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The Afterlife Term “Pit” in the Old Testament 

Expository Bible Studies

Christ Assembly

In this study of the term “Pit” in the Old Testament, I will focus upon the use of a few terms referring to a place in the Afterlife (what happens after your body dies on earth). I have made many choices below concerning whether to answer yes, no, maybe to whether the term was connected to death, grave, body, soul in the verse or near context. In my personal judgment, unless the context was clear that the Afterlife was in view, I ignored the term “pit.” I offer the table for quick summary purposes. I have not devoted the time yet to a thorough study of the Old Testament term “Pit.”

Let me emphasize the distinction that Jesus drew in Matthew 10:28 between body and soul. As you consider all aspects of the Afterlife, keep in mind the difference between the body and the soul. For example, we know that David’s body underwent decay, but we have no indication his soul ever went to Sheol or the Pit. In contrast, the evil people went both body and soul to Sheol, with great suffering. At times, the term “Pit” may have a symbolic meaning for death. At other times, it may be a place in Sheol or apart from Sheol. Context decides and further study will be required of at least the passages below. I will add this material as an appendix to my book on Afterlife.

VerseWordContentDeathGraveBodySoul
Job 3:31בַּשַּׁ֣חַתJob acknowledges his unrighteousness before God. Even if he washed himself with snow and his hands with lye, God would still cast him into the pit, and my own clothes would abhor me.NoNoYesNo
Job 17:14לַשַּׁ֣חַתI call to the pit, You are my father; to the worm, you are my mother and my sister.NoNoNoNo
Job 33:18מִנִּי־שָׁ֑חַתHe keeps back his soul from the pit, and his life from passing over into SheolYesNoNoYes
Job 33:22לַשַּׁ֣חַתGiod chastens men who do not listen to Him. He speaks to them in dreams at night. The sinner’s soul draws near to the pit, and his life to those who bring death.YesNoNoYes
Job 33:28בַּשָּׁ֑חַתGod redeemed my soul from going to the pitNoNoNoYes
Job 33:30מִנִּי־שָׁ֑חַתTo bring his soul from the pitNoNoNoYes
Psalm 30:9אֶ֫ל־שָׁ֥חַתWhat profit is there in my blood, if I go down to the pit? Will the dust praise you? Will it declare Your faithfulness?NoNoNoNo
Psalm 55:23שַׁ֗חַתGod will bring down men of bloodshed and deceit to the pit of destruction; they will not live out half their daysYesNoNoNo
Psalm 103מִשַּׁ֣חַתWho redeems your life from the pitYes, MaybeNoNoNo
Isaiah 38:17מִשַּׁ֣חַתYou have kept my soul from the pit of nothingness, for you have cast my sins behind Your backNoNoNoYes
Ezekiel 28:8לַשַּׁ֖חַתThey will bring you down to the pit, and you will die the death of those who are slain in the heart of the seasYesNoNoNo
Jonah 2:6מִשַּׁ֛חַתYou have brought up my life from the pit, O LORD, my GodNoNoNoNo
Psalm 28:1בֹֽורIf God is silent to David, then he will become like those who go down to the Cistern.NoNoNoNo

Psalm 30:3בֹֽורO LORD, You have brought up my soul from Sheol; You have kept me alive, that I would not go down to the pit.Yes, MaybeNoNoYes
Psalm 30:9מִבֹּ֥ורHe brought me up out of the pit of destruction, out of the miry clay, and He set my feet upon a crock making my steps firm.NoNoYes No
Psalm 69:15בְּאֵ֣רnor the well (NASB “pit”) shut its mouth on meNo No No No
Psalm 88:4בֹ֑ורI am reckoned among those who go down to the pit; I have become like a man without strengthNo No No No
Psalm 88:6בְּבֹ֣ורYou have put me in the lowest pit, in dark places, in the depthsNo No No No
Psalm 143:7בֹֽורMy spirit fails; do not hide Your face from me, or I will become like those who go down to the pitNoNo NoNo
Proverbs 1:12בֹֽורLet us swallow them alive like Sheol, even whole, as those who down to the pitYes, ImpliedNoNoNo
Isaiah 14:15אֶל־יַרְכְּתֵי־בֹֽורNevertheless you will be thrown down to Sheol, to he recesses of the PitNoNoNoNo
Isaiah 14:19אֶל־אַבְנֵי־בֹ֖ורYou go down to the stones of the pit like a trampled corpseNoNoNoNo
Isaiah 38:18יֹֽורְדֵי־בֹ֖ורFor Sheol cannot thank You; Death cannot praise You; Those who go down to the pit cannot hope for Your faithfulnessYesNoNoNo
Lamentationsמִבֹּ֖ורI called upon Your name, O LORD, out of the lowest pitNoNoNoNo
Ezekiel 26:20בֹ֔ורI will bring you down with those who go down to the pit, to the people of old, and I make you dwell in the lower parts of the earth, like the ancient waste places, with those who go down to the pit, so that you will not be inhabited; but I will set glory in the land of the livingYes, MaybeNoNoNo
Ezekiel 31:16אֶל־יֹ֥ורְדֵי בֹֽורFor they have all been given over to death; to the earth beneath, among the sons of men, with those who down to the pit.YesNoNoNo
Ezekiel 31:16בֹ֑ורI made the nations quake at the sound of its fall when I made it go down to Sheol with those who go down to the pitNoNoNoNo
Ezekiel 32:30בֹֽורThey lay down uncircumcised with those slain by the sword and bore their disgrace with those who do down to the pitYesNoNoNo
Zechariah 9:11מִבֹּ֔ורBecause of His covenant, God set free Ephraim from the waterless pit
NoNoNoNo
Isaiah 24:17וָפַ֖חַתTerror and pit and snare confront you, O inhabitant of the eathNoNoNoNo

