Acts 13:34
And as concerning that he raised him up from the dead, now no more to return to corruption, he said on this wise, I will give you the sure mercies of David.
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(34) Now no more to return to corruption.—We note from the turn of the phrase that St. Paul already has the words of Psalm 16:10 in his mind, though he has not as yet referred to it.

I will give you the sure mercies of David.—The words do not seem in themselves to have the nature of a Messianic prediction. To those, however, whose minds were full to overflowing with the writings of the prophets they would be pregnant with meaning. What were the “sure mercies of David” (Isaiah 55:3) but the “everlasting covenant” of mercy which was to find its fulfilment in One who should be “a leader and commander to the people?” We may well believe that the few words quoted recalled to St. Paul and to his hearers the whole of that wonderful chapter which opens with “Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters.” The Greek word for “mercies” is the same adjective as that translated “holy” in the next verse, “holiness” being identified with “mercy,” and so forms a connecting link with the prophecy cited in the next verse.

13:32-37 The resurrection of Christ was the great proof of his being the Son of God. It was not possible he should be held by death, because he was the Son of God, and therefore had life in himself, which he could not lay down but with a design to take it again. The sure mercies of David are that everlasting life, of which the resurrection was a sure pledge; and the blessings of redemption in Christ are a certain earnest, even in this world. David was a great blessing to the age wherein he lived. We were not born for ourselves, but there are those living around us, to whom we must study to be serviceable. Yet here is the difference; Christ was to serve all generations. May we look to Him who is declared to be the Son of God by his resurrection from the dead, that by faith in him we may walk with God, and serve our generation according to his will; and when death comes, may we fall asleep in him, with a joyful hope of a blessed resurrection.And as concerning - In further proof of this. To show that he actually did it, he proceeds to quote another passage of Scripture.

No more to return to corruption - The word "corruption" is usually employed to denote "putrefaction, or the mouldering away of a body in the grave; its returning to its native dust." But it is certain (Acts 13:35. See the notes on Acts 2:27) that the body of Christ never in this sense saw corruption. The word is therefore used to denote "death, or the grave, the cause and place of corruption." The word is thus used in the Septuagint. It means here simply that he should not die again.

He said on this wise - He said thus ὅυτως houtōs.

I will give you - This quotation is made from Isaiah 55:3. It is quoted from the Septuagint, with a change of but one word, not affecting the sense. In Isaiah the passage does not refer particularly to the resurrection of the Messiah, nor is it the design of Paul to affirm that it does. His object in this verse is not to prove that he would rise from the dead, but that, being risen, he would not again die. That the passage in Isaiah refers to the Messiah there can be no doubt, Acts 13:1, Acts 13:4. The passage here quoted is an address to the people, an assurance to them that the promise made to David would be performed, a solemn declaration that he would make an everlasting covenant with them through the Messiah, the promised descendant of David.

The sure mercies of David - The word "mercies" here refers to the promise made to David; the mercy or favor shown to him by promising to him a successor that should not fail to sit on his throne, 2 Samuel 7:16; Psalm 89:4-5; Psalm 132:11-12. These mercies and promises are called "sure," as being true or unfailing; they would certainly be accomplished. Compare 2 Corinthians 1:20. The word "David" here does not refer, as many have supposed, to the Messiah, but to the King of Israel. God made to David a promise, a certain pledge; he bestowed on him this special mercy, in promising that he should have a successor who should sit forever on his throne. This promise was understood by the Jews, and is often referred to in the New Testament, as relating to the Messiah. Paul here says that that promise is fulfilled. The only question is how it refers to the subject on which he was discoursing. The point was not mainly to prove his resurrection, but to show particularly that he would never die again, or that he would forever live and reign. And the argument is, that as God had promised that David should have a successor who should sit forever on his throne, and as this prediction now terminated in the Messiah, the Lord Jesus, it followed that, as that promise was sure and certain, he would never die again. He must live if the promise was fulfilled. And though he had been put to death, yet under that general promise there was a certainty that he would live again. It was impossible, the meaning is, that the Messiah, the promised successor of David, the perpetual occupier of his throne, should remain under the power of death. Under this assurance the church now reposes its hopes. Zion's King now lives, ever able to vindicate and save his people.

