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2 Samuel 22:6; Psalm 18:5 and the Cords of Sheol

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2 Samuel 22:6; Psalm 18:5 – The cords of Sheol were round about me; The snares of death came on me. — World English

The Hebrew word translated “cords” is shown as Strong’s #2256, chebel. Its first meaning is “cord, rope, territory, band, company”; its second meaning is given as: “pain, sorrow, travail, pang.”* Even though these words were spoken by David, in this scripture many translations are pleased to use “hell” for “sheol” and “sorrows” for the Hebrew chebel, for with the traditional idea of “hell” as a place of torture in the minds of many, and without reading the scripture closely, one could come to the conclusion that there are sorrows in hell, and thus that those in hell are conscious and being tortured. Indeed, this scripture is used by many advocates of eternal torture as a description of hell as a place of sorrows.
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*Brown, Driver, Briggs and Gesenius. “Hebrew Lexicon entry for Chebel“.
The KJV Old Testament Hebrew Lexicon.

Actually if one reads the scripture closely, one can see that sheol is being paralleled with death. David was expressing his concern of how his life was in peril of death, and that this peril is like cords drawing him into the death condition. If David was using the Hebrew word in the sense of “sorrows”, it still does not mean that David expected to experience sorrow in sheol, but rather that the threat of sheol upon his life was producing sorrows for him. In reference to those who claim that paradise was a part of sheol, we might further add that if David expected to enter into paradise when he was to die, then why would he think of it as a place of sorrow? It should be clear that there is no evidence in this verse of either torture or paradise in sheol.


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