gōst (נפשׁ, nephesh; πνεῦμα, pneúma): “Ghost,” the middle-English word for “breath,” “spirit,” appears in the King James Version as the translation of nephesh (“breath,” “the breath of life,” animal soul or spirit, the vital principle, hence, “life”), in two places of the Old Testament, namely, Job 11:20, “the giving up of the ghost” (so the Revised Version), and Jeremiah 15:9, “She hath given up the ghost”; gawa‛, “to gasp out,” “expire” (die), is also several times so translated (Genesis 25:8, 25:17; 35:29; 49:33; Job 3:11; 10:18; 13:19; 14:10; Lamentations 1:19). In Apocrypha (Tobit 14:11) psuchḗ is translated in the same way as nephesh in the Old Testament, and in 2 Maccabees 3:31, en eschátē pnoḗ is rendered “give up the ghost,” the Revised Version “quite at the last gasp.”

In the New Testament “to give up the ghost” is the translation of ekpnéō, “to breathe out” (Mark 15:37, 15:39; Luke 23:46; so the Revised Version); of ekpsúchō, “to breathe out,” “expire” (Acts 5:5, 5:10; 12:23); in Matthew 27:50, aphḗken tō̇ pneúma, and in John 19:30, parédōken tō̇ pneúma, are rendered respectively, “yielded” and “gave up the ghost,” the Revised Version “yielded up his spirit,” “gave up his spirit.”

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Author: International Std. Bible Encyclopedia

Keywords: Ghost, Spirit, Pneuma, Breath, Gust, Holy Ghost, Give up the ghost

Source: James Orr (editor), The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, 5 volume set.

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