Chart of The Afterlife Term “Sheol” in the Old Testament
The chart below presents my understanding of the Afterlife term “Sheol” in various Old Testament contexts. I have made many personal choices about whether the verses describing Sheol or the context includes death, grace, body, or soul. Please keep in mind the distinction that Jesus drew in Matthew 10:28 between body and soul. At times, the destruction of human flesh may be in view, such as the decay of the body of David. While David’s body decayed in the ground, we have no indication that David’s soul ever went to Sheol. In fact, only the souls of unbelievers go to Sheol, the place of destruction in the Afterlife. I urge you to open your Bible and review the evidence in the verses below to understand the use of the term “Sheol” in the Old Testament. Many false views of Sheol have been presented by so many ignorant people throughout church history. Instead of following the ignorant, open your Bible and see for yourself what the verses say. God breathed them out because they equip us for His service every day. In a broad sense, Sheol may refer a place of bodily destruction, where everyone’s body decays. Sheol also personifies the power of evil spiritual influence gripping people before physical death with fear and terrors. To read more about the Afterlife, see my book on the Afterlife.
Important Facts About Sheol–Open your Bible and review the verses below in context.
- Remember the distinction that Jesus described in Matthew 10:28 about body and soul.
- The souls of saints never go to Sheol after death.
- Your body may go to Sheol, but that does not prove your soul went there after death.
- Unsaved souls go to Sheol after death and suffer.
- Physical bodies descend into Sheol, where they undergo decay.
- Sheol reaches out to living people, causing fear, terror and sadness.
- Sheol is not the same as the Pit.
- Sheol is not the same as Death.
- Symbolically, some people go to Sheol while still alive, which speaks of their fears, terrors, dread and suffering.
- Sheol has chambers, but the soul of Abraham was never in Sheol.
- Sheol and Hades are not synonymous.
- Neither the souls nor the bodies of believers go to Hades.
- No souls of saints go to Sheol.
|Genesis 37:35||שְׁאֹ֑לָה||Surely I will go down to Sheol in mourning for my son.||Jacob||Yes||Yes||Yes||No|
|Genesis 42:38||שְׁאֹֽולָה||I will go down to Sheol in mourning for my son||Jacob||Yes||No||No||No|
|Genesis 44:29||שְׁאֹֽלָה||You will bring my gray hair down to Sheol||Jacob||Yes||Yes||Yes||No|
|Genesis 44:31||שְׁאֹֽלָה||Your servants will bring the gray hair of your servant our father down to Sheol in sorrow.||Jacob||Yes||Yes||Yes||No|
|Numbers 16:30||שְׁאֹ֑לָה||Ground opens and they descend alive into Sheol||Korah Rebels||Yes||Yes||Yes||No|
|Numbers 16:33||שְׁאֹ֑לָה||They went down alive into Sheol and the earth closed over them and they perished from the midst of the assembly||Korah Rebels||Yes||No||Yes||No|
|Deuteronomy 32:22||שְׁאֹ֣ול||Anger of God burns to the lowest part of Sheol, and consumes the earth, and sets on fire the foundations of the mountains||The Perverse Generation of Israel||Yes||No||Yes||Maybe|
|1 Samuel 2:6||שְׁאֹ֖ול||The LORD kills and makes alive; He brings down to Sheol and raises up||All People||Yes||No||Yes||No|
|2 Samuel 22:6||שָׁא֔וּל||The cords of Sheol surround me; the snares of death confronted me.||David||Yes||No||No||No|
|1 Kings 2:6||שְׁאֹֽל||Do not let his gray hair go down to Sheol in peace||Joab||Yes||No||Yes||No|
|1 Kings 2:9||שְׁאֹֽול||You will bring his gray hair down to Sheol with blood||Shimei||Yes||No||Yes||No|
|Job 7:9||שְׁ֝אֹ֗ול||He who goes down to Sheol does not come up.||People||Yes||No||Yes||No|
|Job 11:8||מִ֝שְּׁאֹ֗ול||Deeper than Sheol||Zophar speaks; unreliable||Yes||No||Yes||No|
|Job 14:13||בִּשְׁאֹ֬ול||God would hide Job in Sheol until God’s wrath passes||Job||No||No||No||No|
|Job 17:13||שְׁאֹ֣ול||If I look for Sheol as my home, I make my bed in the darkness||Job||Yes||No||No||No|
