Thine Holy One - This is in the plural number, חסידיך chasideycha, thy Holy Ones; but none of the versions translate it in the plural; and as it is in the singular number, חסידך chasidecha, in several ancient editions, among which is the Complutensian Polyglot, and no less than two hundred and sixty-four of Kennicott's and De Rossi's MSS., and in the quotation by St. Peter, in Acts 2:27; Acts 13:35, we may take it for granted that the present reading is a corruption; or that חסידיך is an emphatic singular.
As to leaving the soul In hell, it can only mean permitting the life of the Messiah to continue under the power of death; for שאול sheol signifies a pit, a ditch, the grave, or state of the dead. See the notes on the parallel places, Acts 2:25; (note), etc.
See corruption - All human beings see corruption, because born in sin, and liable to the curse. The human body of Jesus Christ, as being without sin, saw no corruption.
For thou will not leave - The language used here implies, of course, that what is here called the soul would be in the abode to which the name hell is given, but “how long” it would be there is not intimated. The thought simply is, that it would not be “left” there; it would not be suffered to “remain” there. Whether it would be restored to life again in a few days, or after a longer period, is not implied in the term used. It would be fulfilled, though, as in the case of the Lord Jesus, the resurrection should occur in three days; or though, as in the case of David, it would occur only after many ages; or though, as Abraham believed of Isaac if he was offered as a sacrifice Hebrews 11:19, he should be restored to life at once. In other words, there is no allusion in this language to time. It is only to the “fact” that there would be a restoration to life.
My soul - DeWette renders this, “my life.” The Hebrew word - נפשׁ nephesh - which occurs very frequently in the Scriptures, means properly “breath;” then, the vital spirit, life; then, the rational soul, the mind; then, an animal, or animated thing - that which “lives;” then, oneself. Which of these senses is the true one here must be determined from the connection, and the meaning could probably be determined by a man‘s asking himself what he would think of if he used similar language of himself - “I am about to die; my flesh will go down to the grave, and will rest in hope - the hope of a resurrection; my breath - my soul - will depart, and I shall be dead; but that life, that soul, will not be extinct: it will not be “left” in the grave, the abode of the dead; it will live again, live on forever.” It seems to me, therefore, that the language here would embrace the immortal part - that which is distinct from the body; and that the word here employed may be properly understood of the soul as we understand that word. The psalmist probably understood by it that part of his nature which was not mortal or decaying; that which properly constituted his life.
In hell - - לשׁאול lishe'ôl “to Sheol.” See Psalm 6:5, note; Isaiah 5:14, note. This word does not necessarily mean hell in the sense in which that term is now commonly employed, as denoting the abode of the wicked in the future world, or the place of punishment; but it means the region or abode of the dead, to which the grave was regarded as the door or entrance - the under-world. The idea is, that the soul would not be suffered to remain in that under-world - that dull, gloomy abode (compare the notes at Job 10:21-22), but would rise again to light and life. This language, however, gives no sanction to the words used in the creed, “he descended into hell,” nor to the opinion that Christ went down personally to “preach to the spirits in prison “ - the souls that are lost (compare the notes at 1 Peter 3:19); but it is language derived from the prevailing opinion that the soul, through the grave, descended to the under-world - to the abodes where the dead were supposed still to reside. See the notes at Isaiah 14:9. As a matter of fact, the soul of the Saviour at his death entered into “paradise.” See the notes at Luke 23:43.
Neither wilt thou suffer - literally, “thou wilt not give;” that is, he would not give him over to corruption, or would not suffer him to return to corruption.
