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 ) ( Isaiah 38:18 ) ; 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, ( Psalms 3:2 ) ( 11:1 ) . 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 Numbers 9:10 ) ( Numbers 19:11 Numbers 19:1-3 ) ; so "anima" is used in Latin authors F21: 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 F23 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" F24 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.
F21 "--animamque sepulchro coudimus--". Virgil. Aeneid. 3. v. 67.
F23 Apud Kimchi in v. 9.
F24 (Kydox) "misericordem tuum", Pagninus, Montanus; "beneficus tuus", Piscator.