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Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament [1]

1. Context .-The word most frequently so rendered in the English Versionis the Gr. ᾅδης (see Hades). In the NT, outside the Gospels, ‘hell’ is also used in translating the two Gr. words γέεννα (‘ Gehenna ’) and the very rare verbal form ταρταρόω (‘send into Tartarus ’).

The former occurs only once, viz. in  James 3:6, where it is obviously used metaphorically for the evil power which is revealed in all forms of unlicensed, careless, and corrupt speech. In the figurative phrase ‘set on fire of Gehenna,’ the author of the Epistle has clearly in mind the original idea of that name in the associations of the Valley of Hinnom, with its quenchless fire and its undying worm ( 2 Chronicles 28:3;  2 Chronicles 33:6,  Jeremiah 7:31).

The name ‘Tartarus’ ( 2 Peter 2:4) carries us out of the association of Hebrew into the realm of Greek thought. It is the appellation given by Homer ( Il. viii. 13) to that region of dire punishment allotted to the elder gods, whose sway Zeus had usurped.

I will take and cast him into misty Tartarus,’ says Zeus, ‘right far away, where is the deepest gulf beneath the earth; there are the gate of iron and threshold of bronze, as far beneath Hades as heaven is high above the earth.’

The Greek word passed into Hebrew literature, and is found in En. xx. 2, where Uriel is said to have sway over the world and over Tartarus (cf. Philo, de Exsecr . § 6). The passage in 2 Peter shows evident traces of the effect upon it of the Book of Enoch , so it is not necessary to go further a field in order to discover the source of the word. In the Christian sections of the Sib. Or. the word is of frequent occurrence, and appears sometimes to be used as equivalent to Gehenna and at other times as the name for a special section of that region. Cf. i. 126-129:

‘Down they went

In to Tartarean chamber terrible,

Kept in firm chains to pay full penalty

In Gehenna of strong, furious, quenchless fire.’

With this passage should be carefully compared En. cviii. 3-6, where some exceptional features occur in the description of hell. The passage is in a fragment of the earlier Book of Noah , now incorporated in the larger work.

‘Their names,’ says the seer, ‘shall be blotted out of the book of life, and out of the holy books, and their seed shall be destroyed for ever, and their spirits shall be slain, and they shall cry and make lamentation in a place that is a chaotic wilderness, and in the fire shall they burn; for there is no earth there. And I saw there something like an invisible cloud; for by reason of its depth I could not look over, and I saw a flame of fire blazing brightly, and things like shining mountains circling and sweeping to and fro. And I asked one of the holy angels who was with me, and said unto him: “What is this shining thing? for it is not a heaven but only the flame of a blazing fire, and the voice of weeping and crying, and lamentation and strong pain.” And he said unto me: “This place which thou seest-here are cast the spirits of sinners and blasphemers, and of those who work wickedness, and of those who pervert everything that the Lord hath spoken through the mouth of the prophets.” ’

As Charles points out in his notes on this passage, the writer has confused here Gehenna and the hell of the disobedient stars, conceptions which are kept quite distinct in the earlier sections of the book (cf. chs. xxi. and xxii.).

2. The idea in apostolic and sub-apostolic literature .-We have to pass beyond the strict use of the word ‘hell’ to discover the wider range of the conception in the literature of the NT that comes within the scope of our examination. There are two or three terms found in the Apocalypse, to which we must now turn.

( a ) The Apocalypse of John .-(1) In  Revelation 9:1 ‘the pit of the abyss’ (see Abyss) is regarded as the special prison-house of the devil and his attendant evil spirits. This conception is probably derivable from similar sources to those from which Tartarus comes, though there are peculiar and interesting features about it, details of which will be found in the special article devoted to its explanation. Closely connected with the idea of the abyss is its demonic ruler Abaddon ( Revelation 9:11, see Abaddon), whose name figures frequently in the Wisdom-literature, and is generally translated in the Septuagintby ἀπώλεια = ‘destruction.’ According to one Hebrew authority, Abaddon is itself a place-name, and designates the lowest deep of Gehenna, from which no soul can ever escape (see H. B. Swete, The Apocalypse of St. John, in loco ). In the Asc. Is. iv. 14 is a somewhat similar passage: ‘The Lord will come with His angels and with the armies of the holy ones from the seventh heaven … and He will drag Beliar into Gehenna and also his armies.’

(2) ‘The lake of fire’ is an expression found several times in Rev. (cf.  Revelation 19:20, etc.). It is described as the appointed place of punishment for the Beast and the False Prophet, for Death and Hades themselves, for all not enrolled in the Book of Life, and finally for those guilty of the dark list of sins given in  Revelation 21:8. It is questionable whether the original imagery underlying the expression is derived from the story of the Cities of the Plain, or the Pyriphlegethon-the fiery-flamed river-one of the tributaries of the Acheron in the Homeric vision of the under world (cf. Od. x. 513). Probably elements from both enter into it. A passage in the Book of the Secrets of Enoch , x. 1-6-remarkable for the fact that hell is here set in the third heaven (see W. Bousset, Die Religion des Judentums , Berlin, 1903, p. 273 n.[Note: . note.])-has close parallels with the passage in  Revelation 21:8. The following extracts will show how close and suggestive the imagery is-and as it probably dates before a.d. 70, the actual connexion is not improbable.

‘They showed me there a very terrible place … and all manner of tortures in that place … and there is no light there, but murky fire constantly flameth aloft, and there is a fiery river coming forth, and that whole place is everywhere fire … and those men said to me: This place is prepared for those who dishonour God, who on earth practise … magic-making, enchantments, and devilish witchcrafts, and who boast of their wicked deeds, stealing, lies, calumnies, envy, rancour, fornication, murder … for all these is prepared this place amongst these, for eternal inheritance’ (cf. also Asc. Is. iv. 15).

In the Sib. Or. we have similar language, e.g. ii. 313:

‘And then shall all pass through the burning stream

Of flame unquenchable’.

Again, in ii. 353ff. we have:

‘And deathless angels of the immortal God,

Who ever is, shall bind with lasting bonds

In chains of flaming fire, and from above

Punish them all by scourge most terribly;

And in Gehenna, in the gloom of night,

Shall they be cast ’neath many horrid beasts

Of Tartarus, where darkness is immense.’*[Note: These translations are taken from the English version by M. S. Terry, New York, 1899.]

(3) In  Revelation 20:14 ‘the lake of fire’ is further defined as ‘the second death’-a phrase which recurs in other passages of the book ( e.g. 2:11), The phrase seems traceable to Jewish sources, for it occurs frequently in the Targums (cf. Wetstein on  Revelation 2:11). It seems likely that the Jews, in turn, derived it from the ideas of Egyptian religion, since we find Ani, seated on his judgment throne, saying, ‘I am crowned king of the gods, I shall not die a second time in the underworld’ ( The Book of the Dead , ed. E. A. Wallis Budge, London, 1901, ch. xliv.; cf. Moffatt in Expositor’s Greek Testament , 1910, on  Revelation 2:11).

( b ) St. Paul. -This idea of the ‘second death’ leads naturally to St. Paul’s use of ‘death’ in such passages as  Romans 6:21. When the Apostle uses the word, he evidently intends by it ‘something far deeper than the natural close of life.… For him death is one indivisible experience. It is the correlative of sin.… Death is regarded as separation from God.… So death, conceived as the final word on human destiny, becomes the synonym for hopeless doom’ (Kennedy, St. Paul’s Conceptions of the Last Things , 1904, pp. 113-117).

(c) Other NT books .-This idea is also strongly and strikingly put in  James 1:15 : ‘Sin, when it is full-grown, bringeth forth death’ (cf.  2 Timothy 1:10,  Hebrews 2:14). In  Judges 1:6;  Judges 1:13 and  2 Peter 2:17 we have the expressions ‘darkness’ and ‘the blackness of darkness’ used as descriptive epithets of the place of punishment. Once more we are face to face with the peculiar imagery of apocalyptic, and we recall how the word is employed in the Gospels, especially in the phrase ‘the outer darkness’ (cf.  Matthew 8:12). In En. x. 4 we read, ‘Bind Azazel hand and foot, and cast him into the darkness,’ and throughout that book the imagery frequently recurs. The figure is a natural one, and needs no elaboration to make its force felt.

( d ) Apostolic Fathers .-In turning to the Christian literature of the 1st cent. that lies outside the NT, we do not find any very striking additions to the ideas contained in the pages of the canonical books. In Did. 16 we read, ‘All created mankind shall come to the fire of testing, and many shall be offended and perish,’ which is only a faint reflexion of the Synoptic statements. In the Epistle of Barnabas , xx., the way of sin is described as ‘a way of eternal death with punishment,’ and then follows a list of sins reminiscent of  Revelation 21:8. In the 8th Similitude of the Shepherd of Hermas -that of the tower-builders-there are many references to judgment, but they are couched in such general terms as ‘shall lose his life,’ ‘these lost their life finally,’ or ‘these perished altogether unto God.’ In Sim . ix. xviii. 2 there is a striking passage differentiating between the punishment of the ignorant and those who sin knowingly: ‘They that have not known God, and commit wickedness, are condemned to death; but they that have known God and seen His mighty works, and yet commit wickedness, shall receive a double punishment, and shall die eternally.’ In ix. xxviii. 7 it is said: ‘Confess that ye have the Lord, lest denying Him ye be delivered into prison (εἰς δεσμωτήριον).’ There can be no doubt here that ‘prison’ is meant to signify the place of punishment beyond death. The imagery may be derived from the saying in  Matthew 5:25-26, but we must remember that ‘bonds and imprisonment’ were frequently the terms in which the apocalyptic literature figured future punishment.

( e ) First-century apocalypses .-The conception that meets us in the Parable of Dives and Lazarus, viz. that the places of bliss and torment are visible the one from the other, meets us in two or three apocalypses of the 1st century. In the section of 2 Esdras discovered in 1875, we have one of these passages (7:36-38):

‘And the pit (Lat. “place”) of torment shall appear, and over against it shall be the place of rest: and the furnace of hell (Lat. “Gehenna”) shall be shewed, and over against it the paradise of delight. And there shall the Most High say to the nations that are raised from the dead, See ye and understand whom ye have denied, or whom ye have not served, or whose commandments ye have despised. Look on this side and on that: here is delight and rest, and there fire and torments.’

In Ass. Mos . x. 10 occurs the passage:

‘And thou wilt look from on high and see thine enemies in Gehenna, and thou wilt recognize them and rejoice, and thou wilt give thanks and confess thy Creator.’

Very similar passages are found in the Book of the Secrets of Enoch , chs. x., xl., and xli.

This idea is even more clearly set forth in the Apocalypse of Peter , and forms the beginning of the famous passage in which is set forth the punishment of sinners, in the manner that to later ages is most familiar in the pages of Dante, where the forms of torment bear an appropriate relation to the sins committed. The passage begins at § 20, and follows immediately on the description of Heaven, with these words:

‘And I saw another place over against that, very dark: and it was the place of punishment: and those who were punished there and the punishing angels had a dark raiment like the air of the place. And some were there hanging by the tongue: these were those who blasphemed the way of righteousness, and under them was fire burning and punching them. And there was a great lake, full of flaming mire, in which were certain men who had perverted righteousness, and tormenting angels afflicted them.’

In these verses we trace the similarity to ideas and figures we have already discovered in the Apoc. of John and elsewhere, but the further descriptions of this Inferno borrow elements from Greek and other sources, and are considerably more extravagant than anything within the limits of the 1st century. It may, however, be only a development of the conceptions found in such 2nd cent. documents as Jude and 2 Peter.

( f ) Josephus .-An interesting witness to contemporary Jewish thought in the 1st cent. is Josephus, who has two references to the belief of the Pharisees in the matter of future punishment. In Ant . xviii. i. 3 we read:

‘They also believe that souls have an immortal vigour in them, and that under the earth there will be rewards or punishments, according as they have lived virtuously or viciously in this life; and the latter are to be detained in an everlasting prison, but that the former shall have power to revive and live again.’ Again in Bellum Judaicum (Josephus) ii. viii. 14, quoting the doctrine of the Pharisees, he claims their view to be ‘that the souls of bad men are subject to eternal punishment.’

( g ) Testament of Abraham and Pistis Sophia .-Before our survey of the literature closes, note must be taken of two striking and somewhat fantastic conceptions contained in two works, which probably set forth, among their obviously later material, elements of an earlier tradition. The first is found in the Testament of Abraham , which may date in its origin from the 2nd cent. of our era, and doubtless some of its contents are from a much earlier period. In its present form it appears to issue from a Jewish-Christian source, and its place of origin seems to be Egypt. Elements of Egyptian thought enter into its literary form, among the most striking of which is the idea of the weighing of souls-a scene that often occurs on the Egyptian pagan monuments. The trial of souls is threefold-once before Abel, at a later time by the twelve tribes of Israel, and finally by the Lord Himself. Abraham is permitted to witness the procedure of judgment, and he finds two angels seated at a table. The one on the right hand records the good deeds, and the one on the left the evil deeds of the soul to be tested. In front of the table stands an angel with a balance on which the souls are weighed, while another has a trumpet having within it all-consuming fire whereby the souls are tried. These more elaborate and somewhat mechanical methods form a link with the imagery of mediaevalism, but also prove the manner in which Christianity was proceeding along eclectic lines, and taking to itself ideas and figures from other religions.

