Thou turnest man to destruction
Or to death, as the Targum, which is the destruction of man; not an annihilation of body or soul, but a dissolution of the union between them; the words may be rendered, "thou turnest man until he is broken" F2; and crumbled into dust; thou turnest him about in the world, and through a course of afflictions and diseases, and at last by old age, and however by death, returns him to his original, from whence he came, the dust of the earth, which he becomes again, ( Genesis 3:19 ) ( Ecclesiastes 12:7 ) the grave may be meant by destruction:
and sayest, return, ye children of men,
or "Adam"; from whom they all sprung, and in whom they all sinned, and so became subject to death; to these he says, when by diseases he threatens them with a dissolution, return by repentance, and live; and sometimes, when they are brought to the brink of the grave, he returns them from sickness to health, delivers them from the pit, and enlightens them with the light of the living, as he did Hezekiah: or this may refer to the resurrection of the dead, which will be by Christ, and by his voice calling the dead to return to life, to rise and come to judgment; though some understand this as descriptive of death, when by the divine order and command man returns to his original dust; thus the frailty of man is opposed to the eternity of God. Gussetius understands all this of God's bringing men to repentance, contrition, and conversion; and takes the sense to be,
``thou turnest till he becomes contrite, and sayest, be ye converted, ye sons of Adam;''which he thinks F3 best agrees with the mind of the Apostle Peter, who quotes the following passage, ( 2 Peter 3:8 2 Peter 3:9 ) . Some, as Arama observes, connect this with the following verse; though men live 1000 years, yet they are but as yesterday in the sight of God.
F2 (akd de vwna bvt) "convertes hominem usque ad contritionem", Montanus; "donec conteratur", Musculus, Tigurine verion; "donee sit contritus", Vatablus; "ut sit contritus", Junius & Tremellius.
F3 Ebr. Comment. p. 158.