34-37. now no more to return to corruption—that is, to the grave where death reigns; and compare Ro 6:9, "Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more, death hath no more dominion over him."

I will give you the sure mercies of David—(Isa 55:3). The word rendered "mercies" is peculiar, denoting the sanctity of them, as comprehending the whole riches of the new covenant; while the other word, "sure," points to the certainty with which they would, through David's Seed, be at length all substantiated. See on [2006]Joh 1:14. But how do these words prove the resurrection of Christ? "They presuppose it; for since an eternal kingdom was promised to David, the Ruler of this kingdom could not remain under the power of death. But to strengthen the indefinite prediction by one more definite, the apostle adduces Ps 16:10, of which Peter had given the same explanation (see on [2007]Ac 2:27; Ac 2:30, 31), both apostles denying the possibility of its proper reference to David" [Olshausen].

The former verse was not intended so much by St. Paul for a proof of the resurrection, as it was to show how faithful God was in fulfilling that promise there spoken of; here the apostle’s design is, to evince Christ’s resurrection, and that it was agreeable to the prophesies which were concerning him.

I will give you the sure mercies of David; these words are found, Isaiah 60:3, and

the sure mercies of David there and here spaken of, are such mercies as were promised to David (David being to be taken positively). Now the mercies which were promised to David are all included or surmounted in this, that by this Son of David (our Lord and Saviour, frequently and truly so called) God would erect and establish an everlasting kingdom; which could not be done, unless Christ rose again, and obtained the victory over death and the grave. All the promises God hath made unto his church in any age concerning Christ, are sure and faithful, holy and just; the words have been variously rendered and changed; but no words can sufficiently express their stability and excellency.

And as concerning that he raised him up from the dead,.... This, as it is differently expressed from the raising him up, spoken of in the preceding verse, so seems to be a distinct article from it, and is supported by other passages of Scripture: the apostle having shown that God had fulfilled his promise to the fathers, concerning the raising up, or sending the Messiah into the world, who is no other than the eternal Son of God, proceeds to prove his resurrection from the dead, as man, which was in such sort, as

now no more to return to corruption; so as not to die any more, and be laid in the grave, and there corrupted; as was the case of those who were raised from the dead by the prophets, under the Old Testament, or by Christ himself, before his death and resurrection; for these were raised to a mortal life, and died again, and were buried, and saw corruption; but Christ was raised up from the dead, never to die more, but to live forever, having in his hands the keys of hell and death, and being the triumphant conqueror over death and the grave; in proof of which some passages are produced out of the Old Testament, as follow: "he said on this wise"; that is, God said so, or after this manner, Isaiah 55:3 "I will give you the sure mercies of David"; that is, of the Messiah; by which are meant the blessings of the sure and well ordered covenant of grace, which the Messiah by his sufferings and death was to ratify and secure for all his people: now had he only died, and not been raised from the dead, these blessings had not been ratified and made sure unto them; therefore, when God promises his people, that he will give them the sure mercies of David, or the Messiah, he promises that the Messiah shall not only die to procure mercies and blessings for them, but that he shall rise again from the dead, to make them sure unto them; so that these words are pertinently produced in proof of Christ's resurrection. David is a name frequently given to the Messiah, as in Jeremiah 30:9 David being an eminent type of Christ, and the Messiah being a son of his; and who must be meant here; and which is owned by several Jewish commentators (o) of the best note; and which appears from his being called a witness to the people, a leader and a commander of them, in the next verse: the blessings of the covenant are fitly called "mercies", because they spring from the grace and mercy of God, and wonderfully display it, and are in mercy to his people; and these are the mercies of David, or of Christ, because the covenant being made with him, these blessings were put into his hands for them, and come through his blood to them; and hence they are said to be "sure" ones; they are in safe hands; Christ, who is intrusted with them, faithfully distributes them: but then, as by his death he has made way for the communication of them, consistent with the justice of God; so he must rise again, and live for ever, to distribute them, or see that there is an application of them made to the persons for whom they are designed: besides, it is one of the sure mercies promised to David, to the Messiah himself, that though he died, and was laid in the grave, he should not continue there, but rise again, as the next testimony most clearly shows.

