And the sea gave up the dead which were in it
Which is not to be interpreted metaphorically of the world, and the men of it, who are like the troubled sea; but literally of the sea, and of all such who have been drowned in the waters of it, as were Pharaoh and his host; or have died upon the mighty waters, and have been cast into them, and devoured by the fishes; and particular regard may be had to the men of the old world, drowned by the flood; these shall be raised from thence; the sea shall deliver them up: now this, and what is expressed in the next clause, will not be done after the judgment is set, the books are opened, and the sentence passed, but before all this, and in order to it, as the last clause of this verse shows:
and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them;
"death", which is here represented as a person, and elsewhere as a king, reigning and having power over men, signifies death in general, and every kind of death of which men have died, whether natural or violent, over whom it will now have no longer dominion, but will be obliged to deliver up all its subjects; and "hell" signifies the grave, which will now be opened, and deliver up all its prisoners, all that have been buried in the earth; see ( Job 26:5 Job 26:6 ) the Ethiopic version adds, "and the earth delivered up them that were dead in it": but this seems unnecessary after the former:
and they were judged every man according to their works;
some to greater, some to lesser punishment, as their sinful works deserved.