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The word for "pit" here is sheol, which is the equivalent of hades (commonly translated "hell") in the New Testament, so that this event was no ordinary earthquake but was indeed a "new thing." Korah and his followers descended quick ("alive"), deep into the great cavity at the center of the earth where the spirits of the lost--both men and angels--are now confined (Psalm 55:15).
KJV Defenders Study Bible, by Dr. Henry Morris, Ph.D.
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
DEF 10 ISBN 0-529-10444-x
DEF 10-1 ISBN 0-529-10445-8