"YOU WILL NOT LEAVE MY SOUL IN SHEOL"
By Wayne S. Walker
"For You will not leave my soul in Sheol, nor will will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption" (Psalm 16:10). The sixteenth Psalm is "A Michtam of David." Exactly what that means is a subject of debate among scholars, but the thought of the Psalm itself is fairly clear. There were some times when David was guided by the Holy Spirit to make specific prophecies of the Messiah. There were other times when David wrote of situations and circumstances in his own life. Yet, there are also a few times when these two threads seem to intertwine, and that appears to be the case here in Psalm 16.
David begins the Psalm by asking God to preserve him as he seems to be somewhat troubled by those who hasten after another God. As for David, he will consider the Lord as the portion of his inheritance and bless only Jehovah. As a result, his heart is glad and his flesh will rest in hope because he knows that ultimately his soul will not be left in Sheol and he would not see permanent corruption. Thus, while we do not have a lot of specific information revealed in the Old Testament, it would seem that David did have the hope of the resurrection at the end of time (cf. 2 Samuel 12:19-23).
Yet, there is more here than just that. David knew that it would be his descendant who would come as the Messiah, build God’s house, and sit on the throne (2 Samuel 7:12-13). Therefore, as the basis for his own hope, David looked forward to the resurrection of the Messiah, that His soul would not be left in Sheol and His flesh not see corruption. That is certainly what Peter, by inspiration, saw in this passage. After proclaiming the resurrection of Christ, the apostle quoted from Psalm 16, which he said, "David says concerning Him," and concludes that David "spoke concerning the resurrection of the Christ" (Acts 2:22-31).
Some might refer to this concept as a "dual application." Peter noted that when he himself spoke David was still dead and buried; indeed his tomb was still with them. Therefore, he concluded that there must be some meaning to the statement beyond David’s own life. The reason why we can accept this conclusion is that David himself understood that the Messiah would be the fruit of his own body so that things that happened to David would be typical of the coming Messiah.