In the curious work known as the Pistis Sophia , probably of Valentinian, and certainly of Gnostic origin, we have a bizarre conception of the place of punishment-described as ‘the outer darkness.’ It is presented in the form of a huge dragon with its tail in its mouth, the circle thus formed engirdling the whole earth. Within the monster are the regions of punishment-‘for there are in it twelve dungeons of horrible torment.’ Each dungeon is governed by a monster-like ruler, and in these are punished the worst of sinners, e.g. sorcerers, blasphemers, murderers, the unclean, and those who remain in the doctrines of error. To express the awfulness of the torture, it is said that the fire of the under world is nine times hotter than that of earthly furnaces; the fire of the great chaos nine times hotter than that of the under world; the fire of the ‘rulers’ nine times hotter than that of the great chaos; but the fire of the dragon is seventy times more intense in its heat than that of the ‘rulers’! In 3 Baruch , iv. and v. there is the mention of a dragon in close connexion with Hades, and in the latter chapter Hades is said to be his belly (cf. Hughes’ notes on the passage in Charles’ Apoc. and Pseudepig .). We are at least reminded by such passages of the Jonah legend, and it may well be that behind all three is a common origin. The dragon is obviously an old Semitic myth, and this particular form of it probably gives fresh significance to the words in  Revelation 20:2 : ‘the dragon, the old serpent, which is the Devil and Satan.’

3. General considerations. -Several points of importance emerge from our study of these references in the literature of the 1st century.

(1) The surprisingly few passages in the NT in which the word ‘hell’ (or even the idea it conveys) occurs .-Outside the Gospels and the Apocalypse, there are practically no occasions on which we find it employed. Its absence from the writings of St. Paul, Hebrews, and the Epistles of John is most noteworthy. Our surprise is not lessened by the recollection of the fact that, according to the Rabbis, ‘seven things were created before the world-Torah, Gehenna , the Garden of Eden, the Throne of Glory, the Sanctuary, Repentance, and the Name of Messiah.’ In St. Paul at least, six of these are frequently in evidence, and this gives more significance to his silence about the seventh.

(2) The restrained sanity of the references that do occur .-When we compare even the lurid images of the Apocalypse with those we have cited (and even more with those that may be found elsewhere in the same books) from contemporary works of a similar character, we cannot but be impressed with the soberness of the language. There is nothing of the morbid curiosity and unpleasant lingering on horrors, to say nothing of the sense of gloating over vengeance and cruelty, that we find in so many kindred passages. Terrible imagery is sometimes employed, but it is clearly imbued with a high moral aim, and designed to convey a clearly spiritual purpose. The absence of such allegorizing methods as those of Philo is also noteworthy. Imagery is the method in which the truths are here conveyed, not allegory.

(3) The obvious dependence on the teaching of the Gospels for all that is said about hell .-It would be hard to point to any passage in the NT that conveyed any fresh or fuller ideas about the place of punishment, its nature and purpose, than are to be found in words attributed to Jesus in the Gospels. This is certainly noteworthy and significant, even if the Gospel teaching on Gehenna is an echo of current ideas. In form it probably is, but in ethical content it surely goes deeper, and we are made to feel that in the conception of the speaker this place also is founded by the Eternal Love-it too is part of the Father’s Universe. Dante, the greatest apocalyptist of subsequent ages, had caught the true evangelical spirit of this most awful doctrine when he wrote:

‘Justice incited my sublime Creator;

Created me divine Omnipotence,

The highest Wisdom and the primal Love’

( Inferno , iii. 4).

(4) The permanent spiritual lessons to be derived from the descriptions of future punishment .-( a ) All evil powers-death, sin, and their forces-are to be finally destroyed in the fires of Divine judgment ( Revelation 20:10;  Revelation 20:13-15,  2 Peter 2:4,  Judges 1:13). According to St. Paul, all powers that make against Christ and His Kingdom are to come to final ruin (cf.  2 Thessalonians 2:8-10,  1 Corinthians 15:24-26).

( b ) Evil in the heart of men must entail punishment and, if persisted in, eternal loss and shame, and a death that is more than death ( Romans 6:20-23,  Revelation 21:8). The terrible nature of moral evil, and of the heart’s persistent rebellion against God, is the appalling reality that renders these pictures of judgment truly significant, and redeems them from being the mere pageantry of a heated imagination. Whatever we may say of their outward form, there is an inexpressible grandeur behind them that rests in a true conception and representation of the Divine Holiness. ‘The fear of hell’ in these pages is much more than ‘the hangman’s whip’; it is the cry of the soul in the presence of Him who is revealed as of purer eyes than to behold iniquity, but who is, nevertheless, the Redeemer of His Universe.

Literature.-See articles Hades, Abyss, Life and Death, etc., in this Dictionary, and also in Hasting's Dictionary of the Bible (5 vols) , Dict. of Christ and the Gospels , Encyclopaedia Britannica , and Encyclopaedia Biblica . In addition to the works referred to in the body of the article, the following should be consulted: R. H. Charles’s separate editions of the various apocalypses, the great work edited by him, The Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha of the OT , Oxford, 1913, and Between the Old and New Testaments , London, 1914; E. Hennecke, Neutest. Apokryphen and Handbuch zu den neutest. Apokryphen , Tübingen, 1904; J. A. Robinson and M. R. James, The Gospel acc. to Peter and the Revelation of Peter , London, 1892; A. Harnack, Über das gnost. Buch Pistis-Sophia (= Texte and Untersuchungen vii. 2), Leipzig, 1891; R. H. Charles, A Critical History of the Doctrine of a Future Life 2, London, 1913; S. D. F. Salmond, The Christian Doctrine of Immortality 4, Edinburgh, 1901; E. C. Dewick, Primitive Christian Eschatology , Cambridge, 1912; W. O. E. Oesterley, The Doctrine of the Last Things , London, 1908; A. Schweitzer, The Quest of the Historical Jesus , Eng. translation, do. 1910; G. Dalman, The Words of Jesus , Eng. translation, Edinburgh, 1902; P. Volz, Jüdische Eschatologie , Tübingen, 1903.

G. Currie Martin.

Baker's Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology [2]

Place of God's final retributive punishment. Scripture progressively develops this destiny of the wicked: the Old Testament outlines the framework, while the New Testament elaborates on it. Jesus, however, is most responsible for defining hell.

The Old Testament . In the Old Testament Sheol denotes the abode of the dead; conscious souls face a shadowy existence in this "land of oblivion" ( Job 10:21;  Psalm 88:12;  Ecclesiastes 9:10;  Isaiah 14:10 ). Since death is not a natural occurrence but issues from the fall, the Old Testament confidently awaits God's demonstration of his lordship over Sheol by raising the righteous to life ( Genesis 2-3;  Psalm 16:10;  49:15;  Isaiah 25:8;  Hosea 13:14 ). While God's kingship also has implications for the wicked, here the Old Testament is more reserved. The Old Testament infrequently suggests a bodily resurrection for the wicked ( Daniel 12:2 ), a final judgment and retribution for evil deeds ( Psalm 21:10;  140:10;  Malachi 4:1-2 ). Nevertheless, the contemptible and horrible destiny of the wicked, irretrievably isolated from the righteous, is clear ( Psalm 9:17;  34:15-16 ).

The Intertestamental Period . The intertestamental literature constructed divergent scenarios for the wicked dead, including annihilation (4Ezra 7:61; 2Apoc  Baruch 82:3 ff.;  1 Enoch  48:9;  99:12;  1 QS iv. 11-14 ) and endless torment (Jub 36:11; 1Enoch 27:1-3; 103:8; T Gad 7:5). Sheol frequently became an interim location for the dead, distinguished from the place of final punishment (1Enoch 18:9-16; 51:1). This final punishment was usually located in a valley south of Jerusalem, known in Hebrew as Gen Hinnom or the Valley of Hinnom (2Apoc   Baruch 59:10;  4 Ezra  7:36 ), and in Greek as gehenna [   2 Kings 16:3;  2 Chronicles 28:3;  33:6;  Jeremiah 7:31-34;  19:6 ), this valley was further desecrated when Josiah used it as Jerusalem's refuse dump ( 2 Kings 23:10 ) and it was prophesied as the place of God's future fiery judgment ( Isaiah 30:33;  66:24;  Jeremiah 7:31-32 ). While some intertestamental writings equate hell with the "lake of fire" in this "accursed valley" of Hinnom (1Enoch 90:26,27; 54:1,2), others use it to denote a place in the underworld (Sib Or 4:1184-86).

In addition, the respective scenarios for the wicked, whether annihilation or eternal torment, shaped images of God's judgment. For instance, at times fire consumes the wicked (1Enoch 99:12); in other texts fire and worms torment their victim to a useless existence ( Judith 16:17 ).

The New Testament . In the New Testament hell is where the reprobate exist after the resurrection from Hades and the final judgment. In this lake of fire God punishes the wicked, along with Satan and his henchmen ( Matthew 25:41 ), bringing an end to evil's free ways.

Gehenna [   Revelation 19:29;  20:14-15 ), and "judgment." English versions occasionally translate hades [   Luke 16:23 ) and tartaroo [   2 Peter 2:4 ) as hell. However, these terms appear to denote the intermediate state, not the final destiny of the wicked.

Jesus says more about hell than any other biblical figure. His warnings of the eschatological judgment are liberally colored with the imagery of hell ( Matthew 5:22;  7:19;  8:12; par.  Luke 13:28-30;  Matthew 10:15,28;  11:22,24;  18:8-9; par.  Mark 9:43-49;  Luke 17:26-29;  John 15:6 ). He portrays this future judgment through pictures of Sodom's destruction ( Luke 17:29-30 ): fire, burning sulfur, and a fiery furnace ( Genesis 19:24-25 ). These images of God's judgment were well established in the Old Testament and intertestamental literature. Important portrayals of hell are also present in Jesus' parables, including the tares ( Matthew 13:40-42 ), the net ( Matthew 13:50 ); the great supper ( Matthew 22:13 ), the good servant and the wicked servant ( Matthew 24:51; par.  Luke 12:46-47 ), the talents ( Matthew 25:30 ), and the last judgment ( Matthew 25:46 ). Here "weeping and gnashing of teeth" ( Matthew 13:50;  24:51;  25:30 ) and "darkness" ( Matthew 22:13;  25:30 ) are key descriptive phrases.

The New Testament conception of hell does not exceed Jesus' description. The following headings outline its essential features.

1. Sinners will occupy hell . While God created us for a loving relation with himself, at the fall humankind rebelled. God's judgment falls on all sinners, unless they have faith in Jesus. After the provisional state of Hades and the final judgment, God's wrath culminates in hell. According to the New Testament, the objects of God's wrath range from the pious hypocrites ( Matthew 23:33 ) and those failing to help the poor ( Matthew 25:31-46;  Luke 16:19-31 ) to the vile and murderers ( Revelation 21:8 ).

Some argue that only an explicit repudiation of Jesus attracts God's eternal wrath, referencing  Luke 12:8-9 . However, Jesus says "the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost" ( Luke 19:10 ). In other words, he came offering grace to a world that was "condemned already" ( John 3:17-18 ).

Since hell is not a natural fixture of creation but results from the fall and is destiny of the wicked, the New Testament occasionally personifies hell as the demonic forces behind sin. The sinful tongue is itself aroused and "set on fire by hell" ( James 3:6 ). Similarly, Jesus labels the Pharisees "sons of hell, " identifying the root of their hypocrisy ( Matthew 23:15 ).

2. Hell exists for the requital and retribution of evil deeds . Hell is the place of God's final judgment. Here God, our King and Supreme Judge, finally rectifies wrongs through his retributive wrath. Here the damned will be paid back for the harm they have done ( Matthew 16:27;  Luke 12:47-48;  2 Peter 2:13;  Jude 15   Revelation 14:9-11 ). Wrath is not the natural consequence of evil choices in a moral universe or the sinner's misconstrual of God's love. Rather, as Paul's use of orge shows, wrath is an emotion or feeling in the Godhead, and thus God's personal action (  Romans 1:18-32 ). By extrinsically imposing penal conditions on the sinner, God rectifies wrongs and reestablishes his righteous rule ( Matthew 25:31-46;  Romans 12:19;  1 Corinthians 15:24-25; 2Col 5:10).

3. Hell is a final place of bondage and isolation from the righteous . After the resurrection and the final judgment, the wicked and even Hades are thrown into hell. The New Testament describes hell as a place: a furnace ( Matthew 13:42,50 ), a lake of fire ( Revelation 19:20;  20:14-15;  21:8 ), and a prison ( Revelation 20:7 ). The wicked are imprisoned here so they cannot harm God's people ( Matthew 5:25-26;  13:42,50;  18:34;  Jude 6   Revelation 20:14-15 ).

