Acts 13:36

36 “Now when David had served God’s purpose in his own generation, he fell asleep; he was buried with his ancestors and his body decayed.

Acts 13:36 in Other Translations

36 For David, after he had served his own generation by the will of God, fell on sleep, and was laid unto his fathers, and saw corruption:
36 For David, after he had served the purpose of God in his own generation, fell asleep and was laid with his fathers and saw corruption,
36 This is not a reference to David, for after David had done the will of God in his own generation, he died and was buried with his ancestors, and his body decayed.
36 "David, of course, having completed the work God set out for him, has been in the grave, dust and ashes, a long time now.
36 For David, after serving his own generation in God's plan, fell asleep, was buried with his fathers, and decayed.

Acts 13:36 Meaning and Commentary

Ver. 36 For David, after he had served his own generation
Or the men of that age and generation in which he lived, the subjects of his kingdom; by governing them with wholesome laws, protecting them in their rights and properties, defending them against their enemies, and regulating and promoting the worship of God among them:

by the will of God;
this clause may be read in connection with the preceding words, as it is in the Syriac version thus, "after he had in his own age served the will of God"; acted according to it, fulfilled it, and did what the Lord declared to him, or he knew to be the will of God; or with the following words, as in the Vulgate Latin version, "by the will of God fell on sleep", or died; and then the sense is, that after he had done the work of his generation, which was appointed and cut out for him, he died by the decree and counsel of God, which has set bounds to man's life, and has fixed the time of his death; no man dies before, or lives longer than the time it is the will of God he should. David lived according to the will of God's command, and he died by the will of his decree. Death is expressed by falling asleep; a way of speaking very common with the eastern nations, and which represents it in an easy and familiar manner: it is not an annihilation of men; the dead are only fallen asleep, and will wake again in the resurrection; till which time the grave is their restingplace, and out of which the saints will rise fresh and cheerful; and yet, as a time of sleep is a time of inactivity, so 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 many hundred years, even thousands, in it; 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 dies not with the body, nor continues with it in the grave in a state of insensibility and inactivity, but immediately returns to God; and being happy, is employed in the vision of 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 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. It is further said of David, "and was laid unto his fathers", or was buried; his sepulchre is said to be in Mount Zion F17, where the kings of the house of David were buried; and his sepulchre Peter says in ( Acts 2:29 ) remained till his time.

And saw corruption;
his body putrefied in the grave, became the repast of worms, and was reduced to rottenness and dust; and therefore the words could not be spoken of him cited from ( Psalms 16:10 ) .


F17 Cippi Hebr. p. 24.

Acts 13:36 In-Context

34 God raised him from the dead so that he will never be subject to decay. As God has said, “ ‘I will give you the holy and sure blessings promised to David.’
35 So it is also stated elsewhere: “ ‘You will not let your holy one see decay.’
36 “Now when David had served God’s purpose in his own generation, he fell asleep; he was buried with his ancestors and his body decayed.
37 But the one whom God raised from the dead did not see decay.
38 “Therefore, my friends, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you.

Cross References 2

  • 1. S Matthew 9:24
  • 2. 2 Samuel 7:12; 1 Kings 2:10; 2 Chronicles 29:28; Acts 2:29
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