|Job 17:16||שְׁאֹ֣ל||Job asks if his hope will go down to Sheol with him; shall we go down into the dust||Job||Yes||Yes||Yes||No|
|Job 21:13||שְׁאֹ֣ול||Wicked go suddenly down to Sheol||The Wicked||Yes||No||Yes||No|
|Job 24:19||שְׁאֹ֣ול||Sheol consumes those who have sinned||The Wicked||Yes||No||Yes||No|
|Job 26:6||שְׁאֹ֣ול||Sheol naked before God; Abaddon has no covering||Sheol and Abaddon||No||No||No||No
|Job 33:18||בַּשָּֽׁלַח||God keeps his soul from the pit, and his life from passing into Sheol||Elihu, unreliable||No||No||No||Yes|
|Psalm 6:5||בִּ֝שְׁאֹ֗ול||No mention of Yahweh in death; in Sheol who will give you thanks?||David’s Death||Yes||No||Yes||Yes|
|Psalm 9:17||לִשְׁאֹ֑ולָה||All the nations who forget God will return to Sheol||Evil Nations||No||No||Yes||Maybe|
|Psalm 141:7||שְׁאֹֽול||Plows and breaks open the earth, so our bones have been scattered at the mouth of Sheol||David||Yes||Yes||Yes||No|
|Psalm 16:10||לִשְׁאֹ֑ול||God will not abandon David’s soul to Sheol nor will you allow Your Holy One to undergo decay||David/Messiah||No||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Psalm 18:5||שְׁאֹ֣ול||The cords of Sheol surround me; the snares of death confronted me||David||Yes||No||Yes||No|
|Psalm 30:3||מִן־שְׁאֹ֣ול||You have brought up my soul from Sheol; you have kept me alive, that I would not go down to the pit||David||No||No||Yes||Yes|
|Psalm 31:17||לִשְׁאֹֽול||Wicked put to shame in Sheol and silenced there;||Wicked||Yes, Maybe||No||Yes, maybe||No|
|Psalm 49:14||לִֽשְׁאֹ֣ול||As sheep they are appointed for Sheol; Death shall be their shepherd; their form shall be for Sheol to consume; no habitation; upright will rule over them in the morning||Wicked Rich||Yes||No||No||No|
|Psalm 49:15||מִֽיַּד־שְׁאֹ֑ול||But God will redeem my soul from the power of Sheol, for He will receive me||Sons of Korah||No||No||No||Yes|
|Psalm 55:15||שְׁאֹ֣ול||Let death come deceitfully upon them; let them go down alive into Sheol, for evil is their dwelling, in their midst: David calls upon the LORD and He saves David||Treacherous Friend||Yes||Yes||Yes||No|
|Psalm 86:13||מִשְּׁאֹ֥ול||God’s lovingkindness has delivered my soul from the depths of Sheol||David||No||No||No||Yes|
|Psalm 88:3||לִשְׁאֹ֥ול||My soul has had enough troubles; my life has drawn near to Sheol||Sons of Korah||No||No||No||Yes|
|Psalm 89:48||מִיַּד־שְׁאֹ֣ול||What man can live and not see death? Can he deliver his soul from the hand of Sheol? Selah.||Ethan the Ezrahite; all of Israel; all people||Yes||No||Yes||Yes|
|Psalm 116:3||שְׁאֹ֣ול||The cords of death encompassed me and the terrors of Sheol came upon me; I found distress and sorrow||Man who loves Yahweh||Yes||No||Yes, Sickness||Yes, Maybe
Distress and Sorrow
|Psalm 139:8||שְּׁאֹ֣ול||Ascend to heaven, God is there; bed in Sheol, God is there||David||No||No||No||Yes, Maybe|
|Proverbs 1:12||כִּשְׁאֹ֣ול||Let us swallow them alive like Sheol, even whole, as those who down to the pit||Solomon||Yes||Yes, Maybe||Yes||No|
|Proverbs 5:5||שְׁ֝אֹ֗ול||Her feet go down to death, her steps take hold of Sheol||Solomon, Adulterous Woman||Yes||No||No||No
|Proverbs 7:27||שְׁאֹ֣ול||Her house is the way to Sheol, descending to the chambers of death||Solomon, Adulterous Woman||Yes||No||No||No
|Proverbs 9:18||שְׁאֹ֣ול||He does not know that the dead are there, her guests are in the depths of Sheol||Solomon, Adulterous Woman||Yes||No||No||No|
|Proverbs 15:11||שְׁאֹ֣ול||Sheol and Abaddon before the LORD; how much more the hearts of men?||Solomon, Inhabitants of Sheol and Abaddon||Yes||No||No||No
|Proverbs 15:24||מִשְּׁאֹ֥ול||The path of life upward for the wise; that he may keep away from Sheol below||The Wise||No||No||No||Yes, Maybe|
|Proverbs 23:14||מִשְּׁאֹ֥ול||You shall strike him with the rod and rescue his soul from Sheol||Undisciplined Child||No||No||Yes||Yes, Maybe Training of Young Soul|
|Proverbs 27:20||שְׁאֹ֣ול||Sheol and Abaddon are never satisfied, nor are the eyes of man||Sheol and Abaddon||No||No||No||No