While the parable of Lazarus and the rich man occurs in Hades, the intermediate state, and not Gehenna, it does foreshadow the latter. Jesus says an unbridgeable spatial chasm separates these two so no one can "cross over from there" ( Luke 16:26 ). John's vision in  Revelation 21 of the new city on a high mountain confirms this separation between the blessed and the damned after the day of judgment. Consequently, Scripture provides no warrant for those speculative images of the righteous rejoicing in the torture of the damned. The prophecy in   Isaiah 66:24 , which has been so used, does not refer to this eschatological event, for the resurrection of the body has not occurred.

4. Sinners suffer penalties in hell . Jesus repeatedly accentuates hell's dreadfulness and horror: "if your eye causes you to sin, gouge it out It is better to enter life with one eye than to be thrown into the fire of hell" ( Matthew 18:9 ). While Scripture remains reticent on the specific torments for the impenitent, certain dimensions are clear.

At the final judgment, God will declare, "I don't know you Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire" ( Matthew 25:12,41 ). The wicked in hell are excluded from God's loving presence and the "life" for which humans were originally created ( John 5:29 ). The damned are "thrown outside, into the darkness" ( Matthew 8:12;  22:13 ). Consequently this "second death" ( Revelation 21:8 ) is a useless and ruined existence ( Matthew 25:30;  Luke 9:25;  John 3:16-18;  2 Thessalonians 1:9;  2 Peter 2:12;  Jude 12;  Revelation 21:8 ). Sin has thoroughly effaced every virtue. The reprobate have become obstinate in their rebellion against God, like "unreasoning animals" ( Jude 10,13;  2 Peter 2:12-22 ). Consequently, the doors of hell can be locked from the inside, as C. S. Lewis observes.

In hell, the damned receive their due for "things done while in the body" (2Col 5:10;  2 Peter 2:13;  Jude 15   Revelation 14:9-11 ). The "undying worm" has often been interpreted as the soul's internal torment, coveting and grieving what has been lost ( Mark 9:48 ). This regret is compounded since the reprobate are not penitent but locked into their rebellion. But the grave's worms and darkness are also common images of a contemptible fate. Scripture suggests that there are degrees of punishment in hell. The one "who does not know and does things deserving punishment will be beaten with few blows." More severe is the punishment due to the disobedient who were "entrusted with much" ( Mark 12:40;  Luke 12:48 ).

Annihiliationsim and the Extent of Hell . The extent of hell has occasioned much debate in recent scholarship. There are three major points of contention.

Some annihilationists have argued that the biblical imagery of a consuming fire, destruction, and perishing implies the cessation of life (Stott). However, Jesus' pictures of hell are not literal descriptions but metaphors. They are mutually exclusive, if taken literally, for the fires of hell conflict with its "utter darkness." In the intertestamental literature the metaphorical image of a fire could suggest annihilation or everlasting punishment, showing the inconclusiveness of this argument.

Some annihilationists have argued that when the Greek adjective for eternal, aionios [   Mark 3:29 ), for example, is not just one sin, but an action that irretrievably debilitates so one only sins. Similarly, everlasting salvation ( aionios [   Romans 8:1;  Ephesians 1:13;  Colossians 2:6-7;  2 Timothy 2:10 ). So aionios soteria [ΑἰώνιοςΣωτηρία] refers to Christ's eternal ( aionios [Αἰώνιος]) salvation of the blessed, an action that is everlasting as well as final.

In  Matthew 25:46 Jesus differentiates the two futures of eternal life and eternal punishment, using the same adjective for each, aionios [   John 3:36 ). As long as God's wrath abides on them, the damned must exist. Jesus' picture of hell as a place where "their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched" ( Mark 9:48 ) indicates that this manifestation of God's wrath is unending. Other passages in the New Testament reiterate Jesus' dreadful warning, by describing hell as "everlasting torment." Even annihilationists admit the difficulty of such texts for their position.

Objections to Hell . Hell is a dreadful reality. Just as Christ wept over Jerusalem, believers are similarly troubled and anguished by this destiny of the lost. Some have raised serious challenges to the reality of hell.

One perennial difficulty concerns the relationship between God's love and holiness: How could a loving God reject forever the creature he loves? This question assumes that the creature is the highest intrinsic good, even for God. But the highest good for the God of Scripture is not humanity. Humanity was created for God, and cannot be defined in terms of itself; we exist to glorify God ( Psalm 73:24-26;  Romans 11:36;  1 Corinthians 10:31;  Colossians 1:16 ). That is why Jesus insists it is idolatrous to enlist God as humanity's servant ( Luke 17:7-10 ). Certainly God loves the creature; creation itself reflects God's free love. But since God's love is complete in himself, even before creation, the creature cannot be presumed as his one and only end. Nor can the character of God's love be decided a priori, but only by revelation. Consequently, Jesus' warning of the wrath to come ( Matthew 25:31,41,46 ) must be accepted as an inherent possibility of God's love.

Some acknowledge retribution, but question why the wicked are eternally kept in existence to suffer. At issue is the punishment due sin. Since pride conceals the sinner's true debt to God the Judge, again this question should be answered by examining Christ's priestly work of propitiation. At the cross God in Christ became our substitute to bear the punishment for our sins, so as "to be just and the one who justifies the man who has faith in Jesus" ( Romans 3:26; cf. 2Col 5:21;  1 Peter 2:24 ). The God-man propitiated our sin. This fact, that God the Judge, the "Lord of glory" himself ( 1 Corinthians 2:8 ), accepted the punishment due us, suggests that the penalty for sin against the Infinite is infinite.

Questions will remain. But believers personally know God's love in Jesus Christ. And their response to a lost world will parallel that of their Lord, who humbled himself to our condition, suffered, and died for the wicked.

Timothy R. Phillips

See also Mortality Death; Eternal Punishment; Grave; Hades; Judgment; Day Of Judgment; Sheol

Bibliography . D. L. Edwards and J. Stott, Evangelical Essentials  ; E. Fudge, The Fire that Consumes  ; A. A. Hoekema, The Bible and the Future  ; C. S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain  ; S. McKnight, Through No Fault of Their Own: The Fate of Those Who Have Never Heard, pp. 147-57; T. R. Phillips, Through No Fault of Their Own: The Fate of Those Who Have Never Heard, pp. 47-59; W. G. T. Shedd, The Doctrine of Endless Punishment  ; D. F. Watson, ABD, 2:926-28.

Fausset's Bible Dictionary [3]

Representing two distinct words: Gehenna and Ηades (Greek), Sheol (Hebrew). Gehenna) is strictly "the valley of Hinnom" ( Joshua 15:8;  Nehemiah 11:30); "the valley of the children of Hinnom" ( 2 Kings 23:10); "the valley of the son of Hinnom" ( 2 Chronicles 28:3); "the valley of dead bodies," or Tophet, where malefactors' dead bodies were cast, S. of the city ( Jeremiah 31:40). A deep narrow glen S. of Jerusalem, where, after Ahaz introduced the worship of the fire gods, the sun, Baal, Moloch, the Jews under Manasseh made their children to pass through the fire ( 2 Chronicles 33:6), and offered them as burntofferings ( Jeremiah 7:31;  Jeremiah 19:2-6). So the godly Josiah defiled the valley, making it a receptacle of carcass and criminals' corpses, in which worms were continually gendering.

A perpetual fire was kept to consume this putrefying matter; hence it became the image of that awful place where all that are unfit for the holy city are cast out a prey to the ever gnawing "worm" of conscience from within and the "unquenchable fire" of torments from without.  Mark 9:42-50, "their worm dieth not." implies that not only the worm but they also on whom it preys die not; the language is figurative, but it represents corresponding realities never yet experienced, and therefore capable of being conveyed to us only by figures. The phrase "forever and ever " ( Eis Tous Aionas Aioonoon ) occurs 20 times in New Testament: 16 times of God, once of the saints' future blessedness, the three remaining of the punishment of the wicked and of the evil one: is it likely it is used 17 times of absolute eternity, yet three times of limited eternity?

The term for "everlasting" ( Aidiois ) in  Judges 1:6, "the angels who kept not their first estate He hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day," is from a word meaning absolutely "always" ( Aei ). Gehenna is used by our Lord Jesus ( Matthew 5:29-30;  Matthew 10:28;  Matthew 23:15;  Matthew 23:33;  Luke 12:5); with the addition "of fire,"  Matthew 5:22;  Matthew 18:9;  Mark 9:47; and by James ( James 3:6). Our present meaning of "hell" then applies to Gehenna , but not to the other word Ηades or Sheol . "Hell" formerly did apply when the KJV of the Bible was written; it then meant "hole," "hollow," or unseen place.

Sheol comes from a root "to make hollow," the common receptacle of the dead below the earth ( Numbers 16:30;  Deuteronomy 32:22), deep ( Job 11:8), insatiable ( Isaiah 5:14;  Song of Solomon 8:6). "Hell," Ηades , often means the "grave" ( Job 14:13). In the Old Testament time, when as yet Christ had not "abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel" ( 2 Timothy 1:10), death and the intermediate state represented by Hades suggested thoughts of gloom (as to Hezekiah,  Isaiah 38:9-20), lit up however with gleams of sure hope from God's promises of the resurrection ( Psalms 16:10-11;  Psalms 17:15;  Isaiah 26:19;  Hosea 13:14;  Daniel 12:2). Hints too occur of the spirit's being with God in peace in the intermediate state ( Ecclesiastes 3:21;  Ecclesiastes 12:7;  Psalms 23:6;  Psalms 139:8;  Isaiah 57:2).

The passages which represent Ηades and the grave as a place where God can no longer be praised mean simply that the physical powers are all suspended, so that God's peruses can be no longer set forth on earth among the living. The anomalous state in which man is unclothed of the body is repulsive to the mind, and had not yet the clear gospel light to make it attractive as Paul viewed it ( Philippians 1:21-23;  2 Corinthians 5:6-8). To the bad Ηades was depicted as a place of punishment, where God's wrath reached to the depths ( Deuteronomy 32:22;  Amos 9:2;  Psalms 9:17;  Psalms 49:14; Isaiah 14). Thus, the unseen state even in Old Testament was regarded as having a distinction between the godly and the ungodly;  Proverbs 14:32, "the wicked is driven away in his wickedness, but the righteous hath hope in his death"; so Psalm 1.

This is further confirmed by the separation of the rich man and Lazarus, the former in "hell" ( Ηades ), the latter in "Abraham's bosom" ( Luke 16:23), and in the penitent thief's soul going to be with Jesus in "paradise," the word implying the recovery in heavenly bliss of the paradise lost by Adam ( Luke 23:43). " Τartarus ," the pagan Greek term for the place of enchainment of the Titans, rebels against God, occurs in  2 Peter 2:4 of the lost angels; the "deep," or "abyss," or "bottomless pit," ( Abussos )  Luke 8:31;  Revelation 9:11. The firm faith and hope of an abiding heavenly city is unequivocally attributed to the patriarchs ( Hebrews 11:16-35);. so all the believing Israelites ( Acts 26:7;  Acts 23:6-9). Ηades , "hell," is used for destruction ( Matthew 11:23;  Matthew 16:18). Jesus has its keys, and will at last consign it to the lake of fire which is the second death; implying that Christ and His people shall never again be disembodied spirits.

 Revelation 1:18;  Revelation 20:13-14; I can release at will from the unseen world of spirits, the anomalous state wherein the soul is severed from the body. The "spirits in prison" ( 1 Peter 3:19) mean the ungodly antediluvians shut up in this earth, one vast prison, and under sentence of death and awaiting execution ( Isaiah 24:22); not the prison of Ηades . (See Spirits In Prison ) It is solemnly significant of the certainty of hell that He who is Love itself has most plainly and fully warned men of it, that they may flee from it. Tophet, the scene of human immolations by fire to Moloch amidst sounds of drums ( Tof ) to drown the cries of the victims, symbolized the funeral pyre of Sennacherib's Assyrian army, and finally the lake of fire that shall burn for ever the lost ( Isaiah 30:33). (See Tophet .)

In an Assyrian tablet of the goddess Ishtar, daughter of Sin, the moon goddess, Ηades is described as having seven gates," the house of the departed, the house from within which is no exit, the road the course of which never returns, the place within which they long for light, where dust is their nourishment and their food mud, light is never seen, in darkness they dwell, spirits like birds fill its vaults, over the door and its bolts is scattered dust!" What a contrast to the gospel ( 2 Timothy 1:10).

