Proverbs 27:20

Hell and destruction are never full; so the eyes of man are never satisfied.
– Proverbs 27:20

The words for hell and destruction are sheol and abaddon in the Hebrew, and occur in Proverbs 15:11 (see comments for discussion of meaning). Here, they are never full and that refers to the grave as insatiable. We might say something like the funeral home and cemetery are always in business. Proverbs 30:15-16 has the same sense where sheol is translated grave. The figure is: the grave is always hungry and ready to swallow up lives.

The parallel comparison is to the insatiable desires of men. Man’s insatiable desires also destroy lives and that is a subtext in the comparison.




Proverbs 15:11

Hell and destruction are before the LORD: how much more then the hearts of the children of men?
– Proverbs 15:11

The word for hell is sheol and means the unseen place of the dead. It is like the Greek hades. The word for destruction is abaddon and means a place of destruction. It emphasizes the state of suffering or punishment more than the location. It is also a name given to Satan as the king of the bottomless pit, or the abyssos (Revelation 9:10). The first phrase refers to the underworld, a place unseen to men, but not to God (Psalm 139:8). The point is that such a place we have so little conception of is entirely open before God. It follows then that human flesh is no covering to hide the hearts of men from God (Hebrews 4:12-13). The force of the proverb is to teach wisdom and the fear of the Lord.

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