Bible Verse Explanations and Resources


Job 14:10

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

But man dieth - No human being ever can spring from the dead body of man; that wasteth away, corrupts, and is dissolved; for the man dies; and when he breathes out his last breath, and his body is reduced to dust, then, where is he? There is a beautiful verse in the Persian poet Khosroo, that is not unlike this saying of Job: -

"I went towards the burying ground, and wept

To think of the departure of friends which were captives to death;

I said, Where are they! and Fate

Gave back this answer by Echo, Where are they?

Thus paraphrased by a learned friend: -

Beneath the cypress' solemn shade,

As on surrounding tombs I gazed,

I wept, and thought of friends there laid,

Whose hearts with warmest love had blazed.

Where are those friends my heart doth lack,

Whose words, in grief, gave peace? Ah, where?

And Fate, by Echo, gave me back

This short but just reply, Ah, where?

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

But man dieth and wasteth away - Margin, “Is weakened, or cut off.” The Hebrew word (חלשׁ châlash ) means to overthrow, prostrate, discomfit; and hence, to be weak, frail, or waste away. The Septuagint renders it Ἀνὴρ δὲ τελευτήσας ᾤχετο Anēr de teleutēsas ōcheto - “man dying goes away.” Herder renders it,” his power is gone.” The idea is, he entirely vanishes. He leaves nothing to sprout up again. There is no germ; no shoot; no living root; no seminal principle. Of course, this refers wholly to his living again on the earth, and not to the question about his future existence. That is a different inquiry. The main idea with Job here is, that when man dies there is no germinating principle, as there is in a tree that is cut down. Of the truth of this there can be no doubt; and this comparison of man with the vegetable world, must have early occurred to mankind, and hence, led to the inquiry whether he would not live in a future state. Other flyings that are cut down, spring up again and live. But man is cut down, and does not spring up again. Will he not be likely, therefore, to have an existence in some future state, and to spring up and flourish there? “The Romans,” says Rosenmuller, “made those trees to be the symbol of death, which, being cut down, do not live again, or from whose roots no germs arise, as the pine and cypress, which were planted in burial-places, or were accustomed to be placed at the doors of the houses of the dead.”

Man giveth up the ghost - Expires, or dies. This is all that the word (גוע gâva‛ ) means. The notion of giving up the spirit or the ghost - an idea not improper in itself - is not found in the Hebrew word, nor is it in the corresponding Greek word in the New Testament; compare Acts 5:10.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
Though a tree is cut down, yet, in a moist situation, shoots come forth, and grow up as a newly planted tree. But when man is cut off by death, he is for ever removed from his place in this world. The life of man may fitly be compared to the waters of a land flood, which spread far, but soon dry up. All Job's expressions here show his belief in the great doctrine of the resurrection. Job's friends proving miserable comforters, he pleases himself with the expectation of a change. If our sins are forgiven, and our hearts renewed to holiness, heaven will be the rest of our souls, while our bodies are hidden in the grave from the malice of our enemies, feeling no more pain from our corruptions, or our corrections.
Ellen G. White
The Great Controversy, 550

The ministration of holy angels, as presented in the Scriptures, is a truth most comforting and precious to every follower of Christ. But the Bible teaching upon this point has been obscured and perverted by the errors of popular theology. The doctrine of natural immortality, first borrowed from the pagan philosophy, and in the darkness of the great apostasy incorporated into the Christian faith, has supplanted the truth, so plainly taught in Scripture, that “the dead know not anything.” Multitudes have come to believe that it is spirits of the dead who are the “ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation.” And this notwithstanding the testimony of Scripture to the existence of heavenly angels, and their connection with the history of man, before the death of a human being. GC 551.1

The doctrine of man's consciousness in death, especially the belief that spirits of the dead return to minister to the living, has prepared the way for modern spiritualism. If the dead are admitted to the presence of God and holy angels, and privileged with knowledge far exceeding what they before possessed, why should they not return to the earth to enlighten and instruct the living? If, as taught by popular theologians, spirits of the dead are hovering about their friends on earth, why should they not be permitted to communicate with them, to warn them against evil, or to comfort them in sorrow? How can those who believe in man's consciousness in death reject what comes to them as divine light communicated by glorified spirits? Here is a channel regarded as sacred, through which Satan works for the accomplishment of his purposes. The fallen angels who do his bidding appear as messengers from the spirit world. While professing to bring the living into communication with the dead, the prince of evil exercises his bewitching influence upon their minds. GC 551.2

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