David the Prophet? Psalm 16 in Acts 2

Mariam Kamell Kovalishyn
Associate Professor, New Testament Studies
Regent College, Vancouver

“Since [David] was a prophet,” declares Peter in his Pentecost sermon, David knew when he wrote, “you do not give me up to Sheol, or let your faithful one see the Pit” that he was not referring to himself but to a future king.[1] Thus, Peter instructs us to read Psalm 16 Messianically, as a poem David wrote with the intention of pointing to a future referent. But is this a fair reading of the Psalm itself? No where else in the Biblical text is David alluded to as a prophet.[2] Rather, David stands as the ideal king who had prophets around him to advise, support, and rebuke him. But Peter draws a different conclusion, reading into Psalm 16 an intentionality and Messianic reference that leads him to comment on David’s status not only as king but also as prophet. Peter’s move, as recorded by Luke in Acts, leaves the reader today to question how we ought to read Psalm 16 and other, perhaps similar, psalms.

To navigate the minefield of the reception of Psalm 16,[3] we need to consider a methodology that allows us to reflect on Psalm 16 as it would have been heard by its original audience(s) before exploring Peter’s citation of it. Would it have been considered Messianic by other audiences, or is Peter doing something new, and if so, is he setting a normative pattern of reading for later Christians? It will be argued below that David was not intentionally Messianic, but he does open the door with his Psalm for a new referent and fuller application that Peter (and later Paul) exploits.

Psalm 16 as a Discrete Text

We begin with the attempt to hear Psalm 16 as a discrete text. The author is identified in the opening description, “A Miktam of David” (מִכְתָּם לְדָוִד),[4] an ascription reasonably well accepted. This Psalm, although it begins with a plea for protection, breathes an air of confidence that the God who is sought for refuge has and will save the author. The Psalmist finds his security and inheritance in YHWH, something he does not foresee for those who do not follow in the Lord’s ways. In one sense, the Psalm reads in line with other wisdom Psalms, contrasting the ways and outcomes of the righteous (v. 3) and the idolaters (v. 4). The utter confidence in the author’s security also echoes Psalm 1’s stark contrast between the fate of the righteous and the wicked.

The Psalm begins with a three-fold address to God, calling him “God” (אֵל), “Lord” (יהוָה), and “Lord” (אֲדֹנָי), as if in an over-exuberance of worship. This threefold affirmation is in conjunction with the sole imperative of the Psalm, the plea for protection, along with the declaration that the Lord is the source and location of all that is good in David’s life. The plea and affirmation of verses one and two serve to remind the hearer that the focus is on the works of God, not David’s own feats. Even as lofty a role as kingship over Israel is a gift that comes from God. David begins his Psalm with humility. Krause adds that, while the author’s “good fortune is only in the hands of Yahweh,” at the same time “we are to notice and to consider how emphatically the formulation ‘with you alone’ corresponds to the exclusive demand of the First Commandment.”[5] This echo sets up the contrast to come between the holy ones and those who fail to observe the first commandment and reminds the worshipper that all good comes only from the one source of Good.

Verses 3 and 4[6] echo Psalm 1 with its contrast between the righteous and the wicked, here called the “holy ones” (קְדוֹשִׁים) and idolaters (“those who choose another God”; אַחֵר מָהָרוּ). This is, in many ways, also a continuation of the question posed in Psalm 15, “O Lord, who may abide in your tent? Who may dwell on your holy hill?” Here, however, the Psalmist himself finds delight in those who are characterized as holy and avoids the idolaters. The Psalmist, thus, embodies in human discernment the distinctions drawn in terms of worship and relation to God in Psalms 1 and 15.[7] The identity of the קְדוֹשִׁים is widely debated. Terrien takes them to be “sacred spirits” who are here earthly, “mysterious beings [who] inhabit the underworld, or at least, according to Canaanite mythology, preside over the miracle of fertility in vegetation.”[8] This allows him to group together verses 3 and 4 as a “repudiation of ecstatic rites.”[9] In contrast, Kraus, among others, sees a priestly role in the offering in verse 4, and therefore takes the reference to the קְדוֹשִׁים as a reference to the Levitical priesthood.[10] Goldingay does not see the necessity of a priestly role in vv. 4, and so argues instead that “these are a group with whom the suppliant identifies (or wishes to identify),” and that “there is no reason to limit to priests.”[11] Rather, he understands “the two cola to refer to the people as a whole and their leaders (cf. Neh. 10:29 [30]).”[12] This last sort of intensifying parallelism that allows for the holy ones to be any of the faithful among Israel makes sense of the re-defining of “good” in the Psalm itself—not any one class is the noble but rather those who are faithful are themselves the noble.

