Ecclesiastes 12:7
Parallel Verses
New International Version
and the dust returns to the ground it came from, and the spirit returns to God who gave it.

New Living Translation
For then the dust will return to the earth, and the spirit will return to God who gave it.

English Standard Version
and the dust returns to the earth as it was, and the spirit returns to God who gave it.

New American Standard Bible
then the dust will return to the earth as it was, and the spirit will return to God who gave it.

King James Bible
Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
and the dust returns to the earth as it once was, and the spirit returns to God who gave it."

International Standard Version
then man's dust will go back to the earth, returning to what it was, and the spirit will return to the God who gave it.

NET Bible
and the dust returns to the earth as it was, and the life's breath returns to God who gave it.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
Then the dust [of mortals] goes back to the ground as it was before, and the breath of life goes back to God who gave it.

Jubilee Bible 2000
and the dust returns to the earth as it was before and the spirit returns unto God who gave it.

King James 2000 Bible
Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.

American King James Version
Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return to God who gave it.

American Standard Version
and the dust returneth to the earth as it was, and the spirit returneth unto God who gave it.

Douay-Rheims Bible
And the dust return into its earth, from whence it was, and the spirit return to God, who gave it.

Darby Bible Translation
and the dust return to the earth as it was, and the spirit return unto God who gave it.

English Revised Version
and the dust return to the earth as it was, and the spirit return unto God who gave it.

Webster's Bible Translation
Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return to God who gave it.

World English Bible
and the dust returns to the earth as it was, and the spirit returns to God who gave it.

Young's Literal Translation
And the dust returneth to the earth as it was, And the spirit returneth to God who gave it.
Parallel Commentaries
Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary

12:1-7 We should remember our sins against our Creator, repent, and seek forgiveness. We should remember our duties, and set about them, looking to him for grace and strength. This should be done early, while the body is strong, and the spirits active. When a man has the pain of reviewing a misspent life, his not having given up sin and worldly vanities till he is forced to say, I have no pleasure in them, renders his sincerity very questionable. Then follows a figurative description of old age and its infirmities, which has some difficulties; but the meaning is plain, to show how uncomfortable, generally, the days of old age are. As the four verses, 2-5, are a figurative description of the infirmities that usually accompany old age, ver. 6 notices the circumstances which take place in the hour of death. If sin had not entered into the world, these infirmities would not have been known. Surely then the aged should reflect on the evil of sin.

Pulpit Commentary

Verse 7. - Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was; rather, and the dust return, etc. - the sentence begun above being still carried on to the end of the verse. Here we are told what becomes of the complex man at death, and are thus led to the explanation of the allegorical language used throughout. Without metaphor now it is stated that the material body, when life is extinct, returns to that matter out of which it was originally made (Genesis 2:7; Genesis 3:19; comp. Job 34:15; Psalm 104:29). So Siracides calls man "dust and ashes," and asserts that all things that are of the earth turn to the earth again (Ecclus. 10:9 Ecclus. 40:11). Soph., 'Electra,' 1158 -

Ἀντὶ φιλτάτης`ΝΛ´Μορφῆς σποδόν τε καὶ σκιὰν ἀνωφελῆ

"Instead of thy dear form,
Mere dust and idle shadow."
Corn. a Lapide quotes a remarkable parallel given by Plutarch ('Apol. ad Apollon.,' 110) from Epicharmus," Life is compounded and broken up, and again goes whence it came; earth indeed to earth, and the spirit to upper regions." And the spirit shall return unto God who gave it; or, for the spirit - the clause being no longer subjunctive, but speaking indicatively of fact. In the first clause the preposition "to" is עַל, in the second אֶל, as if to mark the distinction between the downward and the upward way. The writer now rises superior to the doubts expressed in Ecclesiastes 3:21 (where see note), "Who knoweth the spirit of man, whether it goeth upward," etc.? It is not that he contradicts himself in the two passages, as some suppose, and have hence regarded ver. 7 as an interpolation; but that after all discussion, after expressing the course of his perplexities, and the various phases of his thought, he comes to the conclusion that there is a future for the individual soul, and that it shall be brought into immediate connection with a personal God. There is here no thought of its being absorbed in the anima mundi, in accordance with the heathen view, which, if it believed dimly in an immortality, denied the personality of the soul (see Eurip., ' Suppl.,' 529-534; Lucret., 2. 998, sqq.; 3:455, sqq.). Nor have we any opinion given concerning the adverse doctrines of creationism and traducianism, though the terms used are most consistent with the former. God breathed into man's nostrils the breath of life; when this departs, he who gave receives it; God "gathereth in" man's breath (Psalm 104:29). The clause, taken in this restricted sense, would say nothing about the soul, the personal "I;" it would merely indicate the destination of the vital breath; and many critics are content to see nothing more in the words. But surely this would be a feeble conclusion of the author's wanderings; rather the sentence signifies that death, releasing the spirit, or soul, from the earthly tabernacle, places it in the more immediate presence of God, there, as the Targum paraphrases the passage, returning to stand in judgment before its Creator.

Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was,.... The body, which is made of dust, and is no other in its present state than dust refined and enlivened; and when the above things take place, mentioned in Ecclesiastes 12:6, or at death, it returns to its original earth; it becomes immediately a clod of earth, a lifeless lump of clay, and is then buried in the earth, where it rots, corrupts, and turns into it; which shows the frailty of man, and may serve to humble his pride, as well as proves that death is not an annihilation even of the body; see Genesis 3:19;

and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it; from whom it is, by whom it is created, who puts it into the bodies of men, as a deposit urn they are entrusted with, and are accountable for, and should be concerned for the safety and salvation of it; this was originally breathed into man at his first creation, and is now formed within him by the Lord; hence he is called the God of the spirits of all flesh; see Genesis 2:4. Now at death the soul, or spirit of man, returns to God; which if understood of the souls of men in general, it means that at death they return to God the Judge of all, who passes sentence on them, and orders those that are good to the mansions of bliss and happiness, and those that are evil to hell and destruction. So the Targum adds,

"that it may stand in judgment before the Lord;''

or if only of the souls of good men, the sense is, that they then return to God, not only as their Creator, but as their covenant God and Father, to enjoy his presence evermore; and to Christ their Redeemer, to be for ever with him, than which nothing is better and more desirable; this shows that the soul is immortal, and dies not with the body, nor sleeps in the grave with it, but is immediately with God. Agreeably to all this Aristotle (w) says, the mind, or soul, alone enters from without, (from heaven, from God there,) and only is divine; and to the same purpose are the words of Phocylides (x),

"the body we have of the earth, and we all being resolved into it become dust, but the air or heaven receives the spirit.''

And still more agreeably to the sentiment of the wise man here, another Heathen (y) writer observes, that the ancients were of opinion that souls are given of God, and are again returned unto him after death.

(w) De Generat. Animal. l. 2. c. 3.((x) , &c. Poem. Admon. v. 102, 103. So Lucretius l. 2. "cedit item retro de terra", &c. (y) Macrob. Saturnal. l. I. c. 10.

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

7. dust—the dust-formed body.

spirit—surviving the body; implying its immortality (Ec 3:11).

Ecclesiastes 12:7 Additional Commentaries
Context
Remember Your Creator in Your Youth
6Remember Him before the silver cord is broken and the golden bowl is crushed, the pitcher by the well is shattered and the wheel at the cistern is crushed; 7then the dust will return to the earth as it was, and the spirit will return to God who gave it. 8"Vanity of vanities," says the Preacher, "all is vanity!"
Cross References
Luke 23:46
Jesus called out with a loud voice, "Father, into your hands I commit my spirit." When he had said this, he breathed his last.

Acts 7:59
While they were stoning him, Stephen prayed, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit."

Genesis 3:19
By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return."

Numbers 16:22
But Moses and Aaron fell facedown and cried out, "O God, the God who gives breath to all living things, will you be angry with the entire assembly when only one man sins?"

Numbers 27:16
"May the LORD, the God who gives breath to all living things, appoint someone over this community

Job 34:14
If it were his intention and he withdrew his spirit and breath,

Job 34:15
all humanity would perish together and mankind would return to the dust.

Psalm 103:14
for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust.

Psalm 104:29
When you hide your face, they are terrified; when you take away their breath, they die and return to the dust.

Psalm 146:4
When their spirit departs, they return to the ground; on that very day their plans come to nothing.

Ecclesiastes 3:20
All go to the same place; all come from dust, and to dust all return.

Ecclesiastes 3:21
Who knows if the human spirit rises upward and if the spirit of the animal goes down into the earth?"

Isaiah 57:16
I will not accuse them forever, nor will I always be angry, for then they would faint away because of me-- the very people I have created.

Zechariah 12:1
A prophecy: The word of the LORD concerning Israel. The LORD, who stretches out the heavens, who lays the foundation of the earth, and who forms the human spirit within a person, declares:
Treasury of Scripture

Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return to God who gave it.

dust

Ecclesiastes 3:20 All go to one place; all are of the dust, and all turn to dust again.

Genesis 3:19 In the sweat of your face shall you eat bread, till you return to …

Genesis 18:27 And Abraham answered and said, Behold now, I have taken on me to …

Job 4:19,20 How much less in them that dwell in houses of clay, whose foundation …

Job 7:21 And why do you not pardon my transgression, and take away my iniquity? …

Job 20:11 His bones are full of the sin of his youth, which shall lie down …

Job 34:14,15 If he set his heart on man, if he gather to himself his spirit and his breath…

Psalm 90:3 You turn man to destruction; and say, Return, you children of men.

Psalm 146:4 His breath goes forth, he returns to his earth; in that very day …

Daniel 12:2 And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, …

the spirit

Ecclesiastes 3:21 Who knows the spirit of man that goes upward, and the spirit of the …

God

Genesis 2:7 And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed …

Numbers 16:22 And they fell on their faces, and said, O God, the God of the spirits …

Numbers 27:16 Let the LORD, the God of the spirits of all flesh, set a man over …

Isaiah 57:16 For I will not contend for ever, neither will I be always wroth: …

Jeremiah 38:16 So Zedekiah the king swore secretly to Jeremiah, saying, As the LORD …

Zechariah 12:1 The burden of the word of the LORD for Israel, said the LORD, which …

Hebrews 12:9,23 Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, …

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