The Grave: שְׁא֣וֹל – sheol

Cutaway of planet Earth showing the crust, mantle, great gulf and hell.

I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death: O death, I will be thy plagues; O grave, I will be thy destruction: repentance shall be hid from mine eyes.

(Hosea 13:14) KJV

A word frequently translated as the grave is the Hebrew שְׁא֣וֹל – sheol, but sheol is far more than just the grave. The grave is a portal into the underworld realm of the dead.

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Sides: בְּיַרְכְּתֵי – beyerekah

Asshur is there and all her company: his graves are about him: all of them slain, fallen by the sword: Whose graves are set in the sides of the pit, and her company is round about her grave: all of them slain, fallen by the sword, which caused terror in the land of the living.

(Ezekiel 32:22-23) KJV

Once you enter the great gulf nothing can stop your fall into the core. The pit is everything below the mantle. If the sides of the pit is the lower mantle, then the pit includes the great gulf.

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Firmament: רָקִ֖יעַ – raqia

And I looked, and there in the firmament that was above the head of the cherubim, there appeared something like a sapphire stone, having the appearance of the likeness of a throne.

(Ezekiel 10:1) NKJV

The Hebrew word translated firmament is raqia. Some people struggle to interpret the firmament, most don’t bother. A simple definition is expanse so most translations render the meaning as “the expanse of the sky.”

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Sides: בְּיַרְכְּתֵי – beyerekah

Zebulun shall dwell at the shore of the sea; he shall become a haven for ships, and his border shall be at Sidon.

(Genesis 49:13) ESV

The word translated “and his border,” in a verse about geography is also translated as “the sides of the pit,” in references to parts of sheol, the underworld realm of the dead. It’s the extreme edge or periphery of a region.

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The Hebrew Triplet

To the end that none of all the trees by the waters exalt themselves for their height, neither shoot up their top among the thick boughs, neither their trees stand up in their height, all that drink water: for they are all delivered unto death, to the nether parts of the earth, in the midst of the children of men, with them that go down to the pit.

(Ezekiel 31:14) KJV

If you know anything about Old Testament Hebrew you’ll be familiar a form of writing known as the couplet. Is there a triplet? Ezekiel uses triplets to educate us about a descent into the interior of the Earth.

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Sheol

For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol, or let your holy one see corruption.

(Psalms 16:10) ESV

Sheol refers to life beyond the grave, quite literally an underworld realm of the dead. It’s also modified in a variety of ways which can be grouped to correspond to the regions of the interior of the Earth.

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A Spellyng Mystaque

He hath made the earth by his power, he hath established the world by his wisdom, and hath stretched out the heavens by his discretion.

(Jeremiah 10:12, 51:15) KJV

It turns out that theologians fudge their data just like scientists do. Sometimes things don’t make sense, do they? What could possibly be wrong with helping them make sense? This approach is inductive, aka eisegesis.

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