But man dieth, and wasteth away
All men, every man, "Geber", the mighty man, the strong man; some die in their full strength; the wise man, notwithstanding all his wisdom and knowledge, and even skill in the art of medicine; the rich man, with all his riches, with which he cannot bribe death, nor keep it off; the great and the honourable, emperors, kings, princes, nobles, all die, and their honour is laid in the dust; yea, good men die, though Christ has died for them; even those that are the most useful and beneficial to men, the prophets of the Lord, and the ministers of his word; and it is no wonder that wicked men should die, though they put the evil day far from them, make an agreement with death, or bid it defiance, their wickedness shall not deliver from it; all men have sinned, and death passes on them, it is appointed for them to die; not their souls, which are immortal, but their bodies, which return to dust, and are only the mortal part; death is a disunion or separation of soul and body: and now when this is made, the body "wasteth away" in the grave, and becomes rottenness, dust, and worms, and does not by the strength of nature spring up again, as a tree does; though some understand, by an inversion of the phrases, a wasting before death through diseases, as if the words were to be read, "but man wasteth away and dieth" F26; he is enervated by sickness, his strength is weakened in the way, and when he dies there is none left in him; he is cut off F1, as some choose to render it, or cut down as a tree is; but then there is no force or natural strength in him to rise again, as in a tree:
yea, man giveth up the ghost, and where [is] he?
not in the same place he was; not in his house and habitation where he lived; nor in his family, and among his friends, with whom he conversed, nor in the world, and on the earth where he did business; he is indeed somewhere, but where is he? his body is in the grave; his soul, where is that? if a good man, it is in the presence of God, where is fulness of joy; it is with Christ, which is far better than to be here; it is with the spirits of just men made perfect; it is in Abraham's bosom, feasting with him and other saints; it is in heaven, in paradise, in a state of endless joy and happiness: if a wicked man, his soul is in hell, in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, with the devil and his angels, and other damned spirits; in a prison, from whence there is no release, and in the uttermost misery and distress, banished from the divine Presence, and under a continual sense of the wrath of God.
F26 So the Tigurine version, Vatablus, and some in Drusius; and some Hebrews in Ramban and Bar Tzemach.
F1 (vlxyw) "exciditur", Beza, Piscator, Mercerus; so Kimchi & Ben Gersom.