Ezekiel 26:19-21 (ESV):

19 “For thus says the Lord God: When I make you a city laid waste, like the cities that are not inhabited, when I bring up the deep over you, and the great waters cover you, 20 then I will make you go down with those who go down to the pit, to the people of old, and I will make you to dwell in the world below, among ruins from of old, with those who go down to the pit, so that you will not be inhabited; but I will set beauty in the land of the living. 21 I will bring you to a dreadful end, and you shall be no more. Though you be sought for, you will never be found again, declares the Lord God.”

Luke 8:30-31 (ESV):

30 Jesus then asked him, “What is your name?” And he said, “Legion,” for many demons had entered him. 31 And they begged him not to command them to depart into the abyss.

Ezekiel talks about the "pit", the "world below", and appears to suggest that people (human beings) are constantly descending to that place ("those who go down" -- present tense).

Luke instead talks about the "abyss", and demons are described as afraid to be sent to that place.

Do Ezekiel and Luke refer to the same place or different places?

1 Answer 1


The relevant words to consider are:

1. בּוֹר (bowr) usually translated "pit"

This word us used to describe a water cistern (Deut 6:11, Neh 9:25, Prov 5:15), etc or a water well (Exxc 12:6, 1 Chron 11:17, 2 Sam 23:15, etc), dungeon (Jer 38:6, Zech 9:11, Gen 41:14, etc), but is mostly used as the place of dead or grave as per Prov 28:17, Isa 14:15, 19, Ps 28:1, 143:7, Eze 32:23, etc. It is a place of darkness.

2. שְׁאוֹל (she'ol) usually translated either "sheol" or "grave" or "underworld".

This word is used to describe the place of dead, Deut 32:22, Isa 14:9, Prov 15:24. It is the destination of both the wicked (Ps 9:17, Ps 31:17, etc), and the righteous (Gen 37:35, 42:38, Ps 16:10, etc). Even Egypt would descend into sheol, Eze 31:15-17.

NOTE: She'ol and bowr are used synonymously in several places such as: Isa 38:18, 14:15, Prov 1:12, Eze 31:16, Ps 30:3, etc.

In the Septuagint (LXX), these words are mostly translated by:

  • שְׁאוֹל (she'ol) => ᾍδης (Hades)
  • בּוֹר (bowr) => θεμέλια τῆς γῆς (foundations of the earth), or, ᾍδης (Hades), or, λάκκος (pit), or, βάθος (bathos = depth), etc.

Thus, these phrases all refer to the same place - the grave or place of the dead - the underworld, meaning what is buried beneath the surface (eg a grave).

In the case of Eze 26:20, the LXX uses bathos.

3. ἄβυσσος (abysos) often translated "abyss"

Apart from the book of Revelation, abysos only occurs in Luke 8:31 and Rom 10:7. In the book of Revelation, it is used as the symbolic abode of the Devil and demons, see Rev 9:1, 2, 11, 11:7, 17:8, 20:1, 3.

Since demonology is scarcely known in the OT, it not surprising that this word in this sense in the OT. While it occurs often the the OT it is simply a very deep hole or water body, eg, Gen 1:2, Job 41:23, Ps 77:15, etc.

  • But what about "abyss" (Luke 8:31)? My question is about comparing Ezekiel 26:19-21 with Luke 8:30-31.
    – user38524
    Jan 18, 2022 at 12:50
  • @SpiritRealmInvestigator - my apologies, I did not get a chance to finish the job. Now added the data for abyss. Hope this helps.
    – Dottard
    Jan 18, 2022 at 20:34

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