derived from the Saxon helan, to cover; hence the covered or the
invisible place. In Scripture there are three words so rendered:
(1.) Sheol, occurring in the Old Testament sixty-five times.
This word sheol is derived from a root-word meaning "to ask,"
"demand;" hence insatiableness (Prov. 30:15, 16). It is rendered
"grave" thirty-one times (Gen. 37:35; 42:38; 44:29, 31; 1 Sam.
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" (Prov.
21:16). It is (a) the abode of the wicked (Num. 16:33; Job
24:19; Ps. 9:17; 31:17, etc.); (b) of the good (Ps. 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 (Num. 16:30, 33; Ezek.
31:15, 16, 17).
(2.) 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 Pet. 3:19), with gates and bars and locks (Matt.
16:18; Rev. 1:18), and it is downward (Matt. 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).
(3.) Gehenna, in most of its occurrences in the Greek New
Testament, designates the place of the lost (Matt. 23:33). The
fearful nature of their condition there is described in various
figurative expressions (Matt. 8:12; 13:42; 22:13; 25:30; Luke
16:24, etc.). (See HINNOM T0001790.)
Bibliography Information Easton, Matthew George. M.A., D.D., "Biblical Meaning for 'hell' Eastons Bible Dictionary". bible-history.com - Eastons; 1897.