For I am in a strait between two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better:…
The word "depart" means strictly to take to pieces. The living man is contemplated as a complex machine, and it is intimated that at death its joints are loosed, and the whole is broken up into its constituent elements. This life in the body is like a watch. By food, and drink, and air, it is wound up daily, and so kept going. At last the machinery, by gradual wear and tear, or by some sudden accident, is brought to a stand. Then it is taken down — taken to pieces — in order that it may be purified and perfected, and set agoing again, not to measure then the changing seasons of time, but to move on, without waste or weariness, in a limitless eternity. More immediately, the dissolution or untying probably refers to the separation of soul and body. The band that knit them together is broken at death. The soul escapes, and the body, meantime, returns to dust. In this view the works of the watch never stand still. When life from God was first breathed into that immortal being, it was wound up, once for all, to go for ever. At the shock of death it is severed from its case of flesh. Outer casement, and figured dial, and pointed hands, all remain with us, and all stand still. But these never were the moving springs. These were shells to protect the tender from injury where the road was rough, and indices to make the movements palpable to bodily sense; but the vital motion of the departed spirit continues uninterrupted, unimpeded, in a region where no violence is dreaded, and no sign to the senses is required.
(W. Arnot, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better: