Joseph's Coat Identified
Jacob had become a patriarch, the father of twelve sons, the younger
two of whom were Joseph and Benjamin. The elder ten kept the flocks.
Joseph went to them as his father's messenger to learn of their welfare,
and to take them delicacies. His brethren hated him through jealousy, sold
him into slavery in Egypt, and took his elegant coat of many colors,
bedraggled it in the blood of a kid and the dust and brought it to their
father. Jacob identified it as Joseph's; and heart-broken he cried
bitterly, "I will mourn for my son Joseph until I join him in Sheol."
(Genesis 37:35.) Sheol is the Hebrew word for tomb.
This is the first use of the word Sheol in the Bible. Sheol is the only
word translated hell in the Old Testament, Common Version. All scholars
now admit it really signifies the tomb, the death-state. Jacob did not
think of his beloved son as having gone to a Sheol of eternal torture, nor
did he have the thought of joining him there. Jacob knew of no such place
as Dante and others describe.
The explanation is simple. In old English literature the words
"hell," "grave" and "pit" were used
interchangeably, as in the translation of the Old Testament. Sheol is
translated grave and pit more times than it is translated hell in our
Common Version. Its equivalent in New Testament Greek is Hades, also
signifying the tomb, the grave, as all scholars agree. Jesus was in Hades,
Sheol, but was raised the third day by Divine Power, from the tomb, the
The translators of the Revised Version Bible refused to translate these
words, Sheol and Hades, by our English word Hell, because the gradual
change of language has attached a totally different meaning from what it
originally had--the grave. See marginal readings of Psalms 55:15; 86:13.
The learned translators, however, could not agree to render these words
grave and tomb, and left them untranslated. Compare versions and margin of
The Bible Hell--Sheol--Hades