Verses 5-8 together affirm in various ways the relationship the author holds with the Lord, each one spoken of YHWH in the third person, as though to encourage other petitioners. Krause observes that almost all the terms in vv. 5-6 “are unmistakably associated with the institution of the distribution of the land. . . [and] only the word כוֹס seems to depart from this.”[13] The term for “cup” (כוֹס) in v. 5 is rare, appearing in book 1 in 11:6 as a cup of judgment (so also 75:8) and in 23:5 linked with kingship given and protected by YHWH.[14] This perhaps leads us to understand “cup” here in covenantal, inheritance terms as well. “The suppliant is aware of having a designated share, portion, cup, or lot, and knows that Yhwh upholds this and thus protects the person to whom it belongs.”[15] Just as the Psalm begins with the awareness that YHWH is the ultimate Good as well as the source of all good in the psalmist’s life, so here the affirmation again fluctuates between the tangible inheritance of land and kingship and the spiritual inheritance of YHWH himself.[16] In vv. 5-8, the Psalmist affirms the security of his inheritance in the Lord’s care, praises God that the outworking of that inheritance has been good, reaffirms his own covenant commitment to the council of the Lord, which leads to a final affirmation (in line with the theology first presented in Psalm 1) of the Psalmist’s security.[17]

The bold pronouncement of protection in verse 8 may serve as a transition, concluding the series of “current life” affirmations and leading the author to reflect on their future need(s) for shelter. Just as the Psalm begins with the plea for refuge, so the awareness of current safety does not negate the need for future security. This indeed seems to be how Peter uses this passage in Acts 2:25-28, where he quotes all of verses 8-11 indicating that, at least for him, this is a unit. Verses 7 and 8 parallel each other, each beginning with first person verbs (אֲבָרֵךְ, שִׁוִּיתִי) followed by YHWH as the object (“I bless the Lord,” “I keep the Lord”), but verse 9 builds upon them as the logical conclusion of the forgoing affirmations (לָכֵן). Presenting the person as a unified whole in their response, verse 9 celebrates in totality: “my heart is glad, and my soul [or my glory; כְּבוֹדִי] rejoices; my body [בְּשָׂרִי][18] also rests secure.” It is a holistic affirmation: all of the person is safe now and can rejoice.

However, this assurance goes beyond this life: “For (כִּי) you do not give me up [or, abandon my soul; לֹא־תַעֲזֹב נַפְשִׁי][19] to Sheol, or let your faithful one see the Pit [שָׁחַת].” The start of the verse connects it to the prior verse’s confidence, and takes that conviction to the future. As God has acted, he can be trusted to act in future. This future life “is a consequence of divine communion. It is not related to the Hellenistic immortality of the soul. Deprived of the Presence, the selfhood of humans is not immortal by birth. It will be abandoned in the underworld.”[20] In contrast, the author, while he may go to Sheol, here likely simply a reference to the grave, does not fear being abandoned there for eternity. Likewise, the “Pit” is the place of corruption, thus the parallelism may indicate that the author expects to go to Sheol (i.e., die), but not be abandoned there, and will not go to the place of corruption (διαφθοράν, the translation the LXX gives “Pit” [שָׁחַת]). The relationship he has with YHWH now will continue onward even in the face of death.

