Psalm 16

16A: When in the Night I Meditate

Other Resources:

  • Visit hymnary.org for more information on this song and additional resources.

Copyright Information:

  • Words: Psalter, 1912, P.D.
  • Music (MAITLAND 8.6.8.6): George N. Allen, 1850, P.D.
  • Reprint Information:
    • Words and Music: The Words and Music of this song are in Public Domain. You do not need copyright permission to reprint this song.

16B: Harbor of My Heart

Performance Notes:

  • For performance notes on this song, see page 1078 of Psalms for All Seasons: A Complete Psalter for Worship.

Other Resources:

  • Visit hymnary.org for more information on this song and additional resources.

Copyright Information:

  • Words and Music: Steven C. Warner © 1995 World Library Publications
  • Reprint Information:

16C: Protect Me, God: I Trust in You

Performance Notes:

How can the ancient psalms be sung in contemporary worship? About twenty-five years ago, a group of Anglican clergy and musicians began to search for ways to "lead people back to the original psalms in the Scriptures with fresh understanding and joy/' as one of them stated in the preface to Psalm Praise (1973). That influential collection of settings of psalms and other portions of Scripture used language that was fresh, followed new translations of the Bible, and contained varied musical styles, which were often folk-like and popular in character.

"Protect Me, God," a setting of Psalm 16, was prepared by two members of the Psalm Praise team. The text came from Michael Saward, active in radio and television communications with the Church of England, vicar of Ealing Church, London, since 1978, and author of several hymns. The music was composed by M. Christian Strover, the Director of Music at Emmanuel School and the organist and choir master at Christ Church in Beckneham, Kent, England.

Strover commented on his choice of the tune name MEPHIBOSHETH:

Mephibosheth, a son of Saul, was lame in both feet. He was welcomed by David and lived in his house and fed at his table. The prayer of the song is appropriately illustrated in David's care and provision.

Psalm 16 is both a short prayer for God's protection (v. 1) and an extended confession of faith (vv. 2-11), in which the psalmist expresses delight, trust, confidence, and security in the Lord. In this setting, the prayer for protection is set as a refrain, offering opportunity for singing in groups.

An ideal way to introduce this song would be in a service of Profession of Faith. Have a group of young people (or a unison choir), accompanied by guitars and/or piano, sing this song as a response to the confession or perhaps to the law. Use soloists on the verses with the choir on the refrains. In following weeks, have the same group sing the stanzas, with the congregation on the refrains. Since the melody of the stanzas is a bit challenging, the congregation should not attempt it until they have heard the choir sing it a few times.

This setting of Psalm 16 has already become a favorite in several congregations. The ancient prayer set to a contemporary text and tune helps us to bridge the gap in time from David's day to our own. The Psalms are never out of date! 

Text Information:

A prayer asking God to preserve the psalmist's life, coupled with a ringing confession of why he looks to the LORD.

Scripture References:
st. 1 = vv. 1-2
st. 2 = vv. 3-4
st. 3 = vv. 5-6
st. 4 = vv. 7-8
st. 5 = vv. 9-10
st. 6 = v. 11

Like many psalm prayers, Psalm 16 includes a short petition to God, a lengthy declaration of trust and delight in the LORD, and gratitude for his many blessings. This psalm seems to arise out of some unspecified threat to the author's life-probably an illness, since no enemies are mentioned. Our voices join with the psalmist in a short prayer for protection and a confession of trust in the LORD (st. 1). Then we declare solidarity with God's people and repudiate all other gods and pagan ways (st. 2), acknowledging that the LORD has provided a secure and abundant source of all that blesses life (st. 3). The psalmist helps us gratefully rely only on the LORD as the One who assures life (st. 4)–even from the power of death (st. 5)–and who counsels in the way that leads to eternal joy in God's presence (st. 6). Michael John Saward (b. Blackheath, Kent, England, 1932) wrote this versification in 1970. It was commissioned for and first published in Psalm Praise.

Saward is residentiary Canon of St. Paul's Cathedral, London, and is a church commissioner and member of the general synod of the Church of England. Educated at Eltham College, Bristol University, and Tyndale Hall, he was ordained in the Church of England in 1956. Saward served in several congregations and was radio and television officer for the Church Information Office (1967-1972). His publications include Leisure (1963), Couldn’t Care Less (1966), Don't Miss the Party (1974), and All Change (.1983). Associated with the Jubilate Group for a number of years, he has written some sixty hymns and served as text editor for Hymns for Today's Church (1982).

Liturgical Use:
When the Christian appeals to God for protection and expresses confidence in God's care; especially appropriate for Easter and for profession of faith.

Tune Information:

Christian T. Strover (b. Colchester, Essex, England, 1932) wrote MEPHIBOSHETH for this text in 1973. He explains the naming of the tune as follows: "Mephibosheth, a son of Saul, was lame in both feet. He was welcomed by David and lived in his house and fed at his table. The prayer of the song is appropriately illustrated in David's care and provision." Filled with rhythmic interest and a tender character, MEPHIBOSHETH repeats the first part of the psalm's prayer (v. 1) in its refrain. The unison melody requires a strong solo stop on the organ, with lighter accompaniment. A solo voice or choir could sing the stanzas, and everyone could join in on the refrain. Guitar and string bass accompaniment is also very appropriate.

Strover received the B.Litt. and MA degrees from Hertford College in Oxford, England. He is director of music at Emmanuel School and organist and choirmaster at Christ Church in Beckenham, Kent, England. He has composed and arranged a number of hymn tunes, some of which appeared in Psalm Praise (1973)

Other Resources:

  • Visit hymnary.org for more information on this song and additional resources.

Copyright Information:

  • Words: Michael Saward © 1973 The Jubilate Group, admin. Hope Publishing Company
  • Music (MEPHIBOSHETH 8.8.8 with refrain): Christian Strover © 1973 The Jubilate Group, admin. Hope Publishing Company
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16D: A Responsorial Setting

Other Resources:

  • Visit hymnary.org for more information on this song and additional resources.

Copyright Information:

  • Words: Michael Saward © 1973 The Jubilate Group, admin. Hope Publishing Company
  • Music (MEPHIBOSHETH fragment): Christian Strover © 1973 The Jubilate Group, admin. Hope Publishing Company
  • Psalm Text: from Evangelical Lutheran Worship © 2006 Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, admin. Augsburg Fortress Publishers
  • Tone: © 2011 Faith Alive Christian Resources
  • Reprint Information for Refrain:
    • Words and Music: permitted with a license from OneLicense.net or a CCLI License.
    • When reprinting the Psalm Text and Tone, please include the correct copyright line. Faith Alive Christian Resources gives you permission to reprint the Tone for use in worship settings.

 

  • Alternative Refrain Words: Psalm 16
  • Alternative Refrain Music: William Beckstrand from Psalter for Worship, Cycle B © 1996 Augsburg Fortress Publishers
  • Alternative Tone: © 2011 Faith Alive Christian Resources
  • Reprint Information for Alternative Refrain:
    • Music: permitted with a license from OneLicense.net.
    • When reprinting the Tone, please include the correct copyright line. Faith Alive Christian Resources gives you permission to reprint the Tone for use in worship settings.