Psalm 16:10 - what does it mean by leave/abandon

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Reformed Covenanter

Cancelled Commissioner
For You will not leave my soul in Sheol, nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption. (Psalm 16:10 NKJV)

I have been considering this verse in relation to the question of Christ's descent into hell. The NKJV and some other versions (AV, Geneva Bible, NLT, ASV) use the word leave, while other translations use abandon (ESV, NASB, NIV, CSB). Does the Hebrew word that is employed here preclude the notion of Christ's human soul being sent to hell/Sheol? Or does it merely mean that Christ's soul would not be left or abandoned in hell and thus cannot be used to definitely reject the idea that his soul descended into hell? I see that the RSV translates the verse "For thou dost not give me up to Sheol, or let thy godly one see the Pit", which, on first reading, seems considerably stronger than the other translations.
 

Jonathan95

Puritan Board Sophomore
I take it as, that Christ will not be left to suffer forever but only for a time until the Father's wrath is poured out in its entirety.

Cf. Psalm 116:3
 

JP Wallace

Puritan Board Sophomore
For You will not leave my soul in Sheol, nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption. (Psalm 16:10 NKJV)

I have been considering this verse in relation to the question of Christ's descent into hell. The NKJV and some other versions (AV, Geneva Bible, NLT, ASV) use the word leave, while other translations use abandon (ESV, NASB, NIV, CSB). Does the Hebrew word that is employed here preclude the notion of Christ's human soul being sent to hell/Sheol? Or does it merely mean that Christ's soul would not be left or abandoned in hell and thus cannot be used to definitely reject the idea that his soul descended into hell? I see that the RSV translates the verse "For thou dost not give me up to Sheol, or let thy godly one see the Pit", which, on first reading, seems considerably stronger than the other translations.

Does the Hebrew word that is employed here preclude the notion of Christ's human soul being sent to hell/Sheol?

I believe it does Daniel, or at least the verb used generally means leave or abandon, and there are other words for send. I haven't done a study on how the word is used throughout but it can mean abandon or leave and similar words. Thus there is not essential difference between the translations you cite. The RSV seems to be a little different, the others describe what will not not happen in the future, whereas the RSV views it as a description of the present.

Regardless if it was to mean "send" a word like שׁלח shalach, would have been appropriate. The word עזב is used here and is used for example of in

(Gen. 2:24 ESV) "Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh."

(Gen. 39:12 ESV) " she caught him by his garment, saying, "Lie with me." But he left his garment in her hand and fled and got out of the house."

(Ps. 27:10 ESV) "For my father and my mother have forsaken me, but the LORD will take me in."

Or does it merely mean that Christ's soul would not be left or abandoned in hell and thus cannot be used to definitely reject the idea that his soul descended into hell?

I don't think it could be used to reject the idea of the descent to Sheol/hell, as the focus is on his soul not being left there - which presumes he went there in the first place.
 

Ed Walsh

Puritan Board Junior
.Or does it merely mean that Christ's soul would not be left or abandoned in hell and thus cannot be used to definitely reject the idea that his soul descended into hell?

I know Calvin would roll over in his grave, but when it gets to "he descended into hell," I stop reciting and continue after the phrase. It was explained to me that at times in history, the Apostles Creed had "he descended into hell," meaning the grave, and there are other times it said that he was dead and buried. But we finally ended up with both statements so that the descent into hell must be something different than "was crucified, died, and was buried."

I don't think that that concept is taught in the Bible
 

Charles Johnson

Puritan Board Sophomore
I believe the verse in question strongly implies that Christ entered Sheol. It is my understanding however that Sheol means "the grave", and does not exclusively refer to the place of the eternal conscious torment of the damned. So the verse is saying something like "thou will not allow me to remain dead", though be it far more poetically.
 

JP Wallace

Puritan Board Sophomore
I believe the verse in question strongly implies that Christ entered Sheol. It is my understanding however that Sheol means "the grave", and does not exclusively refer to the place of the eternal conscious torment of the damned. So the verse is saying something like "thou will not allow me to remain dead", though be it far more poetically.
That is my understanding too.
 

greenbaggins

Administrator
Staff member
I agree with Charles on the meaning of Sheol. Don't forget either that the term "soul" doesn't always refer to the exclusively non-physical part of us. It can also refer to the whole person, body included. As for the descent, I recommend Danny Hyde's book In Defense of the Descent. He argues that Calvin's view is correct (see 1545 Catechism of the Church of Geneva, questions 66-70), that the descent means two things: that Christ truly entered the state of death, and that He suffered the pains of Hell on the cross and before.
 

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Amanuensis
Sheol means realm of the dead. We read later (usually medieval) concepts of fiery barbeque pit into the term. That's not what it means, though.
 

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Amanuensis
Corruption and decay is the enemy in the verse, not some fear of infernus. That's why David specifically says he will not let his holy one see corruption. That's why (partly) Jesus was resurrected, to overcome corruption and decay.
 
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