Here arises a major crux of interpretation. Kaiser sees the reference to חֲסִיד (ḥāsîd) in verse 10 as one of the strongest messianic terms in the Old Testament, and to be taken in a passive form as “one to whom God is loyal, gracious or merciful.”[21] This then, for him, opens the possibility multiple referents within the verse. He then connects this line in 10b to other “messianic” texts and argues therefore David knew that there could be a greater covenant fulfillment of this promise in this Psalm, such that 10a refers to himself and 10b to a greater “holy one” who will be the recipient of resurrection.[22] Assumedly, however, unless otherwise signaled, the subject remains the same between the two clauses of verse 10, so that the “faithful one” is a further, parallel description of the author himself. As Darrell Bock argues, “the first person references throughout this psalm make a more natural reading to refer to the psalmist himself, who is the subject throughout. Otherwise, we must argue that one part of one verse treats a subject different from the rest of the psalm.”[23] If we did not have the issue of the New Testament’s use of this verse, a more straightforward reading of this text would see the two clauses in verse 10 in parallel, but just as the Psalm itself is both personal but also aware of other holy ones in the land, so might this verse in the main refer to David and yet leave open the awareness that this assurance in YHWH applies to (an) other faithful one(s). “The Psalm expresses a confidence that a person committed to Yhwh will not be abandoned to death and thus to the Abyss (cf. 30:9 [10]).”[24]

And thus we come to the conclusion of the psalm. Instead of being abandoned to the realm of death, the Psalmist instead rejoices in “the path of life.” The question here is whether David here pictured that he was discussing eternal life or earthly joy and security. On the one hand, Kraus affirms that “Psalm 16 does not deal with resurrection, or even immortality, but with rescue from an acute mortal danger.”[25] He sees this as a faithful reading from the situation presented in verse 1, and that to interpret more is to eisegete into the text. In contrast, the imperfect tense of the verbs here indicate not simply that God has not let him die, but will not in the future. Accordingly, Terrien urges that we ought to read this in the “traditional interpretation” that this is “the vision of eternal life.”[26] Likewise, Kaiser argues that “the ‘path of life’ for the psalmist was ‘eternal life,’” and “The God who was the God of the living and not the dead would be David’s God in life and in death, lighting the path to life with its pleasure and joy afterwards in the presence of God.”[27] These arguments notwithstanding, however, and given the Psalm’s development, this Psalm does not appear as immediately promising eternal life in its last verse—or at least not obviously. Rather, it makes a statement about God’s character. In contrast to the ways of death, God reveals life to those who seek him, and near him is joy and goodness. This is entirely consonant with the affirmation of v. 2b, “I have no good apart from you”; here all good things are near and come from God.

On an initial reading of the Psalm, then, sthis poem celebrates the faithfulness and goodness of God amidst the changing fortunes of life. Like the tree “planted by streams of water,” life flourishes in proximity to God. The Psalmist celebrates both current (or past) faithfulness and security and extrapolates toward future security as the answer to the plea for refuge in the very start of it. In that sense the Psalm flows in the order of a claim for refuge, then temporal implications in the middle regarding inheritance and protection, and then a look to future consequences and blessings that will be even greater than those currently experienced. Hagner concludes that “The Psalm can be understood historically as referring to David’s confidence that God would deliver him from death at the hands of his enemies.”[28] David reaffirms his commitment to God and God’s commitment to him, and this relationship brings benefits both temporal and ongoing. The future refuge, however, is somewhat ambiguous, with the possibility open that the Psalmist may have had an eye toward resurrection, even if it is not obvious in the original context.

Psalm 16 in its Canonical Context

Far more briefly, it is worth commenting on this Psalm’s location. For one, it sits in Book 1 of the Psalter, in the more personal Psalms. It is placed in a sequence that seems to be unpacking the fates of the righteous and wicked from Psalm 1, with Psalm 14 examining the fate of the “fools,” Psalm 15 defining the character of the righteous, and Psalm 16 providing a more personal affirmation of the fate of the “faithful ones.” Psalm 17 then provides a much more visceral plea for refuge, having already established that God indeed is the faithful refuge. In that sense, Psalm 16 fits as a wisdom-type Psalm, extolling the right way to live and the reasons therefore. In the bigger picture, Psalm 1 and this group of Psalms all echo the covenantal/Deuteronomic pattern of being called to choose God, and the blessings that flow from that relationship accordingly.[29] As the Old Testament canon continues, the later (temporally and numerically) Psalm 89 may be of relation to the thinking established in Psalm 16, wherein God promises, “I will establish your descendants forever, and build your throne for all generations.” As the Davidic kingship falls into disrepute by idolatrous kings, the hope for a true Davidic king to be on the throne grew and may have also lead to a re-reading of the Davidic Psalms in the hope of new fulfillment.

