“Like sheep they are laid in the grave; death shall feed on them; and the upright shall have dominion over them in the morning; and their beauty shall consume in the grave from their dwelling.” (Psalm 49:14)

Psalm 49:14 has been used to suggest that mawet (death) is a reference to the Canaanite god Mot as a personification of death. This makes the ridiculous suggestion that it is a god who is barely known from Ugaritic literature by the name of Mot1 that shall feed on them. If this were true, it would be completely contradictory to the Bible and without precedent. Baal, Dagan and other Canaanite deities are mentioned in numerous places in the Old Testament in critical contexts, nowhere is Mot even mentioned. Why would he be mentioned here, especially when the word death fits perfectly well in context, is completely meaningful, and fits the spiritual tone of the Bible and the psalm itself? Other examples of death being personified were pointed out by Curtis to support this view, such as: 2 Samuel 22:6; Psalm 18:5; 116:3; Proverbs 13:14 and 14:27.

2 Samuel 22:6: The sorrows of hell compassed me about; the snares of death prevented me;

Psalm 18:5: The sorrows of hell compassed me about: the snares of death prevented me.

Psalm 116:3: The sorrows of death compassed me, and the pains of hell gat hold upon me: I found trouble and sorrow.

Proverbs 13:14: The law of the wise is a fountain of life, to depart from the snares of death.

Proverbs 14:27: The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life, to depart from the snares of death.

This lame argument make little sense at all. It is unlikely that there is a literate culture in history that has not personified death. The Grim Reaper is an example from the western heritage. How many of you would think that I believe that the Grim Reaper is a real entity if I were to say: “I fear that the Grim Reaper is at the door.”? Associating a biblical personification of death with a god from a city on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea would not just be absurd, it would be dishonest. Any debate on the issue is moot, however, because death is not even being personified in any of these passages to start with!

Death equals decay, which is the eating away of the flesh, and snares and sorrows of death refer to its permanence in regard to the body, and the sorrows of death refer to the sadness of those who are facing it or of those who must face hell. How in the world do these knuckleheads come up with a personification of death in these passages? There is not even a hint of one.

Bible scoffers go through great contortions to try to squeeze polytheistic passages into the Bible, and they feel no compulsion to bridle their wild imaginations when doing so. I suspect that they may be drinking copious amounts of alcoholic beverages as they work as at least one prominent Dead Sea Scroll scholar was known to do.

1 It should be noted that in many of the passages that where mot is translated as a proper name it could, or even should, be translated as death.

John Hinton, Ph.D.
Bible Restoration Ministry
A ministry seeking the translating and reprinting of KJV equivalent
Bibles in all the languages of the world.