Sheol

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SHEOL

A Hebrew word (š e'ôl ) that occurs more than 60 times in the Old Testament to signify the nether world. Its etymology is very uncertain, being variously derived from šāal, "ask, inquire," [thus, a place that keeps asking for more (Prv 27.20; 30.1516) or a place of interrogation of the dead], from šāâl, "be hollow, deep," from šwl, "be low," from šāâ, "be desolate," plus an archaic suffix l, or from various Akkadian roots.

In the Bible it designates the place of complete inertia that one goes down to when one dies whether one be just or wicked, rich or poor.

See Also: afterlife, 2; gehenna; abraham's bosom.

Bibliography: Encyclopedic Dictionary of the Bible, translated and adapted by l. hartman (New York, 1963) 2196.

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Sheol

According to Hebrew tradition, Sheolwhich means the pitwas a realm beneath the earth where the spirits of the dead resided. It was in many ways the opposite of the world of the living. While light shone on the earth, darkness veiled Sheol. On earth the living had solid bodies, but in Sheol the dead existed as shadows.

The souls of all people went to Sheol, regardless of their behavior during life. As a result, it was not considered a place of punishment for wickedness. In fact, a person who was properly mourned by his relatives after death was believed to join his ancestors in Sheol. In some accounts the souls in Sheol slept, while in others they experienced hopelessness or fear.

See also Afterlife; Hell; Semitic Mythology; Underworld.

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Sheol the Hebrew underworld, abode of the dead, envisaged as a subterranean region clothed in thick darkness, return from which was impossible. In the Authorized Version, it was translated variously as ‘hell’, ‘grave’, or ‘pit’.

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She·ol / ˈshēˌôl; shēˈōl/ the Hebrew underworld, abode of the dead.

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Sheol. The dwelling place of the dead in Jewish thought. Mention is made in the Bible of the dead going down to Sheol. It was neither heaven nor hell, but something like ‘the primitive grave’ (Pedersen).

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