Sheol is translated as Hades

Heaven or Hell

(courtesy ChristArt)

By Spencer D Gear

Where did people go at death prior to Christ’s coming? How do the Scriptures describe what happens at death in the OT?

On a Christian forum on the Internet, a person wrote: ‘Hades is a different creature then (sic) sheol’.[1] Those who know Hebrew and Greek disagree with him.

My response was:[2]
According to OT commentators Keil & Delitzsch, ‘Sheol denotes the place where departed souls are gathered after death’ (n d:338).

One of the leading exegetical Greek word studies edited by Colin Brown states: ‘In the LXX [Septuagint] hades occurs more than 100 times, in the majority of instances to translate Heb sheol, the underworld which receives all the dead. It is a land of darkness, in which God is not remembered (Job 10:21f; 26:5; Ps. 6:5; 30:9 [LXX 29:9]; 115:17 [LXX 113:25]; Prov. 1;12; 27:20; Isa. 5:14)’ (Brown 1976:206).
So in the LXX, hades is a Greek translation of the Hebrew, sheol.

There is a further explanation of hades and sheol in my articles,

Works consulted

Brown, C (ed) 1976. The new international dictionary of New Testament theology, vol 2. Exeter: The Paternoster Press.

Keil, C F & Delitzsch, F n d.[3] Tr by J Martin (from the German). Commentary on the Old Testament: The Pentateuch, vol 1. Grand Rapids, Michigan: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company.


[1] Jasonc#114. Christian Apologetics & Theology, SOUL SLEEP – TRUE/FALSE (online). Available at: (Accessed 19 September 2014).

[2] Ibid., OzSpen#115.

[3] This is from a 1980 printing by Eerdmans.


Copyright © 2014 Spencer D. Gear. This document last updated at Date: 20 November 2015.