SHEOL, HADES
Sheol is the grave | Hades is where the dead go
Gehenna is the area outside the city where refuse is continually burned
See: death See: Explanation by Hans Koornstra
Below: Gehenna (Hell, Hinnom, pit of the Abyss), Hades

SHEOL in scriptures [BibleGateway Search] or HADES [Hades]

select Cross Reference Bible links
Genesis 37:35 - Jacob (Israel) expected to go down to Sheol (NIV: the grave) mourning for Joseph


HADES, HELL (SHEOL) [Easton Bible Dictionary]

HADES
That which is out of sight, a Greek word used to denote the state or place of the dead. All the dead alike go into this place. To be buried, to go down to the grave, to descend into hades, are equivalent expressions. In the LXX. this word is the usual rendering of the Hebrew sheol, the common receptacle of the departed (Genesis 42:38; Psalms 139:8; Hosea 13:14; Isaiah 14:9). This term is of comparatively rare occurrence in the Greek New Testament. Our Lord speaks of Capernaum as being "brought down to hell" (hades), i.e., simply to the lowest debasement, (Matthew 11:23). It is contemplated as a kind of kingdom which could never overturn the foundation of Christ's kingdom (16:18), i.e., Christ's church can never die.

In Luke 16:23 it is most distinctly associated with the doom and misery of the lost.

In Acts 2:27-31 Peter quotes the LXX. version of Psalms 16:8-11, plainly for the purpose of proving our Lord's resurrection from the dead. David was left in the place of the dead, and his body saw corruption. Not so with Christ. According to ancient prophecy (Psalms 30:3) he was recalled to life.

HELL, also Sheol, Grave, Gehenna

# Sheol, occurring in the Old Testament sixty-five times. This word sheol is derived from a root-word meaning "to ask," "demand;" hence insatiableness (Proverbs 30:15,16). It is rendered "grave" thirty-one times (Genesis 37:35; 42:38; 44:29,31; 1 Samuel 2:6, etc.). The Revisers have retained this rendering in the historical books with the original word in the margin, while in the poetical books they have reversed this rule.

In thirty-one cases in the Authorized Version this word is rendered "hell," the place of disembodied spirits. The inhabitants of sheol are "the congregation of the dead" (Proverbs 21:16). It is (a) the abode of the wicked (Numbers 16:33; Job 24:19; Psalms 9:17; 31:17, etc.); (b) of the good (Psalms 16:10; 30:3; 49:15; 86:13, etc.).

Sheol is described as deep (Job 11:8), dark (10:21,22), with bars (17:16). The dead "go down" to it (Numbers 16:30,33; Ezek. 31:15,16,17).

# The Greek word hades of the New Testament has the same scope of signification as sheol of the Old Testament. It is a prison (1 Peter 3:19), with gates and bars and locks (Matthew 16:18; Revelation 1:18), and it is downward (Matthew 11:23; Luke 10:15).

The righteous and the wicked are separated. The blessed dead are in that part of hades called paradise (Luke 23:43). They are also said to be in Abraham's bosom (Luke 16:22).

# Gehenna, in most of its occurrences in the Greek New Testament, designates the place of the lost (Matthew 23:33). The fearful nature of their condition there is described in various figurative expressions (Matthew 8:12; 13:42; 22:13; 25:30; Luke 16:24, etc.). (See HINNOM .)


HELL [Smith Bible Dictionary]

In the Old Testament this is the word generally and unfortunately used by our translators to render the Hebrew Sheol. It really means the place of the dead, the unseen world, without deciding whether it be the place of misery or of happiness. It is clear that in many passages of the Old Testament Sheol can only mean "the grave," and is rendered in the Authorized Version; see, for example, (Genesis 37:35; 42:38; 1 Samuel 2:6; Job 14:13) In other passages, however, it seems to involve a notion of punishment, and is therefore rendered in the Authorized Version by the word "hell."

But in many cases this translation misleads the reader. In the New Testament "hell" is the translation of two words, Hades and Gehenna . The word Hades , like Sheol sometimes means merely "the grave," (Acts 2:31; 1 Corinthians 15:55; Revelation 20:13) or in general "the unseen world." It is in this sense that the creeds say of our Lord, "He went down into hell," meaning the state of the dead in general, without any restriction of happiness or misery. Elsewhere in the New Testament Hades is used of a place of torment, (Matthew 11:23; Luke 16:23; 2 Peter 2:4) etc.; consequently it has been the prevalent, almost the universal, notion that Hades is an intermediate state between death and resurrection, divided into two parts one the abode of the blest and the other of the lost. It is used eleven times in the New Testament, and only once translated "grave." (1 Corinthians 15:55) The word most frequently used (occurring twelve times) in the New Testament for the place of future punishment is Gehenna or Gehenna of fire . This was originally the valley of Hinnom, south of Jerusalem, where the filth and dead animals of the city were cast out and burned; a fit symbol of the wicked and their destruction. [See HINNOM]


SHEOL [ISBE]

she'-ol (she'ol):

1. The Name

2. The Abode of the Dead

(1) Not a State of Unconsciousness
(2) Not Removed from God's Jurisdiction
(3) Relation to Immortality
3. Post-canonical Period

