Not Giving Heed to Jewish Fables: Abraham in the Underworld

Evidence from surviving Jewish texts of the period show that what is described in Luke 16:19-30 is drawn from popular first century teachings concerning a division in the underworld between the fires of Hades and the paradise where Abraham and other patriarchs dwelt:

1. While the NIV has “to Abraham’s side,” the literal AV rendering “to the bosom of Abraham” is better. The “Bosom of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob” (papyrus Preisigke Sb2034:11), was a specific concept in contemporary popular belief.

2. Jewish martyrs believed that: “After our death in this fashion Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob will receive us and all our forefathers will praise us” (4 Maccabees 13:17 in J.H. Charlesworth, The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha, Doubleday 1983).

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Author: Steven Cox

Keywords: Rich Man and Lazarus, Lazarus, Dives, Hades, Hell, Hell torments, Immortal soul, Immortal spirit, Abraham's bosom, Tormented in hell, Abraham Underworld, Underworld, Jewish fables, Fables

Bible reference(s): Luke 16:19-31

Source: “Not Giving Heed to Jewish Fables (2): Abraham in the Underworld,” Tidings of the Kingdom of God, July 2000.

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