The ancients believed that the soul could leave the body in various ways, as in coma. 
The Jews were in the habit of burying their dead on the day of their demise; this was a necessary practice in such a warm climate. It often happened that they put in the tomb one who was merely comatose, so that on the second or even the third day, such a one would come forth from the tomb.  The daughter of Jairus of Capernaum, who was believed to have resurrected Jesus, was actually in a coma after a prolonged fever.  The son of the widow of Nain was another case of supposed healing of Jesus in which the child was not really dead, but in a coma.