Isaac Breathed His Last (Genesis 35:29)

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It’s been so long since Isaac was mentioned in Genesis that it’s easy to forget he was still alive through all the travels of Jacob. And yet, here we have it at the end of Genesis 35: the death of Isaac.

A few phrases appear anytime a notable person of God dies in the Bible. “Gathered to his people” is a big one, but that’s usually relegated to just the Old Testament (and even then, mostly in the first five books).

Another is “he breathed his/her last.” This phrase you see a few times in Genesis, but also a couple times in the New Testament, as well. One of those is found here in Genesis 35:29 about Isaac’s death. What does it mean?

Obviously, it means that a person has physically taken the last breath of their life. In other words, they’re dead.

No surprise there. But before you just skip merrily into Genesis 36, think about that phrase from a spiritual perspective. Genesis 2:7 says that God “breathed into man” the breath of life. “Breathing his last” then, would be the signal that his life came from God. With no more breath, he has no more life.

This has a double application with someone like Isaac, though, who was a child born of promise. His very existence is a miracle to begin with, so “breathing his last” could be a callback to the giver of that life, which is God.

I’ve sat with many people in their last few hours of life, and their breathing is always something I take notice of. It’s labored at first, then it becomes shallow and sporadic. Finally, it stops.

Doctors have many markers to determine when a person actually dies, but according to Scripture, it’s when they “breath their last.” That makes sense. If life was created when God breathed into Adam, it stops when that breath stops as well.