on Acts 2 :24
Whom God hath raised up - For, as God alone gave him up to death, so God alone raised him up from death.
Having loosed the pains of death - It is generally supposed that this expression means, the dissolving of those bonds or obligations by which those who enter into the region of the dead are detained there till the day of the resurrection; and this is supposed to be the meaning of חבלי מות chebley maveth, in Psalm 116:3, or חבלי שאול chebley sheol, in Psalm 18:5, and in 2 Samuel 22:6, to which, as a parallel, this place has been referred. But Kypke has sufficiently proved that λυειν τας ωδινας θανατου, signifies rather to Remove the pains or sufferings of death. So Lucian, De Conscr. Hist., says, "a copious sweat to some, ελυσε τον πυρετον, Removes or carries off the fever." So Strabo, speaking of the balm of Jericho, says, λυει δε κεφαλαλγιας θαυμαστως - it wonderfully Removes the headache, etc. That Christ did suffer the pains and sorrows of death in his passion is sufficiently evident; but that these were all removed, previously to his crucifixion, is fully seen in that calm manner in which he met it, with all its attendant terrors. If we take the words as commonly understood, they mean that it was impossible for the Prince of Life to be left in the empire of death: his resurrection, therefore, was a necessary consequence of his own Divine power.
Instead of θανατου, of death, the Codex Bezae, Syriac, Coptic, and Vulgate, have Ἁιδου, of hell, or the place of separate spirits; and perhaps it was on no better authority than this various reading, supported but by slender evidence, that, He descended into hell, became an article in what is called the apostles' creed. And on this article many a popish legend has been builded, to the discredit of sober sense and true religion.
on Acts 2 :24
Whom God hath raised up - This was the main point, in this part of his argument, which Peter wished to establish. He could not but admit that the Messiah had been in an ignominious manner put to death. But he now shows them that God had also raised him up; had thus given his attestation to his doctrine; and had sent down his Spirit according to the promise which the Lord Jesus made before his death.
Having loosed the pains of death - The word "loosed," λύσας lusas, is opposed to bind, and is properly applied to a cord, or to anything which is bound. See Matthew 21:2; Mark 1:7. Hence, it means to free or to liberate, Luke 13:16; 1 Corinthians 7:27. It is used in this sense here; though the idea of untying or loosing a band is retained, because the word translated "pains" often means "a cord or band."
The pains of death - ὠδῖνας τοῦ θάνατου ōdinas tou thanatou. The word translated "pains" denotes properly "the extreme sufferings of parturition, and then any severe or excruciating pangs." Hence, it is applied also to death, as being a state of extreme suffering. A very frequent meaning of the Hebrew word of which this is the translation is cord or band. This, perhaps, was the original idea of the word; and the Hebrews expressed any extreme agony under the idea of bands or cords closely drawn, binding and constricting the limbs, and producing severe pain. Thus, death was represented under this image of a band that confined people, that pressed closely on them, that prevented escape, and produced severe suffering. For this use of the word חבל chebel, see Psalm 119:61; Isaiah 66:7; Jeremiah 22:23; Hosea 13:13. It is applied to death, Psalm 18:5, "The snares of death prevented me"; corresponding to the word "sorrows" in the previous part of the verse; Psalm 116:3, "The sorrows of death compassed me, and the pains of hell (Hades or Sheol, the cords or pains that were binding me down to the grave) gat held on me."
We are not to infer from this that our Lord suffered anything after death. It means simply that he could not be held by the grave, but that God loosed the bonds which had held him there; that he now set him free who had been encompassed by these pains or bonds until they had brought him down to the grave. Pain, mighty pain, will encompass us all like the constrictions and bindings of a cord which we cannot loose, and will fasten our limbs and bodies in the grave. Those bands begin to be thrown around us in early life, and they are drawn closer and closer, until we lie panting under the stricture on a bed of pain, and then are still and immovable in the grave - subdued in a manner not a little resembling the mortal agonies of the tiger in the convolutions of the boa constrictor, or like Laocoon and his sons in the folds of the serpents from the Island of Tenedos.
It was not possible - This does not refer to any natural impossibility, or to any inherent efficacy or power in the body of Jesus itself, but simply means that "in the circumstances of the case such an event could not be." Why it could not be he proceeds at once to show. It could not be consistently with the promises of the Scriptures. Jesus was the "Prince of life" Acts 3:15; he had life in himself John 1:4; John 5:26; he had power to lay down his life and to take it again Judges 10:18; and it was indispensable that he should rise. He came, also, that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death that is, the devil Hebrews 2:14; and as it was his purpose to gain this victory, he could not be defeated in it by being confined to the grave.
on Acts 2 :24
2:24 Having loosed the pains of death - The word properly means, the pains of a woman in travail. As it was not possible that he should be held under it - Because the Scripture must needs be fulfilled.