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2 6, he enjoins it upon his son Solomon not to let the "hoar head of Joab go down to the grave (sheol) in peace." In verse 9 he enjoins it upon him to "bring down the hoar head of Shimei to the grave (sheol) with blood." And in Ps. 55: 15, he says of his enemies, "Let death seize upon them, and let them go down quick into hell." (sheol).
9. The pious and patient Job prays that he might be hid in sheol. See Job 14: 13. But, is it to be supposed that Job wished to be hid in a place of endless misery?
10. Sheol is represented as a place from the power of which it is impossible for any man, good or bad, to deliver himself. Ps. 89: 48, "What man is he that liveth and shall not see death? Shall he deliver his soul from the hand of the grave (sheol)?" This question is one which was designed to involve its own answer, and that answer was designed to be a negative one. Hence, if we understand the words soul and sheol here as they have been commonly understood, then the text affirms that the souls of all men will go to a place of endless misery.
11. The bones of the Jewish people are represented as being scattered at the mouth of sheol. See Ps. 141: 7. But, is it to be believed that the bones of these people were scattered at the mouth of a place of endless misery in another world?
12. Sheol is represented as a place where "there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom." See Eccl. 9: 10. But, if there is no work there, of course it cannot be a place where devils are at work tormenting men. If there is no device there, it cannot be a place where devils are contriving how they may best torment their subjects. And if there is no knowledge there, of course it cannot be a place of misery.
13. The good old king Hezekiah, during his sickness, expressed himself as if he should die, and go to sheol. See Isa. 38: 10. But no man believes that Hezekiah expected to go to a place of endless misery.
14. Korah, Dathan and Abiram, and their company, and their wives and their little ones, are represented as having gone down alive into sheol. See Num. 16: 27-33. Here we learn that it is not even necessary to die in order to go to sheol. And, as these persons went alive into sheol, - that is, went into sheol while living,
hence this sheol must have been in this world.
15. God speaks in the Bible of ransoming mankind froin sheol. Hosea 13: 17," I will ransom them from the power of the grave" (sheol). By those who believe in a place of endless misery it is thought that for those who will be doomed to that gloomy prison of despair there can be no ransom. But this text certainly teaches that for those who were in sheol there was a ransom.
16. Sheol is destined to be destroyed. Hosea 13: 17, “O grave (sheol), I will be thy destruction." Now, whether this sheol is in this world or another, or whether it is a place of misery or not, one thing is certain: it is destined to be destroyed. The reader will bear in mind that this is the only word rendered hell in the Old Testament. How can that be a place of endless misery which is itself to come to an end, and cease to exist?
17. Sheol and Saul are synonymous in their meaning. Saul is merely a different pronunciation of the word sheol, in consequence of its being differently pointed. Now, one of the kings of Israel, and one of the apostles of Christ, were both named Saul. If the parents of king Saul, and the parents of Saul of Tarsus, had understood sheol to mean a place of either limited or endless misery, is it likely they would have named one of their children after such a place? What parent, in our day, would name a child hell, and at the same time understand this word to mean a place of endless misery? The parents of the persons referred to above undoubtedly understood the word sheol in its true sense, namely, "to crave, to demand, to ask," or that in relation to which we desired information, as the unseen or invisible state of the dead.
18. Sheol is denominated a pit. Ps. 88: 3, 4, "My life draweth nigh unto the grave (sheol). I am counted with them that go down into the pit." Prov. 1: 12, "Let us swallow them up alive, as the grave; and whole, as those that go down to the pit.” See, also, Isa. 14: 15; and 38: 18, 19; Ezek. 31: 16. It was customary among the Jews to deposit their dead in deep pits, or caves, which were numerous in their country, frequently extending far under ground, and which were sufficiently capacious to contain a large number of dead bodies. Hence arose the expression "depths of sheol," or "deepest sheol;" and hence it is that sheol is denomnated a pit. The allusion, in the above texts, evidently is to the manner in which the Jews were accustomed to dispose of their dead, and not to a place of endless misery.
19. Sheol is said to have a mouth, or place of entrance. See Ps. 141: 7; Isa. 5: 14. The allusion is to the mouth of the caves in which the Jews deposited their dead.
20. Sheol is said to have bars. Job 17: 16, "They shall go down to the bars of the pit" (sheol). Here is an allusion to the fact that the burial-places of the Jews, or, rather, the entrances to them, were guarded by bars and gates.
21. Sheol is spoken of as having sides. Isa. 14: 15, "Thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit." The allusion is to the fact that the Hebrews often deposited their dead, and in great numbers, too, in places excavated from the side of the cave, or pit, which was selected as the burial-place.
22. Sheol is associated with the base of mountains. See Deut. 32: 22. The burial-places of the Jews were sometimes located at the base of mountains, and in the mountains' sides. In the text just quoted the allusion is to this fact.
23. The inmates of sheol are said to be in the dust. Job 17: 16, "They shall go down to the bars of the pit (sheol), where our rest together is in the dust." If the word sheol here signifies a place of endless misery, then this text teaches us that, so far from this place being located in the spirit world, it is located in the dust of the earth.
