"sleep the sleep of the just"

Douglas G. Wilson douglas at NB.NET
Wed Jun 30 03:44:33 UTC 2004

The New American Bible on-line includes the following verse (1 Samuel 2:8):

He raises the needy from the dust;
from the ash heap he lifts up the poor,
To seat them with nobles
and make a glorious throne their heritage.
He gives to the vower his vow,
and blesses the sleep of the just.
For the pillars of the earth are the LORD'S,
and he has set the world upon them.

Other Bibles don't include the phrase in question AFAIK.

According to various Web sites, the whole expression is attributed to
Racine (ca. 1693):

"Elle s'endormit du sommeil des justes"

(_Abrege de l'histoire de Port Royal_ IV:517, Mesnard ed.).

In English literature, this expression has meant two things, apparently:
(1) sleep well, (2) be dead [cf. "rest in peace", I guess].

-- Doug Wilson

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