Other Extracanonical references to David the Prophet and Psalm 16

Trull, in his Dallas dissertation on this topic, provides several examples of places wherein David and Psalm 16 appear in the Second Temple period. For instance, he notes that 11QPsa 27:2-11 associates David with prophecy. “A prose insertion into the collection summarizes David’s prodigious writing and then closes by saying that David ‘spoke through prophecy which was given him from the Most High.’”[30] While the Qumran concept of prophets is not necessarily clear, “Fitzmyer also offers that David may have been viewed as a prophet by Qumran literature because of the association of prophecy with the ‘anointed ones.’”[31]

Even closer in time to the composition of Acts, Josephus sees the act of David’s anointing by Samuel to also have prophetic significance. Josephus writes, “But the Divine Power departed from Saul, and removed to David, who upon this removal of the Divine Spirit to him, began to prophesy,”[32] echoing the story of Saul falling under the Spirit and being numbered among the prophets. Trull observes that the “descriptions of the coming of the Spirit on Saul are very similar in wording” in 1 Samuel 10:6, 10 and 16:13-14.[33] As a result of these examples, Trull concludes that “the description of David as a prophet in Acts 2:30 was not, therefore, in discord with first century belief or Old Testament characterization.”[34] Neither of these examples, however, answers the question whether a prophet was necessarily thought to have spoken predictively about the future Messiah, or whether their role as prophets was more often the forthtelling of God’s ways and covenant, which leaves the question regarding Psalm 16 and the “prediction” of Jesus’ resurrection still an open question.

Lastly, we may note that Psalm 16 had gained messianic nuance in the Second Temple period. Trull concludes regarding the Jewish interpretation of Psalm 16:

First, the rabbis consistently interpreted Psalm 16:10b as referring to physical decay. This agrees with the conclusion in the Old Testament chapter that the term שָׁחַת means “decay” rather than “pit.” This same understanding is declared by both Peter and Paul in their sermons. Second, the rabbis understood the psalm to refer to the afterlife rather than to preservation from danger. It was admitted, however, that this interpretation may reflect their afterlife views applied to the psalm. Third, the rabbis did not see Messiah in Psalm 16:8-11. . . . Further, extant rabbinical writings do not reveal a messianic reference in 16:10, where both Peter and Paul build their Christological arguments.[35]

I highlight his conclusions because they let us see the state of the debate in Palestine up to the time of Peter’s Pentecost sermon (and a bit after). It is worth noting that, until Peter makes the Messianic jump by the prompting of the Spirit, Psalm 16 was not apparently deemed “Messianic” by his contemporaries, even though Keener notes that “a late midrash (Midr. Pss. 16:9) … applies it, in some sense, to the Messiah.[36] It may have referred to a resurrection, but a future one for all the faithful ones, not merely a singular faithful one. Peter appears to be making a fairly unexpected move in his interpretation.

Psalm 16 in the Sermon of Acts 2

While Psalm 16 is quoted by both Peter and Paul in Acts 2 and 13 respectively, in both cases, the argument is that David died and his body was buried and decayed, but that Jesus, although he died, his body didn’t decay, drawing on the Septuagint translation of “Pit” as “corruption.” The conclusion they reached, therefore, is that the true referent of the Psalm’s hopes must have been Jesus. Peter’s Pentecost sermon in Acts 2, however, provides a paradigmatic example of Christian preaching, therefore the focus in the rest of this paper will be to explore that text and the implications of it. In context, Peter links a series of quotations in his first, Spirit-inspired sermon, starting with the dramatic prophecy of Joel 2, followed by Psalm 16 and Psalm 110. In typical early Christian preaching, Peter blurs the lines between YHWH and Jesus, saying that “David says concerning him, ‘I saw the Lord (here κύριος for יְהוָה) always before me.” Thus, among other things going on in this quotation suggest a high Christology, Peter suggests that David is focused on Jesus as his God. Peter then cites David’s prophetic ability as foresight specifically, for, “Foreseeing (προϊδὼν) this [that he would die but that God would put a descendent on his throne forever], David spoke of the resurrection of the Messiah.” Unlike the quotation from Qumran or the ambiguity in Josephus, Peter leaves no ambiguity: Psalm 16:10 is about the Messiah and was always intended to be so by its author.

