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9 Sheol beneath is stirred up to meet you when you come; it rouses the shades to greet you, all who were leaders of the earth; it raises from their thrones all who were kings of the nations. 10 All of them will answer and say to you: ‘You too have become as weak as we! You have become like us!’ 11 Your pomp is brought down to Sheol, the sound of your harps; maggots are laid as a bed beneath you, and worms are your covers.
[Isaiah 14:9-11 ESV]

13 If I hope for Sheol as my house, if I make my bed in darkness, 14 if I say to the pit, ‘You are my father,’ and to the worm, ‘My mother,’ or ‘My sister,’ 15 where then is my hope? Who will see my hope? 16 Will it go down to the bars of Sheol? Shall we descend together into the dust?”
[Job 17:13-16 ESV]

Are there worms in Sheol?


Related questions:

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  • 1
    Of course there are worms in sheol as the Bible suggests - one only has to look in any grave to confirm this.
    – Dottard
    Feb 7, 2022 at 22:26
  • 1
    @Dottard - so do you still defend the idea that Sheol = grave? The equivalence is contested by many. Those who see Sheol as a metaphor (not a real place) and those who see Sheol as a concrete supernatural place would beg to differ.
    – user38524
    Feb 7, 2022 at 22:27
  • 1
    I did not claim that sheol is synonymous with the grave - sheol acts as kind of collective noun for all graves in all the world - the underworld and realm of the dead as lexicons correctly assert.
    – Dottard
    Feb 7, 2022 at 23:38

1 Answer 1

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Not Necessarily

Job 17

Firstly, this is Job's understanding of Sheol. It does not necessarily reflect reality. However, Job's understanding is that should he embrace Sheol, he would also be embracing: The dark, the pit and the worm. Now, that could mean that Sheol is dark and full of pits and worms, or it could be that Job's route to Sheol requires the embracing of darkness, the pit, and the worm (that is death.)

Isaiah 14

This is Sheol's delegation to King of Babylon before he is actually within Sheol. In it, the king is described as having worms as a bedding. However, it is his pomp and the sound of his harps that are in Sheol. There is no reason to think that he and his pomp are in the same place, thus there's no reason to think that the maggots and worms are with his pomp in Sheol.

In conclusion, both passages refer to men having to have the company of worms to get to Sheol, not that they will have the company of worms while in Sheol.

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