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Hell

Hell [N] [T] [B] [S]

derived from the Saxon helan, to cover; hence the covered or the invisible place. In Scripture there are three words so rendered:

  • 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 Proverbs 30:16 ). It is rendered "grave" thirty-one times ( Genesis 37:35 ; 42:38 ; Genesis 44:29 Genesis 44:31 ; 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 ( Job 10:21 Job 10:22 ), with bars ( 17:16 ). The dead "go down" to it ( Numbers 16:30 Numbers 16:33 ; Ezek. Numbers 31:15 Numbers 31:16 Numbers 31:17 ).

  • 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 .)

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

    [N] indicates this entry was also found in Nave's Topical Bible
    [T] indicates this entry was also found in Torrey's Topical Textbook
    [B] indicates this entry was also found in Baker's Evangelical Dictionary
    [J] indicates this entry was also found in Jack Van Impe's Prophecy Dictionary
    [S] indicates this entry was also found in Smith's Bible Dictionary

    Bibliography Information

    Easton, Matthew George. "Entry for Hell". "Easton's Bible Dictionary". .