|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
49:15-20 Believers should not fear death. The distinction of men's outward conditions, how great soever in life, makes none at death; but the difference of men's spiritual states, though in this life it may seem of small account, yet at and after death is very great. The soul is often put for the life. The God of life, who was its Creator at first, can and will be its Redeemer at last. It includes the salvation of the soul from eternal ruin. Believers will be under strong temptation to envy the prosperity of sinners. Men will praise thee, and cry thee up, as having done well for thyself in raising an estate and family. But what will it avail to be approved of men, if God condemn us? Those that are rich in the graces and comforts of the Spirit, have something of which death cannot strip them, nay, which death will improve; but as for worldly possessions, as we brought nothing into the world, so it is certain that we shall carry nothing out; we must leave all to others. The sum of the whole matter is, that it can profit a man nothing to gain the whole world, to become possessed of all its wealth and all its power, if he lose his own soul, and is cast away for want of that holy and heavenly wisdom which distinguishes man from the brutes, in his life and at his death. And are there men who can prefer the lot of the rich sinner to that of poor Lazarus, in life and death, and to eternity? Assuredly there are. What need then we have of the teaching of the Holy Ghost; when, with all our boasted powers, we are prone to such folly in the most important of all concerns!
Verse 15. - But God will redeem my soul from the power of the grave. Here is the solution of the "dark saying," the key to the" parable." The souls of the righteous will be redeemed, not by themselves, but by God - they will be delivered "from the power of the grave," or rather of Hades; and, while the ungodly are held under by death and the grave (ver. 14), they will be released, and enter upon a higher life. For he shall receive me. As God "took Enoch," when he "was not" (Genesis 4:24) - took him to be with himself - so he will "receive" every righteous soul, and take it home, and give it rest and peace in his own dwelling-place. As Professor Cheyne observes, "It is the weakest of explanations to say that the psalmist rejoices thus in the prospect of mere deliverance from the danger of death. A few years later, and the prospect will return in a heightened form." The fact is that "the poet has that religious intuition which forms the kernel of the hope of immortality." At the same time, we may admit, as Hupfeld argues, that the belief in immortality is "not here stated as a revealed doctrine, but as a presentiment, a deep inward conviction, inseparable from real living faith in a living God."
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
But God will redeem my soul from the power of the grave,.... The psalmist expresses his faith, that though he should die, and for a while be under the power of the grave, yet he should be redeemed from it in the resurrection; which to the saints will be "the day of redemption", Ephesians 4:30; their bodies then will be redeemed from mortality, weakness, corruption, and dishonour, which attend them now, and in the grave; and which will, be in consequence of the redemption both of their souls and bodies, through the blood of Christ; see Hosea 13:14; or the words may be rendered, "but God will redeem my soul from the power of hell"; and so the Targum,
"David said by the spirit of prophecy, but God will redeem my soul from the judgment of hell;''
that is, will keep and preserve from the second death, from being hurt by it, or from its having any power over him; and Christ, who is the Redeemer of his people, and who, being God over, all, is an able and mighty one, has redeemed the souls of his from wrath to come, hell, or the second death, by destroying sin, the cause of it, by satisfying the law, the administration of it, and by abolishing death itself; all which he has done by giving himself a ransom price for them, whereby he has procured the redemption which rich men, with all their gold and silver, could never obtain for themselves or others. The reason why the psalmist believed Christ would do this for him, follows;
for he shall receive me. Or, "for he hath received me" (i); into his arms of love, into his grace and favour; which he does openly at conversion, and in the effectual calling; men being drawn to Christ by the cords of love, come to him, and are received by him, who casts none out; and the argument from hence is very strong, that such whom Christ receives by his grace, he will redeem from the grave, or raise at the last day to the resurrection of life: or, "for he will receive me"; as he does the souls of his people to glory at death, when, during their separate state, they will be happy with him, and takes their bodies into his care and custody; from whence it may be strongly concluded he will raise them up again at the resurrection morn, and then will receive them soul and body to himself, and present them to his Father, and introduce them into his kingdom and glory; wherefore, as in Psalm 49:5, the good man has no reason to fear anything in the day of evil; for when it goes ever so ill with others, it is well with him. The Targum in the king's Bible is,
"he will lead me into his part or portion in the world to come.''
Selah; on this word; see Gill on Psalm 3:2.
(i) "suscepit me", Tigurine version, Vatablus, Musculus, Gejerus.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
15. The pious, delivered from "the power of the grave."
power—literally, "the hand," of death, are taken under God's care.
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