The three remaining times shell is used in the original texts, the King James renders it simply as the word pit. How much sense does this make? One word being rendered in three extremely different ways. A grave is not the same as a pit. A pit is not at all like the Dante version of hell where people are being held in perpetual agony, eternally and consciously tormented in flames. What does a grave and the traditional view of hell have in common? Not much at all. A pit is deep hole in the ground. A grave is a hole in the ground where a dead body is placed and then covered up with dirt. Hell in the eyes of orthodoxy is a place where people are kept alive to experience unending agony. Again I have to ask, how can one five letter word be taken to mean three very different things?
If you and I were to sit down with a Hebrew concordance of the Bible and look up every time the word Shell is used in Scripture, we would quickly discover some major problems trying to make this word fit the popular ideas about hell. Let's take a look at one example from the book of Psalms. David is writing and he says: "For thou wilt not leaves my soul in hell;" (Psalm 16:10a) Look at the verse above as it's worded in the King James. Read it. Then read it again. As you consider the popular orthodox view of hell does this verse fit at all? If hell is an everlasting torture chamber for the ungodly this verse creates some problems in two ways. First of all, why would David ("a man after God's own heart") is sent to hell? Secondly, if he were to be sent to hell, why would David speak of it as something temporary? If hell is truly a place of eternal, conscious, never-ending torment, why would the word hell is used in this verse? Why would David speak of it in the way that he does?
Think about it. Why would God inspire David to speak of hell as temporary if this word Shell has anything at all to do with the orthodox hell? It just doesn't add up. On the other hand, as you consider that the normal usage of this Hebrew word outside of Scripture simply meant the unseen, you realize that rendering it as the grave or even literally as the unseen would make a lot more sense. After all, when a person is placed in a grave no one can see that person anymore. They are covered up. By the way, the root of the word hell is the same as helmet. What does a helmet do? It covers up the head. It causes the top of the head to be unseen. So what is David talking about in this verse? David had a very clear understanding that death was in his future.
He knew that just like every person on this planet, he would one day breathe his last breath in his mortal body. At the same time, he also knew that death was not where it would end. David obviously understood that it was not God's ultimate plan to leave him in the grave. I believe when he penned these words under the inspiration of God he was giving us a picture of the resurrection. I believe David's hope was to one day be raised up from the grave with a new body. As you and I examine this verse with an open mind, it becomes beyond obvious that this is yet another instance where the King James should have rendered Sheol as grave rather than hell.