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signify hell, but the grave or state of the dead. The first clause of the verse,-"I will ransom them from the power of the grave," is explained by the second, "I will redeem them from death." Death, in this last clause, answers to, or is synonymous with, grave in the first. But again, it is equally evident, that death in the third clause, is equivalent to grave in the fourth. This kind of parallelism is common in the Old Testament; attention to which is of importance in understanding the precise import of many expressions there used. As this text is quoted in the New Testament, and must again be brought to view, we shall for the present dismiss it.

These are now all the passages fairly before us, in which Sheol is rendered grave in the common version. Some may be disposed to ask,-why did not our translators render Sheol hell in all these texts, as they have done in many others, which we shall presently introduce? The answer to this question is of easy solution. It would have been absurd, nay, shocking to all our best feelings, to have rendered Sheol hell in many of the above passages. For example, it would not do to represent Joseph in hell, or a place of endless misery. No one could bear to hear, that Jacob expected soon to go to the same place. And surely it would never be believed that Job ever prayed,-"O that thou wouldest hide me in hell." In short, it never could be admitted, that David, Hezekiah, and others, could have spoken about Sheol as they did, if they attached the same ideas to it as we do to the word hell.

Had our translators rendered Sheol uniformly by the words pit, grave, or hell, we would have been less liable to mistaken views on this subject. Let us, for example, suppose that they had always translated it hell. We, in reading our Bibles, must have seen from the context of the places, from the persons spoken

about, and other circumstances, that a place of eternal punishment could not be meant by this word. The Old Testament saints expected to go to Sheol, yea, prayed for it; but what would we think, to hear Christians now speaking about hell, as they did about Sheol? For example, would it not astonish us to hear a professed saint, pray,—" O that thou wouldest hide me in hell, or in the place of endless misery?" But why should it astonish us, if they meant by Sheol, what we now do by the word hell? Take only a single example of this. If Jacob meant by Sheol what we now mean by the word hell, why ought the following statement to surprise us?—A Christian loses a son, and refuses to be comforted by his family. He says, "I will go down to the place of endless misery unto my son mourning." Concerning another beloved child he says,-"if mischief befal him by the way in which ye go, then shall ye bring down my gray hairs with sorrow to the place of endless misery." This would be strange language in the mouth of a Christian in our day. But it ought not, if we indeed contend, that Sheol or hell, in the Old Testament, had any reference to such a place of misery.

3d, Let us now turn our attention to all the texts in which Sheol is rendered by the word hell, in the common version. It ought to be observed generally, in the outset, that in several of the places where the word Sheol is rendered hell in the text, the translators put grave in the margin. The man who does not perceive that grave in many places, at least, is much more suitable to the text and context, must read his Bible very carelessly. Who, for example, does not perceive this in Psalm xvi. 10. " for thou wilt not leave my soul in hell." This is quoted, Acts ii. and applied to the resurrection of our Lord. It may surely be asked, was our Lord ever in hell, the place of eternal misery? When he said, "father into thy

hands I commend my spirit," did his father send him to hell? This, I presume, will not be pretended. Where, it may be said then, was our Lord's soul not left? He was not left in the state of the dead, or in Sheol or Hades, which are only two names for the same place. The Lord did not suffer his Holy One to see corruption, but raised him again from the dead.

But again: was Jonah in hell, when he said, chap. ii. 2,-"out of the belly of hell cried I, and thou hearedst my voice?" I have always understood, that in hell prayers were unavailing. But if Jonah was in hell, this is not true, for he not only prayed there, but was heard and delivered out of it. It deserves notice, that our translators, Gen. xxxvii. 35. aware that it would not do to send Jacob to hell, translate the word Sheol grave; and here, thinking it rather strange to represent Jonah as praying in hell, they put grave in the margin.-But again; are we to conclude, when it is said, Psalm lv. 15,-"let death seize upon them, and let them go down quick into hell,” that David prayed that the persons of whom he spoke, might go down quick, or alive, into a place of endless misery? As this was not a prayer very suitable for the man after God's own heart, we find our translators again put grave in the margin.

