If we consult the passages in which the word is rendered grave, and substitute the original word Sheol, it will be seen that the meaning is far better preserved:
Gen. xxxvii:34-35: "and Jacob rent his clothes, and put sack-cloth upon his loins, and mourned for his son many days. And all his sons and all his daughters rose up to comfort him: but he refused to be comforted: and he said, For I will go down into the grave (Sheol—Hadees) unto my son mourning. Thus his father wept for him."
It was not into the literal grave, but into the realm of the dead, where Jacob supposed his son to have gone into which he wished to go.
Gen. xlii:38 and xliv:31, are to the same purport: "And he said, my son shall not go down with you; for his brother is dead, and he is left alone: and if mischief befall him by the way in which ye go, then shall ye bring down my gray hairs in sorrow to the grave." "It shall come to pass, when he seeth that the lad is not with us, that he will die; and thy servants shall bring down the gray hears of thy servant our father with sorrow to the grave."
The literal grave may be meant here, but had Sheol remained untranslated, any reader would have understood the sense intended. The remaining passages where the word is rendered grave are I Sam. ii:6-13; I Kings ii:6-9; Job vii:9, xiv:13; Numb.xvi:33; Jobxvii: 13-14; xxi:13; xxxiii:21-22; Ps. vi:5; xxx:3; lxxxviii:3; Prov i:12; Ps. xx:3, cxl:7; Cant. viii:6; Ecc. ix: 10; Isa xxxviii:19; Ps. xxxi:17, lxxxix:48; Prov. xxx:16; Isa. xiv: 11, xxxviii:18. Of the latter passage, "Forth egrave cannot praise thee, death cannot celebrate thee; they that go down into the pit cannot hope for thy truth," Prof. Stuart says, "I regard the simple meaning of this controverted place (and of others like it, e.g. Ps. vi:5; xxx:9; Ixxxviii: 11; cxv:7; Comp. cxviii: 17) as being this namely, 'The dead can no more give thanks to God nor celebrate his praise among the living on earth, etc.'" And he properly observes: "It is to be regretted that our English translation has given occasion to the remark that those who made it have intended to impose on their readers, in any case a sense different from that of the original Hebrew. The inconstancy with which they have rendered the word Sheol, even in cases of the same nature, must obviously afford some apparent ground for this objection against their version of it.
Why the word should have been rendered grave and pit in the foregoing passages, and hell in the rest, cannot be explained. Why it is not the grave, or hell or better still, Sheol or Hadees in all cases, no one can explain, for there is no valid reason.
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