GAVE UP THE GHOST– Genesis 25:8

Discussion in 'Bible Versions/Translations' started by Deacon, Jan 21, 2011.

  1. Deacon

    Deacon
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    To celebrate the 400th anniversary of the KJV I’m examining some common English expressions that were popularized by the Authorized King James Version.

    GAVE UP THE GHOST – Genesis 25:8


    answered the final call, bit the dust, bought the farm, breathed his last, cashed in his chips, ceased to breathe, checked out, coded, croaked, crossed the great divide, deceased, departed, dropped dead, entered his final resting place, expired, fell asleep, flat-lined, graduated, joined the choir, kicked the bucket, knocked on heaven’s door, left this world, was living-impaired, left us, out of his misery, met his Maker, no longer with us, passed to the other side, passed away, at peace, perished, popped off, pushing up daisy’s, returned to sender, at rest, reunited with the Father, singing with angels, slipped away quietly, sleeping the big sleep, took a dirt nap, was no more, went home, went to heaven, went to a better place,

    Genesis 25:8

    Then Abraham gaue vp the ghost, and died in a good old age, an old man, and full of yeeres, and was gathered to his people.
    AV 1611

    Then Abraham gave up the ghost, and died in a good old age, an old man, and full of years; and was gathered to his people.
    AV 1873

    Abraham breathed his last and died in a good old age, an old man and full of years, and was gathered to his people.
    ESV

    Then Abraham yeelded the spirit, and died in a good age, an olde man, and of great yeeres, & was gathered to his people.
    Geneva Bible 1587

    And then Abraham waxyng away, dyed in a lustie age, beyng an olde man, when he had liued ynough, and was gathered to his people.
    Bishop's Bible 1568

    and fell sicke and dyed in a good age, whan he was olde, & had lyued ynough and was gathered vnto his people.
    Coverdale 1535

    and he failide, and diede in good eelde, and of greet age, and ful of daies, and he was gaderid to his puple.
    Wycliffe Bible 1395


    Variations of the phrase GAVE UP THE GHOST are used 20 times in the KJV
    OT – Ge 25:8, 17; 35:29; 49:33; Job 3:11; 10:18; 13:19; 14:10; Jer. 15:9; La 1:19;
    Apocrypha – Tob 14:11; 2 Mac 3:31
    NT – Matt 27:50; Mark 15:37,39; Lu 23:46; Jn 19:30; Acts 5:5,10; 12:23

    *********************

    The first time the expression GAVE UP THE GHOST is used in the AV is in Genesis 25:8.
    In the OT the phrase is almost always* translated from the single Hebrew word, gawa' (Strong’s #H1478 LINK) which means to expire, to cease to live and so to perish or die. [*the exception being Jeremiah 15:9, discussed below]

    The Hebrew word gawa’ is found 24 x in the Masoretic text.

    In the KJV gawa' was translated:

    1. GAVE UP THE GHOST (or variations such as “give up the ghost”) – Ge 25:8, 17; 35:29, 49:33; Job 10:18; 11:33; 13:19; 14:10; Lam 1:19;

    2. DIED, DIE, – Ge 6:17; 7:21; Num 17:12,13; 20:3; Job 27:5; 29:18; 36:12; Psa 88:15; 104:29; Zec 13:8;

    3. PERISHED, PERISH – Jos 22:20; Job 34:15;

    The Septuagint translates gawa’ in Genesis 25:8 using the Greek word, ekleípōn, [Strong’s #1587] meaning: failed, died, ceased,

    The word gawa’ is often used with the Hebrew word mût, [LINK] which is another word meaning ‘death’[/b]
    (Gen 25:8,17; 35:29; Num 20:28 (29); Job 3:11, 14:10; Lam 1:19).

    >>>The question that faces translators and interpreters is why are two words with similar meanings used together? <<<

    **************************************************

    As we’ve noted in an earlier discussion of the phrase DAY BY DAY, in Hebrew repetition sometimes emphasizes meaning.

