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).

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Author: International Std. Bible Encyclopedia

Keywords: Hell, Gehenna, Sheol, Helle, Grave, Gravedom, Dominion of the Grave, State of Death, Death state, Afterlife, After life, Rich man and Lazarus, Dives and Lazarus, Gehena, Tartarus, Hades, Eternal punishment, Everlasting punishment, Life after death, Soul sleep, Soul destroyed, Soul destroyed in hell, Valley of Hinnom, Valley of Gehenna, Sons of Hinnom, Valley of the sons of Hinnom

Source: James Orr (editor), The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, 5 volume set.

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