Sacred Texts  Christianity  Early Church Fathers  Index  Previous  Next 

Chapter 18.—Of the 3d, 41st, 15th, and 68th Psalms, in Which the Death and Resurrection of the Lord are Prophesied.

About His resurrection also the oracles of the Psalms are by no means silent.  For what else is it that is sung in His person in the 3d Psalm, “I laid me down and took a sleep, [and] I awaked, for the Lord shall sustain me?” 1097   Is there perchance any one so stupid as to believe that the prophet chose to point it out to us as something great that He had slept and risen up, unless that sleep had been death, and that awaking the resurrection, which behoved to be thus prophesied concerning Christ?  For in the 41st Psalm also it is shown much more clearly, where in the person of the Mediator, in the usual way, things are narrated as if past which were prophesied as yet to come, since these things which were yet to come were in the predestination and foreknowledge of God as if they were done, because they were certain.  He says, “Mine enemies speak evil of me; When shall he die, and his name perish?  And if he came in to see me, his heart spake vain things:  he gathered iniquity to himself.  He went out of doors, and uttered it all at once.  Against me all mine enemies whisper together:  against me do they devise evil.  They have planned an unjust thing against me.  Shall not he that sleeps also rise again?” 1098   These words are certainly so set down here that he may be understood to say nothing else than if he said, Shall not He that died recover life again?  The previous words clearly show that His enemies have mediated and planned His death, and that this was executed by him who came p. 356 in to see, and went out to betray.  But to whom does not Judas here occur, who, from being His disciple, became His betrayer?  Therefore because they were about to do what they had plotted,—that is, were about to kill Him,—he, to show them that with useless malice they were about to kill Him who should rise again, so adds this verse, as if he said, What vain thing are you doing?  What will be your crime will be my sleep.  “Shall not He that sleeps also rise again?”  And yet he indicates in the following verses that they should not commit so great an impiety with impunity, saying, “Yea, the man of my peace in whom I trusted, who ate my bread, hath enlarged the heel over me;” 1099 that is, hath trampled me under foot.  “But Thou,” he saith, “O Lord, be merciful unto me, and raise me up, that I may requite them.” 1100   Who can now deny this who sees the Jews, after the passion and resurrection of Christ, utterly rooted up from their abodes by warlike slaughter and destruction?  For, being slain by them, He has risen again, and has requited them meanwhile by temporary discipline, save that for those who are not corrected He keeps it in store for the time when He shall judge the quick and the dead. 1101   For the Lord Jesus Himself, in pointing out that very man to the apostles as His betrayer, quoted this very verse of this psalm, and said it was fulfilled in Himself:  “He that ate my bread enlarged the heel over me.”  But what he says, “In whom I trusted,” does not suit the head but the body.  For the Saviour Himself was not ignorant of him concerning whom He had already said before, “One of you is a devil.” 1102   But He is wont to assume the person of His members, and to ascribe to Himself what should be said of them, because the head and the body is one Christ; 1103 whence that saying in the Gospel, “I was an hungered, and ye gave me to eat.” 1104   Expounding which, He says, “Since ye did it to one of the least of mine, ye did it to me.” 1105   Therefore He said that He had trusted, because his disciples then had trusted concerning Judas; for he was numbered with the apostles. 1106

But the Jews do not expect that the Christ whom they expect will die; therefore they do not think ours to be Him whom the law and the prophets announced, but feign to themselves I know not whom of their own, exempt from the suffering of death.  Therefore, with wonderful emptiness and blindness, they contend that the words we have set down signify, not death and resurrection, but sleep and awaking again.  But the 16th Psalm also cries to them, “Therefore my heart is jocund, and my tongue hath exulted; moreover, my flesh also shall rest in hope:  for Thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt Thou give Thine Holy One to see corruption.” 1107   Who but He that rose again the third day could say his flesh had rested in this hope; that His soul, not being left in hell, but speedily returning to it, should revive it, that it should not be corrupted as corpses are wont to be, which they can in no wise say of David the prophet and king?  The 68th Psalm also cries out, “Our God is the God of Salvation:  even of the Lord the exit was by death.” 1108   What could be more openly said?  For the God of salvation is the Lord Jesus, which is interpreted Saviour, or Healing One.  For this reason this name was given, when it was said before He was born of the virgin:  “Thou shall bring forth a Son, and shalt call His name Jesus; for He shall save His people from their sins.” 1109   Because His blood was shed for the remission of their sins, it behoved Him to have no other exit from this life than death.  Therefore, when it had been said, “Our God is the God of salvation,” immediately it was added, “Even of the Lord the exit was by death,” in order to show that we were to be saved by His dying.  But that saying is marvellous, “Even of the Lord,” as if it was said, Such is that life of mortals, that not even the Lord Himself could go out of it otherwise save through death.



Ps. 3.5.


Ps. 41.5-8.


Ps. 41.9.


Ps. 41.10.


2 Tim. 4:1, 2 Pet. 4:5.


John 6.70.


1 Cor. 12.12.


Matt. 25.35.


Matt. 25.40.


Acts 1.17.


Ps. 16:9, 10.


Ps. 68.20.


Matt. 1.21.

Next: Chapter 19