Pisidian Antioch, Paul's Sermon & the Reaction, Part 2, Section 4

by John Lowe
(Laurens, SC)

Fell on sleep

David, "by the will of God fell on sleep,” or died; which makes the sense that after he had done the work of his generation, which was chosen and cut out for him, he died by the decree and counsel of God, who has set limits to man's life, and has fixed the time of his death; no man dies before, or lives longer than the time determined and fixed by the will of God. David lived according to the will of God communicated to him in various ways, and he died when the will of God decreed it. Death is expressed by falling asleep; a way of speaking very common with the eastern nations, who represent it as an easy transition: it is not the annihilation of men; the dead are only fallen asleep, and will wake again in the resurrection. Until then they must rest in the grave, but at a time known only to God the saints will rise out of the grave, fresh and cheerful; and since a time of sleep is a time of inactivity, no work is done in the grave; and therefore, whatever we find to do, should be done in life. It is a long sleep; David has been dead for many hundreds of years, even thousands of years; and there will be no awaking out of it till Christ comes again: but this is to be understood of the body only, which only is capable of sleeping the sleep of death, and not of the soul, which does not die with the body, nor continues with it in the grave in a state of unawareness and inactivity, but immediately returns to God; and it is happy, and is involved in serving God, and Christ, in the fellowship of saints and angels, and in the work of praise and thanksgiving: thus, though David is fallen asleep in his body, he is present in spirit with the Lord; and that sweet psalmist of Israel is singing the songs of God in a much better manner than when he was here on earth. Blessed are they that sleep in Jesus, for they not only sleep quietly and safely, but shall surely rise again, for God will bring them with him; Christ is the first fruits of them, and they shall awake in his likeness.

And was laid unto his fathers
It is further said of David, "and was laid unto his fathers", or was buried among his ancestors; his sepulcher is said to be in, where the kings of the house of David were buried; as well as David himself. Peter says in Acts 2:29 that his sepulcher remained buried in Mount Zion. And in we read in 1 Kings 2:10: “So David slept with his fathers, and was buried in the city of David.”

And saw corruption;
His body putrefied in the grave, became a buffet for worms, and was reduced to rottenness and dust; and therefore the words of Psalm 16:10 could not be have been spoken of him—“For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.” See this point argued in depth by Peter in Acts 2:29-31: also see the notes in Acts 13:36. Now, this verse explains the previous verse, and brings the argument home, in that it proves that the words which came before could not refer to David, but to One that he typified and represented.


37 But he, whom God raised again, saw no corruption.

But he whom God raised again
Another version adds, "from the dead"; meaning the Lord Jesus Christ, who was raised from the dead on the third day by God the Father, according to the gospel.

Saw no corruption
Christ did not lie long enough in the grave for His body to corrupt and putrefy, but was raised from the dead on the third day; therefore, the passage cited before (Acts 2:29-31) is very applicable to Him, and is a clear proof that the Messiah was to rise from the dead, as Jesus really did.“Saw no corruption,” means that Jesus was raised without undergoing the usual changes that come after death. Since David had returned to corruption, and the Lord Jesus had not, it followed that the passage in Psalm 16:1-11 referred to the Messiah.

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