Holman Bible Dictionary [4]

Sheol Sheol   Numbers 16:30 16:33 Job 17:16 Song of Solomon 8:6 Sheol Sheol Sheol

Sheol is a Hebrew word that has taken on the properties of a proper name. he Old Testament uses the word to refer to a place in the depths of the earth. The expressions “go down” or “brought down” are used twenty times in connection with Sheol. The “depths of Sheol” are mentioned six times (  Deuteronomy 32:22;  Psalm 86:13;  Proverbs 9:18;  Proverbs 15:24;  Isaiah 7:11;  Isaiah 14:15 ). Four times Sheol is described as the farthest point from heaven ( Job 11:8;  Psalm 139:8;  Isaiah 7:11;  Amos 9:2 ). Often Sheol is parallel with the “pit” ( Job 17:13-14;  Job 33:18;  Psalm 30:3;  Psalm 88:3-4;  Proverbs 1:12;  Isaiah 14:15;  Isaiah 38:18;  Ezekiel 31:14-17 ). Nine times it is parallel with death ( 2 Samuel 22:6;  Psalm 18:4-5;  Psalm 49:14;  Psalm 89:48;  Psalm 116:3;  Proverbs 5:5;  Isaiah 28:15 ,Isaiah 28:15, 28:18;  Hosea 13:14;  Habakkuk 2:5 ). Sheol is described in terms of overwhelming floods, water, or waves ( Jonah 2:2-6 ). Sometimes, Sheol is pictured as a hunter setting snares for its victim, binding them with cords, snatching them from the land of the living ( 2 Samuel 22:6;  Job 24:19;  Psalm 116:3 ); Sheol is a prison with bars, a place of no return ( Job 7:9;  Job 10:21;  Job 16:22;  Job 21:13;  Psalm 49:14;  Isaiah 38:10 ). People could go to Sheol alive ( Numbers 16:30 ,Numbers 16:30, 16:33;  Psalm 55:15;  Proverbs 1:12 ). With rare exceptions, such as Elijah ( 2 Kings 2:1-12 ), all people were believed to go to Sheol when they die ( Job 3:11-19;  Psalm 89:48 ).

The three Greek words often translated “hell” are hades , gehenna , and tartaroo . Hades was the name of the Greek god of the underworld and the name of the underworld itself. The Septuagint—the earliest Greek translation of the Old Testament—used hades to translate the Hebrew word Sheol . Whereas in the Old Testament, the distinction in the fates of the righteous and the wicked was not always clear, in the New Testament hades refers to a place of torment opposed to heaven as the place of Abraham's bosom (  Luke 16:23;  Acts 2:27 ,Acts 2:27, 2:31 ). In  Matthew 16:18 hades is not simply a place of the dead but represents the power of the underworld. Jesus said the gates of hades would not prevail against His church.

Gehenna is the Greek form of two Hebrew words ge hinnom meaning “valley of Hinnom.” The term originally referred to a ravine on the south side of Jerusalem where pagan deities were worshiped (  2 Kings 23:10;  Jeremiah 7:32;  2 Chronicles 28:3;  2 Chronicles 33:6 ). It became a garbage dump and a place of abomination where fire burned continuously (2Kings 23:1; 2 Kings 10:1; compare  Matthew 18:9;  Mark 9:43 ,Mark 9:43, 9:45 ,Mark 9:45, 9:47;  James 3:6 ). Gehenna became synonymous with “a place of burning.”

One time the Greek word tartaroo “cast into hell” appears in the New Testament (  2 Peter 2:4 ). The word appears in classical Greek to refer to a subterranean region, doleful and dark, regarded by the ancient Greeks as the abode of the wicked dead. It was thought of as a place of punishment. In the sole use of the word in the New Testament it refers to the place of punishment for rebellious angels.

Punishment for sin is taught in the Old Testament, but it is mainly punishment in this life. The New Testament teaches the idea of punishment for sin before and after death. The expressions “the lake of fire” and “second death” indicate the awfulness of the fate of the impenitent. Some insist that the fire spoken of must be literal fire, so to interpret the language as figurative means to do away with the reality of future punishment. One can, however, maintain this position only if they see no reality expressed by a figure of speech. Jesus spoke of a place of punishment as “outer darkness” ( Matthew 8:12;  Matthew 22:13;  Matthew 25:30 ). Can a place have both literal fire and literal darkness? What reason does one have for taking one expression as literal and not taking the other as literal? Literal fire would destroy a body cast into it.

Language about hell seeks to describe for humans the most awful punishment human language can describe to warn unbelievers before it is too late. Earthly experience would lead us to believe that the nature of punishment will fit the nature of the sin. Certainly, no one wants to suffer the punishment of hell, and through God's grace the way for all is open to avoid hell and know the blessings of eternal life through Christ. See Gehenna; Hades; Heaven; Salvation; Sheol .

Ralph L. Smith

People's Dictionary of the Bible [5]

Hell. The English word hell is used to designate the place of the dead, the grave, and also the place of punishment after death and the abode of evil spirits.

It represents four different words in the original of Scripture— Sheôl, Hades, Gehenna, and Tartarus. 1. In The Old Testament it is used 31 times to render the Hebrew word Sheôl. Sheôl at first seems to have denoted the common subterranean abode of all human spirits, good and bad ( Genesis 37:35, R. V., death;  Numbers 16:30), but afterward is represented as having in it two distinct regions, one for the righteous,  Psalms 16:11;  Psalms 17:15, the other for the wicked.  Psalms 9:17;  Psalms 49:14. All the dead are alike in Sheôl, hut in widely different circumstances. Sheôl is variously translated in our English Bible by the terms "hell," "pit," and "grave." In many places it is rightly translated "grave."  1 Samuel 2:6;  Job 14:13, etc. Sheôl is represented as in the depths of the earth,  Job 11:8;  Proverbs 9:18;  Isaiah 38:10, all-devouring,  Proverbs 1:12, destitute of God's presence,  Psalms 88:10-12, a state of forgetfulness,  Psalms 6:5, insatiable,  Isaiah 5:14, remorseless,  Song of Solomon 8:6, and a place of silence,  Ecclesiastes 9:10.

2. The New Testament.— The two words translated "hell" are Hades and Gehenna. Hades occurs eleven times, and is once rendered "grave," R.V.," death,"  1 Corinthians 15:55; in all other places "hell." Hades does not always refer to the ultimate abode of the impenitent and the final state of exclusion from God.  Matthew 16:27. After the crucifixion, our Lord descended into hades,  Acts 2:27, and this is an article of the Apostles' Creed, where, however, we use wrongly the word "hell." It was in this realm that our Lord "preached to the spirits in prison."  1 Peter 3:19.

The Greek word Gehenna occurs twelve times in Scripture. It early designated a place in the valley of Hinnom, which had been the seat of the worship of Moloch,  Jeremiah 7:31;  2 Chronicles 33:6;  2 Kings 23:10, and for the deposit of the filth and dead animals of the city. Hence it was used to denote the final state and abode of lost souls.  Matthew 5:29;  Matthew 10:28;  Matthew 23:15;  James 3:6, etc. It is here that "their worm dieth not" and the "fire is not quenched."  Mark 9:48. Into this realm the rebellious angels were cast,  2 Peter 2:4 (where the word is a derivative from the Greek word "Tartarus"). At the great day of judgment the cursed shall go away into this abode and receive everlasting punishment.  Matthew 25:46. It is referred to by our Lord in solemn and awful tones.  Matthew 5:22;  Matthew 5:29-30;  Matthew 10:28;  Mark 9:43-48;  Luke 12:5, and with such accompaniments as indicate everlasting and remediless ruin. Retribution will have degrees,  Matthew 10:15, in character, but none in duration.

Charles Buck Theological Dictionary [6]

The place of divine punishment after death. As all religions have supposed a future state of existence after this life, so all have their hell, or place or torment, in which the wicked are to be punished. Even the heathens had their tartara; and the Mahometans, we find, believe the eternity of rewards and punishments; it is not, therefore, a sentiment peculiar to Christianity. There have been many curious and useless conjectures respecting the place of the damned: the ancients generally supposed it was a region of fire near the centre of the earth. Mr. Swinden endeavoured to prove that it is seated in the sun. Mr. Whiston advanced a new and strange hypothesis; according to him, the comets are so many hells, appointed in their orbits alternately to carry the damned to the confines of the sun, there to be scorched by its violent heat; and then to return with them beyond the orb of Saturn, there to starve them in those cold and dismal regions. But, as Dr. Doddridge observes, we must here confess our ignorance; and shall be much better employed in studying how we may avoid this place of horror, than in labouring to discover where it is.

Of the nature of this punishment we may form some idea from the expressions made use of in Scripture. It is called a place of torment,  Luke 16:21 . the bottomless pit,  Revelation 20:3-6 . a prison,  1 Peter 3:19 . darkness,  Matthew 8:12 .  Judges 1:13 . fire,  Matthew 13:42;  Matthew 13:50 . a worm that never dies,  Mark 9:44;  Mark 9:48 , the second death,  Revelation 21:8 . the wrath of God,  Romans 2:5 . It has been debated whether there will be a material fire in hell. On the affirmative side it is observed, that fire and brimstone are represented as the ingredients of the torment of the wicked,  Revelation 14:10-11 .  Revelation 20:10 . That as the body is to be raised, and the whole man to be condemned, it is reasonable to believe there will be some corporeal punishment provided, and therefore probably material fire. On the negative side it is alleged, that the terms above- mentioned are metaphorical, and signify no more than raging desire or acute pain; and that the Divine Being can sufficiently punish the wicked, by immediately acting on their minds, or rather leaving them to the guilt and stings of their own conscience.

According to several passages, it seems there will be different degrees of punishment in hell,  Luke 12:47 .  Romans 2:12 .  Matthew 10:20-21 .  Matthew 12:25;  Matthew 12:32 .  Hebrews 10:28-29 . As to its duration, it has been observed that it cannot be eternal, because there is no proportion between temporary crimes and eternal punishments; that the word everlasting is not to be taken in its utmost extent; and that it signifies no more than a long time, or a time whose precise boundary is unknown. But in answer to this it is alleged, that the same word is used, and that sometimes in the very same place, to express the eternity of the happiness of the righteous, and the eternity of the misery of the wicked; and that there is no reason to believe that the words express two such different idea, as standing in the same connection. Besides, it is not true, it is observed, that temporary crimes do not deserve eternal punishments, because the infinite majesty of an offended God adds a kind of infinite evil to sin, and therefore exposes the sinner to infinite punishment; and that hereby God vindicates his injured majesty, and glorifies his justice.

See articles Destructionists and Universalists Berry St. Lect. vol. 2: p. 559, 562; Dawes on Hell, ser. 10:; Whiston on ditto; Swinden, Drexelius, and Edwards on ditto. A late popular writer has observed, that in the 35th sermon of Tillotson, every thing is said upon the eternity of hell torments that can be known with any certainty.

Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary [7]

This is a Saxon word, which is derived from a verb which signifies to hide or conceal. A late eminent Biblical critic, Dr. Campbell, has investigated this subject with his usual accuracy; and the following is the substance of his remarks. In the Hebrew Scriptures the word sheol frequently occurs, and uniformly, he thinks, denotes the state of the dead in general, without regard to the virtuous or vicious characters of the persons, their happiness or misery. In translating that word, the LXX have almost invariably used the Greek term αιδης , hades, which means the receptacle of the dead, and ought rarely to have been translated hell, in the sense in which we now use it, namely, as the place of torment. To denote this latter object, the New Testament writers always make use of the Greek word γεεννα , which is compounded of two Hebrew words, Ge Hinnom, that is, "The Valley of Hinnom," a place near Jerusalem, in which children were cruelly sacrificed by fire to Moloch, the idol of the Ammonites,   2 Chronicles 33:6 . This place was also called Tophet,   2 Kings 23:10 , alluding, as is supposed, to the noise of drums, ( toph signifying a drum,) there raised to drown the cries of helpless infants. As in process of time this place came to be considered as an emblem of hell, or the place of torment reserved for the punishment of the wicked in a future state, the name Tophet came gradually to be used in this sense, and at length to be confined to it. In this sense, also, the word gehenna, a synonymous term, is always to be understood in the New Testament, where it occurs about a dozen times. The confusion that has arisen on this subject has been occasioned not only by our English translators having rendered the Hebrew word sheol and the Greek word gehenna frequently by the term hell; but the Greek word hades, which occurs eleven times in the New Testament, is, in every instance, except one, translated by the same English word, which it ought never to have been. In the following passages of the Old Testament it seems, however, that a future world of wo is expressed by sheol: "They," the wicked, "spend their days in wealth, and in a moment go down to sheol,"   Job 21:13 . "The wicked shall be turned into sheol, and all the nations that forget God,"   Psalms 9:17-18 . "Her feet go down to death, her steps take hold on sheol,"   Proverbs 5:5 . "But he knoweth not that the ghosts are there, and that her guests are in the depths of sheol,"   Proverbs 9:18 . "Thou shalt beat him with a rod, and shalt deliver his soul from sheol,"   Proverbs 23:14 . Thus, as Stuart observes, in his "Essay on Future Punishment," while the Old Testament employs sheol, in most cases to designate the grave, the region of the dead, the place of departed spirits, it employs it also, in some cases, to designate along with this idea the adjunct one of the place of misery, place of punishment, region of wo. In this respect it accords fully with the New Testament use of hades. For though hades signifies the grave, and often the invisible region of separate spirits, without reference to their condition, yet, in   Luke 16:23 , "In hades εν τω αιδη , he lifted up his eyes, being in torments," it is clearly used for a place and condition of misery. The word hell is also used by our translators for gehenna, which means the world of future punishment, "How shall ye escape the damnation of hell, κρισεως της γεεννης ?"

