Acts 13:36 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Acts 13:36, NIV: "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, ESV: "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,"

Acts 13:36, KJV: "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:"

Acts 13:36, NASB: "For David, after he had served God’s purpose in his own generation, fell asleep, and was buried among his fathers and underwent decay;"

Acts 13:36, NLT: "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."

Acts 13:36, CSB: "For David, after serving God's purpose in his own generation, fell asleep, was buried with his fathers, and decayed,"

What does Acts 13:36 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Paul is explaining how Jesus of Nazareth is qualified to be the Savior God promised would come from the line of David (Acts 13:23). Despite being killed by the Jewish leaders and buried by two friends, Jesus rose again (Acts 13:28–32). His resurrection fulfills Jewish prophecy, such as David's where he says, "You will not let your Holy One see corruption" (Psalm 16:10; Acts 13:35).

Here, Paul proves that David's prophecy cannot refer to himself. As great as David was, his purpose was for his own generation. He did God's will, then died, and his body decayed. Peter made the same point in Acts 2:27–31. David cannot provide salvation; he cannot provide political independence, fill people's physical needs, restore human relationships, or reconcile sinners to God. Only Jesus, who was not in the tomb long enough for His body to decay, can do this.

David was one of many people God chose to save His people (1 Samuel 16:3, 11–13; Acts 13:22). He did so by defeating Israel's enemies and continuing the charge God gave Joshua to inhabit the Promised Land (Joshua 1:1–9). When David's service was finished, he died and was buried (1 Kings 2:10). To "sleep" is a euphemism for death in both the Old Testament (1 Kings 2:10) and the New Testament (Acts 7:60; 1 Corinthians 15:6; 2 Peter 3:4). To say he was "laid with his fathers" is also a euphemism since David's tomb is in Jerusalem and his "fathers" were from and presumably buried in Bethlehem (1 Samuel 16:1).