Die (To) - Vine's Expository Dictionary of Old Testament Words

Usage Number: 1
Strong's Number: H4191
Original Word: mût
Usage Notes: "to die, kill." This verb occurs in all Semitic languages (including biblical Aramaic) from the earliest times, and in Egyptian. The verb occurs about 850 times in biblical Hebrew and in all periods.

Essentially, mût means to "lose one's life." The word is used of physical "death," with reference to both man and beast. Gen. 5:5 records that Adam lived "nine hundred and thirty years: and he died." Jacob explains to Esau that, were his livestock to be driven too hard (fast), the young among them would "die" (Gen. 33:13). At one point, this verb is also used to refer to the stump of a plant (Job 14:8). Occasionally, mût is used figuratively of land (Gen. 47:19) or wisdom (Job 12:2). Then, too, there is the unique hyperbolic expression that Nabal's heart had "died" within him, indicating that he was overcome with great fear (1 Sam. 25:37).

In an intensive stem, this root is used of the last act inflicted upon one who is already near death. Thus Abimelech, his head having been cracked by a millstone, asked his armor-bearer to "kill" him (Judg. 9:54). In the usual causative stem, this verb can mean "to cause to die" or "to kill"; God is the one who "puts to death" and gives life (Deut. 32:39). Usually, both the subject and object of this usage are personal, although there are exceptions, as when the Philistines personified the ark of the covenant, urging its removal so it would not "kill" them (1 Sam. 5:11). Death in this sense may also be inflicted by animals (Exod. 21:29). This word describes "putting to death" in the broadest sense, including war and judicial sentences of execution (Josh. 10:26).

God is clearly the ultimate Ruler of life and death (cf. Deut. 32:39). This idea is especially clear in the Creation account, in which God tells man that he will surely die if he eats of the forbidden fruit (Gen. 2:17, the first occurrence of the verb). Apparently there was no death before this time. When the serpent questioned Eve, she associated disobedience with death (Gen. 3:3). The serpent repeated God's words. but negated them (Gen. 3:4). When Adam and Eve ate of the fruit, both spiritual and physical death came upon Adam and Eve and their descendants (cf. Rom. 5:12). They experienced spiritual death immediately, resulting in their shame and their attempt to cover their nakedness (Gen. 3:7). Sin and/or the presence of spiritual death required a covering, but man's provision was inadequate; so God made a perfect covering in the form of a promised redeemer (Gen. 3:15) and a typological covering of animal skins (Gen. 3:21).

Vine's Expository Dictionary of Old Testament Words