New Defender's Study Bible Notes
16:23 hell. “Hell” (Greek hades, equivalent to the Hebrew sheol) is not the ultimate hell (Greek gehenna) referred to in Matthew 10:28, the same as the “lake of fire” (Revelation 20:15). Hades is another compartment in the pit at the earth’s center, where the spirits of the unsaved dead are confined, until the day of judgment. They were not set free, of course, when Christ freed the spirits of the faithful, but are still there.
16:23 Abraham afar off. Although the two compartments were impassably separated from each other, they were within the range of mutual sight and sound. This also reveals that disembodied spirits are somehow still recognizable and capable of inter-communication, even though such phenomena are presently beyond our limited understanding.