Thine Holy One - See the notes at Acts 2:27. The reading here in the text is in the plural form, “thy holy ones;” the marginal reading in the Hebrew, or the Qeri‘, is in the singular, “thine Holy One.” The singular form is followed by the Aramaic Paraphrase, the Latin Vulgate, the Septuagint, the Arabic, and in the New Testament, Acts 2:27. The Masoretes have also pointed the text as if it were in the singular. Many manuscripts and earlier editions of the Bible, and all the ancient versions, read it in the same manner. It is probable, therefore, that this is the true reading. The Hebrew word rendered holy one - חסיד châsı̂yd - means properly kind, benevolent, liberal, good, merciful, gracious, pious. Gesenius, Lexicon. It would be applicable to any persons who are pious or religious, but it is here restricted to the one whom the psalmist had in his eye - if the psalm referred to himself, then to himself; if to the Messiah, then to him. The term is several times given to the Saviour as being especially adapted to him. See Mark 1:24; Luke 4:34; Acts 3:14; compare Luke 1:35. It is applied to him as being eminently holy, or as being one whom God regarded as especially his own. As the passage here is expressly applied to him in the Acts of the Apostles Acts 2:27, there can be no doubt that it was intended by the Spirit of inspiration to designate him in this place, whatever reference it may have had primarily to David himself.
To see - That is, to experience; to be acquainted with. The word is used often to denote perceiving, learning, or understanding anything by experience. Thus, “to see life,” Ecclesiastes 9:9; “to see death,” Psalm 89:48; “to see sleep,” Ecclesiastes 8:16; “to see famine,” Jeremiah 5:12; “to see good,” Psalm 34:12; “to see affliction,” Lamentations 3:1; “to see evil,” Proverbs 27:12. Here it means that he would not “experience” corruption; or would not return to corruption.
Corruption - - שׁחת shachath This word is frequently used in the Scriptures. It is translated “ditch” in Job 9:31; Psalm 7:15; “corruption” (as here), in Job 17:14; Psalm 49:9; Jonah 2:6; “pit,” in Job 33:18, Job 33:24, Job 33:28, Job 33:30; Psalm 9:15; Psalm 30:9; Psalm 35:7; Proverbs 26:27; Isaiah 38:17; Isaiah 51:14; Ezekiel 19:4; Ezekiel 28:8; “grave,” in Job 33:22; and “destruction,” in Psalm 55:23. The common idea, therefore, according to our translators, is the grave, or a pit. The “derivation” seems not to be certain. Gesenius supposes that it is derived from שׁוח shûach - “to sink or settle down;” hence, a pit or the grave. Others derive it from שׁחת shāchath not used in Qal, to destroy. The verb is used in various forms frequently; meaning to destroy, to ruin, to lay waste. It is translated here by the Latin Vulgate, “corruptionem;” by the Septuagint, διαφθοράν diaphthoran corruption; by the Arabic in the same way.
The same word which is employed by the Septuagint is employed also in quoting the passage in the New Testament, where the argument of Peter Acts 2:27, and of Paul Acts 13:35-37, is founded on the supposition that such is the sense of the word here; that it does not mean merely “the pit, or the grave;” that the idea in the psalm is not that the person referred to would not go down to the grave, or would not “die,” but that he would not moulder back to dust in the grave, or that the “change” would not occur to him in the grave which does to those who lie long in the tomb. Peter and Paul both regard this as a distinct prophecy that the Messiah would be raised from the grave “without” returning to corruption, and they argue from the fact that David “did” return to corruption in the grave like other men, that the passage could not have referred mainly to himself, but that it had a proper fulfillment, and its highest fulfillment, in the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. This interpretation the believer in the inspiration of Peter and Paul is bound to defend, and in reference to this it may be remarked,
(1) that it cannot be demonstrated that this is not the meaning of the word. The word may be as “fairly” derived from the verb to corrupt, as from the verb to sink down, and, indeed, more naturally and more obviously. The grammatical form would rather suggest this derivation than the other.
