The Sleep Of Death


Psalm 13:3 – Show Context
Look on me and answer, O Lord my God. Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death;

Psalm 90:5 – Show Context
You sweep men away in the sleep of death; they are like the new grass of the morning–

Were they sleeping then because Jesus hadn’t come as savior yet? Is it different now because He has come?


We can’t read any theological implications into these passages. People who are dead look like they’re asleep, and that’s what these Psalms are referring to. Throughout history, death has been described in terms of sleeping. We buy burial plots for our “final resting place.” People who drown are said to be “sleeping with the fishes”. Those who sleep soundly are described as “sleeping the sleep of the dead”. It’s just a figure of speech. In Luke 16:19-31 Jesus explained what really happened to people after they died, but before He gave His life for them. Since then believers go straight to be with Him, according to Phil. 1:23 & 2 Cor. 5:8. Unbelievers still await their final judgment in torment like the rich man in the Lord’s explanation.

In Psalm 13 David was in a very precarious position and wanted God to help him understand that he would make it through. Otherwise, he would just give up and die.

And in Psalm 90 we’re being shown how small and insignificant man is. When compared to God, we’re like the grass that’s fresh and green in the morning but withered up and dry by night. Our lifetimes seem long and fruitful to us, but to Him are no more than a passing day.