unless:

    I see in his hands the mark of the nails

    I put my finger into the nail holes

    I put my hand into the hole in his side

(Nails are bits of iron a few centimetres long with sharp ends. The Romans fixed Jesus to the cross of wood with them. Jesus died on that cross.) 8 days later Jesus came to Thomas. He told Thomas to do what Thomas wanted . Thomas knew then that Jesus was alive. Thomas said to Jesus, "My Lord and my God". Then Jesus said these words: "You believed because you saw me. The people that do not see me will be very happy. They will be happy when they believe in me". (You will find the story in John 20:24-28. See below.)

If we want to believe in the resurrection of Jesus, we must ask God for faith. He will give it to us. The Bible teaches us that faith is the gift of God. (Ephesians 2:8) But why should we believe in the resurrection? Because if Jesus was raised from the dead, God will raise us too. Not like Dorcas and Lazarus and Eutychus, to die again. When God raises us from the dead we will live for ever. We will never die. Like Jesus , we will have a new body. It will do things we cannot do now. It will be a resurrection body. It will never be ill or sick. It will be beautiful. It will be like Jesus. That is the best news in the world.

John 20:24-28

v24  Thomas Didymus, one of the disciples, was not with them when Jesus came.

v25  The other disciples said to him, "We have seen the Lord". But he said to them, "If I do not see in his hands where the nails were, and put my finger into the holes, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe".

v26  After 8 days his disciples were again in (the room) and Thomas was with them. The doors were closed, but Jesus came and stood with them. He said, "Peace be with you".

v27  Then he said to Thomas, "Give me your finger, and look at my hands; give me your hand and put it into my side. Do not think that it is not true. Believe it!"

v28  Thomas answered and said, "My Lord and my God!"


2001, Wycliffe Associates (UK)

This publication is written in EasyEnglish Level A (1200 words)

January 2001

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