Morrish Bible Dictionary [8]

In the A.V. this is the translation of

1. sheol, which is often translated, 'grave,' and three times it is 'pit.' It refers to an invisible place or state, which may have several applications, according to the connection of each passage. Korah and his company and their houses went down into 'sheol.'  Numbers 16:33 . Jonah said, "Out of the belly of 'sheol' cried I"  Jonah 2:2 . "The wicked shall be turned into sheol."  Psalm 9:17 . "Let them go down quick into 'sheol,' for wickedness is in their dwellings."  Psalm 55:15;  Proverbs 7:27 . But for the redemption which faith looked for 'sheol' must have had to O.T. saints the character of eternal punishment, and so finally 'hades' will be cast into the lake of fire. The word also refers to the place of departed spirits. The Lord said, "Thou wilt not leave my soul in 'sheol.'"  Psalm 16:10 . This signification corresponds with

2. ἅδης, hades, which occurs where this last passage is quoted in  Acts 2:27,31; and has the same meaning in other passages:  Matthew 11:23;  Matthew 16:18;  Luke 16:23;  Revelation 1:18;  Revelation 6:8;  Revelation 20:13,14 .

3. γέεννα, Gehenna, the Greek equivalent for two Hebrew words, signifying 'valley of Hinnom.' It was the place near Jerusalem where the Jews made their children pass through fire to heathen gods, and which was afterwards defiled.  2 Kings 23:10 . A continual fire made it a fit emblem of the place of eternal punishment.  Matthew 5:22,29,30;  Matthew 10:28;  Matthew 18:9;  Matthew 23:15,33;  Mark 9:43,45,47;  Luke 12:5;  James 3:6 . The above-named place of defilement and fire is also called in the O.T. TOPHETor Topheth  2 Kings 23:10;  Isaiah 30:33;  Jeremiah 19:13 .

4. ταρταρόω, 'to cast into Tartarus,' a term used by heathen writers for the 'deepest abyss of the infernal regions,' a place of extreme darkness.  2 Peter 2:4 : cf.  2 Peter 2:17 and   Jude 13 .

Whatever figurative meaning there may be in the use of any of the above words, it is plain and certain from scripture that there is a place of everlasting punishment. It is awfully described as the Lake Of Fire 'the lake that burneth with fire and brimstone.'  Revelation 19:20;  Revelation 20:10,15;  Revelation 21:8 . It was prepared for the devil and his angels, but into it the wicked also will be cast.  Matthew 13:40,42;  Matthew 25:41;  2 Peter 2:4;  Jude 6 , etc. See ETERNAL.

Bridgeway Bible Dictionary [9]

It is unfortunate that many of the older versions of the English Bible use the one word ‘hell’ to translate several words in the original languages. In the minds of most English-speaking people, hell is a place of terrible torment where the wicked dead are sent for final punishment. Although this idea of hell may be true for the word gehenna, it is not true for other biblical words translated ‘hell’. The Hebrew sheol and its Greek equivalent hades mean simply the place of the dead or the state of the dead.

Gehenna was the name Jesus used for the place of final punishment of the wicked. The word appears in the New Testament as a Greek transliteration of the Hebrew ‘Valley of Hinnom’.

The Valley of Hinnom was a place just outside the wall of Jerusalem where, in times of apostacy, the people of Israel burnt their children in sacrifice to the god Molech ( Jeremiah 7:31). In the place where the people committed this wickedness, God punished them with terrible slaughter ( Jeremiah 7:32-34). Broken pottery was dumped in this valley, and the place became a public garbage dump where fires burnt continually ( Jeremiah 19:1-13). Because of this association with judgment and burning, ‘gehenna’ became a fitting word to indicate the place or state of eternal punishment ( Matthew 10:28;  Matthew 18:9;  Matthew 23:33;  Mark 9:43-48; cf.  James 3:6).

According to the New Testament, the punishment of hell (gehenna) is one of eternal torment. It is likened to eternal burning ( Matthew 13:42;  Matthew 18:8-9;  Revelation 20:10), eternal darkness ( Matthew 8:12;  Matthew 22:13;  2 Peter 2:4;  2 Peter 2:17), eternal destruction ( Matthew 7:13;  Philippians 1:28;  2 Peter 3:7;  2 Peter 3:10) and eternal separation from God and his blessings ( 2 Thessalonians 1:9).

Another symbolic picture of eternal punishment is that of a lake of fire prepared for the enemies of God ( Revelation 19:20;  Revelation 20:10; cf.  Matthew 25:41). Into this lake God throws his great enemy, Death ( Revelation 20:14; cf.  1 Corinthians 15:26), along with all whose names are not written in the book of life ( Revelation 20:15). Just as heaven is something far better than the material symbols used to picture it, so hell is something far worse than the material symbols used to picture it. (See also Judgment ; Punishment .)

Vine's Expository Dictionary of NT Words [10]

1: Γέεννα (Strong'S #1067 — Noun Feminine — geenna — gheh'-en-nah )

represents the Hebrew Ge-Hinnom (the valley of Tophet) and a corresponding Aramaic word; it is found twelve times in the NT, eleven of which are in the Synoptists, in every instance as uttered by the Lord Himself. He who says to his brother, Thou fool (see under FOOL), will be in danger of "the hell of fire,"  Matthew 5:22; it is better to pluck out (a metaphorical description of irrevocable law) an eye that causes its possessor to stumble, than that his "whole body be cast into hell,"  Matthew 5:29; similarly with the hand,  Matthew 5:30; in  Matthew 18:8,9 , the admonitions are repeated, with an additional mention of the foot; here, too, the warning concerns the person himself (for which obviously the "body" stands in chapt. 5); in ver. 8, "the eternal fire" is mentioned as the doom, the character of the region standing for the region itself, the two being combined in the phrase "the hell of fire," ver. 9. To the passage in  Matthew 18 , that in  Mark 9:43-47 , is parallel; here to the word "hell" are applied the extended descriptions "the unquenchable fire" and "where their worm dieth not and the fire is not quenched."

 Luke 12:5 Matthew 10:28 Matthew 23  Matthew 23:15 Matthew 23:33 James 3:6 Matthew 13:42 25:46 Philippians 3:19 2—Thessalonians 1:9 Hebrews 10:39 2—Peter 2:17 Jude 1:13 Revelation 2:11 19:20 20:6,10,14 21:8Hades.  2—Peter 2:4

Smith's Bible Dictionary [11]

Hell. In the Old Testament, this is the word generally, and unfortunately, used by our translators to render the Hebrew, Sheol . It really means The Place Of The Dead, The Unseen World , without deciding whether it be the place of misery or of happiness.

It is clear that in many passages of the Old Testament, Sheol can only mean "The Grave", and is rendered thus in the Authorized Version; see, for example,  Genesis 37:35;  Genesis 42:38;  1 Samuel 2:6;  Job 14:13.

In other passages, however, it seems to involve a notion of Punishment , and is therefore rendered in the Authorized Version by the word "Hell" . But in many cases, this translation misleads the reader.

In the New Testament, "Hell" is the translation of two words, Hades and Gehenna .

The word Hades , like Sheol sometimes means merely "The Grave",  Acts 2:31;  1 Corinthians 15:55;  Revelation 20:13, or in general, "The Unseen World". It is in this sense that the creeds say of our Lord, "He went down into hell," meaning The State Of The Dead In General, without any restriction of happiness or misery.

Elsewhere in the New Testament, Hades is used of a place of torment,  Matthew 11:23;  Luke 16:23;  2 Peter 2:4, etc.; consequently, it has been the prevalent, almost the universal, notion that Hades is an Intermediate State between death and resurrection, divided into two parts; one the abode of the blest and the other of the lost.

It is used eleven times in the New Testament, and only once translated "Grave".  1 Corinthians 15:55.

The word most frequently used, (occurring twelve times), in the New Testament for The Place Of Future Punishment is Gehenna or Gehenna Of Fire . This was originally The Valley Of Hinnom , south of Jerusalem, where the filth and dead animals of the city were cast out and burned; a fit symbol of the wicked and their destruction. See Hinnom .

American Tract Society Bible Dictionary [12]

The Hebrews SHEOL, and the Greek HADES, usually translated hell, often signify the place of departed spirits,  Psalm 16:10   Isaiah 14:9   Ezekiel 31:16 . Here was the rich man, after being buried,  Luke 16:23 . The above and many other passages in the Old Testament show the futility of that opinion which attributes to the Hebrews an ignorance of a future state.

The term hell is most commonly applied to the place of punishment in the unseen world, and is usually represented in the Greek New Testament by the word Gehenna, valley of Hinnom. See  2 Peter 2:4 , the rebellious angels are said, in the original Greek, to have been cast down into "Tartarus," this being the Grecian name of the lowest abyss of Hades. Other expressions are also used, indicating the dreadfulness of the anguish there to be endured. It is called "outer darkness," "flame," "furnace of fire," "unquenchable fire," "fire and brimstone," etc.,  Matthew 8:12   13:42   22:13   25:20,41   Mark 9:43-48   Judges 1:13   Revelation 20:14 . The misery of hell will consist in the privation of the vision and love of God, exclusion from every source of happiness, perpetual sin, remorse of conscience in view of the past, malevolent passions, the sense of the just anger of God, and all other sufferings of body and soul which in the nature of things are the natural results of sin, or which the law of God requires as penal inflictions. The degrees of anguish will be proportioned to the degrees of guilt,  Matthew 10:15   23:14   Luke 12:47,48 . And these punishments will be eternal, like the happiness of heaven. The wrath of God will never cease to abide upon the lost soul, and it will always be "the wrath to come."

Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary [13]

The Hebrews called it Sheol. Some apply it to the grave; but the most general acceptation of it, according to Scripture language, is a place of torment. Thus the Psalmist saith, "The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God." ( Psalms 9:17) And our blessed Lord, three times in one chapter, speaks of it in alarming terms. "If thine hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands, to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched: where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched." ( Mark 9:43-48)

Some, however, have ventured to call in question the reality of hell torments, and the very existence of the place itself. But there is nothing so weak and so impious as disputes on these points; for unless men could satisfy their minds, that God cannot punish sin, or that he will not, it becomes a matter more presumptuous than becoming, to enquire the very particulars in which that punishment shall consist. The Lord hath declared, that the "wicked, and those that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and the glory of his power." ( 2 Thessalonians 1:8-9) Here is sufficient account to certify every one of the reality of the thing itself. And the fact itself being once admitted, the method may surely be well supposed, that it will be such as infinite wisdom, joined with infinite power, shall appoint and accomplish. Here let us rest—only following up the conviction with a prayer to Him that hath the keys of hell and death, that he will keep our souls from going down into hell, and preserve us to his everlasting kingdom. Amen.

King James Dictionary [14]

HELL, n.

1. The place or state of punishment for the wicked after death.  Matthew 10;  Luke 12 .

Sin is hell begun, as religion is heaven anticipated.

2. The place of the dead, or of souls after death the lower regions, or the grave called in Hebrew, sheol, and by the Greeks, hades.  Psalms 16 .  Jonah 2 3. The pains of hell, temporal death, or agonies that dying persons feel, or which bring to the brink of the grave.  Psalms 18 4. The gates of hell, the power and policy of Satan and his instruments.  Matthew 16 5. The infernal powers.

While Saul and hell cross'd his strong fate in vain.

6. The place at a running play to which are carried those who are caught. 7. A place into which a tailor throws his shreds. 8. A dungeon or prison.

Easton's Bible Dictionary [15]

  • 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 .)

    Copyright Statement These dictionary topics are from M.G. Easton M.A., DD Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Third Edition, published by Thomas Nelson, 1897. Public Domain.

    Bibliography Information Easton, Matthew George. Entry for 'Hell'. Easton's Bible Dictionary. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/eng/ebd/h/hell.html. 1897.

  • Webster's Dictionary [16]

    (1): ( v. t.) The place or state of punishment for the wicked after death; the abode of evil spirits. Hence, any mental torment; anguish.

    (2): ( v. t.) The place of the dead, or of souls after death; the grave; - called in Hebrew sheol, and by the Greeks hades.

    (3): ( v. t.) A place where outcast persons or things are gathered

    (4): ( v. t.) A gambling house.

    (5): ( v. t.) A place into which a tailor throws his shreds, or a printer his broken type.

    (6): ( v. t.) To overwhelm.

    (7): ( v. t.) A dungeon or prison; also, in certain running games, a place to which those who are caught are carried for detention.

    Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible [17]

    HELL . See Eschatology, Gehenna, Hades, Sheol.

    Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature [18]

    a term which originally corresponded more exactly to HADES, being derived from the Saxon helan, to cover, and signifying merely the covered, or invisible place-the habitation of those who have gone from this visible terrestrial region to the world of spirits. But it has been so long appropriated in common usage to the place of future punishment for the wicked, that its earlier meaning has been lost sight of. In the English Bible it is used in the wider sense.

