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Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Comfort in hell?

One of the strangest Bible passages I have read recently is this one:

Ezekiel 32:30 “The princes of the north are there, all of them, and all the Sidonians, who have gone down in shame with the slain, for all the terror that they caused by their might; they lie uncircumcised with those who are slain by the sword, and bear their shame with those who go down to the pit.
31 “When Pharaoh sees them, he will be comforted for all his multitude, Pharaoh and all his army, slain by the sword, declares the Lord God. 32 For I spread terror in the land of the living; and he shall be laid to rest among the uncircumcised, with those who are slain by the sword, Pharaoh and all his multitude, declares the Lord God.” (ESV. This is a page that gives copyright information for the ESV.)

There is the abode of the dead, and, in Pharaoh's case, the unrighteous dead. Comforted? Really? That was so strange a phrase that I checked it with the Blueletter Bible, which gives several versions of 32:31. They all agree, so this is not a mistranslation by the ESV.

Despite the title, it is not clear that Pharaoh, in this passage, is actually in hell. (See the Wikipedia article on Sheol.)

Like a lot of other things in the Bible, I can't explain this one. Perhaps you can. I will say that, even if there is some sort of comfort in hell, that doesn't make make hell any more desirable. It should be avoided at all costs!

Thanks for reading.

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