Scholars and laypeople have engaged in significant debate about the precise meaning of the word/name “Sheol” in the Bible. At times it seems to be an underworld, at times simply the grave, and at times perhaps something else.
A student in my class on the Bible has actually solved the mystery and come up with a definitive answer to the question.
Sheol is the name of the big fish in the Book of Jonah.
The Biblical text which proves this is Jonah 2:2, where Jonah is depicted as saying “I called out to the LORD, out of my distress, and he answered me; out of the belly of Sheol I cried, and you heard my voice” (ESV).
I am grateful to my student – who wishes to remain anonymous, unless someone makes a YouTube video about this and it goes viral – for offering this creative – and entertaining – suggestion!