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“Then Abraham breathed his last and died at a good old age, an old man and full of years” (Gen 25:8).

In addition to Abraham, four other men in the Bible were said to be ‘old and full of years’ [literally, ‘full of days’, as KJV]. They were Isaac (Gen 35:29); David (1Chr 23:1); the priest Jehoiada (2Chr 24:15); and Job (Job 42:17).

The other four passages read “sabea yomim”. “Sabea” signifies fullness and satisfaction. “Yom” means “day”, and “yomim” days. Thus the phrase is, literally, “full of days”. However, despite the translations that suggest otherwise, Genesis 25:8 does not have “of days” or “of years”; it reads simply “sabea” — full.

On this verse G. Campbell Morgan comments: “[Full] is a great word, especially if we leave it as it is in the Hebrew Bible, without the addition of the words ‘of years’. Abraham died full, not of years only, or principally, but of life, of experience, of all the great things. By faith he had abandoned much, but he had gained far more. He had come to know God; to walk with Him, to talk with Him; to enter into a true fellowship with Him in all the great processes of His heart. ‘He was called the friend of God’ (James 2:23). Such life is full whatever it seems to lack. The man whose vision is bounded by the things of time and sense might well say that Abraham died singularly empty. As the writer of the letter to the Hebrews said, he ‘died in faith, not having received the promises’ [Heb 11:13]. For 100 years he had sojourned in a land given to him in a covenant, but he had not possessed it according to the standards of human possession. Surely he had little of earthly gain in which to boast, and he had given up very much when he left Ur of the Chaldees. Nevertheless, he died full, for in his fellowship with God he had learned to measure time by eternity, to value the things of sense by those of spirit. To such a man death is but passing on to wait the accomplishment of the Divine purposes, and the fulfillment of the promises of God…”

Further on this word “full”, Morgan writes: “The fullness of Abraham was that of a wealth which death could not touch. The fullness which men gain who live by sight and not by faith, is a fullness of which they are emptied in death. They leave their possessions behind them. The men of faith carry their fullness with them. It is a great thing thus to die — full.”

G. Campbell Morgan

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