THE PSALMS are filled with supernatural meaning that we often miss because we don’t have the worldview of the authors.
This week, we dig into three psalms of David that appear, on first reading, related to his ascension to the kingship over all the tribes of Israel. They are that, but on a deeper level, we find references to the the unseen realm and those spirits who rejected God’s authority.
For example, the “saints/holy people in the land” of Psalm 16:3 are, in our view, rebellious angels. The Hebrew word translated “saints” or “holy people,” qedoshim (literally “holy ones”), is used elsewhere in scripture of the Watchers (Nebuchadnezzar’s dream in Daniel 4) and the heavenly beings of the divine assembly (Psalm 89:5–7; Job 15:15).
The “excellent/noble ones” (Heb. addirim) are known from pagan texts from the time of the Judges, linked to the Rephaim and threshing floors, which were considered portals to the spirit realm in the ancient world. And “land” (Heb. eretz) means “underworld” as well as “the land” or “earth.”
In short, understood in the cultural and religious context of David’s day, Psalm 16:3–4 is a condemnation of the small-G “gods” of the pagans around ancient Israel.
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