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Proverbs 15:24 – Downward to Sheol

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Proverbs 15:24 – The path of life leads upward for the wise, To keep him from going downward to Sheol.

Some read into this verse the idea that going upward means to heaven when one dies, and to go downward means to go to a place of eternal torture at death. In effect, it would make “paradise” upward, and sheol downward. This would leave paradise out as a “compartment” of sheol, and therefore would actually go against the “compartment” theory concerning sheol.

Actually, all this verse is describing the present path of life: that the wise are led upward in righteousness, that he may not go down into sheol. In otherwords, the steps of wise man can often keep him alive, keep him from descending into sheol prematurely, so to speak.

Additionally, the American Standard Version renders it this way: “To the wise the way of life [goeth] upward, That he may depart from Sheol beneath.” The Hebrew word translated “depart” can mean “avoid”, or it can mean “be returned “. Thus Solomon could be speaking here of the returning from sheol in the resurrection. With this in mind, some have offered the thought of this verse as: ‘The path of life for the wise is an upward one toward righteousness, that they may be delivered by resurrection from oblivion.’

Nevertheless, there is nothing in the verse about eternal suffering or eternal torture.


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