(o) Aben Ezra & Kimchi in Isaiah 55.3. Abarbinel. Mashmia Jeshua, fol. 26. 1.

And as concerning that he raised him up from the dead, now no more to return to corruption, he said on this wise, I will give you the {p} sure mercies of David.

(p) The Greeks call those things holy things which the Hebrews call gracious bounties: and they are called David's bounties in the passive voice, because God bestowed them upon David. Moreover, they are termed sure, after the manner of speech which the Hebrews use, who terms those things sure which are steady and certain, and such things which never alter or change.

Acts 13:34. But that God raised Him from the dead as one who is no more to return to corruption, He has thus said. The μηκέτι μέλλονταδιαφθορ. is the main element whereby the speech advances. Comp. Romans 6:9.

εἰς διαφθοράν] into corruption, is not, with Kuinoel (after Beza and Piscator), to be explained: in locum corruptionis, i.e. in sepulcrum, for which there is no reason at all, as μηκέτι by no means requires the inference that Christ must already have been once in the condition of corruption; for μηκέτι refers logically to the general idea of dying present in the mind of Paul, which he, already thinking on Psalm 16:10, expresses by ὑποστρ. εἰς διαφθ. Comp. Winer, p. 574 [E. T. 772]. Bengel aptly says: “non amplius ibit in mortem, quam alias solet subsequi διαφθορά.” The appeal to the LXX., which renders שַׁחַת by διαφθορά, is equally inadmissible, for the translators actually so understood שַׁחַת, and thus connected with their διαφθορά no other idea than corruptio (comp. on Acts 2:27).

δώσω ὑμῖν τ. ὅσ. Δ. τ. πιστά] a free quotation of the LXX. Isaiah 55:3, in which Paul, instead of διαθήσομσι ὑμῖν διαθήκην αἰώνιον, gives δώσω ὑμῖν, certainly not designedly, because the text of the LXX. represents the appearance of the Messiah as something future, as Olshausen thinks; for the words of the LXX., particularly the αἰώνιον, would have been very suitable as probative of our passage; nor yet by a mistake of memory, as the passage about the eternal covenant certainly was very accurately known to the apostle; but because he saw the probative force in τὰ ὅσια Δ. τὰ πιστά, and therefore, in introducing those words on which his argument hinged, with his freedom otherwise in quotation he regarded it as sufficient only to prefix to them that verb, the idea of which is really contained in διαθήσομαι ὑμῖν διαθήκην αἰών. I shall give unto you the holy things of David, the sure; i.e. the holy blessings conferred by me on David, the possession of which will be (federally) sure and certain. By this is meant the whole Messianic salvation as eternally enduring, which (in an ideal sense, for future realization by the Son of David, the Messiah) belonged as a holy property to David, the Messianic ancestor, and was to come to believers through Christ as a sacred inheritance. The LXX. translates חַסְדֵי דָוִיד inexactly by τὰ ὅσια Δαυΐδ; but on this very account the literal meaning beneficia is not (against Kuinoel and others) to be assumed for ὅσια. It denotes veneranda, pie observanda. Comp. Bremi, ad Lys. p. 269, Goth.

The historical meaning of the passage in Isaiah contains a promise of the Messianic times alluring the exiles to the appropriation of the theocratic salvation; but in this very Messianic nature of the promise Paul had reason and right to recognise the condition of its fulfilment in the eternal remaining-alive of the risen Christ, and accordingly to understand the passage as a prophetic promise of this eternal remaining-alive; because through a Messiah liable again to death, and accordingly to corruption, those holy possessions of David, seeing they are to be πιστά, could not be conferred; for that purpose His life and His government, as the fulfiller of the promises (2 Corinthians 1:10), must be eternal. Comp. Calvin and Hofmann, Weissag. u. Erf. II. p. 173 f. As surely as God, according to this prophetic assurance, must bestow the ὅσια Δαυῒδ τὰ πιστά, so surely Christ, through whom they are bestowed, cannot again die. Less accurately Hengstenberg, Christol. II. p. 384.

