Sheol is Hebrew for “the grave pit” or “mankind’s common grave.” Sheol is not a place, rather than a period of time while people are dead and waiting to be resurrected. Sheol is the most common word to be substituted by the word hell. Bible scriptures that describe the characteristics of Sheol explain it to be exactly how we would describe our dead; buried under the ground, no consciousness, no knowledge, no pain, no joy, no hope. King Solomon explained the unconscious state of the dead in detail when describing sheol

Ecclesiastes 9:10
Whatever your hands find to do, do with all your strength, because there is no work, planning, knowledge, or wisdom in Sheol where you are going.

Ecclesiastes 9:5-6
For the living know that they will die, but the dead don't know anything. There is no longer a reward for them because the memory of them is forgotten. Their love, their hate, and their envy have already disappeared, and there is no longer a portion for them in all that is done under the sun.

Since hell replaces Sheol it has to mean the same thing as Sheol. So if hell means a place of anguish for unrighteous people, why would Job ask God to put him there until he was resurrected?

Job 14:13
If only You would hide me in Sheol and conceal me until Your anger passes, that You would appoint a time for me and then remember me.

And when Jacob believed his son had died, Jacob said that he would go down into Sheol mourning for him – Genesis 37:35

All his sons and daughters tried to comfort him, but he refused to be comforted. "No," he said. "I will go down to Sheol to my son, mourning." And his father wept for him.

What Jacob meant by this is that he was not soon going to stop mourning for his son; he felt so bad he said that he would mourn his son until the day that he himself died and went to Sheol, or the grave. There he would join his son in death, waiting to be resurrected. Jacob didn’t mean that his son or he would be in a place of fiery punishment after death, just the place of the dead.

There are also poetic and symbolic descriptions of these places in the bible that may cause confusion. You may read about someone “crying out” to God from Sheol or death. These passages are often taken literally to try and prove that there is consciousness in death, but these are merely forms of poeticism to describe that the injustice of a good person who has died “cries out” to God to make things right and resurrect him. Like –

Psalm 18:5-6
The cords of Sheol were round about me; The snares of death came upon me.

In my distress I called upon Jehovah, And cried unto my God: He heard my voice out of his temple, And my cry before him came into his ears.

Take passages such as this into consideration – Genesis 4:10
Then He said, "What have you done? Your brother's blood cries out to Me from the ground!

Abel’s blood did not cry out to God anymore than the Psalmist recorded a cry out to God from death. What this means is that all injustice in the world is considered a cry out to God. As you read above, Solomon said the dead don’t know anything, making it impossible for them to cry out for help or even realize that they need help. That would make for contradictions in the bible.

For instance – Isaiah 38:18
For Sheol cannot thank You; Death cannot praise You. Those who go down to the Pit cannot hope for Your faithfulness.
Whatever your hands find to do, do with all your strength, because there is no work, planning, knowledge, or wisdom in Sheol where you are going.
by coupedehill September 23, 2009
The abode of the dead in early Hebrew thought.
The Hebrew word Sheol in Deuteronomy 32:22 is probably derived from the root "lowest pit" and was seen as the common receptacle of the dead, just below the earth.
by MoonCricket March 27, 2005