But his flesh upon him shall have pain, and his soul within him shall mourn.
Physical sensation after death
Was it not the opinion of the ancient Jews that the soul retained somewhat of the sensation of the flesh until the body had entirely dissolved? It would not be strange if such were the fact, considering the proximity of the Jews to the Egyptians; since the Egyptians held the notion that the continuance of the soul’s existence depended upon the preservation of the bodily organism, a notion which led to the embalming and secure burial of the corpse. Tacitus distinctly ascribes this notion to the Jews as its originators. There are also some Old Testament texts which at first glance seem to convey such a belief, e.g., verse 22, speaking of a man as dead, it adds, “But his flesh upon him shall have pain, and his soul within him shall mourn”; and Isa_66:24, “They shall go forth, and look upon the carcasses of the men that have transgressed against. Me; for their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched.” Dillman and others regard these texts as proving that the Jews held to the doctrine of physical consciousness in the grave. Delitzsch regards the pain of the soul as merely sentimental, “The process of the corruption of the body casts painful reflections into the departed soul.” Professor Davidson admits thus much to have been the Jewish notion. “There are two ideas expressed—
(1) That the body in the grave, being that of a still existing person, feels the gnawing and the wasting of corruption, and that the soul in sheol leads a mournful and dreary existence; and
(2) That these elements of the person, though separated, still belong to the person.” Professor Evans says, “By poetic personification the mouldering flesh is here represented as sharing the aching discontent, the lingering misery of the imprisoned soul.” Similarly Dr. Barnes, “It is by the imagination that pain is here attributed to the dead body.” Professor Lochler inclines to the opinion that the Jews believed “that man carries with him to sheol a certain corporeality (a certain residue, kernel, or some reflex of the earthly body).” These passages, taken in view of the after revelation through Christ, may serve as illustration of how He delivered those “who all their lifetime were in bondage through fear of death,” as well as of the growing dawn light of the historic Scriptures. (Homiletic Monthly.)"