Acts 13:34. μηκέτι μ. ὑποσ. εἰς διαφθ., cf. Romans 6:9, “no more to return to corruption,” does not of course mean that Christ had already seen corruption, so that there is no need to understand διαφθ. of the place of corruption, sepulchrum, with Beza, Kuinoel. Hilgenfeld refuses to follow Jüngst, Sorof, Clemen in referring Acts 13:34-37 to a reviser, for he justly remarks that the speech which was intended to move the Israelites to a recognition of Jesus as the promised Saviour of the seed of David, would have been imperfect, unless it had set forth His sufferings and after-resurrection.—Δώσω κ.τ.λ.: “I will give you the holy and sure blessings of David”. This rendering makes the connection with the next verse more evident, cf. Isaiah 55:3, καὶ διαθήσομαι ὑμῖν διαθήκην αἰώνιον τὰ ὅσια Δαυὶδ τὰ πιστά. “By David was understood the Messiah, which yet the Rabbis themselves have well observed:” J. Lightfoot, Hor. Heb. (so Schöttgen), in loco. “The everlasting covenant,” what was it but the holy and sure blessings promised to David? But these blessings, ὅσια, sancta promissa Davidi data, are connected with the resurrection of Christ because (“διότι not διό, T.R., see critical notes, stating the cause, not the consequence”) only in the triumph of God’s Holy One (τὸν ὅσιον) are these blessings ratified and assured. Just as Peter (Acts 2:47), so here Paul applies the passage in Psalms 16. directly to Christ, Briggs, Messianic Prophecy, p. 151.

34. he said on this wise] Better, “He [i.e. God] hath spoken on this wise.” The words are from Isaiah 55:3.

I will give you the sure mercies of David] Rather, “I will give you the holy and faithful (mercies) of David.” There is no word for “mercies” in the original; but the word rendered “holy” is one which the LXX. have frequently used to represent the Hebrew word for “mercies.” St Paul to the audience at Antioch used the Greek version, though no doubt he carried along with him the thought of the Hebrew. But having this Greek rendering as an interpretation of the “everlasting covenant” of which Isaiah speaks in the verse here quoted, he connects the “holy and faithful things of David” with that verse of David’s Psalm (Acts 16:10) which tells how God will not give his Holy One to see corruption.

Acts 13:34. Ὄτι that) Paul does not prove the everlasting life of Christ by, as it were, presupposing the resurrection; otherwise, in Acts 13:37, he would say in the future, He shall not see corruption; but proves the resurrection itself (comp. following ver.), and mentions additionally, that His everlasting life is conjoined with it. The question was concerning the resurrection itself of Christ, not, presupposing it, concerning His everlasting life.—μηκέτι, no more hereafter) Not even once did Christ see corruption. Therefore resolve μηκέτι, thus: μηκέτι, He shall no more go to death, which in ordinary cases is wont to be followed by διαφθορὰ, corruption. Comp. Romans 6:9, οὐκέτι, “Christ being raised from the dead, dieth no more.”—ὄτι δώσω ὑμῖν τὰ ὄσια Δαυὶδ τὰ πιστά) Isaiah 55:3, in the LXX., διαθήσομαι ὑμῖν διαθήκην αἰώνιον, τὰ ὅσια Δαυὶδ τὰ πιστά.—τὰ ὅσια Δαυὶδ, the holy things of David) חסדי דויד, the graces of (the acts of grace promised to) David. Christ is called ὁ ὄσιος, the Holy One, חסיד, in Acts 13:35; τὸ τοῦ Χριστοῦ, that which is the peculiar attribute of Christ, is expressed by חסדים, an abstract term. And it is in the plural in Isaiah 63:7, loving-kindnesses; in John 1:16, grace for grace (i.e. grace accumulated upon grace); and in Acts 13:17, ibid., “grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.” They are those Divine graces promised in Christ to David, and eagerly looked for by David: comp. Acts 13:23.—τὰ πιστὰ) הנאמנים, sure, firm, solid, which altogether uphold and answer to their name (Romans 11:6, “If by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace”), and which mutually sustain one another; of which some precede others, some follow others by necessary consequence, and on which we ought altogether to lean, and which will stand fast for ever. Comp. אמן, amen, 2 Corinthians 1:18; 2 Corinthians 1:20; מבות נאמנות, νόσους πιστὰς, sure plagues, Deuteronomy 28:59. Comp. ibid. Deuteronomy 32:20, where, by comparing with it the following ver., such sons in whom there is no faith (אֵמֻן, LXX., πίστις), are no sons (comp. Acts 13:19, His sons). Isaiah has from the parallel put before this phrase, “an everlasting covenant.” Hence necessarily follows the resurrection of Christ, Hebrews 13:20; for without it the promised benefits of the Messiah could not have been enjoyed by the people of God. אמונה, πίστις, faith, is a conjugate and correlative to these (ὅσια) πιστά