    In instances where two similar terms are used translators delve deeper and attempt to bring out more precise meanings of the words.
    gawa’ has come to be associated with the process of expiring, or ‘the cessation of breathing’; as in, he “breathed his last”. [“Thou takest away their breath, (ruah) they die, (gawa’)” (Psalm 104:29, AV 1873)]

    **********************

    So where do we get the phrase GAVE UP THE GHOST???
    Biblically man is flesh (Hebrew = basar) and spirit (ruah).
    The term flesh is used both for man and animals (Genesis 6:17).
    A body becomes a living soul when it is given the "breath of life" (ruah hayim).
    In Genesis 2:7 we see God animating Adam with this breath. When the breath leaves, the body dies.

    In ancient languages "breath" and "soul" can often be used synonymously; the Hebrew words nephesh [Ge 1:30; 2:7] and neshamah,[Job 26:4; Isa. 22:2] the Latin words anima and spiritus, the Greek words pneuma (*see reference box below) and psyche function in this same manner.
    (Kohler, Kaufmann Jewish Theology, (1918) p 212).

    [*NOTE: A derivative of the Hebrew word nephesh is used in association with the phrase GAVE UP THE GHOST just once in the AV in Jeremiah 15:9.]

    Historically ghosts were thought to be composed of a misty, airy, or breathy substance and that a ghost was a person within the person (the person's spirit). This spirit departed with the person’s last breath.

    GHOST – (O.E. gast) has a wide rage of meaning, "soul”, “spirit”, “life”, “breath”; a good or bad spirit, angel, demon




    Origins of the phrase “GAVE UP THE GHOST”
    The word ”ghost” is derived from the Old English ”gast” or later ”goost” and is of Germanic origin.
    [LINK]

    First known use of the phrase in the English language is in an untitled Old English Martyrology fragment from about c. 900, [LINK]

    Se casere hio heht gemartyria(n) & God wuldriende heo ageaf hire gast.
    (The emperor ordered she be martyred & glorifying God, she gave up her ghost.)

    Modern bible versions generally translate the phrase GAVE UP THE GHOST as “breathed out his last”.

    For more info see: WordOrigins

    I’ve only touch the high spots here.
    This phrase is much more complicated that I ever would have thought!

    Rob
     
    #1 Deacon, Jan 21, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 21, 2011
  2. franklinmonroe

    franklinmonroe
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    And he gave up the ghost full softly. --Chaucer [1913 Webster]
     
  3. BobinKy

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    Is Paris lost? is Roan yielded up?
    If Henry were recall'd to life again,
    These news would cause him once more yield the ghost.
    Shakespeare (First Part of Henry VI, 1.01.67)​



    The noble gentleman gave up the ghost.
    Shakespeare (Third Part of Henry VI, 2.03.22)​



    Our army lies, ready to give up the ghost.
    Shakespeare (Julius Caesar, 5.01.88)​



    ...Bob
     
  4. BobinKy

    BobinKy
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    Rob...

    Once again, you have provided an excellent post.

    ...Bob
     
  5. Deacon

    Deacon
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    Thanks Bob

    Further support that the phrase GAVE UP THE GHOST is an old expression but equivalent to BREATHED HIS LAST is that the NKJV has removed the idiom from its pages.

    Then Abraham breathed his last and died in a good old age, an old man and full of years, and was gathered to his people.
    Genesis 25:8, NKJV

    Rob
     
  6. HankD

    HankD
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    Here's my favorite olde Englysh KJV passage:

    Revelation 14:2 And I heard a voice from heaven, as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of a great thunder:
    and I heard the voice of harpers harping with their harps:

    HankD​
     
  7. mets65

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    I heard the term gave up the ghost during the NASCAR race on sunday and I immediately thought of this thread, just wanted to share that.
     

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