Reading the sermon’s argument more closely, after his quote from Joel, Peter moves through the story of Jesus’ earthly life before arguing for the resurrection using Psalm 16:8-11.[37] This first quotation is introduced in 2:25b by the mild, “For David says concerning him,” leading to some ambiguity of who is the “I” at the start of the quotation (“‘I saw the Lord always before me, for he is at my right hand so that I will not be shaken”): is David speaking of himself seeing Jesus as the Lord, or is Peter saying that this is Jesus’ own perspective on life? Likely, Peter introduces the Psalm as Jesus’ own assessment if his life.[38] From the quotation, however, Peter moves quickly to the pragmatic argument that, because they can see David’s tomb in Jerusalem, where his body has indeed experienced corruption, this Psalm must have a different referent than David himself. Darrell Bock points out that “Peter’s reading presses all the language here in a very literal direction,”[39] to which Keener adds that Peter “underlines the point that the Scripture, which must be fulfilled, had not applied literally and fully to David and hence must apply to someone else of whom David would have spoken.”[40] Peter then connects David’s prophetic identity with the promise of an heir on the throne to mean that David foresaw (προϊδὼν) the resurrection of the Messiah, re-quoting verse 10. He then concludes the sermon with the exaltation of Jesus announced by Psalm 110, a much more “accepted” Messianic psalm, or at least one that Jesus himself used in arguments about his own identity.

Peter’s argument, it seems, hinges on a re-reading of Psalm 16 “to support his argument that an immediate resurrection was necessary because death could not hold Messiah.”[41] Verse 10 is the key, as Peter repeats it specifically in verse 31. Thus, “what the psalm said is seen to fit what was known about Jesus by actual observation: He came alive after dying, and his body evidently had not decayed.”[42] As David himself did not escape decay, this confidence in God’s faithfulness to his “holy one” (τὸν ὅσιόν), Peter concludes, must have been a prophetic statement of the Messiah.[43]

Implications and Conclusions

So what does this mean for us? Is Peter—by the inspiration of the Spirit—playing fast and loose with a Psalm that, in its original reading was not understood as Messianic, much less about the singular resurrection of the Messiah? Kaiser argues that, from the start, David understood his Psalm to have a referent ahead, looking toward the Messiah with his second line of verse 10.[44] In contrast, most scholars are more comfortable viewing Psalm 16 as functioning more in a typological approach, where in its original setting it does not have an obvious forward referent, but its place in the canon (in book 1 of the Psalms, particularly as introduced by Psalm 2) and Jesus’ own unpacking of how Scripture pointed to him, opens the possibility for a new, more complete referent. Thus Greg Herrick, following Darrell Bock, opts for the Typological-prophetic interpretation, wherein Peter is the one who recognizes the prophetic nature of David’s text post-resurrection.[45] Given that the same Spirit came upon David at his anointing as fell upon Peter at Pentecost, it does not seem impossible that further revelation and insight could be made at that moment into a text inspired by the same Spirit. The necessity, of course, is that Peter knew his Scriptures from which the Spirit could draw at this moment. Perhaps the first conclusion for interpreting the Old Testament Messianically is the necessity of a Scripture-shaped imagination, that draws together, in this instance, the awareness of David’s oft-overlooked prophetic status from the history texts with the Psalms that he wrote.

What does this say regarding the term Messianic? Here I might be more comfortable with a term like “Messianic foreshadowing.”[46] This was not a Psalm that people immediately looked to regarding the Messiah, and it is only subsequent to the resurrection and the giving of the Spirit at Pentecost that this interpretation flourished. The reality the Psalm speaks to, however, that the faithful one will not experience corruption is legitimately applied to Jesus, even if David intended a statement of confidence in YHWH’s trustworthiness with the whole of himself. Whether we can—or ought—to make such leaps with other such Psalms, I would hesitate to advocate, although the more we cultivate Scripture-shaped imaginations, as Richard Hays urges in Reading Backwards, perhaps we may begin to find a deeper ability to draw connections that are legitimate and embedded in the text, but not perhaps obvious, such as Peter’s use here of Psalm 16.