(2) It “is” a fair construction of the original word. It is such a construction as may be put upon it without any “forced” application, or any design to defend a theory or an opinion. In other words, it is not a mere “catch,” or a grasp at a “possible” meaning of the word, but it is a rendering which, on every principle of grammatical construction, may be regarded as a “fair” interpretation. Whatever may have been the exact idea in the mind of David, whether he understood this as referring only to himself, and to the belief that he would not “always” remain in the grave, and under the power of corruption; or whether he understood it as referring primarily to himself, and ultimately and mainly to the Messiah; or whether he understood it; as referring solely to the Messiah; or whether he did not at all understand the language which the Holy Spirit led him to employ (compare the notes at 1 Peter 1:11-12), it is equally true that the sense which the apostles put on the words, in their application of the passage to the Messiah, is a suitable one.
(3) The ancient versions, as has been seen above, confirm this. Without an exception they give the sense of “corruption” - the very sense which has been given to the word by Peter and Paul. The authors of these versions had no theory to defend, and it may be presumed that they had a just knowledge of the true meaning of the Hebrew word.
(4) It may be added that this interpretation accords with the connection in which the word occurs. Though it may be admitted that the connection would not “necessarily” lead to this view, yet this interpretation is in entire harmony with the statements in the previous verses, and in the following verse. Thus, in the previous verse, the psalmist had said that “his flesh would rest in hope,” - a sentiment which accords with either the idea that he would at some future period be raised from the grave, and would not perish forever, though the period of the resurrection might be remote; or with the idea of being raised up so soon that the body would not return to corruption, that is, before the change consequent on death would take place. The sentiment in the following verse also agrees with this view. That sentiment is, that there is a path to life; that in the presence of God there is fulness of joy; that at his right hand there are pleasures forevermore - a sentiment, in this connection, founded on the belief of the resurrection from the dead, and equally true whether the dead should be raised immediately or at some remote period. I infer, therefore, that the apostles Peter and Paul made a legitimate use of this passage; that the argument which they urged was derived from a proper interpretation of the language; that the fair construction of the psalm, and the fact that David “had” returned to corruption, fully justified them in the application which they made of the passage; and that, therefore, it was the design of the Holy Spirit to convey the idea that “the Messiah” would be raised from the dead without undergoing the change which others undergo in the grave; and that it was thus “predicted” in the Old Testament, that be would be raised from the dead in the manner in which he was.
Peter showed them that this manifestation was the direct fulfillment of the prophecy of Joel, wherein he foretold that such power would come upon men of God to fit them for a special work. SR 244.1
Peter traced back the lineage of Christ in a direct line to the honorable house of David. He did not use any of the teachings of Jesus to prove His true position, because he knew their prejudices were so great that it would be of no effect. But he referred them to David, whom the Jews regarded as a venerable patriarch of their nation. Said Peter: SR 244.2Read in context »
But He who was to suffer death at the hands of evil men was to rise again as a conqueror over sin and the grave. Under the inspiration of the Almighty the Sweet Singer of Israel had testified of the glories of the resurrection morn. “My flesh also,” he joyously proclaimed, “shall rest in hope. For Thou wilt not leave My soul in hell [the grave]; neither wilt Thou suffer Thine Holy One to see corruption.” Psalm 16:9, 10. AA 227.1
Paul showed how closely God had linked the sacrificial service with the prophecies relating to the One who was to be “brought as a lamb to the slaughter.” The Messiah was to give His life as “an offering for sin.” Looking down through the centuries to the scenes of the Saviour's atonement, the prophet Isaiah had testified that the Lamb of God “poured out His soul unto death: and He was numbered with the transgressors; and He bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.” Isaiah 53:7, 10, 12. AA 227.2
The Saviour of prophecy was to come, not as a temporal king, to deliver the Jewish nation from earthly oppressors, but as a man among men, to live a life of poverty and humility, and at last to be despised, rejected, and slain. The Saviour foretold in the Old Testament Scriptures was to offer Himself as a sacrifice in behalf of the fallen race, thus fulfilling every requirement of the broken law. In Him the sacrificial types were to meet their antitype, and His death on the cross was to lend significance to the entire Jewish economy. AA 227.3Read in context »