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Psalm 86:13 – Saved From the Depths of Sheol

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Psalm 86:13 – For your lovingkindness is great toward me. You have delivered my soul from the lowest Sheol. — World English.

Many read into this description of sheol that there are compartments in sheol. According to these, “lowest hell” is the compartment of eternal torture, where souls of humans spend an eternity in fiery flames. To view this verse in this manner, however, would mean that the David was in expectancy of entering such a place.

In actually, the words “lowest sheol”, appears to be not the best translation. The New American Standard translation reads: “For Your lovingkindness toward me is great, And You have delivered my soul from the depths of Sheol.” The condemnation of death placed upon man through Adam (Romans 5:12-19) would have been eternal were it not for the redemption God provides through his Son. It is from this death that David prophetically states his deliverance.

The KJV and other translators chose “lowest hell” as a rendering here, evidently with some kind of desire to promote the hell of man’s traditions, even though it would put David’s soul in hell, and evidently in eternal torture, according the man’s traditions. To have said that David’s soul was in the grave, of course, would not have been in harmony with their traditional thought that the soul does not die, and would have given the readers the impression that David expected his soul to be dead. Additionally, if David thought that he was going to go to an alleged compartment of Sheol called, “Paradise,” why would have needed deliverance from sheol? The text actually does prove that human souls are not immortal, for sheol is the oblivious condition of death; there is nothing about a compartment in sheol where David was saved from being eternally tortured. — Ecclesiastes 9:10.


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