    I. Hebrew And Greek Terms. The three words, which all but monopolize the subject, are שַׁאוֹל , Sheol', in the O.T.; and ῞Αιδης , Hades, and Γέεννα , Gehenna, in the N.T. שְׁאוֹל occurs 65 times; in 61 of these it is rendered in the Sept. By ῞Αδης ; twice by Θάνατος ( 2 Samuel 22:6, and  Proverbs 23:14); and twice omitted in the common text ( Job 24:19;  Ezekiel 32:21). In the Vulg. שְׁאוֹל is translated 48 times by Infernus, and 17 times by Inferus [mostly Inferi (plur.)]. In our A.V. it is represented 31 times by Grave, 31 times by Hell, and 3 times by Pit. In the N. Test. our word Hell occurs 23 times; 12 times it stands for Γέεννα , and 11 times [Perhaps the twelfth should be added, see Tischendorf and Bruder (Concord.) on  Revelation 3:7] for ῞Αδης . The Vulg. closely follows the original in its N.T. renderings; in all the twelve passages Γέεννα is simply copied into Ge'Henna, while Infernus stands for every occurrence of ῞Αδης , except once ( Matthew 16:18), where the phrase Πύλαι ¯ Δου ("Gates Of Hell") becomes "portae Inferi." Since, therefore, שְׁאוֹל , Σαδης , and Γέεννα , are employed in the sacred original to designate the mysteries of HELL, we proceed to give first their probable derivation, and then their meaning, so far as Holy Scripture assists in its discovery.

    (I.) Their Derivation.

    1. שְׁאוֹל (or, as it is occasionally written, שְׁאֹל ), םלהשּׂ is by most of the old writers (see Cocceius, Lex. p. 840,841; Schindler, Lex. Pent. 1782; Robinson, Key To Hebrew Bible, 2, 217; and Leigh, Crit. Sacra, 1, 238; 2, 6) referred for its origin to שָׁאִל , to Demand, Seek, or Ask. They are not agreed as to the mode of connecting the derivative with this root; Cocceius suggests an absurd reason, " שְׁאוֹל notateum locum in quo quiest In Quaestione Est" (!) A more respectable solution is suggested by those who see in the insatiableness of שְׁאוֹל ( Proverbs 30:15-16) a good ground for connecting it with the root in question. Thus Fagius on Gin. 37; Buxtorf, Lexicon, s.v. referring to  Isaiah 5:14;  Habakkuk 2:5;  Proverbs 27:20. (Ernst Meier, Hebr. W-W-B, p. 187, also adopts this root, but he is far-fetched and obscure in his view of its relation to the derived word). (A good defense [by a modern scholar] of this derivation of Sheol from the verb שָׁאִל is given by Giider, Lehre.V. D. Erschein. Jesu Christi Unter Den Todten [Berne, 1853], and more briefly in his art. Hades [Herzog, 5, 441, Clark's trans. 2, 468]. His defense is based on the many passages which urge the insatiable Demand of Sheol for all men, such as those we have mentioned in the text, and  Genesis 37:35; 1 Samuel 28;  Psalms 6:6;  Psalms 89:49. See also Venema [on  Psalms 16:10]; J. A. Quensted, Tract. De Sepultura Veterum, 9, 1.) Bottcher (De Inferis, P. 76, § 159) finds in the root שָׁעִל To Be Hollow, a better origin for our word. Gesenius (Thes. p. 1347), who adopts the same derivation, supposes that שׁעל means To Dig Out, and so contrives to unite שׁעל and שׁאל , by making the primary idea of Digging lead to the derived one of Seeking (see  Job 3:21). Bottcher goes on to connect the German words Hohl (hollow) and Hohle (cavity) with the idea indicated by שׁעל , and timidly suggests the possibility of H Ö Lle (Hell) coming from Hohle. Whilst decidedly rejecting this derivation, we do not object to his derivation of the Hebrew noun; amidst the avowed uncertainty of the case, it seems to be the least objectionable of the suggestions which have been offered, and, to provide an intelligible sense for the word Sheol, most in harmony with many Biblical passages. Bottcher defines the term to mean " Vastus Locus Subterraneus" (p. 72, § 153). This agrees very well with the rendering of our A.V. in so far as it has used the comprehensive word Hell, which properly signifies "a covered or concealed place."

    2. Hades. The universally allowed statement that the N.T. has shed a light on the mysteries of life and immortality which is only in an inferior degree discovered in the O.T., is seldom more distinctly verified than in the uncertainty which attaches to Sheol (the difficulty of distinguishing its various degrees of meaning, which it is generally felt exist, and which our A.V. has endeavored to express by an equal balance between Hell and Grave), in contrast with the distinction which is implied in the about equally frequent terms of Hades and Gehenna, now to be described. The " Αριχ of the N.T. was suggested, no doubt, by its frequent occurrence in the Sept. The word was originally unaspirated, as in Homer's Ἀϊ v Δαο Πύλαι (Ii. 5, 646; 9:312), and Hesiod's Ἀϊ v Δεω Κύνα Χαλκεόφωνον (Theog. 311), and Pindar's Ἀϊ v Δαν Λαχεῖν (Pyth. 5, 130). This form of the word gives greater credibility to the generally received derivation of it from a privat. and Ἰδεῖν , to see. (The learned authors of Liddell and Scott's Greek Lex. [s.v. ῞Αδης ] throw some doubt on this view of the origin of the word, because of its aspirated beginning, in Attic Greek. But surely this is precarious ground. Is it certain that even in Attic writers it was invariably aspirated? AEschylus [ Sept. C. Theb. (Paley) 310] has Ἀϊ v Δα Προϊάψαι [With The Lenis], according to the best editing. It is true that this is in a chorus, but in the Agam. 1505, also a choral line, we read Μηδὲν Ἐν ῞Αιδου Μεγαλαυχείτῳ [with the aspirate], as if the usage were uncertain. Possibly in the elliptical phrase Ἐν Α῾Ιδου [scil Οἴκῳ ] the aspirate occurs because the genitive is really the name of the God [not of the region, which might, for distinction, have been Then unaspirated]). Plutarch accordingly explains it by Ἀειδὲς Καὶ Ἀόρατου (De Isid. Et Osir. p. 382), and in the Etymol. Magn. ] Δης is defined as Χωριον Ἀφεγγές , Σκότους Αἰωνίου Καὶ Ζόφου Πεπλῃρομένον ... Ἐν Ω Οὐδὲν Βλέπομεν . Hades is thus "The Invisible Place Or Region;" "Locus Visibus Nostris Subtractus," as Grotius defines it.

    3. Gehenna ( Γέεννα ) is composed of the two Heb. words גֵּיא (Valley) and הַנּוֹם (Hinnon, the name of the proprietor of the valley). In the Sept. Γαίεννα is used in  Joshua 18:16 to designate "The Valley Of The Son Of Hinnom," the full expression of which is גֵּי בֶןאּהנֹּם The shorter appellation גֵי הַנּם occurs in the same verse. The Rabbinical writers derive הַנּם from נָהִם , "Rugire" [To Groan or Mourn, in  Ezekiel 24:23], as if indicative of the cries of the children in the horrid rites of the Moloch- worship (see Buxtorf, Lex. Rab. p. 108; Glassius [ed. Dathii], Philolog. Sacr. i, 806). The etymological remarks have paved our way to the next section of our subject.

    (II.) Biblical Meaning Of These Three Terms.

    1. Meanings of שְׁאוֹל , Sheol.

    (1.) The "Grave." Much controversy has arisen whether within the meaning of Sheoel should be included "The Grave;" indeed this is the only question of difficulty. The fact, which we have already stated, that our A.V. translates שְׁאוֹל quite as often by "grave" as by the general term "hell," supplies Aprima Facie reason for including it. Without, however, insisting on the probability that polemical theology, rather than Biblical science, influenced our translators, at least occasionally, in their rendering of the word, we may here adduce on the other side the telling fact that of all the ancient versions not one translates in any passage the Hebrew Sheol by the equivalent of Grave. The other Greek translators, like the venerable Sept., so far as their fragments show (see Origen, Hexapla, Passim), everywhere give ῞Αιδης for שְׁאוֹל (sometimes they use for the locative case the older and better phrase Εἰς , Ἐν Αιδου , sometimes the more recent and vulgar Εἰς Τὸν ῎Αιδην , Ἐν Τῷ ῞Αιδῃ ). The Samaritan text in the seven passages of the Pentateuch has either שיול (Siol) or שיאול . Onkelos and Jonathan everywhere, except in five passages, retain שְׁאוֹל . The Peshito everywhere in both Testaments renders the Hebrew Sheol and the Greek Hades by [ שַׁיוּל ] Shiul; and, as we have already seen, the Vulg. translates the same words in both the O.T. and the N.T. by Inferus (plur. Inferi mostly), and, above all, Infernus (see above for particulars). It is to the later Targumists (the pseudo-Jonathan and the Jerusalem Targum), and afterwards to the Rabbinical doctors of the Middle Ages, that we trace the version of the "sepulcher" and "the grave" (thus in  Genesis 37:35;  Genesis 42:38;  Genesis 44:29;  Genesis 44:31, these Targumists rendered Sheol by בֵּר קְבוּרְתָא [The house of burial]; similarly did they render  Psalms 141:7;  Job 7:9;  Job 14:13;  Job 17:13;  Job 17:16;  Job 21:13;  Ecclesiastes 9:10, and other passages, in which it is observable how often they have been followed by our translators). See, for more information on this point, archbishop Usher, Works [by Elrington], 3:319-321; and, more fully, Bottcher (p. 68-70, sec. 146-149), who quotes Rashi and Aben Ezra [on Genesis 37 55J; D Kimchi (Lib. Radia. s.v. שְׁאוֹל ); and other Rabbis who expressly admit The Grave within the scope of the meaning of Sheol; Bottcher also quotes a very long array of commentators and lexicographers [Rabbi Mardochai Nathan, with extravagant one-sidedness, in his Hebr. Concord. gives no other sense to Sheol but קבר , the grave], who follow the Rabbinical doctors herein; and he adds the names of such writers as deny the meaning of the Grave to the Hebrew Sheol: among these occur the learned Dutch divines Vitringa and Venema. The latter of these expressly affirms, " שְׁאוֹל Nullo Modo Ad Sepulchrum Pertinebit" (Comment. Ad Ps. i, 504). To the authorities he mentions we would add, as maintaining the same view, the learned Henry Ainsworth (on  Genesis 37:35, Works, p. 135), who draws an important distinction; " שְׁאוֹל , The Grave, the word meaneth not the grave digged or made with hands, which is named in Hebrew קֶבֶר , but it meaneth the common place or state of death" (a similar distinction is drawn by Luther [Enarr. In Genes. 42:38]; קבר is only the grave in which an actual interment takes place; none that die Unburied can have this word used of them; Their receptacle is שאול , "commune quoddam raceptaculum non corporum tantum sed et animarum, ubi omnes mortui congregantur." Ann. Seneca [Lib. 8, Controvers. 4] observes between Natural burial and Artificial " Omnibus natura sepulturam dedit," etc. So Lucan, 7:818, says " Capit omnia tellus Quae genuit; caelo tegitur, qui non habet urnam." Pliny [ Hist. Nat. 7, 54] distinguishes between natural burial by applying to it the Word Sepelire, and burial by ceremony by using of it the synonym Humare); Nicolaus (De Sepulchris Hebr. i, 8-14), who shows that שְׁאוֹל is never used of funeral pomp, nor of the burial of the body in the ground; Eberhard Busmann, who [in 1682] wrote, Dissertatio Philol. De Scheol Hebr., makes a statement to the effect that he had examined all the passages in the O.T. and pronounces of them thus " Nullum Eorumu (excepto forsan uno vel altero, de quo tamen adhuc dubitari potest) De Sepulchro Necessario Est Intelligendum multa tamen contra ita sunt comparata ut de sepulchro nullo modo intelligi possint neac debeant." Some modern writers, who have specially examined the subject, also deny that שְׁאוֹל Ever means "the grave." Thus Breecher, On The Immortality Of The Soul As Held By The Jews (and Pareau, Comment. De Immort. Ac Vitae Fut. Notit. 1807).