|Proverbs 30:16||שְׁאֹול֮||Sheol and the barren womb, Earth that is never satisfied with water, and fire that never says enough||Sheol||No||No||No||No
|Ecclesiastes 9:10||בִּשְׁאֹ֕ול||Do will with all your might, for there is no activity or planning or knowledge or wisdom in Sheol where you are going||Humans on Earth||No||No||No||No
|Song of Solomon 8:6||כִשְׁאֹ֖ול||Jealousy as severe as Sheol||Jealous Spouse||No||No||No||No
|Isaiah 5:14||שְּׁאֹול֙||Sheol has enlarged its soul and opened its mouth without measure; Jerusalem’s splendor descends into it||Jerusalem and Its Inhabitants||No||No||No||No|
|Isaiah 7:11||שְׁאָ֔לָה||Ask a sign for yourself from the LORD your God; make it deep as Sheol or high as heaven||Ahaz||No||No||No||No|
|Isaiah 14:9||שְׁאֹ֗ול||Sheol from beneath is excited over you to meet you when you come; it arouses for you the spirits of the dead, all the leaders of the earth; it raises all the kings of the nations from their thrones||King of Babylon||Yes||No||Yes||Yes, Rephaim|
|Isaiah 14:11||שְׁאֹ֛ול||Your pomp and the music of your hearts have been brought down to Sheol; maggots are spread out beneath you and worms are your covering||The King of Babylon||No||No||Yes||No|
|Isaiah 14:15||וְעִם־שְׁאֹ֖ול||You will be thrust down to Sheol, to the recesses of the pit||King of Babylon||Yes||No||No||No|
|Isaiah 28:15||וְעִם־שְׁאֹ֖ול||We have made a covenant with the death, and with Sheol we have made a covenant||Corrupt Leaders||Yes||No||No||No|
|Isaiah 28:18||אֶת־שְׁאֹ֖ול||Your covenant with death will be canceled; your covenant with Sheol will not stand||Corrupt Leaders||Yes||No||No||No
|Isaiah 38:10||שְׁאֹ֑ול||In the middle of my life I am to enter the gates of Sheol; I am to be deprived of the rest of my years||Ahaz||Yes||No||Yes||No|
|Isaiah 38:18||שְׁאֹ֛ול||Sheol cannot thank you; Death cannot praise you; those who go down to the Pit cannot hope for Your faithfulness||Hezekiah||Yes||No||Yes||No|
|Isaiah 57:9||עַד־שְׁאֹֽול||You have made your envoys go a great distance, down to Sheol||Futile Israel||No||No||No||No
|Ezekiel 31:15||שְׁאֹ֨ולָה֙||Assyria went down to Sheol in one day||Evil Assyria||No||No||No||No|
|Ezekiel 31:16||שְׁאֹ֖ולָה||The nations quake at the sound of Assyria’s fall when God made it go down to Sheol with those who do down to the Pit; all the well-watered trees of Eden, the choicest and best of Lebanon, were comforted in the earth beneath||Evil Assyria||No||No||No||No|
|Ezekiel 31:17||שְׁאֹ֖ולָה||Assyria and her nations went down with Assyria to Sheol, to those who were slain by the sword, and those who were its strength lived under its shade among the nations||Evil Assyria and its Supporting Nations||Yes||No||No||No|
|Ezekiel 32:21||שְׁאֹ֖ול||The strong and mighty ones shall speak of Egypt and its helpers: They have gone down, they lie still, the uncircumcised, slain by the sword||The might slain||Yes||No||No||No|
|Ezekiel 32:27||יָרְדֽוּ־שְׁאֹ֣ול||The fallen heroes who went down to Sheol with their weapons of war and whose swords were laid under their heads; but the punishment for their iniquity rested on their bones, though terror of those heroes once in the land of the living||Fallen Evil Heroes||Yes||Yes||No||No|
|Amos 9:2||בִשְׁאֹ֔ול||Though they dig into Sheol, My Hand will take them from there; and though they ascend to heaven, from there I will bring them down.||Israel, Summer Fruit||Yes||No||No||No|
|Hosea 13:14||שְׁאֹול֙||Shall I ransom them from the power of Sheol? Shell I redeem them from death? Oh Death, where are your thorns? O Sheol, where is your sting? Compassion will be hidden from My sight.||Evil Israel||Yes||No||No||No|
|Jonah 2:2||שְׁאֹ֛ול||Sheol, like death, never is satisfied.||The Haughty Man||Yes||No||No||No|
|Habakkuk 2:5||כִּשְׁאֹ֜ול||The haughty man enlarges his appetite like Sheol, and he is like death, never satisfied. He also gathers to himself all nations and collects to himself all peoples||The Haughty Man||Yes||No||No||No|