|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
16:1-11 This psalm begins with expressions of devotion, which may be applied to Christ; but ends with such confidence of a resurrection, as must be applied to Christ, and to him only. - David flees to God's protection, with cheerful, believing confidence. Those who have avowed that the Lord is their Lord, should often put themselves in mind of what they have done, take the comfort of it, and live up to it. He devotes himself to the honour of God, in the service of the saints. Saints on earth we must be, or we shall never be saints in heaven. Those renewed by the grace of God, and devoted to the glory of God, are saints on earth. The saints in the earth are excellent ones, yet some of them so poor, that they needed to have David's goodness extended to them. David declares his resolution to have no fellowship with the works of darkness; he repeats the solemn choice he had made of God for his portion and happiness, takes to himself the comfort of the choice, and gives God the glory of it. This is the language of a devout and pious soul. Most take the world for their chief good, and place their happiness in the enjoyments of it; but how poor soever my condition is in this world, let me have the love and favour of God, and be accepted of him; let me have a title by promise to life and happiness in the future state; and I have enough. Heaven is an inheritance; we must take that for our home, our rest, our everlasting good, and look upon this world to be no more ours, than the country through which is our road to our Father's house. Those that have God for their portion, have a goodly heritage. Return unto thy rest, O my soul, and look no further. Gracious persons, though they still covet more of God, never covet more than God; but, being satisfied of his loving-kindness, are abundantly satisfied with it: they envy not any their carnal mirth and delights. But so ignorant and foolish are we, that if left to ourselves, we shall forsake our own mercies for lying vanities. God having given David counsel by his word and Spirit, his own thoughts taught him in the night season, and engaged him by faith to live to God. Verses 8-11, are quoted by St. Peter in his first sermon, after the pouring out of the Spirit on the day of Pentecost, Ac 2:25-31; he declared that David in them speaks concerning Christ, and particularly of his resurrection. And Christ being the Head of the body, the church, these verses may be applied to all Christians, guided and animated by the Spirit of Christ; and we may hence learn, that it is our wisdom and duty to set the Lord always before us. And if our eyes are ever toward God, our hearts and tongues may ever rejoice in him. Death destroys the hope of man, but not the hope of a real Christian. Christ's resurrection is an earnest of the believer's resurrection. In this world sorrow is our lot, but in heaven there is joy, a fulness of joy; our pleasures here are for a moment, but those at God's right hand are pleasures for evermore. Through this thy beloved Son, and our dear Saviour, thou wilt show us, O Lord, the path of life; thou wilt justify our souls now, and raise our bodies by thy power at the last day; when earthly sorrow shall end in heavenly joy, pain in everlasting happiness.
Verse 10. - For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; literally, to Sheol, or "to Hades." The confidence in a future life shown here is beyond that exhibited by Job. Job hopes that he may not always remain in Hades, but may one day experience a "change" or "renewal" (Job 14:14); David is certain that his soul will not be left in hell. Hell (Sheol) is to him an "intermediate state," through which a man passes between his life in this world and his final condition in some blest abode. Neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. The present Hebrew text has חסידיך, "thy holy ones," i.e. thy saints generally; but the majority, of the manuscripts, all the ancient versions, and even the Hebrew revised text (the Keri) have the word in the singular number, thus agreeing with Acts 2:27, 31; Acts 13:35, which give us the translation, τὸν ὄσιον σου, and declare the psalmist to have spoken determinately of Christ. Certainly he would not have spoken of himself as "God's holy one." The translation of shachath (שָׁחַת) by "corruption" has been questioned, and it has been rendered "the pit," or "the grave," but quite gratuitously. The LXX. have διαφθορὰν as the equivalent; and the rabbinical commentators, giving it the same meaning, but expounding it of David, invented the myth that David's body was miraculously preserved from corruption.