As some of you, no doubt, I’ve had time to go through the PDF file of the occurrences of (Hebrew) met and metim (“the dead”). You no doubt noticed that the overwhelming majority of these instances are pretty straightforward and refer to dead human beings–victims of war, old age, disease, etc. But I want to draw your attention to one seemingly meaningless observation: this term is also used for non-human life that dies, such as animals (see Exod. 21:34-36; Eccl. 9:4). So what? I expect you’ll say. The point is that met / metim refers to living things that have a determinate lifespan and die. That is, it refers to what happens to life forms that CAN die, and do. That in and of itself distinguishes the term from spirit beings–beings who, as far as the Bible tells us, have contingent immortality–the only contingency being that they exist at God’s discretion (he can terminate their existence when he wishes as the sole possessor of eternal existence). This obvious but important observation will come in handy down the road a bit.
Toward next time, here are the following passages from the PDF file that will need some examination on our journey to discover who’s who (or what’s what) in the Underworld:
Deut 18:11; Deut. 26:14; Deut 28:62; Psa 88:5; Psa 88:10; Psa 106:28; Psa 115:17; Eccl 9:3; Eccl 9:5; Isaiah 8:19; Isaiah 26:14; Isaiah 26:19
Have a look at these passages; we’ll pick up with them soon.