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Isaiah 57:9 – Israel in Sheol

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Isaiah 57:9 – You went to the king with oil, and did increase your perfumes, and did send your ambassadors far off, and did debase yourself even to Sheol.

Here we find a figurative usage of the word sheol. This verse refers to the debasement of Israel, who is depicted as a unfaithful woman, of whom Yahweh says: “Behind the doors and the posts have you set up your memorial: for you have uncovered [yourself] to another than me, and are gone up; you have enlarged your bed, and made you a covenant with them: you loved their bed where you saw it.” (Isaiah 57:8) The usuage of sheol here is figurative of a severe debasement.

The King James translators chose to translate sheol in this verse as “hell”, evidently because of the word debasement. If the traditional idea of “hell” should be applied to this verse, this would make the nation of Israel as a whole in eternal torment. This, of course, is not what Yahweh was saying here.

Nor could one say that Israel as whole is depicted as being in an alleged compartment of sheol called “paradise.” Paradise is no where in the Bible said to have been sheol. Nevertheless, if this verse is speaking of paradise in sheol, then we could only conclude that paradise is a condition of being debased. In reality, Isaiah 57:9 says nothing about Israel being debased to paradise.


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