Isaiah 40:22 - Circle of the earth

Peter Kirk Peter_Kirk at
Fri Jul 19 17:46:10 EDT 2002

Jack, I would say that your use of five of the six verses you use is a
good example of the etymological fallacy, because we have no real
evidence other than etymology to relate the noun RAQIA( to the verb RQ(.
Well, you might argue that the sixth verse, Job 37:18, shows some link,
but I can respond that this could very easily be simply a word play.

On the other hand, Ezekiel 1 and Job 37:18 does provide some good
evidence about the Hebrew concept of the heavens and the RAQIA( of
Genesis 1.

Peter Kirk

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Jack Kilmon [mailto:jkilmon at]
> Sent: 19 July 2002 17:29
> To: Biblical Hebrew
> Subject: Re: Isaiah 40:22 - Circle of the earth
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Rolf Furuli" <furuli at>
> To: "Biblical Hebrew" <b-hebrew at>
> Sent: Friday, July 19, 2002 9:34 AM
> Subject: Re: Isaiah 40:22 - Circle of the earth
> > Jack kilmon wrote,
> >
> >
> > >
> > >I think a good handle on the 8th century BCE ANE image of the
> sheds
> > >light on Isaiah 40:22.
> > >
> > >[It is] he that sitteth upon the circle of the earth, and the
> inhabitants
> > >thereof [are] as grasshoppers; that stretcheth out the heavens as a
> curtain,
> > >and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in:
> > >
> > >ol chug ha-aretz is the encircled or encompassed land.  Turn around
> look
> > >in all directions and all of the land is covered by a dome..a
> > >Raqiya that is a solid, hammered out structure and above which are
> waters
> > >that "leak out" as rain and under which are hung the lights of the
> stars,
> > >moon, sun, etc.  The concept of the heavens shemayim is all of
> > >creation...not a cozy cloud in the sky relete with harps.  God sits
> above
> > >all this and looks down at us as if we were grasshoppers.  This was
> a
> > >geo-political referent.
> > >
> >
> >
> > Dear Jack,
> >
> >
> > A picture of your solid, hammered out structure is found on p. 5 in
> > The New American Bible. But sorry to say, this is an example of how
> > mythological ideas based on the historical-critical paradigm are
> > forced upon the readers of the Bible. You cannot substantiate this
> > picture by help of the Hebrew text, but if you look at all the
> > passages relavant to to RFQIA(, you will find the opposite of a
> > structure. To insist on the idea of "a hammered-out-structure" as a
> > central idea in the word is tantamount to making the "etymological
> > fallacy".
> By "etymological fallacy" you mean to say, the word doesn't mean what
> means?
> Ex 39:3 And they did beat <rq(> the gold into thin plates, and cut [it
> into]
> wires, to work [it] in the blue, and in the purple, and in the
> and
> in the fine linen, [with] cunning work.
> Num 16:39 And Eleazar the priest took the brasen censers, wherewith
> that were burnt had offered; and they were made broad <rq(> [plates
for] a
> covering of the altar:
> Job 37:18 Hast thou with him spread out <rq(> the sky, [which is]
> [and] as a molten looking glass?
> Is 40:19 The workman melteth a graven image, and the goldsmith
> <rq(> it over with gold, and casteth silver chains.
> Jer 10:9 Silver spread <rq(> into plates is brought from Tarshish, and
> gold
> from Uphaz, the work of the workman, and of the hands of the founder:
> and purple [is] their clothing: they [are] all the work of cunning
> Ez 6:11  Thus saith the Lord GOD; Smite with thine hand, and stamp
> with thy foot and say, Alas for all the evil abominations of the house
> Israel! for they shall fall by the sword, by the famine, and by the
> pestilence.
> The vision of the throne of God described in the Ezekiel 1 included
> reference to a firmament. This was a rigid structure. It was a
> composed of a SOLID crystalline substance, which supported the throne
> God. It was supported by four living creatures. This firmament or
> was described :
> "And the likeness of the firmament upon the heads of the living
> [was] as the colour of the terrible crystal, stretched forth over
> heads above. And under the firmament [were] their wings straight, the
> toward the other: every one had two, which covered on this side, and
> one had two, which covered on that side, their bodies. And when they
> I
> heard the noise of their wings, like the noise of great waters, as the
> voice
> of the Almighty, the voice of speech, as the noise of an host: when
> stood, they let down their wings And there was a voice from the
> that [was] over their heads, when they stood, [and] had let down their
> wingsAnd above the firmament that [was] over their heads [was] the
> likeness
> of a throne, as the appearance of a sapphire stone: and upon the
> of
> the throne [was] the likeness as the appearance of a man above upon
> In short, the "firmament" is a solid, beaten or stamped out plate that
> stretches over the "eretz" and keeps those water above it from washing
> away
> your new RV.
> I see no "etymological fallacy" but sure am willing to
> Jack
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