    These reasons have led learned men, who have especially examined the subject, to exclude the grave (specifically understood as a made or artificial one) from the proper meaning of Sheol. We cannot but accept their view in critical exactness. But there is an inexact and generic sense of Sheol in which the word grave well expresses the meaning of the Scripture passages just mentioned, and (in justice to the A.V. it may be admitted) of most of the others, which our translators rendered by this word. (The passages in which the A.V. renders שְׁאוֹל by Grave are these  Genesis 37:35;  Genesis 42:38;  Genesis 44:29;  Genesis 44:31.;  1 Samuel 2:6;  1 Kings 2:6;  1 Kings 2:9;  Job 7:9;  Job 14:13;  Job 17:13;  Job 21:13;  Job 24:19;  Psalms 6:5 [Hebr. 61; 30:3 [4]; 31:17 [18]; 49:14 [15], twice; 49:15 [16]; 88:3 [4]; 89:48 [49]; 141:7;  Proverbs 1:12;  Proverbs 30:16;  Ecclesiastes 9:10;  Song of Solomon 8:6;  Isaiah 14:11 [marg. of  Isaiah 5:9 has Grave ];  Isaiah 38:10;  Isaiah 38:18;  Ezekiel 31:15;  Hosea 13:14, twice; and in  Jonah 2:2 [3] the Maryin has "grave.") Of this more vague sense Usher (Works, 3: 324) says-" When Sheol is said to signify The Grave, the term Grave must be taken in as large a sense as it is in our Savior's speech (John 5, 28), and in  Isaiah 26:19, according to the Sept. reading; upon which passage writes Origen thus - 'Here and in many other places the graves of the dead are to be understood, not such only as we see are builded for the receiving of men's bodies-either cut out in stones, or digged down in the earth; but every place wherein a man's body lieth either entire or in part' otherwise they which are not committed to burial, nor laid in graves, but have ended their life in shipwrecks, deserts, and such like ways, should not seem to be reckoned among those which are said to be raised from the grave' (In Esai. lib. 28 citatus a Pamphilo, in Apol.)" We have here, then, the first meaning of the Hebrew שְׁאוֹל largely applied, as we have seen, in our A.V. to "the grave," considered in a universal sense (see the passages in the last note), commensurate with Death itself as to the extent of its signification. (Comp. "The Grave And Gate Of Death" of the English Liturgy, Collect for Easter Even.) Though we carefully exclude the artificial grave, or קֶבֶר , from this category, there is no doubt, as bishop Lowth has well shown (De Sacra Poesi Hebr. Prael. 7 [ed. Oxon. with notes of Michaelis and Rosenm Ü ller, 1821], p. 65-69), that the Hebrew poets drew all the imagery with which they describe the state and condition of the dead from the funeral rites and pomp, and from the vaulted sepulchers of their great men. The bishop's whole treatment of the subject is quite worth perusal. We can only quote his final remarks: "You will see this transcendent imagery better and more completely displayed in that noble triumphal song which was composed by Isaiah ( Isaiah 14:4-27), previous to the death of the king of Babylon. Ezekiel has also grandly illustrated the same scene, with similar machinery, in the last prophecy concerning the fall of Pharaoh (32:18-32)." For an excellent vindication of the A.V. in many of its translations of the grave, we refer the reader to the treatise of archbishop Usher (Answer to the Jesuit's Challenge, Works [ed. Elrington], 3, 319-324 and 332-340). We doubt not that, if grave is an admissible sense of' שְׁאוֹל , our translators have, on the whole, made a judicious selection of the passages that will best bear the sense: their purpose was a popular one, and they accomplished it, in the instance of uncertain words and phrases, by giving them the most intelligible turn they would bear, as in the case before us. We undertake not to decide whether it would be better to leave the broad and generic word Sheol, as the great versions of antiquity did, everywhere; whether, e.g., Jacob's lament ( Genesis 37:35;  Genesis 42:38) and like passages would be more suitably, if not correctly, rendered by the simple retention of the original word, or the equally indefinite hades. There is some force in the observation often made (see Corn. a Lapide, on  Genesis 37:35; Bellarmine and others, adduced by Leigh, Crit. Sacrae, 1, 239) that "it was not the Grave of Joseph which Jacob meant, for he thought indeed that his Son was devoured of wild beasts, and not buried." See more on this passage in Pearson, Creed [ed. Chevallier], p. 437; Fulke, Translations, etc., p. 314; both which writers defend the version of Grave. Ainsworth ad loc. (among the older commentators) and Knobel (among the moderns) contend for the general word Hell [Knobel, Schattenreich ]. Rosenm Ü ller learnedly states both views, and leans in favor of "locum, ubi mortui umbrarum instar degunt" (Scholia, 1, 576).

    (2.) The other meaning of שְׁאוֹל , "Bell," so rendered in thirty-one passages of A.V., according to the more ancient and, as it seems to us, preferable opinion, makes it Local, i.e. The Place Of Disembodied Spirits. ( ῞Αιδης Δὲ Τόπος Ἡμῖν Ἀειδής , Ἤγουν Ἀφανὴς Καὶ Ἄγνωστος , Ό Τὰς Ψυχὰς Ἡμῶν Ἐντεῦθιν Ἐκδημούσας Δεχόμενος , Andr. Caesaricus In Apocal. c. 63.) A later opinion supposes the word to indicate "not the place where souls departed are, but The State And Condition Of The Dead, or their permansion in death," as bishop Pearson calls it (Creed [ed. Chevallier], p. 439). On this opinion, which that great divine "cannot admit as a full or proper exposition," we shall say nothing more than that it is at best only a deduction from the foregoing local definition. That definition we have stated in the broadest terms, because, in reference to Dr. Barrow's enumeration (Serm. on the Creed [Art. "He descended into Hell"], Works [Oxford, 1830], 5, 416, 417) of the questions which have arisen on the subject before us, we believe that Holy Scripture warrants the most ample of all the positions suggested by that eminent writer, to the effect that the Sheol or Hell of which we treat is not merely the place of good and happy souls," or "that of bad and miserable ones," but "indifferently and in common, of both those." We propose to arrange the Biblical passages so as to describe, first, the state of the occupants of Sheol, and, secondly, the locality of it, in some of its prominent features. As to the first point, Sheol is (a) the receptacle of the spirits of all that depart this life. (Among the scriptural designations of the inhabitants of Sheol is רְבָּאְים [ קְהִלר in (in  Proverbs 21:16) is rendered "congregation of the Dead" (or Departed) in the A.V. This is better than the Sept. rendering Συναγωγὴ Γιγάντων , and Vulg. "coetus Gigantum." There is force in the word קהל thus applied, derived from the use of the word to designate the great " Congregation" of the Jewish nation; (See Congregation). For the use of the word רפאים as applicable to The Dead, see especially Bottcher, De Infe. p. 94-10, § 193-204. The word occurs in this sense also in the grand passage of Isaiah 14. [In  Isaiah 14:9"Sheol stirs up its Rephaim" on the entrance of the spirit of the king of Babylon.] רפאים is met with in six other places in the same sense of Departed Spirits. It is connected with

    רָפֶה , "weak," which occurs in  Numbers 13:18, and other passages [see Furst, Hebr. W. b. ii, 383]. The gentile noun [mentioned in  Genesis 14:5 and elsewhere, and rendered Rephain and Giants] is of the same form, but probably of a different origin [see Gesenius, Thes. p. 1302].) This general signification appears from  Psalms 89:47-48, and  Isaiah 38:18-19 (in which latter verse the opposition in its universal sense between sheol and the state of life in this world is to be observed). We do not hesitate, with archbishop Usher (Works, 3:318), to translate שַׁאוֹל in these passages "Hell" or "Sheol," instead of "Grave," as in the A.V. Sheol, therefore, is (b) the abode of the wicked,  Numbers 16:33;  Job 24:19;  Psalms 9:17(Hebr. 18); 31:17 (18);  Proverbs 5:5;  Proverbs 9:18;  Isaiah 57:9; and (G) Of The Good [both in their "disembodied" condition],  Psalms 16:10, comp. with  Acts 2:27;  Acts 2:31;  Psalms 30:3 (4); 49:15 (16); 86:13;  Isaiah 38:10, compared with Job in, 17-19;  Hosea 13:14, comp. with  1 Corinthians 15:55. With regard to the second point, touching some Local features of Sheol, we find it described as Very Deep ( Job 11:8); Dark ( Job 10:21-22); (yet Confess And Open to the eye of God,  Job 26:6); With "Valleys" (Gesenius, Thes. p. 1348) Or Depths of various gradations ( Psalms 86:13 [compared with  Deuteronomy 32:22];  Proverbs 9:18); With Bars ( Job 17:16, comp. with  Jonah 2:6) and Gates ( Isaiah 38:10); Situated Beneath Us; hence the dead are said "to go down" ( יָרִד ) to Sheol,  Numbers 16:30;  Numbers 16:33;  Ezekiel 31:15-17 (compared with  Job 7:9;  Genesis 42:38). Comp. Josephus (Ant. 17:1, 3), who, when describing the tenets of the Jewish sects, attributes to the Pharisees the belief of a future state, in which "rewards and punishments" will be dealt out "to men in their disembodied state" ( Ταῖς Ψυχαῖς ) "under the earth" ( Ὑπὸ Χθονὸς Δικαιώσεις Τε Καὶ Τιμάς , Κ . Τ . Λ .). On the phrase of the creed "Descended into hell," and sundry uses of יָרִד and Κατελθεῖν as not necessarily implying local Descent, but rather " Removal From one place to another," see Usher (Works, 3: 392, 393). We have seen how some have derived the name of Sheol from its insatiability; such a quality is often attributed to it: it is All-Devouring ( Proverbs 1:12); Never Satisfied ( Proverbs 30:16;  Isaiah 5:14), and Inexorable ( Song of Solomon 8:7).

    2. There is in the Hades ( ῞Αιδης ) of the N.T. an equally Ample signification with the Sheol of the O.T., as the abode of both happy and miserable beings. Its characteristics are not dissimilar; it is represented as "A Prison" (comp.  1 Peter 3:19, where inhabitants of Hades are called Τὰ Ἐν Φυλακῇ Πνεύματα ); with Gates and bars ( Πύλαι ] Δου ,  Matthew 16:18; comp. with the phrase Εἰς ῞Αδου of  Acts 2:27;  Acts 2:31, with the ellipsis of Δῶμα , Οϊ v Κον ); and Locks (the "keys" of Hades, Αἱ Κλεῖς Τοῦ ῞Αιδου , being in the hands of Christ,  Revelation 1:18); its situation is also Downwards (see the ῞Εως ¯ Δου Καταβιβασθήσῃ of  Matthew 11:23, and  Luke 10:15). As might be expected, there is more plainly indicated in the N.T. the Separate condition of the righteous and the wicked; to indicate this separation other terms are used; thus, in  Luke 23:43, Paradise ( Παράδεισος no doubt different from that of Pali,  2 Corinthians 12:4, which is designated, in  Revelation 2:7, as Παράδεισος Τοῦ Θεοῦ , the Supernal Paradise; see Robinson, Lexicon, N.T., p. 13,547; Wahl, Clavis, N.T., p. 376; Kuinol [ed. London] on N.T. 2, 237; and especially Meyer, Kommentar u. d. Neue Test. [ed. 4] 6:292, and the authorities there quoted by him) is used to describe that part of Hades which the blessed dead inhabit a figurative expression, so well adapted for the description of a locality of happiness that the inspired writers employ it to describe the three happiest places, the Eden of Innocence, the Hades of departed saints, and the heaven of their glorious rest. The distinction between the upper and the lower Paradise was familiar to the Jews. In Eisenmenger's Entdecktes Judenthun, 2, 295-322, much of their curious opinions on the subject is collected. In p. 298 are given the seven names of the heavenly Paradise, while in the next three are contained the seven names of the lower Paradise of Hades. (See Paradise).

    Another figurative expression used to designate the happy part of Hades is "Abraham's bosom," Κόλπος Ἀβρααμ ,  Luke 16:22. (St. Augustine who says [Quaest. Evang. 2, 38] "Sinus Abrahn e requies est beatorum pauperim in quo post harc vitam recipiuntur," yet doubts whether hades is used at all in N.T. in a good sense: He says [Ep. 187, Works, 2, 689], "Whether the bosom of Abraham, where the wicked Dives was, when in his torment he beheld the poor man at rest, were either to be deemed the same as Paradise, or to be thought to pertain to hell or hades, I cannot define [non facile dixerim];" so also he writes on Psalms 85 [Works, 4:912]). For an explanation of the phrase, (See Abraham'S Bosom).

    3. We need not linger over the Biblical sense of our last word Γέεννα . Gehenna. We refer the reader to a "Discourse" by the learned Joseph Mede (Works , p. 3133) on Gehenna, which he shows was not used to designate "hell" before the captivity. He, in the same treatise, dwells on certain Hebrew words and phrases, which were in use previous to that epoch for designating Hades and its inhabitants-among these he especially notes רפאום and קהל ר , on which we have observed above. As Παράδεισος is not limited to the finite happiness of Hades, but embraces in certain passages the ultimate blessedness of heaven, so there is no violence in supposing that Γέεβννα (from the Finite signification which it possibly bears in  Matthew 5:29-30;  Matthew 23:15, equivalent to the Τάρταρος referred to by Peter,  2 Peter 2:4, as the place where the fallen angels Are Reserved Unto Judgment, or "until sentence," comp.  Judges 1:6) goes on to mean, in perhaps most of its occurrences in the N.T., the final condition of the lost, as in  Matthew 23:33, where the expression Κρίσις Τῆς Γεέννης probably means The Condemnation [or sentence] To Gehenna as the ultimate doom. (See Gehenna).

    IV. Synonymous Words And Phrases. (Most of these are given by Eisenmenger, Entdeck. Jud. 2, 324, and Galatinus, De Arcanis, 6:7, p. 345.)

    1. דּוּמָה , Dumah, in  Psalms 115:17, where the phrase כָּלאּירְדֵי דּ , all that go down into silence," is in the Sept. Παντες Οἴ Καταβαίνοντες Εἰς ] Δου , while the Vulg. has "Omnes Qui Descendunt In Infe Rum" (comp.  Psalms 94:17).