Verse 34. - Hath spoken for said, A.V.; holy and sure blessings for sure mercies, A.V. No more to return to corruption. This is added to show that Christ's resurrection was a final victory over death; not like that of Lazarus, or the Shunammite's son, or Jairus's daughter, but, as St. Paul himself says (Romans 6:9), "Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more, death hath no more dominion over him." Here he tells us that this eternal exemption of Christ from death was promised or signified in Isaiah 55:3, which he quotes from the LXX., only abbreviating the διαθήσομαι κ.τ.λ., into δώσω, I will give. What, then, is meant by the ὅσια Δαβὶδ τὰ πιστά? The Hebrew has חֻסְדֵי דָוְד הַנֶּךאמָנִים, which can mean nothing else but "the sure mercies of David," the favor and mercy promised to David in God's everlasting covenant, well ordered in all things and sure. And in like manner, in 2 Chronicles 6:42, ὅσια Δαβὶδ means "the mercies of God to David." And if we turn to the account of this covenanted mercy in 2 Samuel 7, we shall see that it comprises the setting of David's seed upon his throne for ever (see specially vers. 12-16). In ver. 15 it is said, חַסְדִי לאִ יָסוּר מִמֶּגוּ, "My mercy shall not depart from him." And in the next verse his house and his kingdom are described as being נֶאְמַן לְעֹלָם, sure," or "established for ever," which, when applied to the personal Christ, the Son of David, manifestly implies his eternal exemption from death and corruption (see also Psalm 132:4). The sense of the Hebrew, therefore, is clever and certain, and it is equally certain that the LXX. meant to represent this sense in the version here quoted by St. Paul. Ὅσιος, though properly meaning "holy, pious," and thence "mild" and "merciful" (εἰρηνικὸς, Hesych.) as applied to man, came to be applied in the same senses to God (Revelation 15:4; Revelation 16:5; and here and in the LXX.). Beyond doubt, therefore, the passage before us is rightly rendered in the A.V., "the sure mercies of David;" the plural, ὅσια, represents the חֲסָדִים of the Hebrew. Clemens Alex. (quoted by Schleusner) uses it in the same way for "mercies or "benefits:" Πόσα αὐτῷ ὀφείλομεν ὅσια: "For how many mercies are we indebted to Christ!" In a similar way, the Latin pietas is used for God's "justice" or "kindness" ('AEneid,' 2:536; 5:688). "Trini pulses pietatem" (on a sepulchral monument, A.D. 1427): "Beat at the door of God's mercy." Gronovius, in his note on 'AEian. V. H.,' 8:1, where he ascribes to ὅσιος the primitive sense of what is "just" and "due," from man either to God or to his fellowman, adds, "Tribuunt quidem LXX? interpetiam Deo τὸ ὅσιον: sod etiam tum significat quoddam quasi offcium benignitatia in heroines pios, Deo decorum." Acts 13:34The sure mercies (τὰ ὅσια τὰ πιστά)

Lit., the holy things, the sure. Rev., the holy and sure blessings.

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