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Luke 16:22 KJV - And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried;

YLT - And it came to pass, that the poor man died, and that he was carried away by the messengers to the bosom of Abraham -- and the rich man also died, and was buried;

It appears to be the case that Jesus was simply using a metaphor to say that Lazarus was carried to a comforting relationship with Abraham [Num 11:12, Deut 13:6, Isa 40:11, John 1:18]. Or if anything, Lazarus was in the chest area of Abraham, considering similar passages like John 13:23-25.

What is the evidence that supports a physical place called Abraham's Bosom?

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    I personally believe it is a metaphor for the bosom of the Father. But Jesus was not yet risen from the dead, thus not yet declared (publicly, thereby) to be the Son of God. Therefore the reference is hinted, not stated. Nor would the rich man understand such in any case. The narrative speaks as the rich man understands.
    – Nigel J
    Commented Jun 24, 2023 at 6:49

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I personally believe it is a metaphor for the bosom of the Father.

But Jesus was not yet risen from the dead, thus not yet declared (publicly, thereby) to be the Son of God. Therefore the reference is hinted, not stated.

Nor would the rich man understand such in any case. The narrative speaks as the rich man understands.

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Abraham's bosom is neither a physical location nor simply an embracing relationship, but a spiritual realm. A note in the NABRE explains: "Abraham’s bosom; or lap [is] ancient Jewish terminology for the place of the righteous dead."

To summarize, in the period between the closing of the Old Testament and the advent of Jesus, the Jewish concept of the afterlife was evolving and a considerable literature about this has survived. The concept of Sheol -- a place where souls lived in a kind of stupor -- gave way to a belief in several differentiated realms. Paradise was the best of these, Gehenna (also called Hades or Hell) the worst. In this literature Abraham was a central figure. He was sometimes depicted as a gatekeeper to either Paradise or Gehenna, or both. To be embraced in his bosom was to dwell the highest realm.

According to the Testament of Abraham (first century c.e.) God instructs the archangel Michael:

"Take, then, my friend Abraham into Paradise, where there are the tents of my righteous ones and (where) the mansions of my holy ones, Isaac and Jacob, are in his bosom, where there is no toil, no grief, no moaning, but peace and exultation and endless life" (T. Abr. 20:14)

In the Jewish Encyclopedia article on this subject, the data are analyzed. Its author, Kauffmann Kohler, says of Jesus' story:

Abraham is here viewed as the warden of paradise, like Michael in Jewish and St. Peter in Christian folk-lore.

So, to be in Abraham's Bosom is to be in the Paradise, the highest realm of the spiritual realm available to humans, according the view of 1st century Judaism.

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Abraham’s bosom is the land that Abraham bought for the entombment of Sarah in Canaan from the sons of Het. Gen 23:17-20 He was later entombed there himself. Gen 25:8-10 This is the only land that Israelites really could own in Canaan as Abraham’s descendants (and Semites) before the conquest under the law of Moses.

The point of the parable is that if you get buried as a free man in the land you purchased in free will and own, you get to heaven with Abraham. But if you die under the law of Moses as a slave (of the law/sin) and are buried in the part of Canaan that Abraham descendants never rightfully purchased to own, you will stay in Hell (Hades). “Those who live by the sword die by the sword.” Mt 26:52

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