1 Or do you not know, brothers and sisters (for I am speaking to those who know the law), that the law is lord over a person as long as he lives? 2 For a married woman is bound by law to her husband as long as he lives, but if her husband dies, she is released from the law of the marriage. 3 So then, if she is joined to another man while her husband is alive, she will be called an adulteress. But if her husband dies, she is free from that law, and if she is joined to another man, she is not an adulteress. 4 So, my brothers and sisters, you also died to the law through the body of Christ, so that you could be joined to another, to the one who was raised from the dead, to bear fruit to God. 5 For when we were in the flesh, the sinful desires, aroused by the law, were active in the members of our body to bear fruit for death. 6 But now we have been released from the law, because we have died to what controlled us, so that we may serve in the new life of the Spirit and not under the old written code. 7 What shall we say then? Is the law sin? Absolutely not! Certainly, I would not have known sin except through the law. For indeed I would not have known what it means to desire something belonging to someone else if the law had not said, “Do not covet.” 8 But sin, seizing the opportunity through the commandment, produced in me all kinds of wrong desires. For apart from the law, sin is dead. 9 And I was once alive apart from the law, but with the coming of the commandment, sin became alive 10 and I died. So I found that the very commandment that was intended to bring life brought death! 11 For sin, seizing the opportunity through the commandment, deceived me and through it I died. 12 So then, the law is holy, and the commandment is holy, righteous, and good.
The Gemara relates: This question was asked before Rabbi Tanḥum from the village of Nevi: What is the ruling with regard to extinguishing a burning lamp before a sick person on Shabbat? The Gemara relates that Rabbi Tanḥum delivered an entire homily touching upon both aggadic and halakhic materials surrounding this question. He began and said: You, King Solomon, where is your wisdom, where is your understanding? Not only do your statements contradict the statements of your father David, but your statements even contradict each other. Your father David said: “The dead praise not the Lord, neither any that go down into silence” (Psalms 115:17); and you said: “And I praised the dead that are already dead more than the living that are yet alive” (Ecclesiastes 4:2). And then again you said: “For a living dog is better than a dead lion” (Ecclesiastes 9:4). These are different assessments of life and death. He resolved the contradictions in the following manner: This is not difficult. That which David said: “The dead praise not the Lord,” this is what he is saying: A person should always engage in Torah and mitzvot before he dies, as once he is dead he is idle from Torah and mitzvot and there is no praise for the Holy One, Blessed be He, from him. And that is what Rabbi Yoḥanan said: What is the meaning of that which is written: “Set free among the dead, like the slain that lie in the grave, whom You remember no more” (Psalms 88:6)? When a person dies he then becomes free of Torah and mitzvot.