go the way of all flesh

to die, to come to an end
—Now that we have email, I’m afraid that hand-written letters will go the way of all flesh.

Before King David died, God told him to make his son Solomon the new ruler of Israel. Near the end of his life, David spoke to Solomon:

I am about to die [go the way of all the earth]. Be strong and become a man! Do the job the Lord your God has assigned you by following his instructions and obeying his rules, commandments, regulations, and laws as written in the law of Moses. (1 Kings 2:2,3)

For David, “to go the way of all the earth” was the same as “to go the way of all people.” Both meant to die.

In 1609, an English translation of the Bible by Gregory Martin and other scholars from Oxford University was published. It is called the Douay-Rheims Bible. It is this version that first translated David’s words as “I am going the way of all flesh.”

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