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Study on The Abode of the Dead

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Of Oriental origin (compare [H6508]); a park, that is, (specifically) an Eden
(place of future happiness, “paradise”):—paradise.




From G1 (as a negative particle) and G1492; properly unseen, that is,
“Hades” or the place (state) of departed souls:—grave, hell.

sheoòl  sheoòl

sheh-ole', sheh-ole'

From H7592; hades or the world of the dead (as if a subterranian retreat),
including its accessories and inmates:—grave, hell, pit.




Thayer Definition:

1) the name of the subterranean region, doleful and dark, regarded by the ancient
Greeks as the abode of the wicked dead, where they suffer punishment for
their evil deeds; it answers to Gehenna of the Jews

2) to thrust down to Tartarus, to hold captive in Tartarus

Part of Speech: verb

A Related Word by Thayer’s/Strong’s Number: from Tartaros (the
deepest abyss of Hell)

Total KJV Occurrences: 2

cast, 1

2 Pet 2:4

hell, 1

2 Pet 2:4

GEHENNA (Geh hehn' na) English transliteration of the Greek word that is a transliteration of the Hebrew place name meaning, “valley of whining” or “valley of lamentation” and came to be used in New Testament times as a word for hell. See Hinnom. The valley south of Jerusalem called the Valley of the son of Hinnom (Josh. 15:8; 18:16; 2 Chron. 33:6; Jer. 32:35) became the place of child sacrifice to foreign gods. In the period between the Old and New Testaments Jewish writing used the term to describe the hell of fire in the final judgment. In some writings but not in the Bible Gehenna was also seen as the place of temporary judgment for those waiting the final judgment.

The New Testament uses Gehenna to speak of the place of final judgment. Jesus warned that those who called another, “Thou fool,” faced the danger of the fire of Gehenna (Matt. 5:22). He taught it is better to destroy a part of one’s body than to have one’s whole body thrown into Gehenna (Matt. 5:29; 18:9; Mark 9:43, 45, 47). In Gehenna worms are constantly at work in a fiery environment that burns forever (Mark 9:48). Only God can commit people to Gehenna and so is the only One worthy of human fear (Matt. 10:28; Luke 12:5). Jesus condemned the Pharisees for making converts but then turning them into sons of Gehenna, that is, people destined for hell (Matt. 23:15). He scolded the Pharisees, warning they had no chance to escape Gehenna through their present practices (Matt. 23:33). For many people James warned that they could not control their tongues that Gehenna had set on fire (Jas. 3:6). See Hell.

See picture of view of the Valley of Gehenna (Hinnom Valley) looking northeast to the old city walls of Jerusalem.

SHEOL The abode of the dead in Hebrew thought. Sheol was thought to be deep within the earth (Ps. 88:6; Ezek. 26:20; 31:14-15; Amos 9:2) and was entered by crossing a river (Job 33:18). Sheol is pictured as a city with gates (Isa. 38:10), a place of ruins (Ezek. 26:20), or a trap (2 Sam. 22:6; Ps. 18:5). Sheol is sometimes personified as a hungry beast (Pr. 27:20; Isa. 5:14; Hab. 2:5) with an open mouth and an insatiable appetite. Sheol is described as a place of dust (Ps. 30:9; Job 17:16) and of gloom and darkness (Job 10:21).

The Hebrews conceived of the individual as a unity of body and spirit. Thus it was impossible for the dead whose bodies had decayed (Ps. 49:14) to experience more than a marginal existence. Various terms are used by English translators to describe the residents of Sheol (Job 26:5; Isa. 14:9), including shades (NRSV, REB), spirits of the dead (TEV), or simply, the dead (KJV). The dead experience no remembrance (Pss. 6:5; 88:12), no thought (Eccl. 9:10), no speech (Pss. 31:17; 94:17), especially no words of praise (Pss. 6:5; 30:9), and no work (Eccl. 9:10). Such existence is fittingly described as sleep (Isa. 14:9). For the dead Sheol is a place of pain and distress (Ps. 116:3), weakness (Isa. 14:10), helplessness (Ps. 88:4); hopelessness (Isa. 38:10), and destruction (Isa. 38:17).

Sheol was regarded as the abode of all the dead, both righteous and wicked (Job 30:23). It was, in fact, regarded as a consolation that none escaped death (Ps. 49:10-12; Ezek. 31:16). Only once does the Old Testament speak of Sheol specifically as the abode of the wicked (Ps. 9:17). Some earthly distinctions were regarded as continuing in Sheol. Thus kings have thrones (Isa. 14:9); and warriors possess weapons and shields (Ezek. 32:27). Here the biblical writers possibly mocked the views of their neighbors. Ezekiel 32:18-30 pictures the dead as grouped by nation with the crucial distinction between the circumcised and uncircumcised continuing in the grave.