 

     

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VerseWordContentDeathGraveBodySoul
Job 3:31בַּשַּׁ֣חַתJob acknowledges his unrighteousness before God. Even if he washed himself with snow and his hands with lye, God would still cast him into the pit, and my own clothes would abhor me.NoNoYesNo
Job 17:14לַשַּׁ֣חַתI call to the pit, You are my father; to the worm, you are my mother and my sister.NoNoNoNo
Job 33:18מִנִּי־שָׁ֑חַתHe keeps back his soul from the pit, and his life from passing over into SheolYesNoNoYes
Job 33:22לַשַּׁ֣חַתGiod chastens men who do not listen to Him. He speaks to them in dreams at night. The sinner’s soul draws near to the pit, and his life to those who bring death.YesNoNoYes
Job 33:28בַּשָּׁ֑חַתGod redeemed my soul from going to the pitNoNoNoYes
Job 33:30מִנִּי־שָׁ֑חַתTo bring his soul from the pitNoNoNoYes
Psalm 30:9אֶ֫ל־שָׁ֥חַתWhat profit is there in my blood, if I go down to the pit? Will the dust praise you? Will it declare Your faithfulness?NoNoNoNo
Psalm 55:23שַׁ֗חַתGod will bring down men of bloodshed and deceit to the pit of destruction; they will not live out half their daysYesNoNoNo
Psalm 103מִשַּׁ֣חַתWho redeems your life from the pitYes, MaybeNoNoNo
Isaiah 38:17מִשַּׁ֣חַתYou have kept my soul from the pit of nothingness, for you have cast my sins behind Your backNoNoNoYes
Ezekiel 28:8לַשַּׁ֖חַתThey will bring you down to the pit, and you will die the death of those who are slain in the heart of the seasYesNoNoNo
Jonah 2:6מִשַּׁ֛חַתYou have brought up my life from the pit, O LORD, my GodNoNoNoNo
Psalm 28:1בֹֽורIf God is silent to David, then he will become like those who go down to the Cistern.NoNoNoNo

Psalm 30:3בֹֽורO LORD, You have brought up my soul from Sheol; You have kept me alive, that I would not go down to the pit.Yes, MaybeNoNoYes
Psalm 30:9מִבֹּ֥ורHe brought me up out of the pit of destruction, out of the miry clay, and He set my feet upon a crock making my steps firm.NoNoYes No
Psalm 69:15בְּאֵ֣רnor the well (NASB “pit”) shut its mouth on meNo No No No
Psalm 88:4בֹ֑ורI am reckoned among those who go down to the pit; I have become like a man without strengthNo No No No
Psalm 88:6בְּבֹ֣ורYou have put me in the lowest pit, in dark places, in the depthsNo No No No
Psalm 143:7בֹֽורMy spirit fails; do not hide Your face from me, or I will become like those who go down to the pitNoNo NoNo
Proverbs 1:12בֹֽורLet us swallow them alive like Sheol, even whole, as those who down to the pitYes, ImpliedNoNoNo
Isaiah 14:15אֶל־יַרְכְּתֵי־בֹֽורNevertheless you will be thrown down to Sheol, to he recesses of the PitNoNoNoNo
Isaiah 14:19אֶל־אַבְנֵי־בֹ֖ורYou go down to the stones of the pit like a trampled corpseNoNoNoNo
Isaiah 38:18יֹֽורְדֵי־בֹ֖ורFor Sheol cannot thank You; Death cannot praise You; Those who go down to the pit cannot hope for Your faithfulnessYesNoNoNo
Lamentationsמִבֹּ֖ורI called upon Your name, O LORD, out of the lowest pitNoNoNoNo
Ezekiel 26:20בֹ֔ורI will bring you down with those who go down to the pit, to the people of old, and I make you dwell in the lower parts of the earth, like the ancient waste places, with those who go down to the pit, so that you will not be inhabited; but I will set glory in the land of the livingYes, MaybeNoNoNo
Ezekiel 31:16אֶל־יֹ֥ורְדֵי בֹֽורFor they have all been given over to death; to the earth beneath, among the sons of men, with those who down to the pit.YesNoNoNo
Ezekiel 31:16בֹ֑ורI made the nations quake at the sound of its fall when I made it go down to Sheol with those who go down to the pitNoNoNoNo
Ezekiel 32:30בֹֽורThey lay down uncircumcised with those slain by the sword and bore their disgrace with those who do down to the pitYesNoNoNo
Zechariah 9:11מִבֹּ֔ורBecause of His covenant, God set free Ephraim from the waterless pit
NoNoNoNo
Isaiah 24:17וָפַ֖חַתTerror and pit and snare confront you, O inhabitant of the eathNoNoNoNo