O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?…
Doddridge thus paraphrases the latter half of this verse: "Who shall rescue me, miserable captive as I am, from the body of this death, from this continued burden which I carry about with me, and which is cumbersome and odious as a dead carcase tied to a living body, to be dragged along with it wherever it goes?" He adds in a note: "It is well known that some ancient writers mention this as a cruelty practised by some tyrants upon miserable captives who felt into their hands; and a more forcible and expressive image of the sad case represented cannot surely enter into the mind of man." "Of this atrocious practice one of the most remarkable instances is that mentioned by Virgil when describing the tyrannous conduct of Mezentius: —
The living and the dead at his command
Were coupled, face to face, and hand to hand;
Till, choked with stench, in loathed embraces tied,
The lingering wretches pined away and died. — (Dryden.)Doddridge is not by any means singular in his opinion that the apostle derives an allusion from this horrid punishment; although perhaps the text is sufficiently intelligible without the illustration it thus receives. Philo, in an analogous passage, more obviously alludes to it, describing the body as a burden to the soul, carried about like a dead carcase, which may not till death be laid aside." (Kitto.) During the reign of Richard I, the following curious law was enacted for the government of those going by sea to the Holy Land — "He who kills a man on shipboard shall be bound to the dead body and thrown into the sea; if a man be killed on shore the slayer shall be bound to the dead body and buried with it."
Parallel VersesKJV: O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?