  1. Unless otherwise noted, all translations are from the NRSV.
  2. Except perhaps Hebrews 11:32, where he is included amongst an ambiguous list of judges and prophets, “Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, … David and Samuel and the prophets.”
  3. Kaiser comments, “Few psalms raise simultaneously as many important methodological and theological questions as does Psalm 16.” Walter Kaiser, “Single Meaning, Unified Referents: Accurate and Authoritative Citations of the Old Testament by the New Testament,” in Three Views on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2008), 74.
  4. The LXX translates מִכְתָּם as Στηλογραφία, or “inscription,” possibly indicating that the psalms so indicated were “inscribed on a stele as a way of giving permanent expression to the prayer before God” (John Goldingay, Psalms: Volume 1: Psalms 1-41 [BCOTWP. Grand Rapids: Baker, 2006], 228, citing from Keel, Symbolism in the Biblical World, 329).
  5. Hans-Joachim Kraus, Psalms 1-59, trans. H. C. Oswald (Continental: Fortress, 1988), 236.
  6. It should be noted here that the text of verses 3-4 is quite corrupt. See Krause, Psalms 1-59, 234, for an explanation of the difficulties.
  7. Grogan calls Psalms 1 and 2 foundational for whole of the Psalms, but particularly Book 1, wherein “Psalm 15 is a virtual exposition of 1,” to which I would add 16 as a further exposition when the “Blessed one” from Ps. 1 faces danger with confidence. In Grogan, Geoffrey, Prayer, Praise & Prophecy: A Theology of the Psalms (Mentor. Christian Focus, 2001), 197.
  8. Samuel Terrien, The Psalms. Strophic Structure and Theological Commentary (ECC. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2003), 177.
  9. Ibid. He offers a chiastic structure of the Psalm as follows (p. 176): I. Temporal Happiness (triplet, vv. 1b-2) II. Repudiation of Ecstatic Rites (quatrain, vv. 3-4) III. Yahweh the Benefactor (quatrain, vv. 5-6) IV. Yahweh the Councilor (quatrain, vv. 7-8) V. The Joy of the presence (quatrain, vv. 9-10) VI. Eternal Happiness (triplet, v. 11)This structure depends on taking vv. 3-4 as having the same referents rather than themselves being a contrast, which is how most take it. See e.g., Krause, Psalms 1-59, 234, for a contrasting structure of “vv. 1-2, an expression of trust; vv. 3-4, a reflection of the position of Yahweh regarding the saints on the relation of the petitioner to idol worshipers; vv. 5-8, trust and confidence in Yahweh; vv. 9-11, the certainty of rescue from death.”
  10. Krause, Psalms 1-59, 237.
  11. John Goldingay, Psalms: Volume 1: Psalms 1-41 (BCOTWP. Grand Rapids: Baker, 2006), 229.
  12. Ibid.
  13. Krause, Psalms 1-59, 237.
  14. It also occurs in 116:15 as the “cup of salvation” (כּוֹס־יְשׁוּעוֹת).
  15. Goldingay, Psalms, 231.
  16. Krause, Psalms 1-59, 238, continuing the Levitical interpretation of the “holy ones” sees portion (חֶלְקִ) as referring to “a unique Levitical prerogative, which, however, already very early may have gone beyond the purely material understanding. . . . Accordingly, the Levite has the important privilege that this means of livelihood bestowed by Yahweh comes to him not in the saving gift of the possession of property but in the proximity to God in the sanctuary, in Yahweh himself.”
  17. Krause, Psalms 1-59, 239, ponders, “the petitioner knows that Yahweh is always present. ‘He remains at the right hand.’ ‘At the right hand’ stands the powerful protector.” Terrien, Psalms, 178, adds the more picturesque description: “The nomadic image of the straight path is still adorning the language. As long as I keep Yahweh ahead of me, or at my right (v. 8), I shall not stumble and fall or lose my way (Pss 73:24; 110:5, 15).”
  18. This term can indicate frailty, what is transient, such as in Isaih 40:6 or Ps. 78:39, so there may be overtones as well that even the Psalmist’s frailty is no longer in danger in YHWH’s care. Cf. HALOT, בָּשָׂר.
