Home‎ > ‎

“Gave up the ghost” or “Expired” in Genesis 25:8 et al.?

"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." (Genesis 25:8, KJV)

The Hebrew word “גּוע (gava)” means to expire, and in the context of death it could mean the expiration of spirit. The Hebrew mind understood the releasing of one’s last breath as synonymous with the releasing of one’s spirit. The word for breath, “רוּח (ruach),” is translated as either spirit or breath, depending on context. The Greek word for expiration is also translated “giving up the ghost” in keeping with the Hebrew idea that breath and spirit are synonymous, and also with the Greek idea that breath (πνεῦμα) is synonymous with spirit (πνεῦμα).