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he did not. For, after he had immediately commanded Joab to be slain, in obedience to his father, he sends for Shimei, and, knowing that Shimei ought to be well watched, confines him to a particular spot in Jerusalem for the remainder of his life. 1 Kings, ii. 36-42. See Kennicott's Remarks, p. 131." Those who wish to see this verse noticed at considerable length, may consult the Christian's Magazine, vol. i. p. 172–181.
But to return from this digression : David says, Psalm xxxi. 17,4" let the wicked be ashamed, and let them be silent in hell.” In some of the preceding texts we read of persons going down to hell, and in the following we read of persons being brought up from it. Thus, 1 Sam. ii. 6,-“the Lord killeib and maketh alive: he bringeth down to hell and bringeth up.” And, again, Psalm xxx. 3,4"O Lord, thou hast brought up my soul from hell.” But what this means is explained in the next words, thou hast kept me alive, that I should not go down to the pit." In these passages the language is evidently figurative. It is evident, that by hell
could not be meant a place of endless misery, nor could these passages be understood literally; for surely David, nor no one else, was ever brought down to such a place, and afterwards brought up from it. We find Job says, ch. vii. 9," he that goeth down to hell shall come up no more,” which contradicts what was said ju these passages about persons being brought up from hell. But what Job means, is plain from the next words, " he shall no more return to his house." But further, if Sheol was translated hell instead of grave in the following texts, it would make the sacred writers represent all men as going to hell. Thus it is said, Psalm lxxxix. 48,- " what man is he that liveth and shall not see death? shall he deliver his soul from the hand of hell ?" Notwithstanding this, David
says, Psalm xlix. 15,- But God will redeem my soul from the power of hell.” By comparing these two last texts, it is evident that “hand of hell,” and power of hell,” mean the same thing. We have also a proof, that Sheol did not mean a place of eternal misery, but the state of the dead; for death and Sheol are words used to express the same idea. Besides, we know for certainty, that no man can deliver himself from the power of death, or hand of the grave; but surely all men do not go to hell, or a place of eternal misery? Again : if Sheol is translated hell instead of grave, it makes Solomon say, Eccles. ix. 10,4"there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom in hell whither thou goest." But are there none of these things in the place of eternal misery? To answer this in the negative, would be to contradict common opinion on the subject. But this can be affirmed concerning the state of the dead, and shows that Solomon, by Sheol, did not understand a place of endless misery, but this state, or, as Job calls it, “the house appointed for all the living.” Here “there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom."
But further; if Sheol indeed means hell, in the 'common sense of the word, very strange statements are given us in the following passages. It is said, Prov. i. 12,—“Let us swallow them up alive as hell.” And in Job sxiv. 19. it is added, " drouth and heat consume the snow waters; so doth hell those who have sinned.” Again, Psalm xlix. 14, “ like sheep they are laid in hell; death shall feed on them; and the upright shall have dominion over them in the morning; and their beauty shall consume in hell from their dwelling.” And, Psalm cxli. 7,4" our bones are scattered at hell's mouth as when one cutteth and cleaveth wood.” Now, I ask every candid man, whether all these statements do not per
fectly agree with understanding Sheol to mean the grave, but are contrary to truth, to understand them of hell, or a place of eternal misery. Such an idea does not appear to have entered the minds of the Old Testament writers. Does any man believe that people's bones are scattered at the mouth of the place of eternal misery? and does this place consume persons in it as drought and heat consume the snow waters?
It is not generally noticed by most readers of the Bible, that our translators have rendered Sheol both grave and hell in the same passage, and speaking of the same persons. An example of this occurs in Ezek. xxxi. 15—18. In the 15th verse it is rendered grave, and in verses 16th and 17th it is twice rendered hell. Besides, observe, that what is called grave and hell in verses 15th, 16th and 17th, is called in verse 18th, “the nether parts of the earth.”—Another example we have of this in Isai. xiv. 3—24. In this passage, too long for quotation, is given a description of the fall of the king of Babylon. Any one who reads it, may see that things are stated which forbid us thinking, that by Sheol, translated both hell and grave, a place of eternal misery was intended. But it is well known that detached parts of this passage have been so applied. The persons represented as in hell, are said to be moved at the coming of some other sinners to the same place of misery ; and as saying to them,-“ Art thou also become weak as we?
Art thou become like unto us ?' But the passage needs only be read by any man of ordinary sense to convince him of the absurdity of such an interpretation. But further; in Prov. xxx. 16. Sheol, or 'hell, is represented as never satisfied. And in Cant. viii. 6. jealousy is said to be "cruel as Sheol, or hell.” All this may be said of the grave, but how it could be said of a place of eternal misery I cannot
perceive. Had our translators rendered Sheol hell in the following passage, it would have given such a plausible aspect to it, as meaning a place of misery, that it would not have been easy to convince many people to the contrary. Thus it is said Job xxi. 13. speaking of the wicked, "they spend their days in wealth, and in a moment go down to hell.” Had this been done, people would have quoted it as decisive in proof of the doctrine of eternal misery. Why it was not rendered here hell instead of grave, I know not, but sure I am, it is as strong as any of the texts in which it is rendered hell, to prove this doctrine.
The last passage in which Sheol is translated grave, is Hosea xiii. 14,"I will ransom them from the power of the grave. I will redeem them from death; O death I will be thy plague; O grave, or hell, I will be thy destruction” On this text I beg leave to make the following remarks.
1st, If Sheol, translated grave, and in other places hell, means a place of eternal misery, it is evident from this passage, that men are to be ransomed from it, and it destroyed. “I will ransom them from the power of hell," and, “O hell, I will be thy destruction.” It will be easily perceived, that those who believe Sheol to be the place of endless misery, ought to give this up, for if they do not, they must admit, that neither the place nor its punishment is to be of eternal duration. If Sheol, translated pit, grave, and hell, is relinquished, as referring to such a place, it follows, that no such doctrine as this was known under the Old Testament, as taught by the inspired writers. Dr. Campbell, and others, as we have seen in the foregoing extracts, give up Sheol, and contend that Gehenna is the place of eternal punishment for the wicked.
2d, In the passage under consideration, there seems to be a double kind of proof, that Sheol does not
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 io 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," that thou wouldest hide me in hell." In short, it never could be admitted, that Da. vid, 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