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Bible Dictionaries

Easton's Bible Dictionary


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  • 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 ; Psalm 9:17 ; 31:17 , etc.); (b) of the good (Psalm 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 ; Ezekiel 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 .)

  • Copyright Statement
    These dictionary topics are from M.G. Easton M.A., D.D., Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Third Edition, published by Thomas Nelson, 1897. Public Domain.

    Bibliography Information
    Easton, Matthew George. Entry for 'Hell'. Easton's Bible Dictionary. 1897.

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