  19. As a side note, Goldingay Psalms, 233, observes that “here, my nepeš (‘me’) appears as yet another term for the human person or self as a whole.”
  20. Terrein, Psalms, 178.
  21. Walter C. Kaiser, “The Promise to David in Psalm 16 and its Application to Acts 2:25-33 and 13:32-37,” JETS 23 (1980): 224-25.
  22. Ibid. See also his arguments in the Three Views book, particularly pp. 77-80.
  23. Darrell Bock, “Response to Kaiser,” in Three Views on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2008), 95.
  24. Goldingay, Psalms, 233.
  25. Kraus, Psalms 1-59, 240. Later, Kraus concludes, “The body of man is sustained and kept by God in the midst of the realm of death,” but while eternal life was not on the horizon for people in OT times, “only the power of unlimited trust let them hope beyond the final border” (p. 242). Goldingay, Psalms, 233, also takes the earthly-life view: “Yhwh will open up a way that leads to life rather than ending in premature death. . . . The ‘holy people’ (v. 3) will not just survive, but also enjoy life.”
  26. Terrien, Psalms, 179. He concludes with the observation that the phrase “right hand” returns, but whereas in verse 8, the Lord is at David’s right hand, here David is at the Lord’s right hand: “He depicts himself, even then, at the right of God. He has borrowed the imagery of the royal coronation (Ps 110:1), colored with the motif of the heavenly court” (p. 180).
  27. Kaiser, “The Promise,” 227.
  28. Donald A. Hagner, “The Old Testament in the New,” in Interpreting the Word of God, ed. Samuel J. Schultz and Morris A. Inch (Chicago: Moody, 1976), 99.
  29. In contrast to those who “multiply their sorrows,” which is the outcome for those who choose idolatry in Deuteronomy and Psalm 16.
  30. Gregory Vance Trull, “Peter’s Use of Psalm 16:8-11 in Acts 2:25-32,” PhD Dissertation: Dallas Theological Seminary, 2002.
  31. Ibid, citing Joseph A. Fitzmyer, “David ‘Being Therefore a Prophet…’,” CBQ 34 (1972): 332-39.
  32. Josephus, Antiquities 6.166.
  33. Trull, “Peter’s Use,” 228.
  34. Ibid, 228-29.
  35. Ibid, 255.
  36. Craig S. Keener, Acts: An Exegetical Commentary, Vol. 1 (Grand Rapids, Baker Academic, 2012), 945; he continues, “on a different psalm, one text (b. Sukkah 52a, bar.) claims that David already prophesied the Messiah’s eternal life (Ps. 2:7-8).”
  37. Trull, “Peter’s Use,” 245: “Peter’s quotation of Psalm 16:8-11 follows the LXX exactly. The three proposed significant differences between the MT and the LXX prove to be not differences at all. Two of the ‘changes’ are only changes if the psalm does not speak of resurrection. The third and decisive change concerns the use of διαφθοράν for שָׁחַת. As demonstrated in the Old Testament chapter, corruption is the proper sense of שָׁחַת and therefore διαφθοράν is a proper rendering.”
  38. Cf. both Bock, Acts, 123, Keener, Acts, 946, who argue this is consistent with Luke’s presentation of the crucifixion, where he does not use the quotation of Psalm 22:1.
  39. Bock, Acts, 126. He continues, “The text is not about premature death but about not being left in hades. The status of the flesh is part of the text’s promise as well. It is Jesus’ σάρξ (sarx)that does not see corruption; this stresses the bodily nature of his resurrection.”
  40. Keener, Acts, 950.
  41. Trull, “Peter’s Use,” 256.
  42. Marshall, “Acts,” 539.
  43. Paul also strings together a key series of texts: the again-more-traditionally-accepted Messianic Psalm 2, Isaiah 55, and clinches his argument with the resurrection from Psalm 16.
  44. Kaiser, “The Promise,” 227, 229.
  45. Greg Herrick, “The Use of Psalm 16:8-11 in Acts 2:25-28.” Bible.org, 2000. Accessed October 28, 2015.
  46. Here I must acknowledge my indebtedness to Rick Taylor for this term, Cambridge, June 2015.