Having seen from Psalm xvi. 10. that the Saviour is represented as having been in hell, we need not be much surprised at what is said in the following passages, which refer to him. Thus, Psalm is said," the sorrows of hell compassed me about; the snares of death prevented me." See also 2 Sam. xxii. 6. and Psalm cxvi. 3. where the same language is used. In this text, "sorrows of hell," and "snares of death," are convertible expressions, and seem evidently to refer to the Saviour's sufferings. I am aware, that it hath been held as an opinion, that our Lord actually went to hell, and suffered its pains for

a season. This opinion was probably founded on these passages. In the present day, I presume the man is not to be found, who would risk his reputation in defending it.

That Sheol, translated hell, means the grave, or state of the dead, is, I think, obvious. Thus, Solomon, speaking of a lewd woman, says, Prov. vii. 27, -"her house is the way to hell;" which he immediately explains, by adding, "going down to the chambers of death." This is, if possible, still more evident from chap. v. 5,-" her feet go down to death," which is explained by the next words," her steps take hold on hell." The same remarks apply to Prov. xxiii. 13, 14.-As the state of the dead was concealed from the eyes, or knowledge of all the living, its being known to God, is stated as a proof of his perfection in knowledge. Thus it is said, Job xxvi. 6,-" hell is naked before him, and destruction. hath no covering." And again, Prov. xv. 11. "hell and destruction are before the Lord, how much more then the hearts of the sons of men."

Sheol, whether translated pit, grave, or hell, is represented as below, beneath, and as a great depth. Persons are always spoken of as going down to it. It is contrasted as to depth, with heaven for height, the extent of both being alike unknown. Thus it is said, Prov. xv. 24,-"the way of life is above to the wise, that they may depart from hell beneath." And,

"it is high as heaven; what canst thou do? deeper than hell; what canst thou know?" Job xi. 8. See also, Amos ix. 2. And Psalm cxxxix. 8. where similar language occurs. See also Dr. Campbell's dissertation quoted above, on all these texts. But not only is Sheol, hell, represented as a great depth, but we read of the lowest hell. Thus in Deut. xxxii. 22. it is said." for a fire is kindled in mine anger and shall burn upto the lowest hell, and shall consume the

earth with her increase, and set on fire the foundations of the mountains." Here, as in other places, for hell in the text, our translators put grave in the margin. Should we understand hell, in this text to mean the place of eternal misery, it is implied, that there is a low, and lower, as well as lowest place of misery for the wicked. Accordingly, it has been common to assign to notoriously wicked men the lowest hell. But whatever sense we put on the phrase, "the lowest hell," it is the same place of which David thus speaks, Psalm lxxxvi. 13,-" for great is thy mercy towards me: and thou hast delivered my soul from the lowest hell." Was David ever in the lowest place of eternal misery? But here again our translators for hell in the text put grave in the margin. The fact is, the language in the above texts is used figuratively, and it would be absurd to interpret it literally. See the foregoing dissertation of Dr. Campbell in proof of this.-When we read of the lowest hell, which implies a low, and a lower, is not this mode of speaking used as a contrast to the expression highest heavens, which implies a high and a higher heavens? We read also of the third heavens, which clearly implies two more. I would therefore suggest it for consideration, if the expression "lowest hell," did not originate, from the dead being sometimes cast into pits, the depth of which was as little known, as the height of the highest heavens. When the common honors were paid the dead, they were put in caves, or vaults, or decently interred under the earth. But when persons were deemed unworthy of funeral honors, were they not cast into pits, the depth of which, were sometimes unknown? Did not this unknown depth give rise to the expression depths of hell, just as the unknown height of the highest heavens, gave rise to this expression?

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