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell,.... Meaning, not in the place of the damned, where Christ never went, nor was; for at his death his soul was committed to his Father, and was the same day in paradise: but rather, "sheol" here, as "hades" in the Near Testament, signifies the state of the dead, the separate state of souls after death, the invisible world of souls, where Christ's soul was; though it was not left there, nor did it continue, but on the third day returned to its body again; though it seems best of all to interpret it of the grave, as the word is rendered in Genesis 42:38; and then by his "soul" must be meant, not the more noble part of his human nature, the soul, in distinction from the body; for as it died not, but went to God, it was not laid in the grave; but either he himself, in which sense the word "soul" is sometimes used, even for a man's self, Psalm 3:2. For it might be truly said of him, God's Holy One, that he was laid in the grave, though not left there; or rather his dead body, for so the word "nephesh" is rendered in Numbers 9:6; so "anima" is used in Latin authors (u): this was laid in the grave; for Joseph having begged it of Pilate, took it down from the cross, and laid it in his own new tomb; though it was the will of God it should not be left there, but be raised from the dead, as it was on the third day, before it was corrupted, as follows:
neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption; that is, to lie so long in the grave as to putrefy and be corrupted; wherefore he was raised from the dead on the third day, according to the Scriptures, before the time bodies begin to be corrupted; see John 11:39; and this was owing not to the care of Joseph or Nicodemus, in providing spices to preserve it, but of God who raised him from the dead, and gave him glory; and who would not suffer his body to be corrupted, because he was holy, and because he was his Holy One; that so as there was no moral corruption in him, there should be no natural corruption in him; so the Jewish Midrash (w) interprets it, that
"no worm or maggot should have power over him;''
which is not true of David, nor of any but the Messiah. This character of "Holy One" eminently belongs to Christ above angels and men, yea, it is often used of the divine Being, and it agrees with Christ in his divine nature, and is true of him as man; he is the holy thing, the holy child Jesus; his nature is pure and spotless, free from the taint of original sin; his life and conversation were holy and harmless, he did no sin, nor knew any, nor could any be found in him by men or devils; his doctrines were holy, and tended to promote holiness of life; all his works are holy, and such is the work of redemption, which is wrought out in consistence with and to the glory of the holiness and righteousness of God; Christ is holy in all his offices, and is the fountain of holiness to his people; and he is God's Holy One, he has property in him as his Son, and as Mediator, and even as an Holy One; for he was sanctified and sent into the world by him, being anointed with the holy oil of his Spirit without measure. The word may be rendered, a "merciful" (x) or "liberal" and "beneficent one": for Christ is all this; he is a merciful as well as a faithful high priest, and he generously distributes grace and glory to his people.
(u) "--animamque sepulchro coudimus--". Virgil. Aeneid. 3. v. 67. (w) Apud Kimchi in v. 9. (x) "misericordem tuum", Pagninus, Montanus; "beneficus tuus", Piscator.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
10. soul—or, "self." This use of "soul" for the person is frequent (Ge 12:5; 46:26; Ps 3:2; 7:2; 11:1), even when the body may be the part chiefly affected, as in Ps 35:13; 105:18. Some cases are cited, as Le 22:4; Nu 6:6; 9:6, 10; 19:13; Hag 2:13, &c., which seem to justify assigning the meaning of body, or dead body; but it will be found that the latter sense is given by some adjunct expressed or implied. In those cases person is the proper sense.
wilt not leave … hell—abandon to the power of (Job 39:14; Ps 49:10). Hell as (Ge 42:38; Ps 6:5; Jon 2:2) the state or region of death, and so frequently—or the grave itself (Job 14:13; 17:13; Ec 9:10, &c.). So the Greek Hades (compare Ac 2:27, 31). The context alone can settle whether the state mentioned is one of suffering and place of the damned (compare Ps 9:17; Pr 5:5; 7:27).
wilt … suffer—literally, "give" or "appoint."
Holy One—(Ps 4:3), one who is the object of God's favor, and so a recipient of divine grace which he exhibits—pious.
to see—or, "experience"—undergo (Lu 2:26).
corruption—Some render the word, the pit, which is possible, but for the obvious sense which the apostle's exposition (Ac 2:27; 13:36, 37) gives. The sense of the whole passage is clearly this: by the use of flesh and soul, the disembodied state produced by death is indicated; but, on the other hand, no more than the state of death is intended; for the last clause of Ps 16:10 is strictly parallel with the first, and Holy One corresponds to soul, and corruption to hell. As Holy One, or David (Ac 13:36, 37), which denotes the person, including soul and body, is used for body, of which only corruption can be predicated (compare Ac 2:31); so, on the contrary, soul, which literally means the immaterial part, is used for the person. The language may be thus paraphrased, "In death I shall hope for resurrection; for I shall not be left under its dominion and within its bounds, or be subject to the corruption which ordinarily ensues."
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