24. Sheol is spoken of as a place of resort to escape punishment. Amos 7: 2, "Though they dig into hell, thence shall my hand take them." "The allusion is to the escape of criminals from the officers of justice. They might dig into the pits and caves of the earth (the burial-places), yet the omniscient eye of God could not be eluded, nor his justice evaded." The criminal, then, instead of being sent to sheol to be punished, was to be brought out to receive the merited punishment. This idea, although plainly inculcated by the Bible, is at direct variance with the common opinion.
25. The contents of sheol are said to be: 1. Gray hairs, Gen. 37: 35, and 42: 38, and 44: 29, 31; 2. Hoary heads, 1 Kings 2: 6,9; 3. Bones, Ps. 141: 7; 4. Sheep, Ps. 49: 14; 5. Houses and goods, Num. 16: 32, 33; 6. Swords and other weapons of war, Ezek. 32: 27. Surely no one will contend that these things are contained in a place of endless misery, in the spirit world! 26. The inmates of sheol are called the dead, the slain, etc., lsa. 14: 9: Ezek. 31: 17, and 32: 21. Certainly it could not be
said of immortal souls, in a place of endless misery, that they were dead, slain, etc. This language was evidently used with reference to those whose animal life had been destroyed, and whose dead bodies had been consigned to the grave.
27. Sheol is used to signify a state of moral impurity, 2 Sam. 22: 6; Ps. 18: 5, and 30: 3, and 84: 13, and 116: 3; Prov. 23: 14, and 5: 5, and 9: 18; Isa. 57: 9. The grave is a place of physical defilement and death, and might, therefore, with great propriety, be used as an emblem of moral impurity, defilement and death.
28. Sheol is often used as a term synonymous with death, Isa. 38: 18, and 28: 15, 18; Ps. 55: 15; Cant. 8: 6; Prov. 5: 5; Hosea 13: 14. Death precedes, the grave follows in quick succession. Hence the propriety of using the terms death and grave as synonymous.
29. The inmates of sheol are said to consume and vanish away, and to be eaten up of worms, Job 7: 9, and 24: 19; Ps. 49: 14. Do the believers in a place of endless misery believe that immortal souls will there consume, vanish away, and be eaten up of worms? Surely this language can have no other reference than to the dead bodies of men after they are deposited in the grave.
30. Sheol is spoken of as a place of rest. Job 17: 16, "They shall go down to the bars of the pit (sheol), where our rest together is in the dust." A place of misery could not certainly be regarded as a place of rest. Hence sheol here does not signify such a place. 31. Sheol is spoken of sa place of silence, Ps. 31: 17. If it be a place of silence, then u cannot be a place from which the cries, groans, shrieks, howlings, imprecations and blasphemies, of the damned will be forever ascending.
32. Sheol is spoken of as a place of absolute and entire unconsciousness. Ps. 6: 5, " In death there is no remembrance of thee; in the grave (sheol) who shall give thee thanks?" Isa. 38: 18, "The grave (sheol) nnot praise thee; death cannot celebrate thee." Eccl. 9: 10, "There is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave (sheol) whither thou goest." It needs no argument to prove that a place of utter unconsciousness cannot be a place of either limited or endless misery.
33. Sheol is used as synonymous with Keber. Is. 14: 11, Thy pomp is brought down to the grave (sheol), and the noise of
thy viols the worm is spread under thee, and the worms cover thee." Verse 19, But thou art cast out of thy grave (keber) like an abominable branch, and as the remnant of those that are slain, thrust through with a sword, that go down to the stones of the pit; as a carcass trodden under feet." Ezek. 32: 21-27, "The strong among the mighty shall speak to him out of the midst of hell (sheol), with them that help him; they are gone down, they lie uncircumcised, slain by the sword. Asshur is there, and all her company; his graves (keber) are about him, all of them slain, fallen by the sword. Whose graves (keber) are set in the sides of the pit, and her company is round about her grave (keber); all of them slain, fallen by the sword, which caused terror in the land of the living. There is Elam, and all her multitude round about her grave (keber), all of them slain, fallen by the sword, which are gone down uncircumcised into the nether parts of the earth, which caused their terror in the land of the living; yet they have borne their shame with them that go down to the pit. They have set her a bed in the midst of the slain with all her multitude; her graves (keber) are round about him. . . . . There is Meshech, Tubal, and all her multitude; her graves (keber) are round about him. And they shall not lie with the mighty that are fallen of the uncircumcised, which are gone down to hell (sheol) with their weapons of war; and they have laid their swords under their heads; but their iniquities shall be upon their bones, though they were the terror of the mighty in the land of the living."
All admit that the Hebrew word keber signifies the literal grave. Every one can see that in the above texts sheol and keber are used as synonymous terms. In Isa. 14: 11, it is said of the king of Babylon, "Thy pomp is brought down to the grave (sheol), and the noise of thy viols; the worm is spread under thee, and the worms cover thee." In verse 19 he is said to be cast out of his grave (keber) “ as an abominable branch, as a carcass trodden under foot. The worms of sheol, and the carcass in keber, have the same reference. The expression, sides of the pit, used in connection with sheol, verse 15, and the stones of the pit, mentioned in connection with keber, verse 19, are evidently the same. The dead of sheol, verse 9 of this chapter, and the slain of keber, verse 19, signify precisely the same thing.
In Ezek. 32: 21. 27, the inmates of sheol are said to be slain,