Strongs definition: שְׁאוֹל shᵉʼôwl; from H7592; hades or the world of the dead (as if a subterranean retreat), including its accessories and inmates:—grave, hell, pit.
Appearances: Total x65 times in 63 verses
What does it refer to?
A temporary place where disembodied spirits go.
The physical body will return to being as the dust of the earth but the spirit continues on in Sheol.
It is also a place of torture and torment for the unrighteous.
It is a temporary abode for the righteous.
Sheol does not refer to the physical grave - keh'·ver (qeber) is used to refer to the grave.
Sheol - Gen 37:35 - And all his sons and all his daughters rose up to comfort him; but he refused to be comforted; and he said, For I will go down into the grave unto my son mourning. Thus his father wept for him.
Kehver - Exo 14:11 - And they said unto Moses, Because there were no graves in Egypt, hast thou taken us away to die in the wilderness?
Who went there?
All the dead until Christ came, died, and ascended into heaven where believers who were waiting in Sheol are now residing.
Those who are not saved are sent here (Sheol/Hades) temporarily.
Length of its duration
All those who have put their faith in Christ, upon their death, go to be with the Lord in Heaven once he had ascended.
Those who are not saved will remain in Sheol until it is cast into the lake of fire. (Rev 20:15)
GRAVE (Sheol compared to Queber)
Although Sheowl is rendered grave 31x in the OT, it never refers to a physical grave.
Sheol is never used as a plural, where queber (keh-ver) the Hebrew common word for grave is used many times in the plural form for many graves (Ex 14:11) Because there were no graves in Egypt, hast thou taken us away to die in the wilderness?
A dead body is never sent to Sheol, where queber (keh-ver) is used when talking about burying someone in a grave and is also never used to refer to an individuals grave. (2 Sam 21:14 - And the bones of Saul and Jonathan his son buried they in the country of Benjamin in Zelah, in the sepulchre(kehver) of Kish his father:
Sheol is never located on or near the surface of the earth, but kehver is (Gen 50:5 - Gen 50:5 - My father made me swear, saying, Lo, I die: in my grave which I have digged for me in the land of Canaan, there shalt thou bury me.
Man never digs or makes a Sheol, but he digs and makes a kehver (Joseph digging his own grave in Canaan to be buried there when they return to the land.)
The Old Testament never speaks of a man going down to queber (the grave). Twenty times, the bible speaks of going down or descending into the grave (Sheol)
In Gen 37:33 - Joseph is believed to be devoured by an animal, which means there was no body to bury. J
Jacob in Gen 37:35. Says “For I will go down into the grave (Sheol, not the physical grave) unto my son mourning.”
He is saying that he will mourn continue to mourn his son until he is reunited with him once again. (Rebuttal against Annihilation)
There are three places where the Bible speaks of conversations taking place in Sheol.
Eze 32:21 - The strong among the mighty shall speak to him out of the midst of hell with them that help him: they are gone down, they lie uncircumcised, slain by the sword.
Isaiah 14:9-20 - When the “chief ones of the earth” will mock Lucifer and say “Art thou also become weak as we?”
Luke 16:19-31 - Lazarus and the Rich Man
This demonstrates that souls, after their physical death, are conscious and shown to be fully aware and conversing.