1. The Name:

This word is often translated in the King James Version "grave" (e.g. Genesis 37:35; 1 Samuel 2:6; Job 7:9; 14:13; Psalms 6:5; 49:14; Isaiah 14:11, etc.) or "hell" (e.g. Deuteronomy 32:22; Psalms 9:17; 18:5; Isaiah 14:9; Amos 9:2, etc.); in 3 places by "pit" (Numbers 16:30,33; Job 17:16). It means really the unseen world, the state or abode of the dead, and is the equivalent of the Greek Haides, by which word it is translated in Septuagint. The English Revisers have acted somewhat inconsistently in leaving "grave" or "pit" in the historical books and putting "Sheol" in the margin, while substituting "Sheol" in the poetical writings, and putting "grave" in the margin ("hell" is retained in Isaiah 14). Compare their "Preface." The American Revisers more properly use "Sheol" throughout. The etymology of the word is uncertain. A favorite derivation is from sha'al, "to ask" (compare Proverbs 1:12; 27:20; 30:15,16; Isaiah 5:14; Habakkuk 2:5); others prefer the sha'al, "to be hollow." The Babylonians are said to have a similar word Sualu, though this is questioned by some.

2. The Abode of the Dead:

Into Sheol, when life is ended, the dead are gathered in their tribes and families. Hence, the expression frequently occurring in the Pentateuch, "to be gathered to one's people," "to go to one's fathers," etc. (Genesis 15:15; 25:8,17; 49:33; Numbers 20:24,28; 31:2; Deuteronomy 32:50; 34:5). It is figured as an under-world (Isaiah 44:23; Ezekiel 26:20, etc.), and is described by other terms, as "the pit" (Job 33:24; Psalms 28:1; 30:3; Proverbs 1:12; Isaiah 38:18, etc.), ABADDON (which see) or Destruction (Job 26:6; 28:22; Proverbs 15:11), the place of "silence" (Psalms 94:17; 115:17), "the land of darkness and the shadow of death" (Job 10:21). It is, as the antithesis of the living condition, the synonym for everything that is gloomy, inert, insubstantial (the abode of Rephaim, "shades," Job 26:5;; Proverbs 2:18; 21:16; Isaiah 14:9; 26:14). It is a "land of forgetfulness," where God's "wonders" are unknown (Psalms 88:10-12). There is no remembrance or praise of God (Psalms 6:5; 88:12; 115:17, etc.). In its darkness, stillness, powerlessness, lack of knowledge and inactivity, it is a true abode of death (see DEATH); hence, is regarded by the living with shrinking, horror and dismay (Psalms 39:13; Isaiah 38:17-19), though to the weary and troubled it may present the aspect of a welcome rest or sleep (Job 3:17-22; 14:12). The Greek idea of Hades was not dissimilar.

(1) Not a State of Unconsciousness.

Yet it would be a mistake to infer, because of these strong and sometimes poetically heightened contrasts to the world of the living, that Sheol was conceived of as absolutely a place without consciousness, or some dim remembrance of the world above. This is not the case. Necromancy rested on the idea that there was some communication between the world above and the world below (Deuteronomy 18:11); a Samuel could be summoned from the dead (1 Samuel 28:11-15); Sheol from beneath was stirred at the descent of the king of Babylon (Isaiah 14:9). The state is rather that of slumbrous semi-consciousness and enfeebled existence from which in a partial way the spirit might temporarily be aroused. Such conceptions, it need hardly be said, did not rest on revelation, but were rather the natural ideas formed of the future state, in contrast with life in the body, in the absence of revelation.

(2) Not Removed from God's Jurisdiction.

It would be yet more erroneous to speak with Dr. Charles (Eschatology, 35) of Sheol as a region "quite independent of Yahwe, and outside the sphere of His rule." "Sheol is naked before God," says Job, "and Abaddon hath no covering" (Job 26:6). "If I make my bed in Sheol," says the Psalmist, "behold thou art there" (Psalms 139:8). The wrath of Yahweh burns unto the lowest Sheol (Deuteronomy 32:22). As a rule there is little sense of moral distinctions in the Old Testament representations of Sheol, yet possibly these are not altogether wanting (on the above and others points in theology of Sheol).

See ESCHATOLOGY OF THE OLD TESTAMENT.

(3) Relation to Immortality.

To apprehend fully the Old Testament conception of Sheol one must view it in its relation to the idea of death as something unnatural and abnormal for man; a result of sin. The believer's hope for the future, so far as this had place, was not prolonged existence in Sheol, but deliverance from it and restoration to new life in God's presence (Job 14:13-15; 19:25-27; Psalms 16:10,11; 17:15; 49:15; 73:24-26; see IMMORTALITY; ESCHATOLOGY OF THE OLD TESTAMENT; RESURRECTION). Dr. Charles probably goes too far in thinking of Sheol in Psalms 49 and 73 as "the future abode of the wicked only; heaven as that of the righteous" (op. cit., 74); but different destinies are clearly indicated.

3. Post-canonical Period:

There is no doubt, at all events, that in the postcanonical Jewish literature (the Apocrypha and apocalyptic writings) a very considerable development is manifest in the idea of Sheol. Distinction between good and bad in Israel is emphasized; Sheol becomes for certain classes an intermediate state between death and resurrection; for the wicked and for Gentiles it is nearly a synonym for Gehenna (hell). For the various views, with relevant literature on the whole subject, see ESCHATOLOGY OF THE NEW TESTAMENT; also DEATH; HADES; HELL, etc.

James Orr


SHEOL [Thompson Chain Reference]
 

Home | Keyword Index