To go to Sheol alive was regarded as a punishment for exceptional wickedness (Ps. 55:15; Num. 16:30, 33 where the earth swallowed Korah and his band alive). Job 24:19 speaks of Sheol snatching sinners. The righteous, wise, and well-disciplined could avoid a premature move to Sheol (Pr. 15:24; 23:14).

Though the overall picture of Sheol is grim, the Old Testament nevertheless affirms that God is there (Ps. 139:8; Prov. 15:11) or that it is impossible to hide from God in Sheol (Job 26:6; Amos 9:2). The Old Testament also affirms that God has power over Sheol and is capable of ransoming souls from its depths (Pss. 16:10; 30:3; 49:15; 86:13; Job 33:18, 28-30). In the majority of these passages a restoration to physical life is clearly intended, though several (for example Ps. 49:15 with its image of God’s receiving the one ransomed from Sheol) point the way toward the Christian understanding of afterlife with God. See Death; Eschatology; Future Hope; Hell.

Chris Church

PARADISE (Par' uh dise) Old Persian term which means literally “enclosure” or “wooded park,” used in the Old Testament to speak of King Artaxerxes’ forest (Neh. 2:8), and twice of orchards (Eccl. 2:5; Song of Sol. 4:13). All three New Testament occurrences (Luke 23:43; 2 Cor. 12:4; Rev. 2:7) refer to the abode of the righteous dead (heaven). The Greek Old Testament (Septuagint) used “paradise” to translate the Hebrew words for the Garden of Eden in Genesis 2-3. Over the years, the terms because synonymous, and eventually paradise came to refer to heaven. Jewish theology then developed an opposite place for wicked persons, gehenna, a burning furnace. See Future Hope; Heaven.

HADES (Hay' dees) the abode of the dead. In the King James Version of the Bible, the Greek word is generally translated “hell.” It differs, however, from the term “Gehenna,” which more precisely refers to hell. Hades is the Greek equivalent of the Hebrew term “Sheol,” which refers in general to the place of the dead. See Hell.


The translation of the Hebrew word “sheol,” which signifies the unseen state. Sheol is also translated as “pit,” “lowest pit,” “Sheol,” and “grave” in some versions

Isa 5:14; Isa 14:9; Isa 14:15; Isa 28:15; Isa 28:18; Isa 57:9; Ezek 31:16-17; Ezek 32:21; Ezek 32:27; Amos 9:2; Jonah 2:2; Hab 2:5; Deut 32:22; Psa 86:13; Psa 55:15; 2 Sam 22:6; Job 11:8; Job 26:6; Psa 9:17; Psa 16:10; Psa 18:5; Psa 116:3; Psa 139:8; Prov 5:5; Prov 7:27; Prov 9:18; Prov 15:11; Prov 15:24; Prov 23:14; Prov 27:20; Gen 37:35; Gen 42:38; Gen 44:29; Gen 44:31; 1 Sam 2:6; 1 Kin 2:6; 1 Kin 2:9; Job 7:9; Job 14:13; Job 17:13; Job 21:13; Job 24:19; Psa 6:5; Psa 30:3; Psa 31:17; Psa 49:14-15; Psa 88:3; Psa 89:48; Psa 141:7; Prov 1:12; Prov 30:16; Eccl 9:10; Song 8:6; Hos 13:14

The translation of the Greek word “gehenna”

Matt 5:22; Matt 5:29-30; Matt 10:28; Matt 18:9; Matt 23:15; Matt 23:33; Mark 9:43; Mark 9:45; Mark 9:47; Luke 12:5; Jam 3:6

The translation of the Greek word “hades,” which signifies the unseen world

Matt 11:23; Matt 16:18; Luke 10:15; Luke 16:23; Acts 2:27; Acts 2:31; Rev 1:18; Rev 6:8; Rev 20:13-14

The future abode of the wicked

Psa 9:17; Prov 5:5; Prov 9:13-18; Prov 15:24; Prov 23:13-14; Isa 30:33; Isa 33:14; Matt 3:12; Matt 5:29-30; Matt 7:13-14; Matt 8:11-12; Matt 10:28; Matt 13:30; Matt 13:38-42; Matt 13:49-50; Matt 16:18; Matt 18:8-9; Matt 18:34-35; Matt 22:13; Matt 25:28-30; Matt 25:41; Matt 25:46; Mark 9:43-48; Luke 3:17; Luke 16:23-26; Luke 16:28; Acts 1:25; 2 Thess 1:9; 2 Pet 2:4; Jude 1:6; Jude 1:23; Rev 9:1-2; Rev 11:7; Rev 14:10-11; Rev 19:20; Rev 20:10; Rev 20:15; Rev 21:8; Rev 2:11

See Wicked, Punishment of

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