    2. אֲבִדּוֹן , Abadd '''''Ô''''' N'' in  Job 26:6, is in poetical apposition with שְׁאוֹל (comp.  Proverbs 27:20 [Kethib], where א ֲ is in conjunction with שׁ , forming an hendiadys for Destructive Hell; Sept. ῞Αιδης Καὶ Ἀπώλεια ; Vulg. Infernus Et Perditio; A.V. "Hell and destruction"). 3. בְּאֵר שִׁחִת , Beer Shachath, Psalm 55:24; A.V. "pit of destruction "Sept. Φπέαρ Διαφθορᾶς ; Vulg. Puteus Interitus (see also passages in which בּוֹר and שִׁחִת occur separately).

    4. צִלְמָוֶת Tsalmaveth, with or without חֹשֶׁךְ , in  Psalms 107:10, and other passages; Sept. Σκία Θανάτου ; Vulg. Umbra Smortis; A.V. "shadow of death."

    5. תִּחְתַּיּוֹתאּאֶרֶוֹ , Tachtiy6Th Erets, in  Isaiah 44:23; A.V. "lower parts of the earth" [Sheol or Hades, Gesen.]; Sept. Τὰ Θεμέλια Τῆς Γῆς ; Vulg. Extrema Terrce (comp.  Ezekiel 26:20, etc., where the phrase is inverted, ארוֹאּתחתיות ); of similar meaning is בּוֹר תִּחְתַּיּוֹת ,  Psalms 88:6 (7).

    6. תָּפַתּה , Tophteh, in  Isaiah 30:33 [according to Eisenmenger]; for another application of this word, see Gesenius, Thes. s.v.; and Rosenm Ü ller. ad loc.

    7. The phrase first used of Abraham,  Genesis 25:8 (where it occurs, in the solemn description of the holy patriarch's end, Midway Between Death And Burial), "He was gathered to his fathers," is best interpreted of the departure of the soul to Hades to the company of those who preceded him thither (see Cajetan, ad loc., and Gesen. Thes., s.v. אָסִ [Niphal], p. 131, Colossians 1).

    8. Τὸ Σκότος Τὸ Ἐξώτερον , "the outer darkness" of  Matthew 8:12, et passim, refers probably to what Josephus (War, 3, 25) calls Δης Σκοτιώτερος , "the darker Hades."

    V. Biblical Statements As To The Condition Of Those In "hell." The dreadful nature of the abode of the wicked is implied in various figurative expressions, such as "outer darkness," "I am tormented in this flame," "furnace of fire," "unquenchable fire," "where the worm dieth not," the blackness of darkness," "torment in fire and brimstone," "the ascending smoke of their torment," "the lake of fire that burneth with brimstone" ( Matthew 8:12;  Matthew 13:42;  Matthew 22:13;  Matthew 25:30;  Luke 16:24; comp.  Matthew 25:41;  Mark 9:43-48;  Judges 1:13; comp.  Revelation 14:10-11;  Revelation 19:20;  Revelation 20:14;  Revelation 21:8). The figure by which hell is represented as burning with fire and brimstone is probably derived from the fate of Sodom and Gomorrah, as well as that which describes the smoke as ascending from it (comp.  Revelation 14:10-11, with  Genesis 19:24;  Genesis 19:28). To this coincidence of description Peter also most probably alludes in  2 Peter 2:6. (See Fire).

    The names which in many of the other instances are given to the punishments of hell are doubtless in part figurative, and many of the terms which were commonly applied to the subject by the Jews are retained in the New Testament. The images, it will be seen, are generally taken from death, capital punishments, tortures, prisons, etc. And it is the obvious design of the sacred writers, in using such figures, to awaken the idea of something terrible and fearful. They mean to teach that the punishments beyond the grave will excite the same feelings of distress as are produced on earth by the objects employed to represent them. We are so little acquainted with the state in which we shall be hereafter, and with the nature of our future body, that no strictly literal representation of such punishments could be made intelligible to us. Many of the Jews, indeed, and many of the Christian fathers, took the terms employed in Scripture in an entirely literal sense, and supposed there would be actual fire, etc., in hell. But from the words of Christ and his apostles nothing more can with certainty be inferred than that they meant to denote great and unending miseries.

    The punishments of sin may be distinguished into two classes:

    1. Natural punishments, or such as necessarily follow a life of servitude to sin.

    2. Positive punishments, or such as God shall see fit, by his sovereign will, to inflict.

    1. Among the natural punishments we may rank the privation of eternal happiness ( Matthew 7:21;  Matthew 7:23;  Matthew 22:13;  Matthew 25:41; compare 2 Thessalonians 1, 9); the painful sensations which are the natural consequence of committing sin, and of an impenitent heart; the propensities to sin, the evil passions and desires which in this world fill the human heart, and which are doubtless carried into the world to come. The company of fellow-sinners and of evil spirits, as inevitably resulting from the other conditions, may be accounted among the natural punishments, and must prove not the least grievous of them.

    2. The positive punishments have already been indicated. It is to these chiefly that the Scripture directs our attention. "There are but few men in such a state that the merely natural punishments of sin will appear to them terrible enough to deter them from the commission of it. Experience also shows that to threaten positive punishment has far more effect, as well upon the cultivated as the uncultivated, in deterring them from crime, than to announce, and lead men to expect, the merely natural consequences of sin, be they ever so terrible. Hence we may see why it is that the New. Testament says so little of natural punishments (although these, beyond question, await the wicked), and makes mention of them in particular far less frequently than of positive punishments; and why, in those passages which treat of the punishments of hell, such ideas and images are constantly employed as suggest and confirm the idea of positive punishments" (Knapp's Christian Theology, § 156).

    As the sins which shut out from heaven vary so greatly in quality and degree, we should expect from the justice of God a corresponding variety both in the natural and the positive punishments. This is accordingly the uniform doctrine of Christ and his apostles. The more knowledge of the divine law a man possesses, the more his opportunities and inducements to avoid sin, the stronger the incentives to faith and holiness set before him, the greater will be his punishment if he fails to make a faithful use of these advantages. "The servant who knows his lord's will and does it not, deserves to be beaten with many stripes:" "To whom much is given, of him much will be required" ( Matthew 10:15;  Matthew 11:22;  Matthew 11:24;  Matthew 23:15;  Luke 12:48), Hence Paul says that the heathen who acted against the law of nature would indeed be punished; but that the Jews would be punished more than they, because they had more knowledge ( Romans 2:9-29). In this conviction that God will, even in hell, justly proportion punishment to sin, we must rest satisfied. We cannot now know more; the precise degrees, as well as the precise nature of such punishments, are things belonging to another state of being, which in the present we are unable to understand. For a naturalistic view of the subject, with a copious review of the literature, see Alger, Doctrine of a Future Life (Bost. 1860). For the theological treatment of this topic, (See Hell Punishments).

    Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature [19]

    Hell, the name given in our Authorized Version of the Scriptures to the place of final punishment for sinners. It is also distinctively indicated by such phrases as 'the place of torment' 'everlasting fire' 'the hell of fire, where the worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched' . The dreadful nature of the abode of the wicked is implied in various figurative expressions, such as 'outer darkness,' 'I am tormented in this flame,' 'furnace of fire,' 'unquenchable fire,' 'where the worm dieth not,' 'the blackness of darkness,' 'torment in fire and brimstone,' 'the ascending smoke of their torment,' 'the lake of fire that burneth with brimstone' (;;;;; comp.;;; comp.;;; ). The figure by which hell is represented as burning with fire and brimstone is probably derived from the fate of Sodom and Gomorrah, as well as that which describes the smoke as ascending from it (comp. , with; ). To this coincidence of description Peter also most probably alludes in .

    The names which in many of the other instances are given to the punishments of hell are doubtless in part figurative, and many of the terms which were commonly applied to the subject by the Jews are retained in the New Testament. The images, it will be seen, are generally taken from death, capital punishments, tortures, prisons, etc. And it is the obvious design of the sacred writers, in using such figures, to awaken the idea of something terrible and fearful. They mean to teach that the punishments beyond the grave will excite the same feelings of distress as are produced on earth by the objects employed to represent them. We are so little acquainted with the state in which we shall be hereafter, and with the nature of our future body, that no strictly literal representation of such punishments could be made intelligible to us. Many of the Jews, indeed, and many of the Christian fathers, took the terms employed in Scripture in an entirely literal sense, and supposed there would be actual fire, etc. in hell. But from the words of Christ and His apostles nothing more can with certainty be inferred than that they meant to denote great and unending miseries.

    The punishments of sin may be distinguished into two classes—1. Natural punishments, or such as necessarily follow a life of servitude to sin: 2. Positive punishments, or such as God shall see fit, by His sovereign will, to inflict.

    1. Among the natural punishments we may rank the privation of eternal happiness (;;;; comp. ); the painful sensations which are the natural consequence of committing sin, and of an impenitent heart; the propensities to sin, the evil passions and desires which in this world fill the human heart, and which are doubtless carried into the world to come. The company of fellow-sinners and of evil spirits, as inevitably resulting from the other conditions, may be accounted among the natural punishments, and must prove not the least grievous of them.

    2. The positive punishments have been already indicated. It is to these chiefly that the Scripture directs our attention. 'There are but few men in such a state that the merely natural punishments of sin will appear to them terrible enough to deter them from the commission of it. Experience also shows that to threaten positive punishment has far more effect, as well upon the cultivated as the uncultivated, in deterring them from crime, than to announce, and lead men to expect the merely natural consequences of sin, be they ever so terrible. Hence we may see why it is that the New Testament says so little of natural punishments (although these beyond question await the wicked), and makes mention of them in particular far less frequently than of positive punishments; and why, in those passages which treat of the punishments of hell, such ideas and images are constantly employed as suggest and confirm the idea of positive punishments.'

    As the sins which shut out from heaven vary so greatly in quality and degree, we should expect from the justice of God a corresponding variety both in the natural and the positive punishments. This is accordingly the uniform doctrine of Christ and his apostles. 'The servant who knows his lord's will and does it not, deserves to be beaten with many stripes:' 'To whom much is given, of him much will be required' (;;;; ). Hence St. Paul says that the heathen who acted against the law of nature would indeed be punished; but that the Jews would be punished more than they, because they had more knowledge . In this conviction, that God will, even in hell, justly proportion punishment to sin, we must rest satisfied. We cannot now know more; the precise degrees as well as the precise nature of such punishments are things belonging to another state of being, which in the present we are unable to understand.

    International Standard Bible Encyclopedia [20]

    hel (see Sheol; Hades; Gehenna ):

    1. The Word in the King James Version

    The English word, from a Teutonic root meaning "to hide" or "cover," had originally the significance of the world of the dead generally, and in this sense is used by Chaucer, Spenser, etc., and in the Creed ("He descended into hell"); compare the English Revised Version Preface. Now the word has come to mean almost exclusively the place of punishment of the lost or finally impenitent; the place of torment of the wicked. In the King James Version of the Scriptures, it is the rendering adopted in many places in the Old Testament for the Hebrew word she'ōl (in 31 out of 65 occurrences of that word it is so translated), and in all places, save one (  1 Corinthians 15:55 ) in the New Testament, for the Greek word Hades (this word occurs 11 times; in 10 of these it is translated "hell";  1 Corinthians 15:55 reads "grave," with "hell" in the margin). In these cases the word has its older general meaning, though in   Luke 16:23 (parable of Rich Man and Lazarus) it is specially connected with a place of "torment," in contrast with the "Abraham's bosom" to which Lazarus is taken (  Luke 16:22 ).

    2. The Word in the Revised Version

    In the above cases the Revised Version (British and American) has introduced changes, replacing "hell" by "Sheol" in the passages in the Old Testament (the English Revised Version retains "hell" in  Isaiah 14:9 ,  Isaiah 14:15; the American Standard Revised Version makes no exception), and by "Hades" in the passages in the New Testament (see under these words).

    3. Gehenna

    Besides the above uses, and more in accordance with the modern meaning, the word "hell" is used in the New Testament in the King James Version as the equivalent of Gehenna (12 t;  Matthew 5:22 ,  Matthew 5:29;  Matthew 10:28 , etc.). the Revised Version (British and American) in these cases puts "Gehenna" in the margin. Originally the Valley of Hinnom, near Jerusalem, Gehenna became among the Jews the synonym for the place of torment in the future life (the "Gehenna of fire,"  Matthew 5:22 , etc.; see Gehenna ).

    4. Tartarus

    In yet one other passage in the New Testament ( 2 Peter 2:4 ), "to cast down to hell" is used (the King James Version and the Revised Version (British and American)) to represent the Greek tartaróō , ("to send into Tartarus"). Here it stands for the place of punishment of the fallen angels: "spared not angels when they sinned, but cast them down to hell, and committed them to pits (or chains) of darkness" (compare  Judges 1:6; but also  Matthew 25:41 ). Similar ideas are found in certain of the Jewish apocalyptic books (Book of Enoch, Book of Jubilees, Apocrypha Baruch, with apparent reference to  Genesis 6:1-4; compare Eschatology Of The Old Testament ).

    On theological aspect, see Punishment , Everlasting . For literature, see references in above-named arts., and compare article "Hell" by Dr. D. S. Salmond in Hdb .